Black Monday in NFL: 7 coaches, 4 GMs fired

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Black Monday in NFL: 7 coaches, 4 GMs fired

After a season in which no coaches were fired during the season, the NFL exploded in a spasm of dismissals Monday.

No fewer than seven head coaches and four general managers were given the axe, and the carnage may not be over. The status of some others -- like Jaguars coach Mike Mularkey and Chiefs GM Scott Pioli -- are still up in the air.

A complete list of coachGM firings, listing alphabetically by team:

Coach Ken Whisenhunt and GM Rod Graves, Arizona Cardinals (NBC's Pro Football Talk)
In the end, this move mostly comes down to the inability of Graves and Whisenhunt to find a competent starting quarterback.

Coach Chan Gailey, Buffalo Bills (AP)
Buffalo finished 6-10, and Gailey leaves with a 16-32 record. There was no immediate word on the status of general manager Buddy Nix.

Coach Lovie Smith, Chicago Bears (CSN Chicago)
Hired in 2004, Smith led the 2006 team to the Super Bowl, but he also saw his team collapse in the second half of the past two seasons. He was let go with a year left on his contract, ending a nine-year run that produced an 81-63 record, three division titles and two appearances in the NFC championship game. (ALSO FROM CSN CHICAGO: Bears players angry, stunned, reeling in aftermath of Smith firing)

Coach Pat Shurmer and GM Tom Heckert, Cleveland Browns (AP)
One day after another dismal season ended with a loss in Pittsburgh, the Browns fired coach Pat Shurmur and general manager Tom Heckert, the first moves in an expected overhaul by new owner Jimmy Haslam and CEO Joe Banner.

GM Gene Smith, Jacksonville Jaguars (AP)
The Jaguars fired general manager Gene Smith on Monday after four disappointing seasons, including the worst year (2-14) in franchise history in 2012. Coach Mike Mularkey could be next; owner Shad Khan is waiting to decide Mularkey's fate until he hires a new general manager, which could happen this week.

Coach Romeo Crennel, Kansas City Chiefs (AP)
The Kansas City Chiefs fired coach Romeo Crennel on Monday, but made no move on embattled general manager Scott Pioli -- though owner Clark Hunt warned "there may be additional changes to come" -- despite a 2-14 season marked by blowout losses, fan rebellion and a murder-suicide involving one of their players.

Coach Andy Reid, Philadelphia Eagles (CSN Philly)
The man who had benefitted from so many good decisions in his first dozen years made one poor judgment call after another. Instead of making another Super Bowl run, the Eagles spiraled downward and missed the postseason in each of the next two years, leaving owner Jeffrey Lurie no choice but to dismiss Reid with one year left on the coachs contract. (ALSO FROM CSN PHILLY: Owner Jeffrey Lurie explains reasons for Andy Reid's firing)

GM Mike Tannenbaum, New York Jets (AP)
The Jets fired Tannenbaum, their general manager for the last seven years, after a dismal 6-10 season, but owner Woody Johnson announced that Rex Ryan will be back for a fifth season as the team's coach.

Coach Norv Turner and GM A.J. Smith, San Diego Chargers (AP)
Coming after a season of stunning come-from-ahead losses and increasing fan anger, the firings complete a startling fall for a team that won the AFC West from 2006-09. The Chargers are the third team to fire Turner, who has an overall head coaching record of 114-122-1.

Freeman, Coleman lift Falcons past Saints, 45-32

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Freeman, Coleman lift Falcons past Saints, 45-32

NEW ORLEANS - Devonta Freeman practically wore out the Superdome turf with one long gain after another, Tevin Coleman wouldn't be denied near the goal line and the New Orleans Saints hardly looked like the team that made an emotional homecoming nearly 10 years ago to the day.

Cheers turned to boos, and many fans filed out early.

Coleman rushed for three touchdowns, Matt Ryan passed for two TDs and Deion Jones returned an interception 90 yards for a score to help the Atlanta Falcons beat the winless New Orleans Saints 45-32 on Monday night.

