Four weeks after Tennessee Titans owner Bud Adams threatened the jobs of everyone from the ball boys to the janitors, the first significant casualty is Chris Palmer.
Head coach Mike Munchak fired Palmer, his offensive coordinator, Monday night.
Munchak promoted quarterbacks coach Dowell Loggains to replace Palmer.
The move was predictable. Palmer clearly is Munchak's scapegoat.
After the team's 51-20 spanking at the hands of the Chicago Bears on Nov. 4, Adams fumed, "In my 50 years of owning an NFL franchise, I am at a loss to recall a regular-season home game that was such a disappointment for myself and fans of the Titans.
"We were grossly outcoached and outplayed from start to finish."
Adams also said if "performance and competitiveness do not improve, I will look at all alternatives to get back to having the Titans become a playoff and championship football team."
Sunday's 24-19 loss to the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars killed any realistic hope the Titans might have to claw back into the playoff race. They're now 4-7.
Munchak might be the next to go. He's one of many head coaches on the verge of being cut loose; Adams even might have the shears in hand.
Competition for the top coaching candidates is expected to be fierce. Norv Turner in San Diego, Andy Reid in Philadelphia and Romeo Crennel appear likely to be dumped, and there could be more.
Mike Holmgren is available now. And after the recent instant success of college-to-NFL head coaches Jim Harbaugh (from Stanford to San Francisco) and Greg Schiano (from Rutgers to Tampa Bay), you can expect several big-name college coaches to be hotly pursued, led by Oregon's innovative Chip Kelly.
Until Munchak's fate is known, quarterback Jake Locker and the Titans offence have the fun task of digesting the inevitable new wrinkles the new coordinator is sure to install for the final five games.
"Any time somebody gets fired, you hate to see it," Locker told The Tennessean. "But I've had an opportunity to work with Dowell these last few years, (and) I really like him as a coach, and I am really excited to see what he brings to the table for us as an offensive coordinator."
Don't be surprised if Locker has yet another new offensive coordinator come spring.
EAGLES DUMP STAR DEFENSIVE END BABIN
Officially throwing in the towel on the season, the Philadelphia Eagles on Tuesday released star defensive end Jason Babin.
Why would any team that runs a 4-3 defence let go a sackmeister defensive end, one of the most valuable positions in the game?
Here was the explanation from Andy Reid, embattled head coach of the 3-8 Eagles:
"By releasing him today, this gives us an opportunity to give more playing time to some of the younger guys in the defensive line rotation," Reid said in a statement.
By younger players, Reid probably meant Brandon Graham, who after two injury-riddled years has shown glimpses of his 2010 first-round promise in limited action, and rookie Vinny Curry.
"Honestly, my situation, maybe it was the best thing for me," Babin told ESPN. "I've learned in my life now not to judge any situation or any action or person too quickly."
Babin, 32, signed a five-year, $28-million contract with the Eagles two years ago. He would have earned $4.225 million in 2013 and $6 million over the final two years of the deal, NFL.com reported.
Babin had 18 sacks last year, but only 5.5 this season, almost one-third of Philly's meagre 2012 total of 18.
"I like to win, I like to compete, and I like to sack the quarterback," Babin said. "I imagine there's a team out there looking for that."
Bet on it. He won't be unemployed long.
Meantime, the Eagles placed top wide receiver DeSean Jackson on injured reserve, ending his season. Jackson has fractured ribs.
49ERS LOCK UP OTHER ALL-PRO LB
Don't expect the San Francisco 49ers defence to wilt any year soon.
The club now has both of its insanely good inside linebackers contractually locked up through 2016, after agreeing to a five-year extension with NaVorro Bowman on Tuesday.
Bowman's new contract, which keeps him in San Francisco through 2018, is worth $45.25 million, with $25.5 million guaranteed, according to ESPN.com.
The 24-year-old has been a terror this season both in pass coverage and in run defence. He leads Frisco with 100 tackles, and has two sacks on blitzes.
"NaVorro epitomizes what we look for in a 49er," GM Trent Baalke said in a statement.
Fellow all-pro inside linebacker Patrick Willis, 26, is inked through 2016. What's more, the Niners' two outside linebackers, Ahmad Brooks and Aldon Smith, are under contract through 2015.
The Niners lead the league in scoring defence (14.1) and are second in total defence (278.4 yards per game).
GIANTS ADD EX-REDSKINS RB
The New York Giants signed a former Washington Redskins running back before playing the Redskins next Monday night.
After No. 2 running back Andre Brown broke his leg Sunday night against Green Bay, the Giants had only starter Ahmad Bradshaw and rookie David Wilson on the active roster.
On Tuesday the club added Ryan Torain and Kregg Lumpkin.
Torain played one season in Denver (2008) and two in Washington (2010-11), gaining 1,011 yards over those three seasons and scoring six touchdowns. The Skins waived him last Dec. 27.
Lumpkin has seen only limited spot duty in four years with Green Bay (2008-09), Tampa Bay (2010-11) and Seattle (up to Sept. 18 this season).
Carolina running back Jonathan Stewart has been battling a high ankle sprain all season, limiting his effectiveness, Panthers offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski said "¶ NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said the league might change its stupid rule before the playoffs, which blocks an otherwise automatic video review if a stupid head coach throws his challenge flag, according to the Detroit Free Press. Lions head coach Jim Schwartz did that last Thursday, and a bogus Houston TD stood "¶ The reeling San Diego Chargers placed strong safety Atari Bigby (groin injury) on injured reserve, ending his season.