Which coaches are in danger of being fired?

Getty Images

Black Monday is only two weeks away. In recent years Black Monday basically has become Black Sunday, because plenty of coaches get fired not the day after the season ends but the day that it’s all over.

So for which coaches will it be over when the season’s over? Two (Jay Gruden and Ron Rivera) already have gotten a pink slip. A list of the candidates to be candidates for jobs elsewhere appears below, along with an assessment of whether they’re truly in danger, grave or another kind.

Pat Shurmur, Giants: He’s 7-22 through 29 games. He’s most likely done. Finito. Out. Farewell. The only question left is whether G.M. Dave Gettleman goes with him, along whether Shurmur finishes the season. Co-owner Steve Tisch has said a decision will be made after the season ends. A loss on Sunday would set a team record with 10 straight losses. Which perhaps could accelerate that timetable.

Freddie Kitchens, Browns: It’s never easy to figure out what the Browns will do, because they’re the Browns. But a reasonable, non-dysfunctional organization would likely be inclined to conclude that Kitchens is over his skis, and that the decision to bump him up a level based on the team’s performance post-Hue was, in hindsight, ill-advised.

Jason Garrett, Cowboys: It’s impossible to know what Jerry Jones ultimately will say or do in any situation, in part because at times it seems even he doesn’t know what he’s going to say or do until he says or does it. But the strong sense throughout the league is that Garrett needs to get to the playoffs and advance at least to the NFC Championship game to have a chance of sticking around.

Doug Marrone, Jaguars: The Super Bowl window from only two seasons ago has slammed shut. And it feels like a housecleaning is coming. Last week’s 45-10 home bloodletting against the Chargers served only to reinforce the notion that big changes are coming.

Dan Quinn, Falcons: Once a foregone conclusion to get fired, at this point who knows? With the Falcons facing a serious cap situation in 2020, one that will make it difficult for a new coach and/or G.M. to do much of anything significant with the roster (which in turn could cause viable candidates to look elsewhere), owner Arthur Blank could decide to give the current regime one more year to turn it around from scratch. An upset of the 49ers later today wouldn’t hurt. The wild-card is the half-empty stadium where the team plays; Quinn may create the better chance of luring fans back than a new coach, since Quinn may be in a better position to win next year than anyone else.

Matt Patricia, Lions: There’s a lingering sense that Patricia could be in danger after only two seasons in Detroit. But that’s not nearly enough time for Patricia, working with G.M. Bob Quinn, to engineer the kind of cultural change that the Lions so desperately need. The Lions were competitive this year until Matthew Stafford‘s back injury derailed his season, and the team’s. Look at where the 49ers were a year ago, in the second season of the Kyle Shanahan/John Lynch partnership. If Lions ownership does, maybe Lions ownership decides to give Quinn and Patricia another year.

Adam Gase, Jets: Christopher Johnson said weeks ago that Gase is safe for 2020. But what happens if he changes his mind? Nothing (other than the Jets get a new coach). Still, another year of working with quarterback Sam Darnold — and with G.M. Joe Douglas beefing up the roster — could be the difference this team needs. The wild-card continues to be Woody Johnson; whenever he returns from his gig as the U.S. ambassador to the U.K., everyone could be told to clear out.

Bill O’Brien, Texans: While O’Brien likely isn’t in much danger in the looming firing-and-hiring cycle, what if they get swept by the team that used to be in Houston and in turn miss the playoffs? At a minimum, such a dramatic fall after finally beating the Patriots would put O’Brien at the top of the hot-seat list entering 2020.

Zac Taylor, Bengals: It’s been a disaster in Cincinnati this year, but the Bengals don’t like to pay people to not work. That alone will save Taylor, probably for as long as he has years left on his contract.

The Wild Card: Every year, there’s a firing or resignation (forced or otherwise) that wasn’t expected. Mentioning that is my way of protecting myself from not having mentioned a coach or two who end up out. Not mentioning potential names is my way of ensuring that those coaches don’t threaten to punch my lights out for suggesting that they could end up out.

42 responses to “Which coaches are in danger of being fired?