"It was real fun. Everybody was doing their job and everybody was playing for each other," Coleman said. "Everything clicked, and we got it done. It's a real big win for us to beat this team here."

The game coincided with New Orleans' celebration of the 10-year anniversary of the Saints' memorable return to the Superdome on Sept. 25, 2006, 13 months after Hurricane Katrina. But there would be no reprise of New Orleans' dominant and emotional 23-3 triumph over Atlanta a decade ago.

The Saints' depleted defense struggled to slow Freeman, who rushed for 152 yards and caught five passes for 55 yards. Coleman also was effective in the passing game out of the backfield, with three receptions for 47 yards to go with his 42 yards rushing.

"We have to stop the run better," Saints coach Sean Payton said. "They were over 200 yards in situations where you knew the run was coming, even at the end of the game."

Ryan finished with 240 yards passing for Atlanta (2-1), which did not turn the ball over and moved into sole possession of first place in the NFC South.

Drew Brees put up his usual big numbers - 376 yards and three TDs passing - and hit tight end Coby Fleener seven times for 109 yards and a TD. But Brees' tipped pass that resulted in Jones' TD return early in the fourth quarter gave the Falcons a 45-25 lead that proved too much for New Orleans to overcome.

Hayes knows he's a good player, wants to silence the critics

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Hayes knows he's a good player, wants to silence the critics

BOSTON, Mass. – There’s a long way to go toward a complete resurrection from last season’s misdeeds, but Jimmy Hayes made a nice little statement that he’s learned some lessons in Boston’s preseason debut. The Bruins lost the game, 3-2, in the shootout to the Columbus Blue Jackets, but Hayes scored one of the two goals for the Black and Gold as one of the few veterans in a very youthful lineup for Boston.

The Hayes goal was a nice give-and-go with Jake DeBrusk at the end of a nice transition play in the second period, and was the highlight of a night playing on the right wing with DeBrusk and center Austin Czarnik. The score and a team-high four shots on net for Hayes represent a good start for what he hopes is a gigantic rebound season after last year’s disappointment.

Clearly Hayes heard some of the unflattering chatter about him on sports talk radio and otherwise last season, and may even understand how his difficult season in his home city of Boston -- whether he actively expressed it to him or not -- might have been a factor in his buddy Jimmy Vesey ultimately choosing New York over Boston.

It appears the former Boston College standout is looking to change the conversation in Boston. 

“Yeah, sure am. I’ve got a lot to come out here and…[there were] a lot of comments about myself, but I know I’m a good player. I got to this level for a reason,” said Hayes, who dropped from 19 goals and 35 points with the Panthers to 13 goals, 29 points and a career-worst minus-12 for the Bruins last season.

“To be able to play at the NHL level and continue to play at that level on a consistent basis is what I expect out of myself. I do it for myself and our teammates, and to help our team win. I’ll continue moving forward.

“It’s funny being the old guy on the line. It’s nice to see those young guys and see how excited they are, and how excited I am to get back out there. That’s what I said to the guys, they still have the jitters and they still have them for the first preseason game. It shows that these guys want it and it’s been a lot of fun skating with those guys. They’ve got a lot of speed and to keep pushing the pace. Trying to keep up with them has been a lot of fun.”

There is still a long way to go for the 26-year-old winger, and his willingness to stick around the danger areas on Monday night was a welcomed one for a Bruins team that needs his 6-foot-6 body in front of the net. Hayes paid the price with stitches and a fat lip after taking a Dalton Prout high-stick to the mouth in front of the Columbus net that went uncalled on a Bruins PP at the end of the second period.

That’s all part of the big man’s game on the ice, however. It’s also the kind of battle and determined fight that Hayes will need to show much more consistently in his second season with the hometown Bruins if he’s truly looking to bounce-back from last year’s mediocre performance.