It's the eve of the Saints game, the final one of the 2012 season that most of us assumed to be a better season than it has been. It's a season that, if they can upset the resurgent Saints, would've been about three plays from the playoffs - Atlanta, Seattle, and Bears, which would put the team to 10-6 and give them a number of wins against winning teams. But, that's irrelevant. As is this game, I imagine. Carolina will be a little pumped up, but I don't know that they'll pull it off.
Anyway - 2013. Anyone who hasn't been waiting for 2013 since Marty Hurney was let go, hasn't been paying attention. I hate it, because while I love a look forward, I hate failure, and I hate wasted seasons. I also hate the idea that Ron Rivera and staff might get fired, not to mention just having to start over yet again.
If it were me, on Monday I interview two guys - Marc Ross, Tom Gamble. I most likely hire Ross. Under him, I buy the best cap guy I can get. I let Ross hire his college and pro scouting directors, but I'd more or less clean house in the front end. Ross is nearly ideal, to me - guy who worked his way up, has experience, but he's still young. Ivy League guy, so he'll add some smarts.
As long as there's compatibility, I give the staff a one year pass. It's not that hard to see it - Ross has experience with Rivera and Sean McDermott. I'd try to hire Bobby April on special teams, or maybe Bruce Dehaven. Then I'd get on with making some moves to get under the cap.
But, it's not up to me. I do anticipate Ross as GM, which probably means it won't be; I'd handicap the GM race with Ross #1, Gamble 2, and Dave Gettleman 5th, not 2nd or 3rd as many report; Joey Clinkscales and Steve Keim are in there. Gamble probably gets hired by the Jags, but Carolina appears hotter on Ross.
I anticipate Rivera and staff get fired next week. Sean Payton is staying; so, Jason Garrett is staying, too. There go two existing coaches. I'm interested in Chip Kelly, but he likely wants too much money (and definitely too much control). I'm not that interested in retreads. At this point, of assistants, I like both Bengals assistants more than anyone else. I'd say the team is leaning toward an offensive coach, or at least interviewing one for the first time, as head coach.