Reality

The coaches sack race

I wrote earlier in the year about some coaches that could be on the hot seat early on in the season.  We briefly discussed it on the latest pod but I reckon that now, about a third of NFL teams could be looking for a new coach come the end of the season.  I thought I would categorise them (because I’m a bit of a nerd) into groups to look at who might and might not be in a job come January (or beyond!)

Done deal

Cleveland Browns – Hue Jackson has gone.  Gregg Williams seems to be doing an admirable job in the interim but there’s no way he should get the gig on a permanent basis.  Chances are John Dorsey is already quietly speaking to various people about moving to Cleveland.

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Hanging on by a thread

Dirk Koetter – Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  Almost went last year but the inability to tempt Gruden back to Tampa means he got another chance.  Whilst seemingly a better bet than Gruden, Koetter still fails to impress with indecision over the quarterback position and an expensive ineffective defense

Todd Bowles – New York Jets.  Probably should have gone at the end of last year but was given a chance with the new quarterback Sam Darnold.  The recent demise against the hapless Bills has pretty much put the nail in the coffin.

Vance Joseph – Denver Broncos.  A second poor season which could lead to the Denver having two losing seasons in a row for the first time since the 1970s.  Not helped by the quarterbacks that John Elway lumbers him with but the team is poorly coached throughout

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It’s looking likely they’re going to be gone

Jason Garrett – Dallas Cowboys.  Too many mediocre seasons and a failure to get into the championship game despite having some good talent to work with.  The inconsistency so far this season and the failure to prepare successful gameplans has led to many former Cowboy alumni calling for a change.  Jerry Jones has remained relatively quiet on the matter which, given his usual exuberant nature, should be a concern for Garrett.

Steve Wilks – Arizona Cardinals.  Yes it’s his first season but it’s not been a good one, in fact it’s been pretty bloody rotten.  Could see current president Michael Bidwell get rid of troubled GM Steve Keim in a whole front office reset

Marvin Lewis – Cincinnati Bengals.  Despite being in a playoff position (at time of writing) very few people are convinced that this Bengals team will still be playing in January.  Lewis has had a long tenure in Cincinnati and has failed to win a playoff game. Now he’s sacked his defensive coordinator and bought in Hue Jackson to help!  Desperate times. Should have gone at the end of last year, probably will at the end of this.

8John Harbaugh – Baltimore Ravens.  Increasingly we hear noises that Harbaugh’s time in Baltimore is limited.  With a new GM coming in and possibly a new quarterback, it might be time to refresh the coaching regime.  If this does happen, Harbaugh will likely get a job somewhere else very quickly.

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50/50 whether they stay or go

Adam Gase – Miami Dolphins Issues at quarterback with the oft injured Ryan Tannehill who even when he is fit, is not a world beater.  The front office spent much of the off season clearing out big personalities from the locker. This year results have been mixed but a good few wins see the Dolphins still in with a shot of a wildcard berth.  But overall, it’s not been a great tenure for Gase and the Dolphins hierarchy may decide a reboot is in order

Matt Patricia – Detroit Lions Have had some good results but a lot of bad ones.  Could be a one season hit in Detroit for Patricia who has struggled to connect with his players.  The former Patriots brass above him might give him a second chance but a similar season should see him packing up and probably on his way back to New England!

Pat Shurmur – New York Giants Could be another coach on his way out after just one season.  The Giants have a talented roster but have failed to get enough wins so far in the season.  Will the Giants trust Shumur with a new quarterback to replace Eli?

Sean McDermott – Buffalo Bills Results have been poor and the quarterback merry-go-round has been embarrassing.  But he has a friend in the GM from when the two worked together in Carolina so maybe he’ll get a second chance.  His players also seem to like and work hard for him – this roster just needs a reset.

Mike McCarthy – Green Bay Packers Almost put him in the above category as if the Packers do fail to make the playoffs then I believe he will be gone.  You can’t have a generational talent like Aaron Rodgers and only go to one Superbowl in ten years and expect to get away with it.  Like Harbaugh though, will probably walk straight into another job.

