First off, my apologies for no blog yesterday, I couldn’t think of anything to write about. But I’ve got a few ideas in my brain now so it shouldn’t be an issue. I’m also somehow more busier when I’m home than I am when I’m at school so sometimes life gets in the way for me.
Now that that’s out of the way, Black Monday is coming up in the NFL and Week 17 will be a huge deciding factor for a lot of organizations about the future of their head coach. Of course, there are some coaches who will never ever have to worry about their job security (Bill Belichick) but others aren’t so fortunate. Whether that’s because of the situation they’re in or a lack of success, football can be a cruel game, especially when it comes to the coaches. I don’t remember who said this, but the perfect quote is “you’re hired to get fired” about an NFL coach’s career. It’s mainly just the all-time greats who have total job security and even then that’s not always the case. So with that, let’s take a look at the coaches on the hot seat.
Hue Jackson-Cleveland Browns
2017 Record: 0-15
Record with current team: 1-30
Jesus that record. Hue Jackson’s not a bad coach but you wouldn’t know it based on what his record says. He was 8-8 in his one year as the head coach of the Raiders but was randomly fired by Al Davis, despite the fact that record was the best they had since losing Super Bowl XXXVII. He was also beloved by his players while he was runningbacks coach with the Bengals. So I think he will find a job somewhere if the Browns do fire him, most likely as a coordinator or position coach. Front office people have said that Jackson will return in 2018, but I think that was also said with the confidence that the Browns wouldn’t go 0-16. But they’re 1 game away and they face a Steelers team that one could make an argument is the best in the NFL. So I think if the Browns go 0-16, Jackson will be given his pink slip. But I actually do believe that if the Browns win that game, then he will save his job. Just a gut feeling because that is a very untalented Browns team, particularly on offense, and it’s unfair to place the totality of the blame on him.
Seat Temperature: Pretty Damn Hot
Chuck Pagano-Indianapolis Colts
2017 Record: 3-12
Record with current team: 52-43
The Colts have taken an absolute nosedive since getting blown out in the 2014-15 AFC Championship game against the Patriots (and no, I’m not going to mention what that game is most known for). Pagano was looking like one of the top coaches in the league but the lack of talent on the roster was rearing its ugly head. I think what happened was it was Bill Polian’s guys that Pagano was succeeding with and once they started getting older (Dwight Freeney, Robert Mathis, Reggie Wayne) or retiring, the Ryan Grigson guys started rearing their ugly heads. Thankfully for Colts fans, Grigson was canned and I thought they had a pretty good draft in 2017, as Malik Hooker was playing really well until his injury and Quincy Wilson has really emerged in the last couple weeks. The next step is to get a new head coach to take the next step. I can’t imagine Pagano returning, no matter what happens in Week 17.
Seat Temperature: Volcanic
Marvin Lewis-Cincinnati Bengals
2017 Record: 6-9
Record with current team: 124-112-3
I’m not sure how Marvin Lewis made it this long. If he couldn’t get fired after that AFC Wild Card debacle against the Steelers a couple years ago, then his job was eternally safe. But it appears that he won’t be returning as head coach of the Bengals. He’s been one of the best coaches the franchise has ever had but his lack of playoff success (he’s never won a playoff game) is really what looms large as well as the downward spiral the Bengals have been on the last couple years. I’m sure somebody else will hire him to become their next head coach, though. He’s had too much success in Cincinnati to be relegated to position coach. Somebody else will sign him, whether it be for 2018 or sometime after, if he decides to take a break from coaching.
Seat Temperature: Scorching
Bill O’Brien-Houston Texans
2017 Record: 4-11
Record with current team: 31-32
I hate talking about him being on the hot seat because I actually played on a football team with his nephew my freshman year of high school. But Bill O’Brien might be on the hot seat after a disastrous season in Houston. Quite frankly, I think he’s going to be fine. The Texans showed a ton of promise when Deshaun Watson started taking off. But the story of the Texans’ season has been injuries. Watson, JJ Watt, Whitney Mercilus, CJ Fiedorowicz, and Brian Cushing all either missed substantial time or were put on IR at some point. I think Bill O’Brien will be back next year just simply because everything that went wrong was kind of out of his control.
