Black Monday is the nickname in the NFL for the day immediately following the regular season finale when undesired head coaches are handed their walking papers. Black Monday this season was less eventful than usual, most likely because of the uncertainty surrounding the collective bargaining agreement. Many people, in fact, were predicting (and hoping, in some cases) that Gary Kubiak would be a victim of Black Monday. This was not to be.
While the head coaching positions get a great deal of attention, sometimes the comings and goings of coordinators and position coaches can be just as important. Maybe it's just the lack of head coaching moves to pay attention to, but it seems that there is more shuffling at the lower levels this year. So, even though everything appears to be calm, there is a lot going on under the surface. How is this undertow affecting the Texans? Check out the daily links past the jump.
The possibility that I alluded to yesterday of Jim Washburn leaving Tennessee to join the Eagles became a reality. I don't think the significance of this can be overstated. Washburn likely saw the writing on the wall that everyone else sees with Jeff Fisher entering a lame duck season and decided to go with more stability in Philadelphia as whoever takes over that defense will likely get at least two to three years of stability. It is so gratifying to see Bud Adams dismantle his own franchise.
Offensive line coach is an incredibly important position within an NFL team, but one that rarely gets a lot of credit. The mother ship did a great Xs and Os piece with Texans OL coach John Benton. who in his first year as the chief OL coach took Houston from one of the worst running teams in the NFL to one of the best.
Benton had some help with improving the rushing attack from that Arian Foster guy who, as it turns out, is pretty good. This is a fact that Rivers McCown reminds John McClain as he tries to refute McClain's claim that turning around the running game in one year was a similar task to turning around the defense. Stephanie Stradley also weighed in on the difficulty of improving what has been one of the worst defenses in the NFL for some time.
Bruce Matthews, who works for John Benton as the assistant offensive line coach, interviewed for the same position with the Dallas Cowboys on Monday. There is no word yet on the status of Matthews, who declined comment on the subject. I have no idea how much the success of last year should be attributed to Matthews, but you can't argue with results. Also, Matthews was an institution in Houston for a long time with the Oilers, and I really hope he stays. If he decides to leave to coach under one of his mentors from USC, Hudson Houck, I'll wish him well.
The Texans interviewed Cowboys linebackers coach Reggie Herring on Wednesday. Herring coached under defensive coordinator Wade Phillips in Dallas, and is widely believed to be a shoe-in for the job.
Herring's input might be crucial from the get-go if the Texans decide to select a linebacker with the eleventh overall pick in the upcoming draft. Lance Zierlein shared his opinion of the top five OLBs for a 3-4 defense if the Texans do decide to go that way. I agree with his list for the most part, though the only one on that list that I would like to see the Texans take at 11 is Robert Quinn of North Carolina. I don't think any of the others provide enough upside to warrant spending such an early pick, especially with very good options in the second and third rounds. More to come on that later.
As for the Texans' needs to fill in the draft, Daniel Charles breaks down every position on the team and rates their need for upgrade. Rivers compiled a draft profile on Oregon State DT Stephen Paea, who might be a great fit for Wade Phillip's one gap 3-4 scheme.
Mock draft season is in full swing. Mocking Dan wrote his second edition, the first since Andrew Luck decided to forego the draft. Mel Kiper also did one, his first of the year. Coincidentally, they both have the Texans selecting Aldon Smith and converting him to OLB. Todd McShay also published a mock, and has the Texans selecting Texas A&M's Von Miller. One interesting thing from McShay's mock is that he foresees Miller playing ILB in the 3-4, which could be interesting and would improve my opinion of the pick dramatically. (You must have ESPN Insider access to view the Kiper and McShay mocks in their entirety).