Doug Marrone – Jacksonville Jaguars It’s been a heck of a fall from grace since the highs of last season.  The Jags will do very well to make it into the playoffs again this year and with the level of talent they have on defense that’s almost inexcusable.

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Probably safe, probably

Jay Gruden – Washington Redskins The ‘skins have performed well this year and are in a battle for a playoff spot, possibly as division champs.  This is likely to be Jay’s saving grace but the movements made in the offseason to further improve will be key to his long term future

Pete Carroll – Seattle Seahawks Like the Redskins, the Seahawks have probably beaten pre-season expectations.  In a tough division with the Rams but have performed well against their foes despite losing twice.  Roster reset from last season has been well managed and the new players have slotted in well. Biggest question is whether Carroll wants to carry on given his age.

Dan Quinn – Atlanta Falcons The Falcons will look back at this season as a season lost to injuries.  That’s not directly Quinn’s fault and his success in past seasons plus a good offense this year probably gives him another chance.  Need to bounce back next year

Mike Tomlin – Pittsburgh Steelers There were lots of noises at the start of the year about a split dressing room and the players not having respect for their head coach.  A strong series of results have propelled the Steelers right back up the AFC rankings and the Steelers aren’t an organization to send a coach packing so is probably safe

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Would be a big shock if they went but you could make an argument for it

Kyle Shanahan – San Francisco 49ers Has been plagued by injuries this year but despite that the offense has actually played ok no matter who’s been put in.  Needs to make changes to the defense as it’s a unit that has had a lot of high draft picks spent on it and is not playing to that level

Bill Belichick – New England Patriots This is more down to whether Belichick has had enough or not.  The team isn’t as good as past vintages but continues to benefit from being in a weak division.  If Tom Brady calls it a day then Belichick could walk as well but there’s no way he’s being fired

Mike Zimmer – Minnesota Vikings This is a talented roster which will be in contention for a playoff place but go out in the first game of the playoffs then Zimmer could be feeling the heat with an organisation that is very much in the “win now” mode

Sean Payton – New Orleans Saints He’s not getting sacked, let me just make that clear!  Through previous years though, there have been rumours about him leaving and if the Saints win a second Superbowl (and maybe if Brees retires afterwards) he could be tempted by a challenge elsewhere.  There’s always been a strong link with Dallas and if they’re after a new head coach……

Ron Rivera – Carolina Panthers The new owner came in at the start of the year and likely didn’t want to rock the boat.  That might change at the end of the year should the team’s results not match the talent potential

Bill O’Brien – Houston Texans Could drop down into the bottom section now that he has a quarterback who seems to be pretty decent.  

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Safe as houses

Sean McVay – LA Rams There was a crazy rumour at one point that he was favourite for the Browns job!  There’s no way he’s leaving LA and if the Rams brass do let him walk then there’d likely be riots!

Matt Nagy – Chicago Bears First year in Chicago has been a good one with a marked improvement in the play of second year quarterback Mitch Trubisky and the defense.  Will undoubtedly be given more time

Anthony Lynn – LA Chargers despite some trouble with special teams play the Chargers came close to playoffs last year and will likely be there this year.  Lots of talent and a team playing well, Lynn will be with the team in 2019

Jon Gruden – Oakland Raiders Has a ten year contract with a team who aren’t flush with cash and probably can’t afford to get rid of him.  They’re rebuilding and like it or not, Jon Gruden will be the man behind the rebuild

Doug Pederson – Philadelphia Eagles Probably has at least another season or two working off the success of the Eagles first ever Superbowl win.  This year so far hasn’t been great and if the same happens next year then his seat could be heating up

Andy Reid – Kansas City Chiefs A blistering offense with a young quarterback setting franchise records.  Should have a deep playoff run but even if they don’t, Reid will get another chance

Frank Reich – Indianapolis Colts Fell into the job after Josh McDaniels had a last minute change of heart but Reich has done well.  Luck is back and the offensive line is suddenly good enough to protect him. Will have a second season to continue building.

Mike Vrabel – Tennessee Titans A win over the Patriots doesn’t hurt!  Results haven’t always gone his way but this team is developing and getting tougher to beat.

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