We are still over a month away from NFL training camps yet the 2018 season will begin with a few of the league’s head coaches already squarely on top of a hot seat. Yes, in the Not For Long NFL it is either win now or move on. Here’s a look at the coaches most likely to be on the way out either prior to the end of the season or at season’s close.
Hue Jackson, Really?
Anytime you prepare a list of NFL head coaches on the hot seat you can immediately begin with whoever has the good fortune of coaching in Cleveland. Hue Jackson will enter his third year with a single victory as head coach of the Browns, who became just the second team to go 0-16 in a season when they did so last year. The franchise has made some quality personnel moves, but if Jackson doesn’t show some improvement – namely wins – he might not finish the season.
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Find Some Defense Dirk
Dirk Koetter is known as one of the better offensive minds in the NFL and he’s got the numbers to prove it. After a 9-7 first year as Tampa Bay’s head coach, Koetter and the Bucs regressed to 5-11 in 2017. The reason? Defense. Tampa Bay was absolutely a horrendous defensive football team. They finished dead last in the NFL in total defense and passing defense and gave up nearly 24 points per game. Koetter has a great young quarterback in Jameis Winston and some quality receivers in Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson, and last year’s rookie phenom Chris Godwin. If Koetter and the Bucs don’t figure out the defense, it’s likely that he’ll be out of a job.
One Gruden In, One Gruden Out
While all the hype surrounding Jon Gruden’s return is alive and well in Oakland, younger brother Jay is finding his seat a little warmer as he enters the 2018 season. Gruden did lead his Washington Redskins to the playoffs in 2015 but back-to-back third-place finishes in the NFC East have the younger Gruden squirming a little. Gruden loses QB Kirk Cousins but does gain a veteran in Alex Smith. If Gruden doesn’t produce a postseason run, look for owner Dan Snyder to make a change.
Gase had a profound effect on Miami right away leading the Dolphins to a 10-6 mark and a wildcard entry into the 2016 NFL Playoffs. They were eliminated right away by the Pittsburgh Steelers, but hopes were high. Until last season unfolded. The Dolphins went 6-10 as Gase started dumping players like Ndamukong Suh, Jarvis Landry, and Jay Ajayi in favor of guys who could create a better culture. The problem is that a better culture might not produce enough wins. If it doesn’t, Gase might be on the way out in Miami.
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Just Getting Warm
Given the success of the Denver Broncos over the past decade or so, head coach Vance Joseph can be thankful that his 5-11 season last year didn’t end with his firing. Another season like last and VP John Elway will likely be looking for a new head coach. A similar situation exists for New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles who has back-to-back 5-11 seasons after going 10-6 in 2015. Bowles needs to get QB Sam Darnold ready to play and fix a defense that was mediocre at best in 2017. After eight seasons in Dallas, it would seem that Jason Garrett needs to produce a big season or owner Jerry Jones might make a change. Maybe. The Cowboys have only been to the postseason twice under Garrett, who has a 67-53 record as the Dallas head coach.