The NFL can be a cruel, cruel sport that creates a hot seat for coaches as teams begin to plunder. And with that cruelty comes with the ever-changing winds at the head coach position. Sometimes, coaches like Bill Belicheck have stood the test of time as a single entity for nearly two decades with the New England Patriots.
Other teams … well, let’s just say they haven’t been as fortunate.
Not every team is posting on Indeed for their next head coach, but every season seems to have a revolving door ready to usher in the next interim or mainstay head coach.
The 2019 seasons is only nine weeks old, but that doesn’t mean organizations aren’t looking ahead to their next candidate — whether it be from in-house or outside.
Five head coaches on the hot seat in 2019.
5. Adam Gase – New York Jets
The unfortunate circumstance to all New York teams is that they’re always in the media whether they’re good or bad. When they’re a good team, then New Yorkers are loving life. But when they’re bad? The franchise could be burned down to a crisp in an instant.
Adam Gase took the New York Jets job looking to bring stability and improvement to a team that has some quality players on both sides of the ball. Sam Darnold was supposed to take that next step and their defense filled with players like Jamal Adams and C.J. Mosley were supposed to become dominant.
Even bringing in prized free agent Le’Veon Bell failed to help this team move the ball and opposing offenses have had little restraint moving the ball. So, who do you blame? Naturally, the head coach will take most of the blame, if not all.
Gase has put out a worse product at 1-8 — and coming off a loss to the previously winless Miami Dolphins — which begs the question if he’ll be back next season or not? Or worse, fired midway through the 2019 season.
The saving grace that could keep him with the Jets is acknowledging that the roster isn’t that good and newly appointed general manager Joe Douglas won’t be quick to pull the trigger.
But if the product remains the same in 2020, it’s fair to say that Gase won’t be around much longer with the Jets.
4. Dan Quinn – Atlanta Falcons
Putting all the Super Bowl jokes aside, the fact remains that the Atlanta Falcons since that game have not played well. Which can be head-scratching given the talent on this team.
The Falcons are dangerously approaching a change at the head coach spot to perhaps light a spark that’ll help return this team to its former glory. However, Dan Quinn has always been a defensive-minded coach during his coaching career. Not to say they haven’t had players like Vic Beasley Jr. and Grady Jarrett perform like studs, but their identity has always been more offensive-minded.
It’s never easy to replace a head coach who has instilled a new philosophy the way Quinn has — and the players he coaches definitely seems to have his back — but all good things come to an end eventually. But a record of 1-7 speaks volumes and it’s never an easy pill to swallow.
Quinn might not be fired at the conclusion of this season but it wouldn’t be entirely surprising if general manager Thomas Dimitroff went in a new direction heading into the 2020 season.
3. Zac Taylor – Cincinnati Bengals
This is a tough one for a number of reasons, but one that isn’t entirely ruled out. Zac Taylor was given an impossible job to rectify the job Marvin Lewis did for over a decade … basically overnight.
But, unfortunately, Taylor has coached his team to an 0-7 start to the season that included benching quarterback Andy Dalton on his birthday. Yikes. The question will become if Taylor is a placeholder for someone else or owner Mike Brown will stick with him.
Cincinnati currently holds the No. 1 pick in next year’s NFL draft and will have to make decisions on Dalton and A.J. Green — who stayed put at this year’s NFL trade deadline. The last division championship came in 2015 and since then have put out mostly mediocre talent on the field.
A total rebuild is coming for this organization looking up at the rest of the AFC North, but will Taylor be its head coach in the coming seasons? Remember, the NFL is a cruel sport, and it waits for no one.
2. Pat Shurmur – New York Giants
It’s eerily similar to how the New York Giants mirror the Jets despite being in different conferences. But, nonetheless, the Giants haven’t gotten anything out of Pat Shurmur or its talent in 2019. You bench Eli Manning for Daniel Jones, trade away Odell Beckham Jr. during the offseason and fail to address the many holes on defense.
It hasn’t been easy for Giants fan this decade during the best and worst of times with Manning under center. Even with the electric Saquon Barkley, no head coach has pushed the right buttons.
The Giants have been playing for high draft picks for a number of seasons now, and with that talent income through the draft, you should expect a much better product on the field. But it’s clear that Shurmur has not been the right guy for the job now.
As with every coach on this list, general manager Dave Gettleman will have to make a huge decision that’s in the best interest of the Giants moving forward. Whether it’s to keep Shurmur for one more season or remove him in the foreseeable future, you have to imagine the leash is very tight in these final 7 games.
1. Freddie Kitchens – Cleveland Browns
It’s no surprise to anyone to pencil in Cleveland Browns head coach Freddie Kitchens as the coach who’s on the hottest of seats in 2019. Given that the Browns had one hell of an offseason and had all the hype in the world that this would finally be a contending season.
Sometimes it has looked like Baker Mayfield would vastly improve throwing to Jarvis Landry and Beckham while handing the ball off to Nick Chubb. Cleveland was supposed to be the sexy pick that everyone would fall in love with.
But the sad truth is that they’re 2-6 on the season, not sexy, and not a very-well coached team, that starts at the top with Kitchens. The failure to balance talent on both sides of the ball has cost this team wins — which has been equally confusing when they looked unstoppable against the Baltimore Ravens back in Week 4.
The most likely scenario is that they’re going to stick with Kitchens because firing a head coach in two-straight seasons (Remember Hue Jackson?) isn’t a good look for any organization.
The talent is there for future seasons but perhaps to promote from within wasn’t the best decision to make. Besides, Cleveland’s history of firing head coaches after one season has been notable.
Since 2010, Cleveland head coaches (seven total) have not coached more than three seasons and two (Rob Chudzinski and Gregg Williams) only coached for one season.
Again, the NFL is a cruel, cruel sport.
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