Reality

Coaching hot seat candidates

Quarter of a way through the season and we’re starting to see which teams are looking like being serious contenders and which teams are not.  Of course there’s a long way to go and much can and probably will change. But based on the first four games there are likely to be some coaches feeling a little bit uncomfortable.  Here’s who might be fearing that the black cloud is approaching faster than they may like:

Dirk Koetter – Buccaneers

The Bucs are 2-2 after a magical start to the year led by the wily beardy veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick.  After the two impressive wins to start the year, the Bucs have lost two games conceding 78 points in the process.  The offence also came unstuck against the Bears when they faced the first defense of any note and Koetter declared that everyone on the field should be fired.  He may well get his wish. With Winston coming in as starter after the bye week I expect turnovers galore and will be surprised to see the Bucs win more than three more games.  The Bucs hierarchy were close to replacing Koetter with Gruden last year before the former ESPN pundit joined the Raiders. I expect that for 2019, the Glazers will want to clear house and start again.

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Jason Garrett – Cowboys

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones declared that the Cowboys offence resembled that of the Rams.  The Rams offence are currently tearing up the league and the Cowboys, well they’re not. If Jones believes the players are of similar caliber, than the failure is presumably with the coaching and play calling, right?  Garrett has been the head coach in Dallas since 2011 and whilst there has been playoff appearances, they’ve failed to make it to a championship game, let alone a Super Bowl. Jones himself is not getting any younger and I’m sure would want to lead his team to another Super Bowl before passing on the reins to his son Stephen (who we presume will take on the role if Jerry ever retires!).  If Garrett can’t get it done then Jerry will look for a star name who can – Sean Payton maybe?

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Hue Jackson – Browns

The Browns finally won a game but beneath all the hulabaloo of that, people were wondering if they won in spite of Jackson.  The Browns organisation kept Jackson on when they swept out all of the rest of the front office, bringing John Dorsey as GM. Does Dorsey want to bring in his own man?  During the Hard Knocks series, it was clear for all to see that Jackson doesn’t inspire the coordinators and coaches he works for, Todd Haley openly questioning some of his decisions around when and which players practice.  The Browns have been much better this year but Jackson’s departure might still happen if they don’t start closing out close games

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Mike Tomlin – Steelers

The second AFC North team on this list that might be in trouble sooner rather than later.  The Le’Veon Bell contract debacle isn’t all down to Tomlin but he’s not been able to coach round it as the running game has gone down the pan after week one.  There’s also the growing sense that this isn’t a team that’s very united with players speaking out about Bell and Brown not even showing up for training. Has Tomlin lost the dressing room?  Couple that with a lack of progression in recent years and the failure to take advantage of the best set of ‘triplets’ in the league and I think this will be Tomlin’s last year in Pittsburgh.

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Mike McCarthy – Green Bay

One trip to the Superbowl in 12 years with arguably one of the best quarterbacks of all time is not good enough.  The defense looks better now under new coordinator Mike Pettine and some investment made on that side of the ball.  But Rodgers still isn’t happy with the way the offense is playing and there’s still next to no production from a running game.  It might be jumping to conclusions to add McCarthy to this list but there are quietly a lot of similarities in Green Bay to what’s more publicly happening in Pittsburgh.  McCarthy needs a deep playoff run to be safe, ideally though, he needs his season to run in to February….

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