Friday’s coaching news brings hot seats into better focus

Getty Images

With three teams making it known on Friday that their coaches won’t be getting fired after the last game of the season, the list of hot spots is shrinking. But they’re also becoming more glaring, since it would have been easy for other teams to say that they won’t be firing their coaches before Week 17.

So with Washington reportedly keeping Jay Gruden and the Jets extending Todd Bowles and the Bucs telling Dirk Koetter he won’t be supplanted by Jon Gruden (for now), other guys are left to wonder whether they’ll be leading their teams into action for the last time.

Here’s a list of the coaches who remain on the hot seat, with no eleventh-hour effort to give them a reprieve.

Bengals coach Marvin Lewis: His contract expires after Week 17. Though he has addressed his future status and plans several times, the Bengals haven’t said a word about whether they want him back.

Colts coach Chuck Pagano: He delivered what was interpreted by some to be a farewell address this week. Ownership has said or done nothing to contradict the widespread belief that Pagano will be out after six years.

Texans coach Bill O’Brien: O’Brien has said he’s not quitting, but the Texans haven’t said they aren’t firing him. There’s a belief that O’Brien will be back without an extension on a contract with one year remaining, as each side waits for the other side to be the one to end a relationship that remains dysfunctional.

Titans coach Mike Mularkey: Some believe that a failure to make it to the playoffs means he won’t be back. The Titans have said nothing to push back against this possibility.

Raiders coach Jack Del Rio: Believed as of a week ago to be a 50-50 shot at sticking around, owner Mark Davis has not declared that Del Rio definitely will return in 2018.

Broncos coach Vance Joseph: Eight double-digit losses and four losses by 20 or more points could mean that Joseph will be one and done in Denver. G.M. John Elway has said he’ll wait until after the season before making any final decisions. A day before the finale, Joseph’s fate already may be sealed.

Bears coach John Fox: If Fox weren’t out after three disappointing seasons on the job, someone with the Bears surely would have said so by now.

Lions coach Jim Caldwell: Ownership and G.M. Bob Quinn declined to comment on Caldwell’s status after last week’s postseason-killing loss to the Bengals. Their silence since then has become even more deafening.

Not on this list is Browns coach Hue Jackson, because ownership has said publicly and privately that Jackson will be back. However, a loss on Sunday means an 0-16 season. Which could make it even easier for new G.M. John Dorsey to make a case for change.

That leaves the current list of potential new members of the FFCA at nine. With an asterisk for the surprise firing/resignation/retirement that always seems to happen.

54 responses to “Friday’s coaching news brings hot seats into better focus

  1. I feel sorry for Browns fans. Looks like you will get another 1-15 season or worse. Amazing that Hue Jackson can keep that job. Sorry Cleveland

  2. Not on this list is Browns coach Hue Jackson, because ownership has said publicly and privately that Jackson will be back. However, a loss on Sunday means an 0-16 season. Which could make it even easier for new G.M. John Dorsey to make a case for change.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Can anyone name one thing Hue has done right over the last 2 years? (Besides showing up to work and cashing paychecks)
    He took a 3-13 team and transformed them into a 1-15 team.
    Then, against all odds, he (probably) made that juggernaut even worse by turning them into a winless 0-16 debacle. I find it hard to believe there is a legitimate argument for keeping him no matter what cyclic trends the owner is trying to fix.

  3. How Hue Jackson even has a shot to return is beyond me, and absolutely ridiculous. The Browns have some talent, a golden opportunity to build through the draft this year, and tons of cap room to add impact free agents. Teams have turned it around in back to back seasons with much less to work with. However, you can’t keep a coach that has won one game in 2 seasons. That level of ineptitude is inexcusable in this league. I get that they want to break the streak of firing a coach every year or two, but with a new GM, how do you leave this proven loser in place to stunt development another year? Not even an AFC fan, but for the sake of competitive balance, just dump Hur already. He will land on his feet somewhere.

  4. The Bengals aren’t going to part ways with Marvin. Mikey Brown is so stingy he won’t want to have to fork over the money it would take to search for a new head coach.

