Coaches On A Hot Seat – Update

Back before the NFL season began, I did my annual exercise in embarrassing myself by predicting every team’s record for the 2016 season before the kickoff for the first game.  Part of that exposition is always my list of “Coaches on the Hot Seat” and with the NFL season now 75% finished, I thought I would go back to see at how those predictions look.  I had 8 coaches on the hot seat and here is what I said then and what I think now.

In early September, this is what I said:

Gus Bradley (Jags): I had him on this list last year but the Jags showed definite improvement in 2015. I think that the Jags are a team on the rise and that Bradley will in fact be back next year. However, if I am dead wrong on that and the Jags regress to something like a 3-13 record, he will be toast. So, I put him on the list for the sake of completeness.”

Today, I say the Jags have regressed significantly and Bradley is going to be toast in early January 2017.

In early September, this is what I said:

“Jim Caldwell (Lions): Last year, the team rallied to win 6 games in the second half of the season to finish 7-9. If you do the math there, that means the Lions were 1-7 in the first half of the season. Presumably, the Front Office saw the second half surge as a harbinger of good things for 2016. If that is the case and if the Lions do not build on that surge, I suspect that Jim Caldwell will be moving on at the end of the 2016 season.”

Today, I say that the Lions look as if they will make the playoffs and Jim Caldwell will not be moving on.

In early September, this is what I said:

“Jeff Fisher (Rams): The Rams underachieved last year and I thought that the Rams had not been “playoff relevant” for a while now, so I went and looked up Fisher’s record there. It is not pretty:

  • He has been with the Rams for 4 seasons. The combined record is 27-36-1 and there have been no playoff appearances for the Rams.
  • Moreover, his last winning season (with the Titans) was all the way back in 2008.

Fisher signed a 5-year contract in 2012; this is his “contract year”. The Rams now play in LA where teams that contend for titles draw plenty of attention and adulation and where bad/mediocre teams fade into obscurity very quickly. Fisher and the Rams had better win this year.”

Today, I say that despite rumors of a 3-year extension of Fisher’s contract about 2 months ago, the Rams have been disappointing at best this year and a good way to take the LA fans’ minds off that disappointment would be to hire a new coach.  I think he will be fired after the Rams finish out of the playoffs.

In early September, this is what I said:

“Jason Garrett (Cowboys): In no way, would he be responsible for a bad year by the Cowboys. In fact, you might argue that he enters the season in the situation where he has brought a knife to a gunfight. But expectations were really high for the Cowboys this year; Jerry Jones has been hyping the 2016 season ever since the 2015 season ended. So, if the Cowboys really tank this year, Jerry Jones may need to do something symbolic to show his fanbase that he is doing more about “winning” than talking about “winning”. So, put Garrett on a hot seat even if he does not deserve to be there.”

Today, I say that the Cowboys have certainly not tanked and Garrett is not on anything resembling a hot seat now.

In early September, this is what I said:

“Marvin Lewis (Bengals): I believe that Lewis is the coach – not named Belichick – with the longest tenure with his team in all of the NFL. Granted, he took over a dysfunctional team in a dysfunctional franchise and got everything headed in a positive direction. The Bengals owe him a lot for that.

  • Some perspective here. Lewis has had the Bengals in the playoffs 7 times in 13 seasons. Prior to his arrival in Cincy, the Bengals had been in the playoffs a total of 7 times in 37 seasons.
  • Before Lewis arrived, the team was not-so-affectionately known as “The Bungles” and they earned every morsel of that moniker.

Here is the problem; the Bengals have not won a playoff game in the 13 years that Marvin Lewis has been the coach there. The team is 0-7 in playoff games and have lost in the opening round in each of the last 5 seasons. Last year’s loss was due to a total loss of focus/control/discipline on the part of two defensive players. That sort of “loss” falls under the heading of “coaching”. I think Marvin Lewis needs a playoff win this year…”

Today, I say that the Bengals are not going to win a playoff game because they are not going to come close to making the playoffs.

In early September, this is what I said:

“Mike McCoy (Chargers): This is his 4th season in San Diego. In his first year, the team went 9-7 and made the playoffs (and won a playoff game too). In his second year, the team went 9-7 again but missed out on the playoffs. Last year – under a blizzard of injuries – the Chargers were 4-12. McCoy is on a hot seat if the team goes 4-12 again. He does not have to win his division – I do not think the Chargers can do that – but they have to be better than getting the overall #3 pick in the draft once again.”

