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In baseball, it's almost time for the All-Star break. But, to me, that means something else. Namely, it says the NFL season is right around the corner. This year is shaping up to be one of the most fun campaigns in recent memory. There have been plenty of player moves, with good prospects coming via the draft, established veterans changing teams and plenty of new units that will be trying to figure out how to challenge this year. And organizations that fail to meet expectations often feel a change in leadership at the top is needed. Let's take a look at seven head coaches who just might be looking for a new gig after the season is over. And, in some cases, it may be even earlier than that.
Marvin Lewis Is The President Of The Hot Seat Club
The Cincinnati Bengals have made the playoffs in seven of Marvin Lewis’ 15 years at the helm of the team. That's pretty good. But in those seven tries, they have failed to win even once. That's really bad. What's even worse is they've gone just 13-18-1 over their last two seasons. The offense has been one of the worst in the league the previous two years, despite the fact that they have had Andy Dalton at quarterback and A.J. Green at wide receiver. They just can’t get their offense going and it has cost them. Every year it seems Lewis is the President of the Hot Seat Club and every year he somehow survives. But the grumbling in Cincinnati has gotten louder, and this just may be the year. However, keep in mind, Bengals fans, right up until the moment his butt hits the ground, Charlie Brown really believes THIS time Lucy will hold the football. As a side note, if Lewis goes, Dalton will also disappear faster than a bowl of 5-Way Skyline Chili.
Hue Jackson Needs To Show Improvement Or Else
The Cleveland Browns will not be in the postseason this year, but they have made some very nice moves to upgrade their team. Now, Coach Hue Jackson needs to make sure those moves translate to on-field improvement. The good news for Jackson is that bar should still be pretty low in light of last year’s 0-16 horror show. That followed a 1-15 mark in his first season at the helm. That means he has just one more victory in two years than a package of Beer Nuts. The Browns have never released details of Jackson's contract, but the best guess would be in the $2 million/year range. And just in case you're wondering, a package of Beer Nuts is like $1.79. Just sayin'. Jackson has lots of new toys, especially on offense. Top draft pick QB Baker Mayfield, free agent WR Jarvis Landry, and ex-49er RB Carlos Hyde highlight the list. But it's Cleveland, where careers go to die, and the pressure will be on Jackson to get them to mesh together and perform well. A four-win season probably won't save his job, but if he can get to six or seven wins, he will almost certainly be back for another year.
Can Tannehill Save Adam Gase’s Job?
The Miami Dolphins were expected to be contenders last year, but then they lost QB Ryan Tannehill for the season and it was all over from there as they finished 6-10. Their offense finished 28th in the league in scoring as they discovered there was a pretty good reason Jay Cutler had retired. He probably should have stayed in the booth where he was doing a good job. He also had been sacked zero times in his short time behind the mic. That would have probably been preferable to last season when he alternated between throwing interceptions and running for his life behind a dreadful offensive line and no running game. The defense also struggled as they were 29th in points allowed and the Fins were outscored by 112 points, their worst showing since 1968. If Tannehill comes back healthy and leads them to the playoffs, then Gase’s job may be saved, but if they struggle to a losing season then he will not survive the falling ax.
Dirk Koetter Will Not Survive Another Losing Season
Next on our list of coaches that could be looking for new employment soon is Dirk Koetter of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Bucs were the sexy pick to challenge in the south last year, but they skidded to a 5-11 record after going 9-7 in Koetter’s first year at the helm. This team has a world of talent and their performance was a bit of a mystery. Jameis Winston appears to be the real deal, and he has some very good receivers with whom to work. Despite that, they were a disappointing 18th in the league in scoring. This year, they will have to start without Winston, who has been suspended for the first three games. The Bucs begin the season at New Orleans and have Philadelphia and Pittsburgh at home in their next two games, so they are staring down the barrel of a 0-3 start. That makes the seat under Koetter’s keister that much hotter. He will not survive another losing season, and if he starts 0-3, and then drops the next game at Chicago, he may not survive September. The belief is the Bucs have way too much talent not to be a factor in the South, and if Koetter isn't the right man for the job, they won't hesitate to try and find the guy that is.
The Seahawks Looking In Another Direction?
It is a bit shocking to see Pete Carroll on the list, but if they have another nine-win season and no playoffs, then the Seahawks may be looking to go in a new direction in 2019. Seattle was one of the best and deepest teams in the league, but Carroll has pretty much allowed them to wither away to just Russell Wilson and some other average guys. They have no running game, the Legion of Boom is gone and their defense as a whole is starting to take on the look of a team in need of an overhaul. They finished 13th in points last year, after finishing 7th or better in each of their previous six seasons. This team is just a shell of its former self and it happened quickly after the Seahawks played in back-to-back Super Bowls just four short years ago. Carroll may not be fired, but if they don’t make the postseason then he could be just requested to "retire."
Jason Garrett May Not Survive The Hangman’s Noose A Third Time
Jason Garrett was Coach of the Year back in 2016, but went just 9-7 last year and missed out on the postseason. In his seven seasons with the Cowboys, they have been to the playoffs just twice and have one playoff win to their credit. This team is way too talented right now for them to miss the postseason as they have a very good offense led by Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott, and Dez Bryant. Their defense was a top-eight unit in the league last year and was led by Demarcus Lawrence, who was tied for 2nd in the league in sacks with 14.5. Garrett saved his job in 2014 by going 12-4 and then in 2016 by going 13-3, but unless he makes the postseason this year and gets a win, owner Jerry Jones could be serenading Garrett with his favorite Janet Jackson song, "What Have You Done for Me Lately?"
Vance Joseph Has Let The Defense Go To Pot
The Denver Broncos won the Super Bowl back in 2015 thanks to one of the best defenses in the league. They then went just 9-7 in their next year and let Gary Kubiak go. Enter Vance Joseph, who was thought to be one of the NFL's top defensive minds. His Broncos wound up going just 5-11 and their defense ranked 22nd in the league in scoring. That unit has way too much talent for that to happen. Even if they fix the defense this year, the offense is still a mess as John Elway continues to prove he is much better at being a quarterback than he is evaluating them. They did bring in Case Keenum, but can he duplicate what he did at Minnesota with less offensive talent? The Broncos did have a very good draft this, but still, unless they make it to the postseason, Joseph will almost certainly be looking for new employment next year.
There you have it, seven coaches who will enter the season on the hot seat. If they all struggle, then we could have a lot of new faces roaming the sidelines next year. Dis-honorable mentions are Mike McCarthy of Green Bay and Jay Gruden of Washington.