Take 2: NFL coaches whose seats are warmest
Pro Football Weekly contributors Jon Styf and Kyle Nabors debate which head coaches deserve to be on the hot seat due to their poor starts.
Nabors: We’ve officially reached the point of the season where headlines start popping up regarding certain head coaches’ job security. Giants head coach Ben McAdoo was rumored to be on the hot seat only to then have NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport report before last Sunday’s loss to the Chargers that McAdoo’s job is safe. Jon, I don’t feel McAdoo deserves to be fired just one year removed from making the playoffs in his first season, but which coaches should be on the chopping block?
Styf: John Fox is definitely in the group that could be gone. And it’s not all his fault. The Bears are in a serious rebuild and they are a mess at wide receiver and in the middle of their defense right now. I’d be shocked if he was around Chicago next year. The Browns are even more of a mess, but it’s got to be more management than coaches at this point. Firing guys every year or two isn’t really going to solve anything either. But they are bad, really bad. Hue Jackson is their eighth coach since the 2004 season began.
Nabors: It felt like Fox was destined to be fired after this season the moment Ryan Pace traded up to take Mitch Trubisky with the second overall pick. Fox also didn’t help his cause Monday with the awful delay of game penalty against the Vikings and the refusal to give Jordan Howard adequate touches. I think Jackson has at least one more year to turns things around in Cleveland, but the same can’t be said for Chuck Pagano. I know former general manager Ryan Grigson put Pagano and the Colts in a bad spot, but owner Jim Irsay isn’t afraid to make changes.
Styf: Speaking of Chuck Pagano, his former interim replacement Bruce Arians is on a lot of lists too. But I’m not buying that. The Cardinals are a good team that I think will still make the playoffs and I’m interested in what the trade for Adrian Peterson will do for their offense after they were embarrassed in Philadelphia. Usually a great place to look for who is about to be fired is the bottom of the standings. How long of a rope do you think Anthony Lynn and Kyle Shanahan will get with their bad teams? Two years apiece? The 49ers are on their fourth coach in four years, remember. That clearly isn’t working out well for them.
Nabors: You think the Cardinals are going to make the playoffs? Man, I bet the sportsbooks would love for you to walk through the door right now. I think things are going south in Arizona quickly. They needed overtime to beat the Colts and 49ers. And over in San Francisco, I think Shanahan has a long leash. General manager John Lynch knew he had a lengthy rebuild when he elected to sign Brian Hoyer and not draft a quarterback. I think Shanahan has actually overachieved given the lack of offensive talent. The opposite is taking place in Tennessee. Mike Mularkey has to be feeling the pressure after the Titans came in with such high expectations, right?
Styf: Those wins over the Colts/49ers count the same as if they win by 50. And they play in a bad division. Don’t overreact too much to one result of a team from the West playing a morning game on the East. As for the Titans, it’s entirely too early to write them off in an overall below average division where they’re only one game out too. Relax, Kyle. It will all work itself out.
Nabors: I actually agree on the Titans. I still believe there’s too much talent – plus a weak division – for them not to make the playoffs. With that being said, Mularkey will be in trouble if this team finishes 8-8 or worse. And we’re just going to agree to disagree on the Cardinals. So give me your top three coaches most likely to lose their jobs by season’s end? I’ll take Fox, Pagano and Arians.
Styf: Fox, Pagano and McAdoo.