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NFL: Bears, Falcons, Jets fire head coaches

By Reuters Media Chicago Bears head coach Marc Trestman and general manager Phil Emery were fired Monday. Also Monday, the Atlanta Falcons fired coach Mike Smith, and the New York Jets fired head coach Rex Ryan and general manager John Idzik. Eme...

By Reuters Media

 

Chicago Bears head coach Marc Trestman and general manager Phil Emery were fired Monday.

Also Monday, the Atlanta Falcons fired coach Mike Smith, and the New York Jets fired head coach Rex Ryan and general manager John Idzik.

Emery was 23-25 in three seasons with the Bears, firing Lovie Smith after a 10-6 season in 2012 and replacing him with first-time NFL head coach Marc Trestman.

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Trestman was hired in a winding interview process that included more than 12 candidates. The other finalist for the opening was Bruce Arians, who just completed a 10-6 season with the Arizona Cardinals.

Trestman said Sunday he planned to return, but after a 6-10 finish and drama-filled season, his fate was determined several weeks ago. The Bears lost five straight games to end the season and eight of their final 10.

Chicago was 8-8 in 2013.

Billed as a quarterback whisperer, Trestman had strong results as a rookie coach. The Bears finished second in the NFL in scoring to the Denver Broncos in 2013, but the decline was dramatic in 2014. Chicago was 21st in passing and 23rd in scoring.

Emery's biggest decisions did not pan out. He invested $126 million in quarterback Jay Cutler prior to the 2014 season on a seven-year deal that made Cutler the NFL's highest-paid player in 2014 at $22.5 million. The belief, Emery said at the time, was Cutler was a franchise-caliber quarterback who could blossom under Trestman's direction. That was not the case in Cutler's second year in the system. He led the NFL in turnovers and was benched by Trestman for journeyman Jimmy Clausen in Week 16.

Entering 2014, Emery vowed to fix a defense that was among the league's worst under defensive coordinator Mel Tucker. But his biggest investments were busts. Defensive end Lamarr Houston tore a knee ligament celebrating his only sack of the season at New England eight weeks into the season. Veteran Jared Allen had 5.5 sacks, and Emery said earlier this month that he was pleased with Allen's effort and play against the run.

He had mixed results in the draft, snagging wide receiver Alshon Jeffery in the second round in 2012 but missed on the rest of the class. He scored two-time Pro Bowl guard Kyle Long 20th overall in 2013, and right tackle Jordan Mills in the fifth round the same year.

Emery also invested a first-round pick in Boise State defensive end Shea McClellin, who was moved to linebacker after not making an impact as an edge rusher.

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Falcons fire Smith

The Atlanta Falcons have sacked head coach Mike Smith after a second straight losing season, the franchise said on Monday.

Smith has been in charge since 2008 and took the team to the playoffs four times. Atlanta won the NFC South twice, including in 2012 when they reached the NFC Championship game before losing to the San Francisco 49ers.

"His accomplishments on the field made him the most successful coach in the 49-year history of the Falcons and we are grateful for the foundation he has laid for us," owner Arthur Blank said in a news release.

Despite a poor season the Falcons had a chance to win their division on Sunday but were crushed 34-3 by the Carolina Panthers, ending the campaign with a 6-10 record.

"This is a business about winning football games and that is how you are judged," said Smith after the defeat. "I understand that and I'll leave it at that."

Jets fire coach, GM

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The New York Jets fired head coach Rex Ryan and general manager John Idzik after a 4-12 season, the team said in a statement Monday.

Ryan had been in charge for six years but the team failed to make the playoffs for the last four seasons.

"After extensive thought and reflection about the current state of our football team, this morning I informed Rex Ryan and John Idzik that they will not be returning for the 2015 season," said Jets chairman and CEO Woody Johnson.

An outspoken coach with a lively personality, Ryan made a good start to his reign by reaching two successive AFC championship games but the Jets were beaten on both occasions.

With a lack of stability in the quarterback position, the Jets failed to post a winning record in the past four seasons and Ryan's departure had looked inevitable.

Idzik was general manager for two years but received criticism for his draft choices.

Johnson said former Washington Redskins and Houston Texans general manager Charley Casserly and former Green Bay Packers GM Ron Wolf would help search for replacements for Ryan and Idzik.

"We will consider all options to improve the Jets," said Johnson.

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