  5. Vance Joseph has more talent than any of these coaches and it’s beyond me how he was even hired as a head coach.

  6. Del Rio is doing OK with what he has in Oakland. What the Raiders need to look into is firing Mark Davis’ hair stylist.

  7. The Lions will screw this up and keep Caldwell. It’s what they do best, try to act like the smartest guy in the room when even the dumbest fan knows it won’t work. Just because Caldwell is a good guy doesn’t mean he’s a good coach. I’ve never seen a highschool coaching staff only have 9 guys on the field, let alone an NFL head coach and yet Caldwell somehow managed to do just that.

    Hoping I’m wrong, but not counting on it.

  8. Texans would have to be fools to let O”Brien go and keep Smith.
    While Smith has hit on a number of very good draft picks, he got extensive input from O’Brien recently, and before that Wade Philips. His picks without one of those guys are at best fair, mostly poor.

  9. Disagree with Vance Joseph, Chuck Pagano, Mularkey and Bill O’Brien. You can ONLY play with the cards you are dealt. These guys don’t draft the players, the GMs do. When the cupboard is bare, or in the case of Pagano and O’Brien, your cornerstone QB is injured, how can the coach be held accountable?

    There appears to be a persistent belief that if a team has a bad season, firing the current staff and overhauling will bring better results. These things take time, and a coach should be given 4-5 yeas to get some draft picks, Development, and coaching culture on their squads.

    I heartily agree with Marvin Lewis, John Fox, Jack Del Rio, and Jim Caldwell. I think we have seen what these guys can accomplish, and the squads have probably peaked under their tutelage. Caldwell is an on-the-fence pick, but with what they paid Stafford, Detroit should have been more competitive.

    Let Cleveland and Buffalo serve as an example that just because you fire a coach every two years, doesn’t mean the results will get better.

  10. Good, hopefully Shurmur will stay with the Vikes as OC. Give him a pay raise and “promotion” to assistant head coach. Keep the continuity in Minnesota, this team is stacked for the long haul.

  11. I guess I must be the only Lions fan who realizes that Caldwell has had us in the playoffs 2 of the last 3 seasons before this year. I’m 40 and the last time that happened I was in high school. Am I missing something? Who exactly do Lions fans think we’re going to bring in that’s going to do better? It’s not as if we have some insanely talented roster and they’re underperforming our talent level is pretty mediocre. We had one player selected to the pro bowl this year

  12. On the Browns-

    “However, a loss on Sunday means an 0-16 season. Which could make it even easier for new G.M. John Dorsey to make a case for change.”

    Soooo it’s more difficult to make a case for change at 1-16 in a game in which starters were benched? LOL, the case has been made 2 years ago.

  13. Caldwell and Fox — half the NFC North. The Bears and Loins must be looking at the Vikings and saying, “why not us!?”

  14. spartanlegend says:
    December 30, 2017 at 12:40 pm
    I guess I must be the only Lions fan who realizes that Caldwell has had us in the playoffs 2 of the last 3 seasons before this year. I’m 40 and the last time that happened I was in high school. Am I missing something? Who exactly do Lions fans think we’re going to bring in that’s going to do better? It’s not as if we have some insanely talented roster and they’re underperforming our talent level is pretty mediocre. We had one player selected to the pro bowl this year
    ————————————–

    Go look at the Bengals’ record before Marvin Lewis got there. Then look at Lewis’ record and his playoff record. If you constantly want to fight for a wild-card spot (lose every year you make it) and be an average to slightly above average team, then by all means the Lions should keep Caldwell. With the offensive talent on that roster, that team should be in the playoffs almost every year.

  15. Who thought Bowles was in jeopardy? The Jets were thought to be one of the league’s worst yet played very well this year.

    I understand why Pete Carroll isn’t mentioned but if the Seahawks have another year like this one, he’ll be gone. If they lose to the Cardinals and start slow next year, I will be one of the fans calling for him to be fired. It seems he has lost his grip on the team and it has been too long since the braintrust has scored big in the draft.