  1. I know Pederson won a SB, butbhe rolled that year with a last place schedule. Since then he is .500 or a little better. 2 yrs removed and yes he should be on the hot seat. This staff can not draft or develop talent.

  2. Anyone who has trouble getting a read on Jerry Jones regarding Jason Garrett simply isn’t paying attention. Jones clearly doesn’t WANT to fire Garrett, but also clearly feels that he can’t hold steady if the team continues to fail to take off. Thus, he WILL fire Garrett, UNLESS the team finally makes at least something of a run that shows it can navigate playoff waters under the current head coach. We of course don’t yet know the outcome because the “input” for that final decision has yet to develop.

  3. I disagree on Pederson. In my book he gets one more year to have a winning record. One coach that could be mentioned is Zimmer, like the guy in Texas or Dallas, he should win 2 playoff games or the Vikings should hit the reset button.

  4. Quinn and Patricia are not in the midst of some cultural shift. They cannot evaluate talent. Their drafts have been awful. Tavai??? I don’t care if you turn the football operation into a top-down, alpha bro organization. All you’ll have is a bunch of guys who can’t play but are afraid to speak truth to power.

  5. Wild card must be Zimmer………if the Vikings fail to make the postseason. When you’re operating under a guarantee, there are expectations.

  6. Pederson should not and is not on the hot seat. This team was doomed by injuries. Howie had several bad drafts. Doug is going nowhere. FLYEaglesFLY.

  7. Matt Patricia needs to be fired. He took over a 9-7 team with a franchise QB. He was suppose to get them over the hump and they’ve gone right into the toilet. He is a so called defensive guru but the defense is awful. New England coaches all fall flat on their face when they don’t have Belicheat there to help them.

  8. Matt Patricia is not a head coach. It’s hard to believe he was even a good coordinator. He has the whole Belichick coaching tree thing going for him but not much else.

  9. As if Woody Johnson’s return would make any difference for the Jets. He’s the Mr. Magoo of NFL owners. There’s a perfectly good reason why the Johnson family lets him nowhere near the real family business.

  10. I think some coaching jobs will change based solely on who is available and which owners want which “big name” coach
    Say for instance a few of those top college coaches want a shot at the NFL? What if Cowher decides he wants to coach? There definitely will be a surprise hire that nobody saw coming.
    I would like to see Jimmy Johnson come back to coach. So a team with tons of draft capital and salary cap would be perfect for him to build a team.
    No, not Miami. I think Flores is doing an incredible job.

  11. Patricia demands discipline from young men in top physical condition. Yet he seems to have no self-discipline at all. Looks like he’s gained even more weight this season. And enough with the silly pencil shtick. That’s a laminated play call sheet he’s holding.

  12. Zimmer has won a grand total of 1 playoff games in his nearly 6 years in MN. Many consider him the best coach in the history of their franchise. I think he keeps his job, because the Vikings franchise embraces mediocrity.

  13. Heres a guy who can come and punch MY lights out, lol.

    Matt Nagy.

    Why prolong the inevitable? After today the Bears will be eliminated by their arch nemesis, SWEPT in the 100th year of their rivalry, exposing Nagy yet again for the FRAUD that he is.

  14. Martha Ford will not make any changes to either Quinn or Patricia. She’s happy with sub par football as long as she makes her money.

  15. The Eagles will win their division
    host a playoff game
    and win it.
    With a little luck they will host the Vikings in the NFC Championship
    and end up losing to the Ravens in the Superbowl.
    Pederson is safe.

  16. I don’t understand why MF campaigns so hard for a third year of Quinn and Patricia. The only argument is to look at SF? That’s it? These guys aren’t that. Those early season competitive games also lacked finishing power. This defense is horrible and they gave away Diggs for nothing. Another year of this is pointless. Maybe the Browns should give Kitchens another year too. He could finish with a plus 500 season.

  17. Nice not to see Mr. Tomlin’s name on here. If he was 8-5 without all of the injuries, especially to Ben, I think he might be on here. Shanahan and Harbaugh deserve to be front runners for COTY, but if Tomlin and the Steelers end at 10-5 or even 11-6, he deserves to be in there as well.

