NFL Coaching Hot Seats
November 21, 2013
The annual coach on the hot seat lists are beginning. I watched quite a few games last week and put some thought into my own list. The second half of a NFL season can be a tough time for head coaches on losing teams. Many of those coaches are coaching for their jobs. In other words, they are trying to show signs of improvement before the new year so they can have something to hang their hat on heading into the following season.
I believe there are about a dozen NFL head coaches who have to be feeling some feelings of distress. They have six weeks left to make their case to return in 2014.
Let me start with two guys who many thought would be gone last year. Rex Ryan (Jets) and Jim Schwartz (Lions). After nice starts to their respective seasons, both seem safe to return next season. However, both suffered bad losses last week. If either of them lose five of their last six games, questions could arise again.
I also think Gus Bradley is safe at Jacksonville. Though the Jags have only won one game thus far, expectations were already quite low. He should return for year two. The Oakland Raiders will likely keep Dennis Allen. The Raiders just do not have a great deal of talent and they still find a way to win six games or so.
I do think Leslie Frazier (Vikings) and Mike Shanahan may get their walking papers. I lumped them together because both took their teams to the playoffs last season. The Vikings are in total disarray. It seems like their only asset is Adrian Peterson. Shanahan may be the league’s most overrated coach. The Redskins are now 3-7 this season. I just do not see them winning more than six games this year. If they do win six, that would leave Shanahan with a four-year record of 27-37.
Even with RGIII, it is not working in our nation’s capital. Of course, not much else is working in Washington, DC these days.
There are two coaches that better find their way into the playoffs or they will likely be packing their bags. Joe Philbin (Dolphins) and Jason Garrett (Cowboys) need to extend their 2013 seasons. Philbin and Miami are receiving national attention due to the ongoing Jonathan Martin–Richie Incognito situation. From the outside looking in, it looks like he has little control of his team. And his team is just 5-5 after a recent loss to previous winless Tampa Bay. Garrett pretty much knew coming in that he had to get to post season play. The Cowboys are also 5-5 and clearly have not taken advantage of being n a weak NFC East.
Heading into the season, one would never think that Tom Coughlin (Giants), Mike Smith (Falcons), or Mike Tomlin (Steelers) would be on this list. All three franchises have been fixtures in the playoffs in recent years. Not this year. None of them will make in this season. I think Coughlin and Tomlin are safe. I am not so sure about Smith. He is already known as a coach who underachieves when he does play extra games.
You can almost count on Gary Kubiak (Texans) and Greg Schiano (Bucs) being fired.
Ted Ginn, Jr.
Houston has completely fallen apart after being considered a Super Bowl threat back in August. Tampa Bay has too much talent to have just two wins at this point.
Hold no, let me add Mike Munchak (Titans) to the almost sure to be gone list. Tennessee has not won in a while and are two weeks removed from losing at home to lowly Jacksonville.
NASCAR Retirements Ahead?
Ho-hum, Jimmie Johnson won another title. The second major story out there heading into the offseason centers around retirement talk. Could it be that we have seen the final Sprint Cup races for the likes of Mark Martin, Jeff Burton, Bobby Labonte, and Ken Schrader. Rumors are swirling around this quartet. These are pretty big names in the world of racing. Though all are in the twilight of their careers, the retirements, if they happen, will not have a huge impact on the sport. At least within the championship chase.
Personally, I do feel their personalities will be missed around the garage areas. Martin, especially, has been such a great ambassador for the circuit. I also think that NASCAR may be somewhat worried about the impact within the core of their fan base. Losing this quartet basically means that only Jeff Gordon would remain from the good old days of the 1990’s. Are the sport’s older fans ready to move on to the next generation. Officials have admitted that the last group that left the sport, Dale Jarrett, Bill Elliott, Terry Labonte, and Rusty Wallace, took some fans with them.
NASCAR will survive. It did when Richard Petty walked away and it did after the Dale Earnhardt tragedy. And it will again.
Did You Know....
Did you know that the Carolina Panthers have the top-rated defense in the NFL. You probably do now, after Carolina toppled Tom Brady and the New England Patriots, 24-20, Monday night. That makes six in a row for the Panthers. Carolina has not done that since 2005...Did you know that Ted Ginn, Jr., is more than a kick returner? You do now as the veteran kick returner, in his first season as a Panthers’ wide receiver, caught the game-winning touchdown pass from Cam Newton against New England....Did you know that the second hottest team, behind the Panthers, is the New York Giants? After getting off to a dismal 0-6 start, the Giants have ridden a four-game winning streak. They’re a game back of the Cowboys and Eagles for the NFC East crown...Did you know that the four starting quarterbacks the Giants have played against during their modest winning streak were Josh Freeman, Matt Barkley, Terrelle Pryor, and Scott Tolzien? Not exactly household names. In other words, let’s hold off on proclaiming the old New York Giants are back...Did you know that the Lenoir-Rhyne University Football team is a top seed in the Division II National Championship Tournament? It has been a long time since the Bears were in the national picture....You might want to take a look at LR basketball this winter?
Did you know that Auburn football is back. The program slid backwards quickly after Cam Newton left but it is back in 2013 and could give top-ranked Alabama a game in a few weeks.