Seat Temperature: Pretty Comfortable
Mike Mularkey-Tennessee Titans
2017 Record: 8-7
Record with current team: 19-21
This might be a little surprising because the Titans are in the thick of a playoff race, however I think Mularkey might be in trouble if they don’t make the postseason simply because of how much the team has regressed based on the eye test, particularly Marcus Mariota. Mariota struggled mightily in 2017 and this was supposed to be the year where the former #2 pick took the next step. Somehow the Titans control their own destiny to make the playoffs despite all their issues but it’s not encouraging for the future. This kind of luck isn’t sustainable. I think if the Titans lose to the Jaguars on Sunday and miss the playoffs, then Mularkey will get canned. If they win and get in, though, then I think he will be fine.
Seat Temperature: Pretty Warm
Jay Gruden-Washington Redskins
2017 Record: 7-8
Record with current team: 28-34-1
The Redskins didn’t really get much better in 2017 and a lot of that can be due in part to all the turnover on offense from last season, as basically their entire receiving corps left in free agency. A lot of people think Gruden might get the axe just because the Redskins have been kind of stagnant the last couple years. This to me is probably the trickiest one to pinpoint because I feel like I’d want to keep him if I’m Dan Snyder but I’d also understand if they wanted to fire him just because they’ve been running in place the last couple years. A part of me does feel like he might be on his way out, though. Just a gut feeling. I personally think I would keep him for next year, but again, I wouldn’t be surprised if they went another direction. If he does, I do think he will eventually get another head coaching gig.
Seat Temperature: Room Temperature
John Fox-Chicago Bears
2017 record: 5-10
Record with current team: 14-33
Fox is a good coach, as evidenced by his tenures in Carolina and Denver. But it was just a bad situation with Chicago. He probably kind of figured he’d be rebuilding, but the Bears just don’t really have anything exciting going for them as offensively they’ve been really stagnant with the exception of Jordan Howard. There’s no passing game and that’s really what ends up being the deciding factor. I think the Bears and Fox will mutually part ways, I don’t think this will be an outright firing, I get a sense that Fox would want a fresh start as well. This isn’t based on anything I heard this is just another vibe I’ve got.
Seat Temperature: Mutually Hot
Dirk Koetter-Tampa Bay Buccaneers
2017 Record: 4-11
Record with current team: 13-18
It’s only been two years for Koetter, but the Bucs took a HUGE step backward in 2017. They showed about as much promise as any team headed into this season especially after watching Hard Knocks. There was just this spring in everyone’s step that had you really excited for these guys. But then their kicking game started killing games for them and I think that really put a damper on this team’s confidence. I’ve heard a lot of people saying they want Koetter gone, but I don’t think that’s fair. I would give him another year to kind of righten the ship. But they need to do something because it’s basically the same situation as with Tennessee, where Jameis Winston, who was primed for a breakout year, took a huge step backward. I wouldn’t be shocked to see him get fired for that reason but I also think there’s potential with him.
Seat Temperature: Reasonably Warm
Vance Joseph-Denver Broncos
2017 Record: 5-10
Record with current team: 5-10
Vance Joseph did not have the time of his life this year. The Broncos really struggled, especially on the offensive side of the ball and a lot of that is due to poor quarterback play. I don’t think Joseph will get fired because the defense kept the status quo for the most part this year. But to give him a chance, they NEED to draft a quarterback with their high pick. They have to land either Josh Rosen or Sam Darnold. Perhaps if the Browns are comfortable with Deshone Kizer then maybe they could pull off a blockbuster, which I think would be worth it to get the quarterback of the future.
Seat Temperature: Cold
Ron Rivera-Carolina Panthers
2017 Record: 11-4
Record with current team: 64-46
This is kind of a weird one. The Panthers are having a great year but the whole Jerry Richardson situation may put Rivera’s job security in question. Normally, Rivera would have nothing to worry about, but anytime there’s new ownership, which could include P Diddy, Steph Curry, and Colin Kaepernick, change is inevitable. I think they will retain Rivera just because of the success he’s had in Carolina, but I feel like he may be on the hot seat in the near future.
Seat Temperature: Moderately Temperate.
And obviously the Giants will need to find a new guy, as they’ve already fired Ben McAdoo. Kind of a no-brainer there. So those are my thoughts on potential coaching changes. After Black Monday I’ll discuss the inverse of this, who I think could get hired, which will be a much more positive blog. Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below or on Facebook or Twitter @jimwyman10 and contribute to my Patreon.