Reality

101 (ish) Questions, Q24 Which head coaches are on the hot seat?

It’s part and parcel of the game – coaches get fired.  So out of the 32 head coaches about to embark on the 2018 season I wanted to look at which ones are on the hot seat and which ones are probably safe, no matter what.  So, in team alphabetical order (in case anyone reads too much into ordering), here goes:

Arizona Cardinals – Steve Wilks

This is Wilks’ first year as a head coach after taking over from the eccentric Bruce Ariens.  The Cardinals are a well run organisation and bar a total collapse of the team, Cleveland style, I don’t see them getting rid of a head coach after one year.  Besides he has a new long term QB and will presumably sign star running back David Johnson to a long-term deal.  2018 will not be a stellar year for the Cardinals but the building blocks are there for a good team.

Chances of being in the job this time next year – 8/10

Atlanta Falcons – Dan Quinn

Just signed a long term contract in Atlanta and they’re one of the powerhouses of the NFC with many tipping them to get to the playoffs again.  Atlanta are building a good squad on both sides of the ball and Quinn has proved he can get them to the promise land.

Chances of being in the job this time next year – 9/10

Baltimore Ravens – John Harbaugh

The Ravens have struggled in recent years but Harbaugh is the man that bought Baltimore its second Lombardi trophy.  That was in 2012 though and they’ve done nothing since – time is limited that Harbaugh can trade on that success.  If the Ravens don’t do something this year, with long time GM Ozzie Newsome leaving I can see Harbaugh’s time also coming to an end.

Chances of being in the job this time next year – 4/10

Buffalo Bills – Sean McDermott

McDermott took the Bills to their first playoffs since 1999 last year which was a huge success.  But since then it feels like the team has imploded with many of last years stars being traded away or leaving.  Nate Peterman is the starting QB for week one behind an O-Line which ProFootball Focus ranks 29th in the league.  Saying that, McDermott has a tight relationship with GM Brandon Beane and if there’s a long term rebuilding plan in place then irrespective of 2018 results, he’ll probably keep his job

Chances of being in the job this time next year – 6/10

Carolina Panthers – Ron Rivera

The Panthers have been a force the NFC for a while now and with star QB Cam Newton under centre should continue to be so.  A lot of this year rests on the offence that new coordinator Norv Turner brings to Carolina.  The Panthers will be looking to make progress this year and if they don’t, could new owner David Tepper look to refresh things? Maybe.

Chances of being in the job this time next year – 6/10

Chicago Bears – Matt Nagy

New head coach.  Young QB.  Newly acquired star linebacker.  Lots of excitement.  Very little chance of losing his job after one year

Chances of being in the job this time next year – 9/10

Cincinnati Bengals – Marvin Lewis

Amazing.  Lewis gets another year.  If they’re not successful then surely he has to leave, be it through the boot or retiring.  Getting the playoffs might not be enough having that Lewis is yet to win a playoff game.

Chances of being in the job this time next year – 2/10

Cleveland Browns – Hue Jackson

It’s a minor miracle that after one win in 32 matches that Jackson has a job.  Anything short of six wins will likely see him off.  In fact, anything short of a playoff position will see GM John Dorsey pull the trigger and bring in his own head coach

Chances of being in the job this time next year – 2/10

Dallas Cowboys – Jason Garrett

Cowboys have a good year, then they have a bad year.  So, this year it should be a good one.  I’m not sure.  Garrett has been the top dog in Dallas since 2010 and despite the talent they’ve had, they’ve not got to a championship game.  Jerry Jones does seem to treat him as an adopted son but Jones is getting on a bit (76 in October) and will want to see progress made or else the Cowboys could go in a new direction

Chances of being in the job this time next year – 3/10

Denver Broncos – Vance Joseph

2017 was a bad year for the Broncos.  They had a lot of issues on the offence side of the ball in both passing and running game.  They addressed both QB and running back positions in the off season, but the O-Line remains a concern.  Whilst they bought in Bradley Chubb to create a fearsome pass rush alongside Von Miller they did lose Aqib Talib.  I have mixed feelings about this group of players – their season could go either way.

