As we near the final quarter of the 2018 NFL season, the names are starting to pop up. The names being those of current head coaches who are going to be fired either prior to or at season’s end. Some of the names aren’t surprising; others might shock some. Cleveland has already cut Hue Jackson loose. Who’s next?
Bowles Over Todd Bowles went 10-6 in his first season with the Jets but didn’t make the playoffs. After two straight 5-11 campaigns, the Jets are just 3-7 heading into a date with New England, a team which has beaten the Jets 10 of the past 12 times the two teams have played. The Jets have lost four straight and have scored 10 points or less in each of their last three.
The Jets are 1-4 on the road and are simply miserable in the first quarter of games this season. They have been outscored 59-24 in the opening period, which points to poor preparation. No one expected the Jets to be a playoff team with a rookie quarterback (Sam Darnold), but they should be better than 3-7. For that reason, Bowles may be out at season’s end.
Bucs Stop Here Like Bowles, Koetter’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers have regressed during his tenure. The Bucs went 9-7 in Koetter’s first season but failed to make the playoffs. They were 5-11 last season and are off to a 3-7 start in 2018. After starting the season with two impressive wins – they gave New Orleans their only loss – Tampa Bay has won just once and that was against Cleveland. Koetter, an offensive wizard, helps pilot the NFL’s best passing offense (361 yards per game). The problem is that Tampa Bay also possesses the league’s worst defense.
The Bucs give up 32.9 points per game, dead last among the 32 teams in the league. Last week, Tampa Bay put up 35 points on offense and lost. They gave up 38 to the New York Giants. Koetter already fired defensive coordinator Mike Smith and the head coach may be next. The Glazers, who own the franchise, have kept only once coach (Jon Gruden) who has had back-to-back losing seasons.
Not Mile High Enough Just when you think Vance Joseph is on his way out in Denver, he and his Broncos pull off an upset. Denver beat the Chargers 23-22 last Sunday, but that still leaves the Broncos just 4-6 for the season. The victory was just the second in eight games for Denver, which appears headed for a third straight playoff-less season. Joseph’s teams play hard and the defense is sound. The problem is that the Broncos have suffered some injuries on the offensive line and have been inconsistent in moving the ball and scoring. Some of the Broncos’ problems are out of the control of Joseph, but ultimately general manager John Elway will judge Joseph by his wins and losses.
Cooling Off Is this the year that Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones finally has had enough of head coach Jason Garrett? Two weeks ago at 3-5, that had a high probability, but the Cowboys have won two straight and are right back in the NFC playoff race. Dallas will face Washington, which lost starting quarterback Alex Smith for the season last week, on Thursday. The winner will take possession of the NFC East lead. Winning the division will help Garrett’s cause, but this is the final year of his contract. The Cowboys’ inconsistencies during Garrett’s nine-year tenure might put him out of a job.