It’s an ongoing trend in the NFL each year. Coaches come and go and around this time in the season, conversations start to formulate about who is on the hot seat. If you’re a coach, no job is safe unless your name is Bill Belichick, Andy Reid or Sean McVay. Sean Payton was even brought up in years past, but those rumors have been put to bed.
There are plenty of coaches who are on the hot seat this season. Some have found homes on the list and some are first timers. What lands a coach on the hot seat is simply not fulfilling duties that the franchise expects. Whether it is not winning, causing problems in the locker room, or with the front office.
With the Browns finally getting rid of Hue Jackson midway through the season, these are the five head coaches who need strong finishes to keep their job next year.
5. Jay Gruden, Washington Redskins
The Redskins are an enigma every year in this league. Are they good, are they not? Well, this season is no different. Washington is in the middle of another campaign around .500 and for Coach Gruden, time just seems to be up.
The Redskins have been decimated by injuries once again. Alex Smith suffered a season-ending leg injury that has Colt McCoy now running the show. He was added to the list of Paul Richardson, Brandon Scherff, Derrius Guice, and Shawn Lauvao who are all on IR. Chris Thompson, Jamison Crowder, and Trent Williams have all missed significant time as well.
Gruden is in in his fifth season as head coach in Washington. This season was given a different feel since he finally had the quarterback that he wanted in Smith. It is no secret that Kirk Cousins didn’t enjoy his time in D.C. and that Gruden was not upset to see him go.
Despite all the bad luck, Gruden’s lack of success could have him looking for a new job. The Redskins are 34-38-1 under Gruden with only one playoff appearance. Time runs out quick as a head coach and when losing has become the norm, it is time to make a change.
4. Mike McCarthy, Green Bay Packers
McCarthy is in his 13th season in Green Bay and has a Super Bowl under his belt. He’s coached one of the best quarterbacks of all-time in Aaron Rodgers and has a record of 121-70-1 with the Packers. So, how has he found himself on this list?
Green Bay is a city that expects championships and to contend every year. The Packers have not been able to deliver a Super Bowl since 2010 and have had some bad luck in the playoffs. They have been in two NFC title games since hoisting that Lombardi trophy and have lost both in terrible fashion. McCarthy is 1-3 in NFC Championship games.
The Packers fell to 4-6-1 this season after a Sunday night loss in Minnesota. Last season saw them go 7-9 and miss the playoffs. They have gotten rid of key players like Jordy Nelson and Ha-Ha Clinton Dix.
For McCarthy, it is a blessing and a curse to have Rodgers at quarterback. Because of his greatness, anything less than winning is unacceptable. If Rodgers doesn’t pull out another late season miracle, he could be breaking in a new coach next season.
3. Marvin Lewis, Cincinnati Bengals
Marvin Lewis is forever on the list of coaches on the hot seat. It seems as if he will never be fired and it has turned into a major punchline in the NFL. He just seems to be the face of mediocrity. The Bengals never seem to be taken seriously as contenders and with a quarterback like Andy Dalton, that comes as no surprise.
For Lewis, he has been there since 2003. He has a record of 125-112-3 in the regular season. But his work in the regular season is not the reason people scratch their heads at his job security. Lewis has coached seven games in the postseason and has yet to win a game.
An 0-7 record in the playoffs, including a string of five losses in five years, seems like a strong reason for him to be fired.
The Bengals are on the fast track to another season out of the playoffs but for Lewis, he probably feels comfortable about his job for next season even though he shouldn’t. Where we stand now, many people ask how he is still employed and there is no answer.
Hue Jackson is currently on the staff of the Bengals as an assistant to Lewis. So, if Lewis loses his job, Jackson may be left in line, so the grass may not be greener in Cincy.
2. Dirk Koetter, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Let’s just say, it was surprising to see Koetter get a third season in Tampa Bay. A fourth might be an impossibility. The Bucs continue to be bad and even worse, they have no quarterback on their roster who looks good.
The team has gone back and forth multiple times between Ryan Fitzpatrick and Jameis Winston, who is a former number one overall pick. Fitzpatrick is a lifetime backup who has a few good seasons as a starter but is getting up there in age. Winston has had trouble throwing the ball to his own team in recent years, which has fans getting impatient. The coaching staff has done nothing to help Winston develop into a player that a franchise can rely on.
The Bucs have had some bad luck with coaches since Jon Gruden. Raheem Morris, Lovie Smith, and Greg Schiano have all spent time in Tampa Bay and seen no success. Koetter’s name will be added to that list after another losing season.
1. Todd Bowles, New York Jets
Bowles is in his fourth year as coach of the Jets. He holds a 23-35 record for a franchise that has not been in the playoffs since 2010. After a 10-6 first season which saw them miss the playoffs thanks to a late season loss to the Bills, Bowles led the Jets to back-to-back 5-11 campaigns.
His in-game strategy has been a mystery since he took the job and is a reason that people believe he is better off as a defensive coordinator. Also, his lack of emotion rubs fans the wrong way since he is in a New York market and people want a guy who is ready to run through a wall for his team.
The Jets drafted a franchise quarterback in Sam Darnold and have a boatload of money to spend this offseason. They will have the option to either keep Bowles and let him try to develop their quarterback and sign free agents or get rid of Bowles and find a new coach to take over control.
With the way things are going, it seems like they will go with the latter.