December 2013

The season is over for the Bears, so now it's time to prepare for the 2014 NFL Draft. The Bears will have the No. 14 overall selection on May 8 in New York City, which is why we are taking a look back at the past 20 selections by teams who were in the 14th position. As you will see below, the Bears owned the pick three different times, having mixed results with Chris Williams (2008), Tommie Harris (2004) and Michael Haynes (2003).
Other than the playoff entrants, we know what the top of the 2014 NFL draft will look like. The Houston Texans, by virtue of losing their final 14 games, will have the first pick and will consider Louisville's Teddy Bridgewater, if he declares early. The St. Louis Rams, by virtue of the Washington Redskins' failures, will pick second. The Redskins and Rams made a trade involving the draft pick that became Robert Griffin III, and the Redskins' horrific struggles this season were the Rams' gain. They also own the 13th overall pick. Picks 1-20 are set, save for the Baltimore Ravens and Dallas Cowboys, who finished with identical records and strengths of schedule, which is the tiebreaker for draft order. A coin flip will determine which team will pick 16th and which will pick 17th. (The Cleveland Browns, in addition to the fourth overall pick, also own the Indianapolis Colts' first-rounder, courtesy of the Trent Richardson deal.)
Programming note: Watch Mondays 49ers press conference with head coach Jim Harbaugh live on CSN Bay Area and streaming live online right here at 12pm What you need to know: Running back Frank Gore was visibly upset. The 49ers, a team that generally has gone about as far as Gore takes them, could not get anything going on the ground Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals, owners of the NFLs top-ranked run defense. After a miserable day that included just 14 yards rushing, Gore could not get dressed and get home quick enough after the 49ers wrapped up the season with a 23-20 victory over the Cardinals.
After standing on the field in a drenching rain for more than three hours at MetLife Stadium, Tom Coughlin and Mike Shanahan met at midfield and wished each other well. It was the same thing the two 60-something head coaches had done twice a year for the past four years when the Washington Redskins played the New York Giants. When they did it Sunday after the Giants' 20-6 victory, it was different. A year after leading the Redskins to the NFC East title, Shanahan was fired on Monday after a 3-13 season that ended with eight straight losses.
The draft order for the 2014 NFL Draft is set -- at least the top 20 selections. The Texans have locked up the No. 1 overall pick for the third time in franchise history and quarterbacks will be high on their wish list. It might also be tempting to draft a unique defensive talent like Jadeveon Clowney, the South Carolina pass rusher who would pair nicely with defensive end J.J. Watt. Last year only one quarterback was drafted in the first round, but there will be several quarterback-needy teams picking early in May, including the Jaguars, Vikings and Browns, who are ready to bail on first-round quarterbacks under new regimes.
The wild-card round of the playoffs features a pair of recently hot home teams in the AFC, a couple of road teams in the NFC that could be stronger than the teams that host them this weekend and a few surprise, last-minute entrants that can’t be taken lightly. But first, a few words on coaching redemption. Here are some of the more interesting storylines heading into Saturday’s and Sunday’s playoff games. Coaches coming full circle If you take a step back and look at the coaches who will be battling this weekend, there are some incredible stories.
Nick Foles and Philadelphia's high-scoring offense needed a little help from the defense to make sure it was the same old sad ending for the Dallas Cowboys. Foles threw two touchdown passes, one to NFL rushing champion LeSean McCoy, and Brandon Boykin had a game-sealing interception to help the Eagles beat the Cowboys 24-22 in a win-or-go-home game for the NFC East title Sunday night. The Cowboys lost to a division rival with a playoff berth on the line for the third straight year, and nobody can blame Tony Romo for this crushing loss.
The only question in Washington, after numerous media leaks and feuds, was not if Mike Shanahan would be fired, but when. The answer? Monday morning, the day after the Redskins finished a 3-13 season with a loss at the New York Giants. The Washington Post's Mike Jones was the first to report the news. Mike Shanahan and his staff have been fired. — Mike Jones (@MikeJonesWaPo) December 30, 2013 The question becomes, where does Shanahan go from here? Shanahan was one considered to be on the fast track for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. After a failed stint with the Raiders, he latched on with the Denver Broncos and brought the franchise unprecedented success. He guided the team to its first two, and still its only two, Super Bowl titles. That bought him plenty of goodwill with owner Pat Bowlen, and plenty of job security despite rarely having any success after John Elway retired. From the point John Elway retired after the 1998 season to now, Shanahan has won one playoff game, in 2005 with the Broncos against the Patriots. And the Broncos followed that up by being upset by sixth-seeded Pittsburgh at home with a Super Bowl on the line. Shanahan followed that up with a terrible and tumultuous stint with the Redskins. His 24-40 record in four seasons with Washington won't be what people remember best. It will be how Robert Griffin III blew out his ACL on Shanahan's watch last season, after the rookie quarterback was obviously hobbled during a playoff game against Seattle. Griffin came back for the season opener this year, but obviously was behind in his development after an offseason rehabbing his knee. Now where does Shanahan go? At age 61, with one playoff win over the past 15 NFL seasons and a treacherous end in Washington that included a lot of in-fighting with owner Daniel Snyder, it's uncertain who if anyone will give him another shot to lead a NFL team. It's certainly a long drop for the coach who once looked like he might go down as one of the game's greats. But, the 1998 season was a long time ago. - - - - - - - Frank Schwab is the editor of Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter! Follow @YahooSchwab
Redskins coach went
Count tight end Delanie Walker and safety Bernard Pollard among the Titans who think Mike Munchak should remain Tennessee's coach. The Houston Texans can't wait to see who their new boss will be and are glad this miserable season is over. Chris Johnson ran for 127 yards and a touchdown as the Titans beat the Texans 16-10 Sunday in the season finale for these AFC South rivals. The Texans clinched the No. 1 overall pick for the NFL draft in May. Now Texans owner Bob McNair has to pick a coach to take over the two-time division champs that finished the 2013 season losing their final 14 games.

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