Chances of being in the job this time next year – 5/10

Detroit Lions – Matt Patricia

Another new head coach and he has a fellow former Pats executive as his GM.  I think 2018 will be a mediocre year for the Lions in what is fast becoming a tough division.  Patricia will get a chance to continue building this team and taking it into 2019

Chances of being in the job this time next year – 9/10

Green Bay Packers – Mike McCarthy

McCarthy’s been the head coach in Green Bay since 2006 and gone to one Superbowl with a quarterback who will go in to the Hall of Fame at the first chance.  2017 was a lost season due to Rodgers injury.  2018 has seen Green Bay under new GM, Brian Gutekunst, bring in some good free agents and bolster the defence through the draft.  Expectations should be high and if McCarthy can’t deliver a season where they go deep into the playoffs then they could look elsewhere

Chances of being in the job this time next year – 4/10

Houston Texans – Bill O’Brien

There was always a tension between O’Brien and former GM Rick Smith who has now departed from the position due to personal reasons.  Earlier this year, the Texans bought in Brian Gaine to be the GM and extended O’Brien’s contract.  The Texans have a young QB, a potential top five defence if JJ Watt can stay fit and not a terrible schedule to make a run for a playoff berth.

Chances of being in the job this time next year – 8/10

Indianapolis Colts – Frank Reich

Another new head coach who will have a returning Andrew Luck to ease back into the game.  The Colts are rebuilding, and it’ll take more than one year to complete.

Chances of being in the job this time next year – 9/10

Jacksonville Jaguars – Doug Marrone

Went to the championship game last year and had a real chance to beat the Patriots in their own backyard.  Marrone will have another year with a star-studded defence.  My only concern continues to be at the quarterback position.  I expected them to bring in some competition for Bortles but that wasn’t to be.  Still it looks like the Jags are onto a good thing at the moment so I don’t foresee Marrone being in danger

Chances of being in the job this time next year – 8/10

Kansas City Chiefs – Andy Reid

Another team that is starting afresh with a shiny new quarterback.  Andy Reid is an offensive genius and he’s got an exciting set of toys to play with.  The issue could be the defence with many players on that side of the ball getting older and they traded away their star cornerback Marcus Peters.  Still, Reid is good value so very little chance of him getting the chop

Chances of being in the job this time next year – 7/10

LA Chargers – Anthony Lynn

The Chargers lost games yesterday due to an inaccurate kicker.  There’s a lot of ‘ifs’ in sport I know, but if they’d made those kicks then chances are, the Chargers would have been playoff bound in 2017.  In 2018 the injury curse has struck again with tight end Hunter Henry and cornerback Jason Verrett out for the season.  There is still loads of talent on this squad and I see them as not so dark horses for a Superbowl berth.  If they collapse though the Lynn could be in trouble.

Chances of being in the job this time next year – 6/10

LA Rams – Sean McVay

A favourite to win the Superbowl and a 53 man squad littered with stars.  McVay is the reining coach of the year and he’s going to have to do something which makes front page news to get the sack

Chances of being in the job this time next year – 10/10

Miami Dolphins – Adam Gase

I’ve heard a few pundits tip the Dolphins for an alright season.  I don’t see it myself, I don’t rate Tannehill at QB or the receivers he’s throwing to.  Nor is there much stand out talent on the defensive side of the ball.  The Dolphins do though often seem to have the beating of the Pats so you never know what might happen.  I could see Gase going at the end of the year but I wouldn’t be shocked if he was given another year

Chances of being in the job this time next year – 5/10

Minnesota Vikings – Mike Zimmer

Nearly made it to the Superbowl last year and they’ve upgraded at QB with the addition of Kirk Cousins.  The defence looks as good as it did last year and they’re my favourite to win the NFC North.

Chances of being in the job this time next year – 9/10

New England Patriots – Bill Belichick

Last year and going in to the pre-season there were murmurs of discontent coming out of New England.  The whole saga that saw Jimmy Garappolo go to San Francisco for such a cheap price kicked off a good few conspiracy stories which all seem to end with Belichick leaving New England.  He still got them to the Superbowl and whilst we all wonder about some of the off-season moves the Pats have made, deep down none of us think that they won’t make the playoffs.  Saying that, it would not be a shock that if they won another Superbowl that both Bill and Brady call it a day

Chances of being in the job this time next year – 6/10

New Orleans Saints – Sean Payton

Good year last year, looking to have a good year in 2018.  Brees is probably on the home run now though and whilst they have a good backup with the addition of Teddy Bridgewater, the Saints might not be a long term destination for Payton anymore.  In previous years he has been linked with a few other jobs, but if the Dallas job becomes open I really could see him jumping.  With that in mind, I’m going to link his score with Garrett’s but I think the Saints will have a decent year.

