It has become a common occurrence for several NFL coaches to lose their job at the end of the NFL season. An offseason where less than 2 coaches lose their jobs would seem completely surreal. Wade Phillips was the first coach this year to hit the bricks, but he will definitely not be the last.
This article written in conjunction with Blogging the Boys user Wi11s
The Recently Departed – Coach already fired (or the Wade Phillips category)
The Walking Dead – It is only a matter of time before these coaches are gone
Buried Alive – Coaches who deserve more time or more credit who may just get fired
Put Them Out of Their Misery – Coaches who really should be fired, but may survive for another season for various reasons
Too Close to the Flames – Coaches who will likely not be fired, but who will be done after next season without a turnaround.
Living the Good Life – Coaches who are safe for the foreseeable future.
The Recently Departed
Wade Phillips – Dallas Cowboys
Dolphinfanatic717: I am not usually a fan of firing a coach midseason. That said, perhaps no coach has ever deserved it more than Wade Phillips (although Childress pops to mind).
A lot of people around the league were quick to defend Wade, saying players should be the ones taking the blame. That is asinine because (a) you can’t wipe out that many players, and (b) the Cowboys have talent, but lack discipline. This is essentially the same team as last year (without Tony Romo now), but their performance was based on stupid mistakes and lack of effort. One of a coach’s main jobs is to keep his superstar players level headed, and to make sure they don’t get slack.
Wade could have saved his job at numerous junctures, but his team just kept getting worse and worse. He did himself no favours in his press conferences either, essentially throwing himself under the bus. That, coupled with the fact that his defense was playing pitiful, and Wade had to go. He will make some team very happy next year as a defensive coordinator.
The Walking Dead
Brad Childress – Minnesota Vikings
Dolphinfanatic717: As was said before, Childress really should be fired right now. He has no control over his locker room, his play calling is atrocious, he is getting into altercations with his own players, and he has taken a cheap shot at his own quarterback in a press conference. Furthermore, much like Wade Phillips, he has fielded essentially the same team that had so much success last year with dismal 2010 results. Add all this together with the fact that Childress seems like a genuinely terrible guy, and I see him hitting the bricks very soon, maybe even before the season is through.
Gary Kubiak – Houston Texans
Dolphinfanatic717: Gary Kubiak has had his chances. On paper, his team has been a contender for the past 3 seasons. He has built a high powered offense that strikes fear into defensive coordinators, and has brought in one of the best QB/WR tandems in the league. Kubiak’s problem is his defenses, which have continuously held this team back over the past few years. The squad has few stars, and scares no one. As this is early, Kubiak can still save himself. It won’t even be that hard; just making the playoffs would buy him one more year, even if it is a first round exit. With games against the Jets, Titans, Eagles, and Ravens remaining, I see this team topping out at 9 wins (generous), which won’t be enough to save his job.
John Fox – Carolina Panthers
Wi11s: John Fox might be the easiest one on this list. The guy is done. The team looks awful on both sides of the ball and his contract is up at the end of the season. There are no problems with paying the guy after he is gone so it is an easy divorce. Fox is actually a pretty good coach and will not be out of work long but it seems the Panthers want to go in another direction and sometimes that is necessary. With a year to recover from injuries and an offseason to address the pash rush this team could be a winner again by next year but all signs point to them winning without John Fox.
Tony Sparano – Miami Dolphins
Dolphinfanatic717: The fire Sparano bandwagon is ridiculous. I’m not saying Sparano has done the best job, but things are far better with him than they were before him. Sparano deserves to be on the hot seat next year, but if he doesn’t make it to next year it will be a serious error by the Dolphins. Firing Sparano will not make things better short term, it will send us into another rebuilding phase. He deserves one more year to turn it around, and even that is looking too far ahead because this season is not over.
Norv Turner – San Diego Chargers
Wi11s: It almost looks like Norv has Shottenhiemer syndrome, but that might just be the Chargers at this point. Turner will consistently field a contender but seems to fall short every year. Not many teams would be able to sustain injuries and hold outs to their number one (Vincent Jackson), two (Antonio Gates), three (Malcom Floyd), four (Legedu Naanee) and five (Ryan Mathews) options along with the starting left tackle and remain compedative. Norv gets a pass but will need some discernible playoff success soon or he will be back somewhere as the OC.