    Texans would be foolish to ditch O’Brien. They have made the playoffs in recent years even without a decent QB; give him a shot to make some noise with Watson for at least the next two years. The team that almost beat the Seahawks in Seattle this year looked LEGIT and they were missing some pretty big pieces even then.

    I agree with the Lions fan above, Caldwell isn’t the problem, and he had them in the playoffs just last year. I kind of view him as the Andy Dalton of coaches; he’s nowhere near the best, but good enough that it would be foolish to get rid of him and start over.

  16. I’m not sure who’s fault it is for the terrible Packer team. McCarthy because he demands to keep Capers? Capers because of the poor defenses? Thompson because of bad free agent decisions and poor draft choices? Has Thompson given the coaches the people who can win?

  17. The reason the situation in Houston is so called “Toxic”, is because the Owner, Bob McNair has caused it to be that way, with the way the structural concept of the Texans organization is set up. McNair fires Gary Kubiak in 2013, but not Rick Smith who was brought along from Denver to “work with” him. Personally, Kubiak should have stayed and Smith should have been shown the door and that is what is likely to happen here. McNair will stupidly fire O’Brien and keep Smith, which is a BIG MISTAKE. He should keep OB, and hire a GM who knows OB to work with him to find the right players for OB’s system. Smith, if fired, should never get another NFL job again, but that is probably wishful thinking.

  18. I honestly think Hue Jackson’s job security is conditional. It’s not as if proven losers like Marvin Lewis and Jeff Fisher are significant upgrades, so the minute Dorsey and the Haslams find a legitimiate replacement that actually wants the job Hue will be updating his O.C. resume.

  19. aj66shanghai says:
    December 30, 2017 at 1:30 pm

    I agree with the Lions fan above, Caldwell isn’t the problem, and he had them in the playoffs just last year. I kind of view him as the Andy Dalton of coaches; he’s nowhere near the best, but good enough that it would be foolish to get rid of him and start over.

    ———————————————-

    This mentality will get the Lions no where. Just because Caldwell has been better than all the garbage coaches before him doesn’t mean he is a good coach. In fact during the 25 years I have watched the Lions he may be the worst game manager I have ever seen. I expect him to be fired and McDaniels, Patricia or Vrabel to be hired. In my opinion nothing less than Caldwell being fired is acceptable.

  20. Wouldn’t be surprised to see the Broncos make V.Joseph a ‘one-n-done’. That team severely under-achieved given the talent; even if the QB spot is lacking, they should have been alot better overall.

    DelRio will continue to decline, I think. He seems to have more interest in the defense and let the offense just float along. The better head coaches seem to find a better balance in terms of how each is mangaged.

    Caldwell didn’t do anything special and the Lions stayed the course of giving a great impression that they’re on the way up, only to drop off near the end.

    M.Lewis probably needs to move on. The fact he stayed that long says more about the Bengals keeping to a budget rather than building on success; or potential success. No playoff wins, at all. Ugh. I applaud teams that can keep coaches for long terms, but continuity should lead to better results, too.

    J.Fox is in the same category as DelRio. He probably should have gone back to being a D-Coordinator. With Denver it took P.Manning basically taking over the offense for him to have a legit offense.

    C.Pagano will be out, I think. Like the guy and think he could do well starting over somewhere else, but the Colts feel stagnant. He needs a GM he can work with for starters.

    H.Jackson, to me, is the wild-card. The Browns upper-management is such a disaster each year it’s hard to tell if he’s just caught in the shadow of that or if he could be the head coach to get it going in the right direction. His half-baked stint as the Raiders coach was the same kind of scenerio; trying to coach around horrible upper-management.

  21. The Bears situation is interesting at least. John Fox will retire and collect a cool 5 million to sit on the beach somewhere either in Fla. or N.C.. What the heck does he care? The problem is that he has felt that way for the whole 3 years he has been with the Bears.

  22. Tired of hearing about Josh McDaniels. His head coaching experience has him at .393 (8-8 and 3-9, before he was fired). He is an excellent OC as long as he is in New England, but has shown no ability outside of that.