    Kitchens needs a new shirt, (“Pittsburgh started it”) or one with this on the back: “But wearing this shirt in public was the beginning of the end.”

  18. The latest reports from the Browns suggest that barring some “historic collapse,” Kitchens will be back cooking next year. The Browns’ final three games are

    @ ARI
    vs BAL
    @ CIN

    They could lose at least two of those games, and it’s not crazy to think they could lose all three. If they do lose them all, that would be the kind of scenario where Kitchens still gets axed.

  19. ariani1985…I’m with you. Fire Thompson and McCarthy again. Bums. They deserve to get fired twice. In fact, fire them every damn year until they finally get the message.

  20. The Giants are re-building, and I’d stay the course. Last year John Harbaugh had a rookie QB and he was on the hot list, and if anyone suggested Lamar Jackson would become an MVP QB the following year, they’d have been committed to a mental institution. Ditto Josh Allen. Buffalo also had a rookie QB and their coach, Sean McDermott was on the hot seat too. Both McDermott and Harbaugh will receive votes this year for coach of the year, as their second year QB’s have improved dramatically (which is normal) and Harbaugh will probably win. The only coach on this list that shouldn’t be a head coach is in Jacksonville, but that entire organization needs cleaned out from top down. Firing a coach with a rookie QB a sign bad ownership, as the coach usually isn’t the problem. Also a young QB doesn’t benefit from coaching changes this early in his career.

  21. I think the wild card is Zimmer as many stated above. I’m a Vikings fan, and but an 0-3 run here is definitely not impossible. The defense stinks and that’s his hallmark. Another playoff miss, or a bad showing in the playoffs could mark at least a forced retirement.

  22. Zimmer and Spielman’s contracts both run through the 2020 season. The Vikings exercised the option year. Expect both to be extended this offseason, regardless of playoff success.

  23. Often the GM gets fired to allow the new guy to retain or bump the current coach.

    Shurmur will stay – but only because an average talent D under Bettscher grossly underperformed. Get a DC worth a lick and they’ll be 9-7 next year. The Jints were the highest scoring team in the NFC East last year. It can happen again with a semblance of stopping power.

  24. If the Dolphins beat the Giants, Mara and Tisch should come down from the owner’s box and fire Shurmur right there on the field – don’t even let him get to the post-game presser.

  25. Freddie Kitchens will get fired & will attend the press conference with a t-shirt that reads, ” Pittsburgh got me fired! ” !

  26. When the Pack loses their next two and Rams win out to steal the #6 seed, what do the Packers do? Whatever it is, it will involve another 25 year run of no TDs in the play offs.

  27. Jerry Jones does not need to fire Jason Garrett, and he’s not going to. He simply will not offer him a contract extension and let him go.

    Jones put this entire season on the coaching staff and players. Win the division, advance in the playoffs, at least get to the conference championship, and maybe the Super Bowl. That’s it.

    Jones has not signed Prescott or Cooper to a long term contract. He has signed Elliott. We’ll see how that works out.

    These Cowboys are at a turning point. They haven’t won a divisional round, appeared in a conference championship, much more a Super Bowl, since 1995. And they haven’t won any.

    Ever since Jerry Jones has become large and in charge, the Dallas Cowboys have been losing. Except for one Super Bowl in which Switzer managed the team that Landry built and Johnson added the pieces to.

    This is the game that will determine the season. The Rams are not coming to Dallas to lose, of that you can be assured. The question is, will the Cowboys show up to win? The answer is, that has yet to be determined.

  28. Zac Taylor won’t be fired. Mike Brown doesn’t give up on a guy after a year, especially after injuries to their best player and first round draft pick. If they thought he could work with a quarterback last year, they’ll let him work with Joe Burrow, assuming that’s who they draft, next year. If Jonah Williams and AJ Green are healthy, it could be totally different.

  29. I agree Shurmur needs to go, but find the mentality difference between Detroit and the Giants odd. If anyone should get more rope it’s the guy breaking in a rookie QB.

Leave a Reply

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

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.