Chances of being in the job this time next year – 4/10

New York Giants – Pat Shurmur

The Giants are a fairly solid organisation and they don’t sack coaches in haste.  Shurmur is new, and the Giants have acquired a better squad than the 2017 version.  Can’t see him going bar a total implosion.

Chances of being in the job this time next year – 8/10

New York Jets – Todd Bowles

2018 is a new year with a new quarterback in rookie wannabe sensation Sam Darnold.  The weapons he has around him and the protection in front of him isn’t great and I think there could be quite a lot of turnovers in 2018 for the Jets fans to suffer through.  The Jets were better last year than many thought they would be and a lot of the credit should go to Bowles for forging a strong team.  The defence looks good again led by safety Jamal Adams.  Saying all that, I’ve never been convinced that Bowles is the answer at head coach

Chances of being in the job this time next year – 5/10

Oakland Raiders – Jon Gruden

He has a ten year $100m contract and whilst it appears he’s trying to destroy the team I don’t think he’ll be gone.  More likely GM Reggie McKenzie goes and Gruden occupies a Belichick type role with the Raiders

Chances of being in the job this time next year – 9/10

Philadelphia Eagles – Doug Pederson

Pederson just won the Eagles their first Lombardi trophy.  He’s going nowhere.

Chances of being in the job this time next year – 9/10

Pittsburgh Steelers – Mike Tomlin

Tomlin is in a similar position to McCarthy in Green Bay – only he probably has a deeper pool of talent at his disposal.  The Steelers are an organisation that rarely change their coach, they’ve had just three since 1969, but this year could be make or break for Tomlin.  Failure to have a deep playoff run could lead to a change at the top.

Chances of being in the job this time next year – 6/10

San Francisco 49ers – Kyle Shanahan

2018 will be the first time since 2014 that the 49ers will not be starting the season with a new head coach.  Both Shanahan and GM John Lynch embark on their second year of their six-year deals in fine form following the acquisition of Jimmy Garoppolo.  Jimmy G now also has a long-term deal and the rebuilding process is another year older.  Playoffs in 2018 might be a stretch but both head coach and GM are likely to be in place come the start of 2019

Chances of being in the job this time next year – 8/10

Seattle Seahawks – Pete Carroll

It’s been a troubled off-season for the Seahawks with many experienced players departing citing that Carroll’s stories and coaching techniques are getting repetitive.  The Seahawks had a couple of good drafts a few years back which apparently makes them experts at finding gems in the later rounds.  That’s not really been the case in recent years but needs to be in 2018 if the Seahawks stand any chance of success.  The oldest head coach in the NFL, Carroll could find himself put out to pasture if it’s a poor season.

Chances of being in the job this time next year – 6/10

Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Dirk Koetter

Would have gone at the end of last year had the Bucs been successful in their pursuit of Gruden.  The defence looks better in 2018 but with Winston out for the first three games, the season could get off to a difficult start.  Can’t see Koetter or GM Jason Licht being in situ by the time the season finishes.

Chances of being in the job this time next year – 2/10

Tennessee Titans – Mike Vrabel

Former Pats linebacker and Texans defensive coordinator, Vrabel takes the reins of the Titans following a playoff berth last year.  I like what the organisation did in the off-season with beefing up a defence which could surprise many.  Mariota’s play is still going to be key to a good year for the Titans, but I think Vrabel will do just fine no matter what happens

Chances of being in the job this time next year – 7/10

Washington Redskins – Jay Gruden

On the podcast a few weeks back, we all slated the Redskins, but I’ve heard other pundits like their chances of a good year.  Still don’t see it myself.  Alex Smith is an ok QB but needs a good running game and sorry, but Adrien Peterson isn’t the answer.  Don’t be surprised to see Jay join his brother Jon at the Raiders next year as offensive coordinator

Chances of being in the job this time next year – 4/10

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