Today, I say that the Chargers have indeed done better than last year but it looks as if the Chargers will be no better than 8-8 this year.  McCoy’s seat is hot but ownership in San Diego has to deal with bigger questions right now than coaching changes – – such as where might the Chargers call home in the future.

In early September, I this is what I said:

“Mike Mularkey (Titans): He took over in mid-season last year and went 2-7 in his 9 games then. Management gave him a shot to move things forward this year but his coaching record is not one that inspires a lot of confidence. He has been a head coach for 3.5 seasons. Back in 2004 (with the Bills) he had a 9-7 record. Since then, his cumulative record is 9-32. Add to that negativity the fact that the Titans’ roster is “talent-challenged”. I think this hot seat will be ”Habanero Hot” come January 2017.”

Today, I say that the Titans are challenging for first place in the AFC South and could well finish the season at 8-8.  That is not a great record but it is a huge step forward for a franchise that has exactly one winning season since 2009.  Mike Mularkey is sitting pretty about now…

In early September, this is what I said:

“Rex Ryan (Bills): Like Jason Garrett above, he may be looking at a season where a sterling record is highly improbable. Nonetheless, given the braggadocio and the setting of ultra-high expectations that is the hallmark of any Rex Ryan press conference, he might be out of a job come January if the team falls below .500. For the record, Ryan has an overall losing record as a head coach (54-58-0) and his last winning season was back in 2010.”

Today, I say that the Bills are still alive in the wild-card race in the AFC but they are indeed longshots there.  Looking at the schedule, finishing the season at 9-7 is an optimistic outlook from here to the end of the season.  I think Ryan’s seat is hot – but not en feugo – and that most of the heat comes from his continuing projection of his team as the best in the league, which they are not.

Teams doing badly this year who may have put their coaches in jeopardy include:


NY Jets:  Todd Bowles is not the reason the team is 3-8 but the fact is that the team is 3-8 and in NYC that is about as much fun as a splinter under your thumbnail.

Cleveland Browns:  Yes, they are 0-12 but with that roster, they would have needed incredible luck just to be 2-10.  In addition, owner Jimmy Haslem has hired and fired so many coaches and GMs in the past few years that he might not be able to get any top-shelf candidates even to take his phone calls come January.  Hue Jackson’s job is – and ought to be – safe.

Indy Colts:  Yes, Chuck Pagano got a contract extension last year.  However, someone should be responsible for that roster and the year-after-year demonstration of the same roster flaws.  Maybe he stays and the GM goes?  Maybe not…

Green Bay Packers:  If the Packers finish 6-10 …

Chicago Bears:  John Fox has shown that he can coach in the NFL but trying to win games with Matt Barkley at QB goes beyond the realm of “coaching  ‘em up”.   Probably, the best the team can achieve this year is 5-11 – and more likely 3-13 – so a coaching change in Chicago is certainly not out of the question.

Arizona Cardinals:  The Cards are 4-6-1 as of this morning and many folks thought they could be Super Bowl participants in February 2017.  If they finish 6-9-1, will the owners see this as a coaching failure or will they recognize that the team needs a roster overhaul – including an upgrade at QB?  Remember, the Bidwell’s own the Cardinals…


Finally, here is an item from Dwight Perry in the Seattle Times regarding coaching in another sport in another country:

“Former Czech Republic hockey coach Vladimir Ruzicka, accused of taking $20,750 from a player’s father who said he paid to let his son play, has been convicted of fraud.

“In other words, this Czech didn’t clear.”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………



2 thoughts on “Coaches On A Hot Seat – Update”

  1. May the Oakland Raiders make Rex and Rob Ryan’s life indigestibly difficult this Sunday. I worry about a look-ahead letdown as the team thinks about the Kansas City Chiefs on Dec. 8.

    1. Tenacious P:

      It has been a long time since the Raiders played a game in December that was important/meaningful for the Raiders as compared to an opponent. I think the focus of the game will be the Raiders’ defense. It has improved in recent weeks from its awful status early in the year but will need to continue that “improvement trend”.

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