Jim Haslett has won two straight games since taking over a winless team in St. Louis. Tom Cable is 1-1 since replacing Lane Kiffin, taking over a team that had been 20-64 since making the Super Bowl in January 2003.
But it still makes little sense to fire a coach before the midway point of a season, as three teams have done this year. A losing coach is only a symptom of deeper problems, which almost always start with the owner.
The last time there were this many coaching casualties through seven games was in 1976, when Marion Campbell and Bill Arnsparger were fired by the Falcons and Giants, respectively, and Lou Saban and Rick Forzano resigned from the Bills and Lions. None of those teams made the playoffs and they finished the season with just 15 wins among them.
There probably won't be many more wins among the four teams that have made changes this season. Nor with Detroit, which fired president/GM Matt Millen after three weeks, but still has Rod Marinelli as coach.
and Lions with the 49ers, who replaced Mike Nolan with Mike Singletary this week, and you have a mark of 6-19, a winning percentage of .240 that is not likely to get better.
The firing season may not be over.
``Emphatically, no!'' Jerry Jones replied when asked if Wade Phillips' job is in danger after three losses by the Cowboys in four games. That's the dreaded vote of confidence that might turn into ``Emphatically, yes!'' if the Cowboys lose their next two games to the Bucs and Giants.
A capsule look:
-Detroit (0-6): The Millen firing was years overdue - the Lions were 31-84 since he took over in 2001. But nothing will change for a few years, and then only if the Ford family does what it hasn't been able to do for a half-century and find a winner to run a team that has one playoff win since 1957.
Millen never should have been hired. He was a good player and a good broadcaster and is very smart - charming and knowledgeable enough to get the Fords to think he could run an NFL team. But he had no administrative or scouting experience, essentials for that job.
The three coaches Millen hired are named Mornhinweg, Mariucci and Marinelli. His replacement is Martin Mayhew, in a tryout period for the full-time GM's job. Maybe it's the ``M'' that's giving the Lions problems.
starts with ``M.'' Maybe Ted Marchibroda, now doing the Colts' pregame radio show.
-St. Louis (2-4): Haslett is easily the most qualified of the new coaches. Scott Linehan, his predecessor, was a long shot for the job when he was hired in January 2006, but reportedly charmed the late Georgia Frontiere, then the owner. He lost the support of his team after winning three of his last 19 games, and was fired a week after benching QB Marc Bulger, one of his few good players.
Overall, the Rams are a mess. Jay Zygmunt, the VP for football operations, comes from the business side, and eased out Charlie Armey, who helped build the team that won the Super Bowl after the 1999 season. The new owner is Frontiere's son, Chip Rosenbloom, who is likely to clear out everyone - except, hopefully, Haslett.
Haslett was coach of the year in 2000, his first season with the Saints. He shouldn't have been fired after the 2005 season despite a 3-13 record. That was the year the team was displaced by Hurricane Katrina and played ``home'' games in San Antonio, East Rutherford, N.J., and Baton Rouge. Besides being the coach, Haslett served as everything from de facto general manager to housing coordinator. He even had to find fields for practice.
we went through there. I don't have enough time right now to describe what I went through with the players and the hurricane and the loss of families and lives and homes, but it was something you hope no one ever has to go through again.''
Again, why did the Saints fire him? Haslett even had to play owner - Tom Benson, the real owner, stayed away from games in Baton Rouge after being booed there, arguing with one fan and swatting away a news camera.
-Oakland (2-4): Al Davis, a coach 50 years ago, used to know how to run a team. Now he just meddles. Kiffin, hired at 31, was slowly getting results. But he couldn't get along with Davis and his lackeys, and couldn't deal with Davis coaching from the owner's box.
Davis either hires youngsters - John Madden, Mike Shanahan, Jon Gruden and Kiffin - or coaches such as Cable with little or no chance elsewhere. Madden's .759 regular-season winning percentage with the Raiders is the best ever, while Shanahan and Gruden have had outstanding careers since leaving the Raiders. That bodes well for Kiffin's future.
