The coaching and GM carousel has become the in vogue offseason thing to do for franchises in the midst of a transition. Gone are the days of Tom Landry coaching a team for 29 years, Jeff Fisher for 16 years, and soon, Andy Reid for 14 years. A what have you done for me lately mentally, taken to the extreme, has resulted in the extreme uneasiness every coach and GM feels after a year they finish in the bottom half of the league. But, all the more fun for us speculators. Let’s take a look at the hottest of hot seats in the NFL as we head down the stretch run.
10. Mike Munchak/Ruston Webster – Tennessee Titans
Let’s start at the bottom shall we? The iciest of these hot seats is head coach Mike Munchak and GM Ruston Webster in Tennessee. They were a terribly disappointing team to start the season but have bounced back, at least competitively. Their record now stands at 4-6, a great improvement over their start of 1-4. Munchak has found a way to get RB Chris Johnson going again, finally. It is unlikely that they will lose their jobs this offseason. (after only 2 years and 1 year, respectively, at the helm) But, these two need to be on notice, if they can’t find a way to improve their team, they may be leading this list by next offseason.
9. Chan Gailey/Buddy Nix – Buffalo Bills
The sad, sad Bills. They haven’t had any success getting to the playoffs since the 2000’s started and have had little success in the playoffs since their great runs to Super Bowls in the early 90’s. While they too are sitting at a disappointing 4-6 record on the season so far, their seat feels secure, but not for the timeframe reasons of Munchak/Webster. Gailey/Nix have pulled out their ace in the hole. Even though they just signed QB Ryan Fitzpatrick to a 7 year, $62.195 million contract in the offseason, they have announced they will be looking to draft a QB in the draft. The classic last ditch effort for a GM. Pin your name to a young QB and hope for the best. Never mind that, while he has been disappointing, the defense and not Fitzpatrick is the problem of this team. This is another duo that will see the top of this list next year without improvement.
8. Jim Schwartz – Detroit Lions
The first coach that stands alone. Schwartz has been a great coach to infuse the awful Lions with an attitude of winning and a bit of a Napoleon complex. The question is if he can push this team over the hump, on and off the field. The players seem to love and respect him, but a player’s coach is not often the coach that rally’s the troops to a win in the dog days of the playoffs. Not to mention his lack of creativity and knowledge when it comes to game planning and in game procedure. As evidenced by his loss of an automatic review of an 80+ yard touchdown run that wasn’t because of his illegal use of the challenge flag. After finishing 2011 with a 10-6 record and their first playoff berth since 1999, they have stumbled to a 4-7 record. Recent success usually means he won’t get fired, but if GM Martin Mayhew recognizes what I do, then Schwartz is on a seat that is getting hotter by the minute.
7. Pat Shurmur/Tom Heckert/Mike Holmgren – Cleveland Browns
The only reason this group of guys leading the always disappointing Browns isn’t higher is because this is already a done deal. These three men’s seats have already started cooling because they are being shuffled out the door as the season draws to a close. After new owner Jimmy Haslam took over, he installed a new CEO, Joe Banner, to take over Holmgren’s responsibilities. The coach and GM will be out the door with Holmgren so that Banner can bring in his own people. Done and done.
6. Jason Garrett – Dallas Cowboys
Why isn’t the GM on the hot seat along with this coach? Well, the GM is also the owner, Jerry Jones. The Cowboys still have an outside shot at the playoffs (very outside) and that is the only reason Garrett is listed at 6th. If this team was 3-8, Garrett may have sealed his fate. But, by doing that oh so annoying Cowboy thing, where they just refuse to bite the bullet, he is keeping his job intact. Jerry Jones is a big spender and could be looking at those enticing big name coaches like Gruden and Cowher once the season is over. Good luck fending off those names Garrett.
5.Ron Rivera/Marty Hurney (already fired) – Carolina Panthers
The Panthers were the team that many thought would take the jump to the playoffs this year. With Cam Newton taking the next step in his career and taking the NFL by storm once more. However, Newton has gotten caught up in the dreaded sophomore slump and without any discernible weapons to help him, the team has fallen to a woeful 2-8. Marty Hurney already lost his job earlier in the season after his terrible decisions, which are outlined here. Ron Rivera’s only chance to stay on as head coach is attached to interim GM Brandon Beane. Any new GM will want to bring in their own coach, so if a GM that agreed with Rivera’s hiring is kept on, then he has a chance. Without Beane, this seat jumps up to the top.
4. Rex Ryan/Mike Tannenbaum – New York Jets
Only number 4?! Success can by you quite a bit of leeway in the NFL. Rex Ryan’s first two seasons resulted in a 20-12 record with two AFC Championship appearances. The last two seasons have been less extravagant, where Ryan now sits with a record of 4-7. Ryan seems to have lost control of this locker room over the last two years, but that could be put on the shoulders of either Rex or GM Mike Tannenbaum. This team is a Frankenstein’s monster of terrible personality mixes and Tannenbaum might as well go out and bring in Terrell Owens at this point. The Tim Tebow signing, with no intent to use him, was foolish and crazy after signing Mark Sanchez to a 5 year, $58.25 million contract. Tannenbaum went from a savvy GM to creating the scariest (not in a good way) roster in the NFL. In-fighting, injuries and expectations may have doomed this New York duo.
3. Norv Turner/A.J. Smith – San Diego Chargers
The Chargers are perennially disappointing, whether it be in the playoffs or in the early season. Every year they have to muster up a 4-0 December to make the post season and surprise everyone. But if there is enough talent on this roster to go 4-0 in any given month, they shouldn’t need to go 4-0 in December. Norv Turner MUST go for the Chargers to dig themselves out of this rut. A.J. Smith is no better as he has let franchise caliber players leave without adequately replacing them either through the draft or free agency. Phillip Rivers is no longer elite, but he no longer has elite weapons around him. Vincent Jackson was a godsend for Rivers and this downfield attack. Letting him walk in free agency was as dumb a move as Smith has made. Right up there with believing in Ryan Mathews. At 4-6, the Chargers need to hit the restart button A.S.A.P.
2. Andy Reid – Philadelphia Eagles
As I said with Rex Ryan, success can by you a lot of leeway in the NFL, but it is also a what have you done for me lately league. Andy Reid is one of the longest tenured coaches in the NFL, in his 14th year with the team and he has 9 playoff appearances in that span. Two disappointing seasons in a row seems to be the benchmark for firings these days though. Along with Reid seemingly losing control of the players and some of his questionable personnel decisions. (Don’t be fooled Reid is the man pulling the strings on personnel decisions not GM Howie Roseman) This seems to be the best move for both parties involved however. After Reid lost his son in the offseason it is going to be a tough fire for the Eagles, and there is even a sliver of hope based on his personal troubles and their past success together, but Reid should move on. Reid would undoubtedly be pursued by every other team that fires anyone this offseason, but he would be wise to take a year off to regroup and prepare for his return to football.
1. Romeo Crennel/Scott Pioli – Kansas City Chiefs
They’ve tried the ace in the hole by saying they want a young QB in the draft…two problems, this draft is not a good one, and they already pinned their hopes to an unproven QB in Matt Cassel when they signed him in 2009. Romeo Crennel is not an NFL head coach, evidenced by his terrible use of Jamaal Charles, their best Best and BEST weapon on the team. (4 weeks of less than 15 touches and 2 of more than 30, Jekyll…meet Hyde) I won’t waste any more space on Scott Pioli, just read up on how I feel about him here. These two need to be fired today.