Who’s on the Hot seat? The annual question. Black Monday is mere hours away. Of course it is a sad time for coaches and executives across the league. But for fans it is a time for new beginnings, or relief and distribution depending on their disposition.
As is becoming more common, there are already three vacancies but there are expected to be plenty more over the coming days. Let’s take a look at those fretting going into week 17.
We have already seen the Hot seat take Bill O’Brien (Texans), Dann Quinn (Falcons) & Matt Patricia (Lions) go. All three teams have cleared out both coach and GM – although the Texans didn’t have a choice. We have already seen them start the hiring process with several interviews. But with no standout candidate, they will be competing with others for their top targets.
Clearing their desk
Unsurprisingly Adam Gase appears on the way out of Florham Park. Even a three game win streak surely won’t save the man hired to get the best out of Sam Darnold. That plan has failed. Catastrophically. Darnold has regressed in his third season and has been at best the fourth best QB of the 2018 draft – despite being the expected first overall pick.
Gase has a 9-22 record with the Jets and 32-47 overall. The Jets have the fewest yards per game (275.3 – only the East Rutherford teams have under 325), and the fewest points a game – 15.3.
The plan has failed – it’s time to cut their losses and find the right option for Sam Darnold. Or their first round rookie QB. Gase isn’t just on the Hot seat – his seat is on fire!
It feels a long time since the Jags were in an AFC Championship game in 2017. Even longer still since Doug Marrone opted out of the Bills in 2014 with an impressive 9-7 record. Marrone’s stock has collapsed. He has a 23-42 record in Duval – 12-35 over the last three. The Jags have been last in the AFC South in each of the last three years. The once great ‘Sacksonville’ defence has allowed the most yards and second most points, and much of the talent is long gone.
Tom Coughlin is long gone. At some point, Marrone – and Dave Caldwell, who was 39-87 in Jacksonville – must take responsibility for one of the worst teams of the last decade.
Plus the Jags have the added cache of the first overall pick, which is sure to tempt more than the odd candidate.
Hanging in the balance
This season has been full of hope for the Chargers. That is largely down to Justin Herbert’s record-breaking rookie season. But it has been tampered with frustrations around head coach Anthony Lynn.
All bar three of LA’s games have been one score games. A major problem that LA has had is game management and Lynn has to take the blame for that. Without shambolic mistakes at the end of halves or games, the Chargers’ record could easily be 10-5 and in the playoff race, not 6-9. That’s without key players like Derwin James, Melvin Ingram and Mike Pouncey.
Anthony Lynn has shown great promise but the dichotomy of a 11-20 record over the last two seasons having started 21-11 can not be ignored.
The Bengals have found their guy. Now they need to decide if they have the coach to go with Joe Burrow. They must avoid the situation the Jets find themselves in with Darnold and Gase.
The Bengals have been exciting in 2020 – at least with Burrow under centre. But you can’t escape the fact that Cincinnati are 6-24-1 under Taylor. The Bengals have sixth fewest points, fifth fewest yards. As a result, their point differential is fifth worst this season.
Taylor has been baptised through fire in the AFC North and the Bengals have struggled to lay a scratch. Taylor’s men are 2-9 in the division. If he is given more time, the Bengals have to show serious progression in year three.
The Broncos have struggled in a disappointing AFC West. Having drafted the likes of Jerry Jeudy and a host of skill position players, the Broncos were expected to go toe to toe with the best offences in the league.
In reality, the Broncos have the sixth fewest yards and fourth fewest points. The Broncos have the most interceptions (five more than anyone else) and most turnovers. Drew Lock has proven not to be the answer, with errors and a lack of potency.
The Broncos are guaranteed to finish with a worse record than in Fangio’s debut season. Denver is 12-19 under Fangio. With the amount of fire power on the roster – even without Von Miller – serious changes must be considered heading into 2021.
Minnesota are facing their worst record since 2014. Defeat on Sunday will confirm this as the worst season under Mike Zimmer. Either way they have dropped a long way from the 13-3 season of 2017. Could that create another coaching Hot seat?
Perhaps it is a transition season and Zimmer’s body of work has proven him the man to lead the next generation. The Vikings still have the sixth most yards this season but they have struggled to convert – with 13th most points.
Minnesota have allowed sixth most yards and fifth most points – which will really sting given Zimmer’s roots. And who can forget the Vikings allowing Alvin Kamara’s historic six rushing TDs on Christmas day?
Zimmer has done a great job for the Vikings but it wouldn’t be a massive surprise to see the Vikings front office decide that someone new is needed for the team to take the next step.
Safe and sound
All signs are pointing towards Doug Pederson sticking around for at least one more year in Philadelphia. Pederson was 38-26 coming into this year. A lot of blame for the struggles can be placed on the offence this season, who are yet to score 30 points in a game.
The Eagles lost so much experience in the offseason that it was bound to take a hit but they would have expected to make it to the playoffs nonetheless – especially with an additional wildcard.
Eagles QBs have been sacked 62 times going into week 17. And then there is Carson Wentz, who has regressed significantly over the last two seasons. If the blame is placed at Wentz’s door, it’s more than understandable to give Pederson more time. After all, he did lead them to a Super Bowl victory less than three years ago. And a Super Bowl ring can deflect some Hot seat heat.
Image: Gary McCullough / AP Photo