NFL Hot Seat
The 2017 NFL season is inching closer as we’re under 50 days to kickoff. Even though the season hasn’t yet started, it’s never too early to speculate which coaches are on the hot seat. We all know the NFL is a results business. I do focus on the QB-Coach relationship in this article because these are two of the most important positions in football. Coaching changes are very important for fantasy every year, especially in dynasty. After all, if you have WRs who go from a Sean Payton style coach to a (shudder) Jeff Fisher-type, you’re going to see a big change in player value. Let’s highlight the seven coaches who could get a pink slip sometime this year.
9-23 with the Chicago Bears (.281) | Career Record 128-112 (.533)
Chicago hasn’t seen the results they were hoping for when they hired Fox, with a record of 9-23 in the past two seasons. Fox hasn’t had the cream of the crop to work with as far as the roster goes. Last season saw Fox having to string together the QB position between Jay Cutler, Brian Hoyer, and Matt Barkley. Given that, it isn’t surprising that the Bears opted to draft QB Mitchell Trubisky from North Carolina in the draft. What IS surprising is how many reports came out after the draft that Fox wasn’t told about the plan before it happened. Chicago decided to trade quite a bit to move up one spot and didn’t tell the head coach. When a coach and the front office aren’t on the same page on franchise altering decisions, someone has to go. Barring a dramatic improvement in 2017, Fox is the safe bet to take that fall.
118-103 with the Cincinnati Bengals (.533)
It’s pretty easy to peg any coach in the final year of his contract as on the hot seat. It’s also very true in this case, as Lewis would most likely have already been fired by most organizations. His regular season results aren’t that bad, with a record of 118-103-3 in 14 seasons. Lewis also has six seasons of double digit wins, four of which came in the last five seasons. The Bengals took a step back in 2016, but that may have had something to do with maybe the worst playoff loss ever. Special shout out from Pittsburgh fans to Joey Porter for stirring the pot at exactly the right time. Anyways, the main reason Lewis is on the hot seat is he has as many wins in the playoffs as I do. That’s a terrible stat for a coach that has led his team to the postseason 7 times. At some point, Lewis will have to get it done when it matters most. He’s quickly running out of time.
49-31 with the Indianapolis Colts (.613)
It’s actually kind of surprising that Pagano is even starting 2017 as the Colts head coach. Firstly, owner Jim Irsay fired ex-GM Ryan Grigson during the off-season. It’s typically an odd situation when the GM is brought in and doesn’t get to pick his own head coach. Secondly, Adam Schefter reported that Irsay was turned down by current Monday Night Football analyst Jon Gruden to be the new head coach. It’s very clear that Irsay is not behind Pagano whatsoever. When you factor in that and Pagano having a .500 record the past two seasons, Pagano is under immense pressure this year. He and QB Andrew Luck must have a good showing this season.
94-66 with the New Orleans Saints (.588)
Most coaches with the combination of tenure and success (94-66, 1 Super Bowl win, five playoff berths) wouldn’t make this list. The issue for Payton is he and the Saints have fallen on hard times. Three consecutive 7-9 campaigns will make it hard for any coach to survive. Payton has also been dogged by rumors of heading out the door for another team and/or getting traded for at least the past two off-seasons. The link will lead to a 2016 report and he was rumored to be interested in the Los Angeles Rams job this past year. In addition to that, QB Drew Brees is certainly near the end of his career. If Payton can’t find a way to have the Saints close to a playoff spot or at least over .500, the Saints could opt to move on from their coach and QB combo to begin a full rebuild.
27-21 with the Detroit Lions (.563) | 53-43 in his career (.522)
Another candidate that may raise some eyebrows, Caldwell could be on a short leash in Motown. In three seasons, Caldwell has gone 27-21 and seen the playoffs twice. He has yet to guide the team to a postseason victory and some observers will point to the fact Detroit lost three straight games in 2016 to lose the division to the Green Bay Packers. After a 9-4 start, a Wild Card berth and subsequent loss to the Seattle Seahawks seemed disappointing. It’s also a red flag when the team has to put down rumors the week of a playoff game about whether the head coach is coming back next season. As of this writing, QB Matthew Stafford will be a free agent in 2018. It’s fair to wonder if the Lions find a new coach to guide Stafford through the back half of his career.
11-5 with the Giants (.688)
This one is a bit of speculation on my part because McAdoo is only entering his second season as head coach. His first season saw an excellent 11-5 record that drew the bad luck of facing the Green Bay Packers in Lambeau Field. Green Bay won that game, leaving the Giants searching for how to get to the next level. New York added veteran WR Brandon Marshall and TE Evan Engram in the draft to help the offense. The Giants bring back a defense mostly intact after spending a fortune in 2016 free agency. The bottom line is this – QB Eli Manning has a short time remaining in his career. The time is now or never to try and squeeze another Super Bowl out of him. If the Giants have a bad year, New York could have a quick trigger with a new head coach.
15-17 with the Jets (.469)
I saved the easiest call for last because I would be stunned if Bowles survives this season. He doesn’t have the track record to survive a terrible season and the Jets are going to have just that. Owner Woody Johnson had to give Bowles a vote of confidence at the end of 2016, which usually isn’t a great sign. They’ve moved on from Brandon Marshall, Eric Decker, and David Harris. Their QB options are journeyman Josh McCown, Christian Hackenberg, and Bryce Petty. There are already rumors about New York tanking this season to the point where WR Quincy Enunwa is addressing it. When this is what players are dealing with before training camp even starts, it’s going to be a long year.
Source: NFL News