Giants Keep Coughlin as Coach, Vikings Secure Frazier

Tom Coughlin will return as coach of the New York Giants and Leslie Frazier passed his audition with the Minnesota Vikings. The fate of some of their National Football League colleagues isn’t so secure.

Eric Mangini was fired today by the Cleveland Browns, a day after the NFL season ended. The Cincinnati Bengals’ Marvin Lewis, the Oakland Raiders’ Tom Cable and the Tennessee Titans’ Jeff Fisher might suffer similar fates as the offseason begins for teams that failed to make the playoffs.

Six NFL coaches have been fired since the start of this season, including John Fox, who yesterday completed nine years with the Carolina Panthers. In-season coaching changes were made by the Vikings, Dallas Cowboys, Denver Broncos and San Francisco 49ers, and more dismissals may be in store.

Coaching candidates include Super Bowl winners Jon Gruden, Bill Cowher and Brian Billick, who might be lured back to the sidelines after stints as television analysts.

Mangini was let go by Browns President Mike Holmgren after posting 5-11 records in both of his seasons as Cleveland’s coach, a tenure that followed three years coaching the New York Jets.

“It’s difficult. I never had to do this before,” Holmgren said at a news conference. “I like the man a lot, and he is a hard-working, bright, caring guy. We want to win here in Cleveland and we did not win enough games this year.”

Coughlin’s status with the Giants was in question even though he led the team to a Super Bowl title after the 2007 season. While the Giants went 10-6 this season, they missed the playoffs for the second straight year after blowing a 31-10 fourth-quarter lead against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 15 and losing in Green Bay 45-17 the following week.

Owner’s Backing

Giants co-owner John Mara gave Coughlin, 64, a vote of confidence after yesterday’s 17-14 season-ending victory against the Washington Redskins. Coughlin has a 69-50 record during seven seasons in New York.

“I believe in the guy,” Mara told reporters after the Giants were eliminated from postseason contention by Green Bay’s home win against Chicago. “I believe in stability. The players play hard for him.”

Asked whether Coughlin would be offered a contract extension beyond the 2011 NFL season, Mara said that’s a “discussion for a later date.” Coughlin has one year left on his current deal.

Frazier had the interim tag removed from his title after leading the Vikings to a 3-3 record since taking over for the fired Brad Childress. Frazier, 51, began the season as Minnesota’s defensive coordinator.

“This is a dream come true,” Frazier said at a news conference. “To stand here today as the head coach of the Minnesota Vikings, it’s very humbling.”

Raiders, Bengals

Cable, 46, is 17-27 with the Raiders since taking over during the 2008 season and said he’s unlikely to return. Raiders owner Al Davis will examine his options and won’t make a decision on Cable’s future until later this month, said, citing an unidentified league source.

“We’ll meet some time in the next two weeks,” Cable said during a news conference today.

Lewis, 52, is 60-67-1 over eight seasons with the Bengals, including a 4-12 record this year. He’ll meet today with team President Mike Brown.

“There’s been this thing looming for a while now,” Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer told reporters after yesterday’s loss to the Baltimore Ravens. “It’s an unanswered question that hangs over your head and I’m sure it hangs over coach’s head. Heavily.”

Cable and Lewis both have expiring contracts.

Fisher’s 16-year stay with the Titans may be over after a 6-10 season that included losses in eight of their last nine games. Owner Bud Adams told the Tennessean newspaper last month that he’d evaluate Fisher after the season. The Titans haven’t won a playoff game since the 2003 season under Fisher, who’s set to earn $6.5 million next season in the final year of his contract.

“I know everyone has a lot of questions here, but it is a process and we’re going to continue to discuss it,” Fisher said. “There are some difficult decisions to make.”

Cowboys’ Choice

Like Frazier, the Dallas Cowboys’ Jason Garrett might be getting a full-time job with his club.

The Cowboys replaced Wade Phillips with Garrett, who led the team to a 5-3 finish during the second half of the season.

Garrett will take over the job on a full-time basis, reported, citing an unidentified team official. While Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said after yesterday’s game that “nothing has changed” in the team’s coaching status, he said he wants to move quickly.

Garrett, at his Monday news conference, declined to talk about whether he’ll be back as coach next season.

The Broncos fired Josh McDaniels last month after a 3-9 start and running backs coach Eric Studesville took over for the rest of the season. Denver, which has missed the playoffs for five straight seasons, is bringing Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway back to the organization as vice president of football operations, the Denver Post said.

The 49ers dismissed Mike Singletary last week and are seeking both a coach and general manager.

Although the Houston Texans went 6-10, owner Bob McNair said coach Gary Kubiak will return for another season.

“I appreciate Bob’s confidence in me,” Kubiak said at a news conference. “We visited today and decided on a new direction, and obviously him giving me a chance to move us in that direction. I’m very thankful for that.”

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