Put Them Out of Their Misery
Chan Gailey – Buffalo Bills
Wi11s: Chan Gailey has so many factors working against him that at most I see him getting two years with the Bills. The Bills just have no talent now and very little they can build a team around. Gailey is good at getting the most out of a medicore quarterback but that may be his only feature that saves him as a coach. If the Bills manage to finish with the worst record in the league they actually have a better chance of keeping Gailey as he will be able to teach what will most likely be Andrew Luck, though Jake Locker and Ryan Mallet may be far outside shots. Either way the Bills need a massive rebuild with maybe only a dozen players left from the team that started the year and it is my opinion that Chan Gailey will not be the coach behind the bench when they turn it around.
Marvin Lewis – Cincinnati Bengals
Dolphinfanatic717: In years past, I said that no coach in football would have more reason to quit than Marvin Lewis. Mike Brown continuously brought in players with character problems and duds, and yet would never cut Lewis free. To his credit Lewis never quit, and was able to bring about a few good seasons. That said, Lewis’ HC career has been erratic, with the Bengals being great one year and hapless the next. The Bengals need to hire a good GM, but they also need a new coach who will bring more consistency.
Jack Del Rio – Jacksonville Jaguars
Wi11s: Jack Del Rio, along with Gary Kubiack, has been the king of barely keeping his job the last few years. He seems to do just enough to stick around year in and year out and the way this year is going, with wins over the division rival Colts and Texans, he will pull it out again. Del Rio has an average team that will win between seven and nine games this year and keep him around but they won’t get any better without some changes. Whenever this team moves to Los Angeles Del Rio will be gone.
Josh McDaniels – Denver Broncos
Wi11s:The worst part about McDaniels is that he is actually not that bad of a coach. The main problem is that he is a child and cannot take criticism. All the guy has done since he got to Denver is ship out his most talented players but he is managing to keep the team somewhat competitive. That being sad if I was ownership all I could think about is how competitive they could be with Cutler, Marshall, Hillis and Scheffler.
Mike Singletary – San Francisco 49ers
Wi11s: Mike is starting to look less like a great motivational coach and more like that crazy guy that yells things from the sidewalk. He had a weak division and supposedly a great defense and went down in flames. Guys can only stand crazy for so long, so its time to send Mike off to the looney bin.
Too Close to the Flames
Jim Schwartz – Detroit Lions
Wi11s: Despite the record the Lions have been close in almost every game they were in and if it wasn’t for that ridiculous call in the first game and their kicker going down against the Jets they would have four wins. Add in the loss of their starting quarterback, who looks pretty damn good if he can stay on the field, and Schwartz gets a pass. Or he should anyway, the lions have been so inept for so long I really can see them blaming this on Schwartz and bringing in Millen again.
Lovie Smith – Chicago Bears
Wi11s: Lovie avoided the axe last year and now has his team overperforming. Why do we still hear his name on the chopping block then? Well due to some less than stellar performances the last few years the guy is on a short leash. I can really see him getting fired if he only goes 8-8 after the start he had. Seeing a coach fired for out performing expectations would be funny though.
Mike McCarthy – Green Bay Packers
Dolphinfanatic717: This one might get me flamed, but hear me out. The Packers are a great team, but I think they are in trouble. They are currently tied with the Bears in the NFC North. This is a shocking development because (a) the Bears aren’t that good, and (b) with the Vikings failing miserably, this division was Green Bay’s for the taking. This team was picked as a Super Bowl favourite by many, but they have had a few rough weeks along the way. I can’t predict what will happen in Green Bay this year, but they seem primed for a fall with all of their injuries. If the Packers don’t go deep in the playoffs this year, McCarthy will be on notice next year. Superbowl or Bust.
Ken Whisenhunt – Arizona Cardinals
Dolphinfanatic717: I don’t think Whisenhunt will be fired this year, but only because he is not far removed from a Super Bowl berth. He and his group bungled badly by not having a successor to Kurt Warner. I know he didn’t draft Matt Leinart, but when he benched him in favour of Warner a few years ago he should have started recruiting in that draft. He got no help this offeason from front office, as they let superstars Dansby and Boldin walk out the door. If the Cardinals don’t rebound next year, I can see Whisenhunt losing his job.
