Once a week, Mark Craig will get on and off the field quickly, then focus a spotlight on a player and a coach.
Question: What goes through the minds of NFL coaches as they see some of their peers fired during the season? Heading into Week 14, two head coaches, three coordinators and three position coaches already have been fired. And another coordinator was demoted. For this question, we turned to the Vikings’ three coordinators.
Defensive coordinator George Edwards: “That’s a part of this profession, and we all understand it. You got to lock in and focus on what you got going that week. We know what we signed on for. You don’t like it to happen to anybody.”
Offensive coordinator John DeFilippo, whose father, Gene, was a college coach in the 1970s and ’80s: “I hate to see anybody fired. I hate this time of year. You have a lot of good coaches who are your friends that maybe you’ve worked with that you’ve seen it happen to. What gets lost in this whole to me — and I’m a little biased to it because I was one of those kids — is there’s a family side to this. There’s a person side to this thing that people, to me, don’t factor in at all. And that actually makes me a little upset at times. I was one of those kids. I grew up this way, so I’m a little bit sensitive to it. It brings back memories of my childhood and the way I grew up. Seeing my dad in the paper getting bashed.”
Special teams coordinator Mike Priefer, whose father, Chuck, was a longtime college assistant and NFL special teams coach: “It’s sad when guys get fired during the season. All of a sudden they’re a bad coach whereas [they weren’t] when they were hired to begin with that year or years before. That’s not something I worry about. I’m just going to get up every day and thank God for the opportunity to coach football. But in terms of the other guys, that’s tough for me to look at, to watch because there are a lot of good men who have lost jobs over the years that you’d like to see them finish out the year.”
SPOTLIGHT PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Ryan Tannehill, Dolphins quarterback
He’s 3-7 against the Patriots heading into Sunday’s game at Miami. But he also has beaten them three straight times at home. And in his two games back since injury, he’s posted passer ratings 119.4 and 103.6. The Dolphins are 6-6 and hold the AFC’s eighth seed.
Last week: Philip Rivers, QB, Chargers. Led the Chargers from a 23-7 deficit to a last-second 33-30 victory in Pittsburgh.
SPOTLIGHT COACH OF THE WEEK
Packers interim coach Joe Philbin
After that failed stint as head coach in Miami, Philbin has a slim to none chance of having the interim tag removed. The only remote chance he’d have is if he went 4-0 as Aaron Rodgers and the offense exploded with points.
Last week: Eagles coach Doug Pederson. Bounced the Redskins, improved to 6-6 and stayed one game behind the Cowboys in the NFC East.