Every new NFL season sees new head coaches leading their teams on opening weekend. 2020 is no different with 5 ‘new’ head coaches leading their franchises. Mike McCarthy takes charge in Dallas, Ron Rivera leads the for now-renamed Washington Football Team, Kevin Stefanski steps up from OC in Minnesota to the top job with the Browns, Joe Judge takes over the Giants and Matt Rhule transitions from college football to the NFL to guide the Carolina Panthers.
With change inevitable atop the NFL coaching tree, we take a look at the coaches how might not make it to 2021 in charge of their respective teams.
5. Dan Quinn
Dan Quinn has now been in charge of the Atlanta Falcons for 5 seasons, and has an NFC Championship on his resume. However, his star appears to be waning. With an overall win percentage of .538, things are certainly not terrible in Atlanta, but there is a lingering feeling of ‘could do better’ with this team.
The 2016 season, in which the Falcons were an offensive juggernaut, is fading into the background, and the influence of Kyle Shanahan on that team long gone. The less said about their Super Bowl collapse the better.
Dan Quinn, a defensive coach by trait, has not been able to instil anything resembling a top defence during his time in Atlanta. Only 2 winning seasons in 5 is also not a great look.
With a tough schedule, and tough division, it is difficult to see the Falcons path to the playoffs. Another year on the outside looking in could be enough for the Falcons hierarchy to make a change in the hot seat
4. Matt Nagy
Now heading into Year 3 of the Matt Nagy era, Bears fans appear divided on their opinion of him. Initially seen as a rising start as Offensive Co-ordinator under Andy Reid in Kansas City, Nagy has enjoyed an up-and-down spell in the Windy City.
He managed to orchestrate a divisional win in his first season in charge, on the back of a ferocious defence and the remarkable amount of turnovers they generated. However, last season, particularly uneasy, with the Bears offence really struggling.
Nagy does have some credit in the bank – a playoff berth in his first seasons, and the first Bears coach in their history to win 20 games over their first two seasons in charge. However, if they struggle again this year, ownership may look to pair up a new coach and QB for the 2021 season.
3. Matt Patricia
With a 9-22-1 record during his 2 seasons in charge of the Lions, Matt Patricia is surely entering ‘shoogly peg’ territory. Billed as a defensive guru from the Belichick tree, Patricia has struggled to come to grips with being the main man in Detroit.
His attempts to turn the Lions into a Patriots lite have not gone well, and signing ex-Patriots such as Trey Flowers to big contracts has not reaped the rewards.
He will be looking for his offence, led by Matt Stafford and wide receiver duo Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones, to lead this team out of purgatory in 2020. However, in a competitive division, the odds don’t look in Patricia’s favour
2. Adam Gase
As a Dolphins fan, I don’t even know where to start with Adam Gase. His role as Peyton Manning’s OC in their record setting season 2013 in Denver brough him to prominence. However, after a short spell in Chicago didn’t work out, he found himself as the Head Coach of the Miami Dolphins.
Despite making the playoffs for the first time in 2008 in his first season in charge, Gase’s time in Miami was a disaster. His offence consistently ranked near the bottom of every measurable metric, and he alienated senior players who have gone on to flourish out with Gase’s influence.
How he landed the top job in New York is anyone’s guess. Last season was by no means a success. With a new GM in Joe Douglas, who may being looking to bring in his own man, Gase surely will have to do something spectacular this year to retain his job.
1. Doug Marrone
In truth, I’m surprised that Marrone has remained in charge of the Jaguars for the 2020 season, never mind 2021. The 2017 season, in which the Jaguars went to the AFC Championship game and maybe should have made the Super Bowl, aside the Jaguars are back where they have been for a long-time – in the lower echelons of the league.
With nearly all the key components of ‘Sacksonville’ – Jalen Ramsey, AJ Bouye, Calais Campbell, Yannick Ngakoue, Telvin Smith, Paul Posluszny etc – no longer on the team, 2017 seems a distant memory.
There are however, reasons for optimism. Josh Allen looks great as a pass rusher, they seemed to recruit well in the draft with CJ Henderson and K’lavon Chaisson. But would anyone bet against a bright, up and coming coach being paired with Trevor Lawrence in Duval county for 2021?