Eric Mangini – Cleveland Browns
Wi11s: Mangini has his Browns playing well. Over the last thirteen games they are 7-6, and with the talent they have had over that period (none and unproven) they are overachieving. The question is can Mangini continue to cultivate that young talent into a winner. There are only so many years that a scrappy team can heart out 5-8 wins before the upper brass wants some of the playoff pie. Mangini has to take the next step over the next two years or he is done.
Living the Good Life
John Harbaugh – Baltimore Ravens
Wi11s: The team is good and playing that way. Harbaugh is safe. Got to start looking at revamping the aging defense and lackluster secondary though.
Mike Smith – Atlanta Falcons
Dolphinfanatic717: The Falcons could make a case as the best team in the league. Mike Smith was hired the same year as Tony Sparano, and his team has risen to the top of the NFC South (Home of the defending SB Champs). He’s safe.
Jim Caldwell – Indianapolis Colts
Wi11s: Job is safe as long as he has Peyton Manning and keeps winning division titles. Can probably survive one falter, I’m saying at least five year coaching stint.
Jeff Fischer – Tennessee Titans
Wi11s: Fisher seems to be able to stay as long as he want to. I’d feel comfortable putting him here after a 4-12 season.
Rex Ryan – New York Jets
Wi11s: Jets are good and ESPN needs a guy they can get a soundbite out of every day.
Bill Belicheck – New England Patriots
Wi11s: If he can finish a full defensive rebuild without bottoming out in the standings that will be one of the most impressive feats I will have ever seen in football. Not going anywhere unless he decides to hang it up.
Mike Tomlin – Pittsburgh Steelers
Dolphinfanatic717: Tomlin’s tenure has hit the highest highs, but is inconsistent. This year is a good year, next year might not be. He’s safe, because of performance and because the Steelers don’t fire coaches.
Todd Haley – Kansas City Chiefs
Dolphinfanatic717: Despite being a massive D-Bag (see his snub of McDaniels last week), Haley has made the Chiefs relevant. He shipped out trouble maker Larry Johnson, had a great draft last year, and his team is winning. Safe for this offseason, even if the Chiefs falter.
Andy Reid – Philadelphia Eagles
Dolphinfanatic717: The Eagles have been consistent contenders since Reid arrived in Philly. His tenure will last as long as he wants it to, at least in the foreseeable future.
Mike Shanahan – Washington Redskins
Dolphinfanatic717: Hard to tell where the Redskins end up this year, but there is no doubt they have improved. Shanahan will be given a couple of years to turn it around, as his history speaks for itself. Safe for now.
Sean Payton – New Orleans Saints
Dolphinfanatic717: Offensive genius, just won a Super Bowl. He’s safe.
Raheem Morris – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Wi11s: Young firey coach matches his team. Great turnaround, now comes the hard part. Keep it up!
Pete Carroll – Seattle Seahawks
Dolphinfanatic717: The Seahawks are back atop the NFC West. They may not stay that way, but Carroll has them improved. His rebuilding continues.
Steve Spagnulo – St. Louis Rams
Wi11s: Get this man some receivers and a consistent secondary and watch the fireworks. He will have time to find those things for himself. He’ll be around for a while if Bradford doesn’t get the sophomore slump.
Tom Coughlin – New York Giants
Dolphinfanatic717: No job in New York is ever safe long term. The Giants are good right now. They were 6-2 last year. They ended up 8-8 last year. It is really hard to call Coughlin’s job security until the very end of the season, so I am copping out.
Tom Cable – Oakland Raiders
Wi11s: Al Davis can keep a guy after a 1-15 season and fire a guy after 15-1. I would not put it over on him. It is pointless to talk about records when the real job measure is getting along with Al. Cable could be around for years or gone tomorrow and it wouldn’t surprise me. He probably does deserve to stay so I guess I have him looking for work soon?
Jason Garrett – Dallas Cowboys
Wi11s: To remove the interim tag I think Garrett needs three more wins, maybe two if they are both divisional. He was brought in originally as the successor to Wade so it stands to reason he will get a legitimate shot at it. There is just not enough game information known at this point to say whether he will stay or go but if Bill Cowher is asking around it might be too hard for Jerry to say no.