LEEInks List: NFL coaches on the hot seat
|11.10.10 at 10:25 am ET|
To no one’s surprise, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones fired Wade Phillips Monday, the first head coaching move in the NFL this season. Phillips’ painful season ended after the Cowboys were demolished on Sunday Night Football against the Packers. While Phillips now can take some time to work on his golf game and catch up on his lawn work, there are several other coaches who will have to sweat out the second half of the season.
Here is a list of the top 10 coaches on the hot seat:
10. Norv Turner, Chargers (4th season)
The one man who perennially finds his name on this list is Turner. Despite leading the Chargers to the playoffs in each of his first three years and receiving an extension this past offseason through 2013, Turner still makes the list. Until he can get this talented squad to the Super Bowl and actually win the big game, Turner will be at risk. Starting the season 4-5 certainly doesn’t help any coach’s job security, especially with losses to the Rams, Seahawks and Raiders. He should survive this year, but missing the playoffs could make things really hot for him next season, especially if the Chargers have another slow start.
9. Gary Kubiak, Texans (5th season)
While Kubiak has taken the franchise to new levels, he has yet to take the Texans to the playoffs and his time is running out. Owner Bob McNair gave Kubiak a vote of confidence in February by extending Kubiak through 2012, but that was after the team finished with its first winning record (9-7) last year. This season, the Texans jumped out to a 3-1 record and looked like legitimate playoff contenders but have lost three of their last four and sit tied for last in the AFC South. Without a playoff bid this season, which looks increasingly unlikely with a tough schedule to finish the season, Kubiak could feel the heat being turned up.
8. Marvin Lewis, Bengals (8th season)
You would think that the reigning NFL Coach of the Year would have nothing to worry about, but Lewis is feeling some pressure. Lewis is in the last year of his contract, and he and Bengals owner Mike Brown have sat down but failed to work out an extension twice in the past 13 months. A year after finishing 10-6 and winning the division, Lewis is in danger of seeing the Bengals miss the playoffs for the sixth time in his eight-year tenure.
7. Eric Mangini, Browns (2nd season)
When Browns president Mike Holmgren was hired last winter, everyone thought it would be the end for Mangini. However, Holmgren decided to give Mangini at least one more year. After back-to-back wins over the Saints and Patriots, Mangini has made a case for retaining his job. He is just 8-16 in his first two seasons and has only one playoff appearance in his five years of coaching in the NFL. With several defensive-minded coaches available this offseason and Holmgren’s offensive background, don’t be surprised to see Mangini unemployed come January.
6. Mike Singletary, 49ers (3rd season)
The Hall of Fame linebacker has watched the 49ers struggle under high expectations this season and could find himself out of a job because of it. The 49ers were projected by most publications to win the NFC West this season, but they started 0-5. Now, at 2-6, they are two games behind the Seahawks and Rams. Singletary is just 15-18 by the Bay, and without a playoff berth this year in a rebuilding NFC West, he will be in hotter water than when he dropped his pants at halftime.
5. Jason Garrett, Cowboys (1st week)
You would think that you would have some job security in your first week on the job. But with the Cowboys at 1-7 and Jerry Jones as his boss, Garrett could find himself replaced at season’s end. Garrett has served as the team’s offensive coordinator for the past four years and was seen as Phillips’ heir apparent. But the former quarterback has been in the midst of controversy over the past two years, including his play-calling and handling of receivers Terrell Owens and Patrick Crayton. With big names like Bill Cowher, John Gruden and Brian Billick available, look for Jones to try to make a splash in the offseason unless Garrett can wow Jones down the stretch.
4. Brad Childress, Vikings (5th season)
Everything has gone wrong for Childress this season: from the 2-5 start, to the Randy Moss fiasco, to Brett Favre showing his age, nothing was going right heading into Sunday’s game. After falling behind 24-10 in the fourth quarter Sunday, Favre may have saved Childress’ job with a fourth-quarter comeback that led to a game-winning field goal in overtime. Childress is still very much in hot water, but with so much talent on the roster, he has a chance to save his job. If the Vikings can turn things around and make a run at the playoffs, Childress could stay in the land of 10,000 lakes. Minnesota finishes the season with seven games against NFC opponents and the winless Bills. This season the Vikings are 3-2 against the NFC and 0-3 against the AFC East.
3. Chan Gailey, Bills (1st season)
Over the past five years, the team with the worst record in the NFL has replaced its head coach four times. Unfortunately for Gailey, he’s not likely to buck the trend. The Bills are 0-8 and have lost six of their eight games by 10 points or less, including the last three by a field goal. No matter how well the Bills play, unless Gailey can lead the Bills to at least four victories down the stretch, he likely will be fired for the second time in two seasons. The Bills have won at least five games in each of their past five years, including a 6-10 record last season. A two- or three-win season likely won’t be enough to keep Gailey employed.
2. Josh McDaniels, Broncos (2nd season)
After starting his head coaching career 6-0, McDaniels hasn’t had much go right. The Broncos are 4-14 since McDaniels’ honeymoon ended. To make matters worse, many of the team’s former offensive stars are playing in other uniforms due to conflicts with McDaniels. The former Patriots offensive coordinator has seen the heat steadily get cranked up as the Broncos have suffered through a four-game losing streak. McDaniels still has two years left on his contract after this season, but the NFL’s youngest head coach might end up serving as a coordinator next year.
1. John Fox, Panthers (9th season)
Fox came into the season in a tenuous situation. With one year left on his contract and with a young roster, Fox knew it could be a long season, but at 1-7 Fox has little going for him. The Panthers have not made the playoffs since 2008, and his sole trip to the Super Bowl happened seven years ago. The Panthers didn’t even necessarily want him as their head coach this season, as they offered Fox the opportunity to void the last year of his contract if he got an offer elsewhere. With quarterback Matt Moore out for the season and the Panthers already sporting the NFL’s worst offense, Fox should already be packing his bags and polishing up his resume.
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