2010's worst coaching decisions
Draft: Gailey takes CJ Spiller
If you're a last place team, you already have a promising young back in Fred Jackson, one of the more explosive running talents in the league in Marshawn Lynch, and holes at just about every other position, what do you take with your first round draft pick? A third running back of course! After 16 games behind an offensive line that needed serious upgrades instead, Cpiller finished the season with far fewer yards than fellow rookies Ryan Matthews, Jahvid Best, and Toby Gerhart, which were all selected after him.
Draft: McDaniels takes Tebow in the first round
After making one of the most polarizing decisions in NFL Draft history, former Broncos coach Josh McDaniels stood up for his prized new quarterback even more than Carmela Corleone did for her son Fredo. Denver promptly finished with the second-worst record in the league. With McDaniels out of the picture like Carmela though, it just opens the door for new coach John Fox finish what only Michael had the guts to do.
Preseason: Haley names Thomas Jones starting RB
It's hard to rip coach Todd Haley for a decision he made in the preseason when he incredibly led the Chiefs to an AFC West division title. But using Thomas Jones over breakout star Jamaal Charles could have cost the Chiefs much more. In Charles's first season in the league, Haley sat him in favor of the washed up Larry Johnson. In 2010, it was Jones, who carried the ball 245 times to Charles's 230, even though the younger back just barely missed breaking Jim Brown's record of yards per carry, averaging a spectacular 6.4 yards per carry every time he got the ball.
Week 1: Wade doesn't kneel it
A lot of fans criticized former Cowboys coach Wade Philips for not being gutsy enough in his coaching. Maybe that was because he was too scared after this week 1 debacle before a national audience on Sunday Night Football. With Dallas pinned down on their own 30 with four seconds left, most coaches would elect to chuck a Hail Mary downfield or take a knee and hit the locker room. Not the Michelin Man. Wade called for a dump-off to Tashard Choice, which was promptly stripped and returned by DeAngelo Hall for Washington's only TD of the game.
Week 3: Schwartz settles for three
Down 14-7 at the end of the first half, the Lions had a second-and 2 on the Minnesota 15 with 13 seconds left. Instead of getting a play off before kicking, though, Detroit coach Jim Schwartz decided to just let the clock bleed to three seconds left before deciding to blast it through the uprights for three.
Week 5: Childress trades a third rounder for Moss
Without standout receiver Sidney Rice for the entire first half of the season, Vikings coach Brad Childress pushed for a trade to acquire former Minnesota star Randy Moss from the Patriots. Less than four weeks later, Moss was waived by Chilly, who cut the enigmatic receiver without even getting the consent of owner Zygi Wilf or any other management. The decision cost Childress his job by the end of the season.
Week 7: Spagnuolo calls timeout
While the loss to Seattle in the regular season finale certainly knocked the Rams out of the playoffs, it was the 18-17 loss to Tampa Bay two months earlier that really hurt them. At the end of the first half, St. Louis led 17-3 and had the Bucs facing a third-and-16. Head coach Steve Spagnuolo assumed his team could get the ball back and called a time out, giving Josh Freeman enough time to organize the offense, convert the first down, and kick a field goal.
Week 8: Shanahan benches McNabb
With the Redskins down six points with two minutes remaining, new head coach Mike Shanahan benched prized new QB Donovan McNabb and replaced him with none other than Rex Grossman, who promptly fumbled away a touchdown to Ndamukong Suh. Shanahan then said McNabb didn't have the cardiovascular fitness Grossman had to run the two-minute drill. To make matters even more awkward, the next week was a bye week for the Skins, so it gave Skip Bayless's face 14 solid days to fully melt into a pool of fury.
Week 9: Schwartz lets Suh kick
Normally the backup kicker doubles as the guy who holds all the practice kicks for the first string and gets paid to have the best season tickets and in the stadium for entire season. The backup usually isn't a 300-lb. No. 2 overall draft pick defensive tackle who's usually catching his breath on the sidelines after barreling through offensive linemen the previous series. Jim Schwartz decided to give his Hulk-like DT the backup duties, though, so when starter Jason Hanson went down with an injury in the third quarter, Ndamukong Suh smashed an extra point attempt off the goal post after Detroit had taken the lead 13-10. The miss proved costly, as the Lions went to OT where they eventually lost.
Week 14: Rex calls for a spike
With the Mark Sanchez converting a first down to get the Jets to midfield for a final drive to win the game, coach Rex Ryan issued the call for a spike to stop the clock. Not only did it give the gasping Dolphins defense time to catch their breath, but it wasted a down New York could have really used. After the game, Ryan owned up to his mistake. "You never want to spike a football with over a minute left in a game. That was a mistake," he said. "I'm at fault. I'm in charge of it so it was my mistake."
Week 14: Jeff Fisher. goes for it?
With the Titans down 30-21 with 2:55 left in the game against the Colts, they needed two scores to win. Unfortunately, somebody forgot to tell former Titans coach Jeff Fischer. Kerry Collins marched the team down to the Colts' 24 yard line all on no-huddle shotgun passes, but ate up more than two minutes of time. With 32 seconds left, Fisher called a time out, but coming out of the break, decided to continue driving rather than immediately kick the field goal and try for an onside kick. Fisher's efforts "paid off" as Collins through an exhilarating touchdown as time expired. to cut the deficit to two.
Week 15: Coughlin punts to D-Jax
After having blown his 21-point lead with 7:28 to play against division rival Philadelphia, Giants coach Tom Coughlin decided to just punt the ball with 14 seconds left before overtime. That OT never happened. DeSean Jackson muffed the ball and then promptly ran it back 65 yards to all but eliminate the G-Men from the playoffs. Even though, Coughlin caught on camera screaming at punter Matt Dodge that he wanted it kicked out of bounds, it's hard to believe Dodge would kick it dead center if he had been given explicit instructions beforehand not to do so.
NFC Championship: Lovie plays Collins over Hanie
With Jay Cutler out of the game with an torn MCL, Lovie Smith had to make a snap decision as to who would replace him. Todd Collins did an excellent Jay Cutler impression, throwing four passes to the frozen turf before the second stringer was replaced by emergency QB Caleb Hanie. Surprisingly, the undrafted signal caller held his own for most of the fourth, keeping the Bears in the game, and many in the Windy City left wondering if they could have gone to the Super Bowl if Hanie had played the entire second half.