If Cable listens to Davis, he'll probably get another year or two. But he's the fifth Raiders coach in six years, which suggests he won't be around long.
er and her husband, John York.
DeBartolo was forced to give up the team after acknowledging he paid $400,000 to former Louisiana Gov. Edwin Edwards in an attempt to get a riverboat casino gambling license. But he was one of the NFL's most successful owners, winning five titles from 1981-95. He treated his players well and left football decisions to Bill Walsh, one of the few people who truly merited the ``genius'' label.
York has done nothing but make mistakes. He gave Nolan, who had no previous head coaching experience, control of the entire operation. That was too much, but Scot McCloughan, brought in first to help Nolan and then promoted over him, hasn't done well either. Notable bust: QB Alex Smith, first overall draft pick in 2005.
Singletary, a Hall of Fame player, was considered head coaching material when he was a linebacker with the Bears of the mid-80s. But he didn't get into coaching until 2003 with the Ravens. He's a good motivator, but less experienced than most new coaches. His future depends on his record.
Beyond that, there's the Mike Holmgren factor.
Holmgren, who grew up in the Bay Area and got his start as a high school coach there, was offensive coordinator of the 49ers before going to Green Bay in 1992 and leading the team to two Super Bowls. He already has said this is his final year as Seattle's coach.
lating. He just as immediately denied any interest - for next year, anyway, when he plans a sabbatical.
The coaching carnage will continue after the season.
Haslett should stay, Cable is likely to and we don't know about Singletary.
Jim Mora (the younger) has been designated to take over for Holmgren in Seattle. Tony Dungy is always year to year in Indy and his successor, Jim Caldwell, also has been designated.
-Cincinnati (0-7): Marvin Lewis may quit in disgust over the way the Bengals are run. If he's not fired first.
-Cleveland (2-4): It depends on the rest of the season. High expectations and not-so-high performance make Romeo Crennel's tenure precarious.
-Minnesota (3-4): Fans want Brad Childress out. Owner Zygi Wilf might want him out, too, after spending millions to build what he thought was a Super Bowl contender.
-Kansas City (1-5): The Chiefs are building. Herm Edwards is probably safe if GM Carl Peterson is kept. But that might not happen.
-New York Jets (3-3): They signed veterans in hopes of making a splash now. Brett Favre won't be around after this year or next. If they don't make the playoffs, Eric Mangini might not make next season.
-San Diego (3-4): Another high expectation-low performance team. Norv Turner always has been a better offensive coordinator than coach.
waiting. Owner Jones is de facto coach. Even if the Cowboys make the playoffs but lose, Phillips is likely gone.
DIRTY DOZEN: The top six and bottom six teams based on current level of play:
1. Tennessee (6-0). Perfect in a year with no great teams. Not flashy. Just effective.
2. New York Giants (5-1). Finished with the soft part of the schedule, so we'll find out more now. Starts this week when they go to ...
3. Pittsburgh (5-1). Move into No. 2 and position for the BCS title game with win over New York.
4. Tampa Bay (5-2). Jeff Garcia, Warrick Dunn, Kevin Carter, Derrick Brooks, Ronde Barber. Lots of experience if the legs hold up.
5. Carolina (5-2). Jake Delhomme and Julius Peppers back in form.
6. Buffalo (5-1). AFC East champions in waiting.

27. Denver (4-3). Can anyone tackle?
28. San Francisco (2-5). Need a new owner to go with the new coach.
29. Seattle (1-5). Injuries only part of it.
30. Cincinnati (0-7). Played Cowboys and Giants close, so put the Bengals ahead of the Chiefs.
31. Kansas City (1-5). The win was over the Broncos. What does that tell you about Denver?
32. Detroit (0-6). Serious shot at finishing winless.

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