  23. The Bears under John Fox have been terrible, but he’s still the only one of these guys who isn’t under-performing with the roster that has been handed to him. His team plays hard and they won a few games. How many did you expect them to win this year with Glennon or a rookie QB? Compare that to the job Hue Jackson has done, and Fox looks like a HOF coach.

  24. spartanlegend says:
    I guess I must be the only Lions fan who realizes that Caldwell has had us in the playoffs 2 of the last 3 seasons before this year. I’m 40 and the last time that happened I was in high school. Am I missing something? Who exactly do Lions fans think we’re going to bring in that’s going to do better? It’s not as if we have some insanely talented roster and they’re underperforming our talent level is pretty mediocre. We had one player selected to the pro bowl this year

    aj66shanghai says:

    I agree with the Lions fan above, Caldwell isn’t the problem, and he had them in the playoffs just last year. I kind of view him as the Andy Dalton of coaches; he’s nowhere near the best, but good enough that it would be foolish to get rid of him and start over.

    —————————–
    It’s people like this that I hate. Just because Caldwell is the best coach the Lions have had should be irrelevant when the team has been AWFUL since the 50’s. You want a couple of fun stats? Caldwell has NEVER had a rushing attack ranked in the top 25. Caldwell was going to be fired from his OC job with Baltimore because Rice and Flacco had some of their worst seasons under his 1 year. Hell, Caldwell wasn’t even the Lions first choice at head coach when he was hired (It was Ken Whizenhunt).

    Caldwell has a 25-7 in his first year with the Lions/Colts combined. He has a 36-43 in his career after that first year. So he comes in, takes the talent left over from the previous coach to have a great year, then proceeds to destroy the team and make them regress.

    Caldwell went 10-6 with Peyton Manning in his 2nd year. 10-6 is a good year for the Lions, but for the Colts and Peyton Manning? That 10-6 was actually Peytons worst record in 8 years with the Colts.

    But sure, let’s keep Caldwell and competing for that 6th seed wild card spot while other teams try to win divisions/ Super Bowls

  25. I’m neutral on whether the Raiders keep Del Rio but I’m very much against bringing back Gruden if JDR is fired. Gruden had some good years in Oakland (getting to the playoffs in his 3rd year) but after an initial Super Bowl win in Tampa he drove the Bucs into the ground. I think bringing back Gruden would be as big a disaster for the Raiders as Art Shell’s 2nd HC stint was.

  26. Can’t help but think that the Bengals take a strong look at Pat Shurmur to get some life pumped back into that offense. Mike Zimmer will almost certainly vouch for him, and Paul Guenther gets “Assistant Head Coach” added to his job title to keep him around.

    I’d rather Shurmur stayed with the Vikings, but he has really done well this year and deserves another shot at being a head coach. Hopefully he’ll sign off with the Vikings by helping them win the Super Bowl…

  27. Bowles (Jets) – SAFE – deserves another year and some more talent

    Gase (Miami) – HOT SEAT 2018 – he kind of went off the deep end on his players this year, still a ton of talent on both sides of the ball, and they were highly inconsistent

    Lewis (Bengals) – GONE

    Jackson (Browns) – GONE, not explanation needed

    Mularkey (Titans) – GONE, highly inconsistent, and offense has underperformed, they need an offensive head coach to allow Mariota to thrive

    O’Brien (Texans) – SAFE – they’d be crazy to let him go, he’s competed with scraps at QB every year, and they looked exciting when Watson was there.

    Pagano (Colts) – GONE – classic motivator but terrible head coach

    Del Rio (Raiders) – HOT SEAT 2018 – I think he deserves another year, keep some continuity for Carr, but they need an entire new set of assistants. OC has to go, and they need to recruit a good DC, 1 INT all year is a joke.

    Joseph (Broncos) – GONE – they got pasted way too many times for a defense that is supposed to be elite. They also should have realized Simien is the best QB on that roster sooner and gave him a longer leash.

    Garret (Cowboys) – HOT SEAT 2018 – Prescott sucks, the bloom has left the rose, I see Garret going down with Prescott stubbornly when the best QB on that team might be Cooper Rush.

    Gruden (Redskins) – GONE – I think he quits after the season if he feels Cousins is leaving, or accepts a buyout.

    McCarthy (Packers) – HOT SEAT 2018 – I think this is a sneaky landing spot for Jon Gruden in 2 years.

    Caldwell (Lions) – HOT SEAT 2018 – guy is safe as long as they churn out 8 or 9 wins each year, nice guy, not a great head coach. Not a ton of talent on the roster.

    Bears (Fox) – HOT SEAT 2018 – they competed in most games, I think he’s safe this year, and allows some continuity with Trubisky. The defense was solid most of the year.

    Koetter (Bucs) – GONE – I don’t believe the stories that he is safe. He’s lost control of that team and they have no identity at all, which is an indictment of him after multiple years at the helm.

    Arians (Cards) – GONE

  28. What about Arizona? Bruce Arians isn’t on the hot seat?

    This website reported that Arizona was “mutually” parting ways with Arians agfter the season; then Arian’s camp came back and said no decisions have been made yet. But since all of this was leaked to the media… where there’s smoke, there’s fire.

  29. Remember, Haslam fired a 4-12 coach because “it was not good enough”. How is a coach that has 1 win in two seasons good enough?? Swept the leg Dorsey.

  30. Marvin cannot stay in any manner. Coach, GM, nothing. As a lifelong fan I will be done. He should’ve been gone years ago. It’s the NFL. Making the playoffs is not enough. Not one playoff win in 15 years!!!! Just think about that. If he’s back I hope people really stop buying tickets.

  31. Del Rio needs to stop being so stubborn and he will be OK. He has routinely refused to have his hair done like Mark Davis’. Do it, Jack, go to the hair salon.

  32. reddzen says:
    December 30, 2017 at 3:40 pm
    Tired of hearing about Josh McDaniels. His head coaching experience has him at .393 (8-8 and 3-9, before he was fired). He is an excellent OC as long as he is in New England, but has shown no ability outside of that.

    ====

    You could have said the same thing about Belichick when he got fired from his first HC job in Cleveland. McDaniels was only 33 when he took the Broncos job. He’s now 41. He’ll get another shot and probably do very well.

  33. spartanlegend, I agreed with your support of Caldwell until last week. The lack of urgency and fire that game, the costly errors, and not throwing the challenge flag on what could have been a key reversal at the end of the game would be egregious in any game – but the fact that this was their season and it ended in such a way was the last straw for me.

    I appreciate the stability that Caldwell brought to our franchise, but for the Lions to take the next step in the prime of Stafford’s career, they need a new leader in my opinion.

    #OnePride

  34. Bears coach John Fox: If Fox weren’t out after three disappointing seasons on the job, someone with the Bears surely would have said so by now.
    *****************************************************************************
    Will somebody PLEASE take John Fox. He spent this season telling folks he’s been in the show too long to worry about being fired. Maybe he should have given it a bit more thought! Good riddance…and take Pace with you!

  35. Fox will most likely be gone but the Bears look like a team that’s going to make a big step forward next year. No doubt the new coach will get the credit but Fox looks to have laid solid groundwork for them to be successful in the future.

    Marvin Lewis’ time is up in Cincy, but the man does know how to evaluate talent. The man should get a chance to be a G.M.

    The Lions’ loss to the Bengals was stunning and reflects very badly on Caldwell. But the Lions were incredibly bad for so long before Caldwell. Are they really sure that they want to roll the dice on another coach? Under Caldwell they’ve at least been competitive and made the playoffs.

  36. If I was the Cleveland Browns owner I would have security on the sideline ans as soon as the final buzzer sounds, have Hue turn in his company security badge. He was just awful…I could coach a team to better record of 1-31 record over the last 2 years. He made John McKay look like Vince Lombardi.

  37. Remember that Hue Jackson has been dealing with a front office gutting their little talent that they have for prospects that haven’t panned out so far. He deserves another year. A couple offensive lineman, depth at running back and a qb who doesn’t lose games by making silly mistakes and this team will win games.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!