Unfortunately, the NFL offseason has arrived, but the pressure on coaches to win never ceases. It is also never too early to start looking ahead at the NFL coaching hot seat heading in to the 2018 season.
It goes without saying that established winners like Bill Belichick, Sean Payton and Mike Tomlin should feel very good about their job security at the moment. The same can be said for rising stars like Kyle Shanahan and Sean McVay.
Even though it is becoming less and less unheard of for head coaches to be fired after a single season, all the guys who just took new head coaching jobs are safe unless things go sideways to an extreme extent.
Also, Marvin Lewis has done a nice job in Cincinnati to bring that franchise back to a respectable level. However, the end of last year was the time for him to go and he got another contract extension. Thus, he is excluded from any article like this until further notice.
Here are the coaches not as lucky as those mentioned in the last three paragraphs.
Jackson is well respected around the league. So, it is not all that surprising that there was not much outrage when it was announced he would be back for a third season in Cleveland.
Still, this situation is about as cut and dry as it gets. Jackson is coming off a winless season and has won a grand total of one game with the Browns. Browns management actually sticking with a coach for more than a cup of coffee is refreshing and admirable. They could greatly assist their current coach by somehow finally getting the quarterback position right this offseason.
Regardless, if there is not significant improvement in 2018, Jackson is gone.
Much like Jackson in Cleveland, Joseph’s biggest issue in Denver last year was the quarterback position. The difference is the Broncos and their fan base are not used to picking in the top five of the draft.
How John Elway will address the quarterback position for the Broncos may be the single biggest question of the entire offseason. The roster has talent. Previous head coach Gary Kubiak guided many of the same players to a 9-7 mark in 2016 a year after winning the Super Bowl.
5-11 is not good enough for this franchise. Last year was Denver’s first losing season since 2010. Joseph will need to get this team in or very close to the playoffs in 2018 to keep his job.
No matter who the quarterback is, Joseph and his staff need to limit the careless turnovers and mindless penalties that doomed the Broncos in 2017. Only Cleveland had a worse turnover margin last year.
Reid is an outstanding football coach who has won almost 200 games in this league when regular and postseason stats are combined. However, his lack of postseason success is starting to catch up with him in Kansas City, similar to the way it eventually did in Philadelphia.
Even with an 18-point halftime lead at home, league rushing champion Kareem Hunt was virtually invisible in the second half of Kansas City’s playoff loss to Tennessee. Reid is not solely responsible for the play calling, but that is the kind of loss that people lose their jobs over.
Reid and the Chiefs have taken a huge gamble to start the offseason by shipping ultra-consistent quarterback Alex Smith to Washington. This means the organization is now all in on second-year quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who has infinitely more upside than Smith at this point in their careers. But turning the keys to your franchise over to a young quarterback is always a huge gamble. This is especially true if the guy being replaced has been reasonably successful like Smith.
The bottom line is this. With the way last season ended and this offseason began, heads are going to roll in Kansas City if the 2018 season does not produce another trip to the playoffs as well as a win or two once the Chiefs get there. The first guy out is almost always the head coach.
Lovie Smith was forced out of Tampa Bay a couple years ago so that young quarterback Jameis Winston could be polished by Koetter, whose background is on the offensive side of the ball.
Year two of the Winston-Koetter marriage was a disaster. Tampa Bay’s win total decreased by four from 2016. Moreover, two of their five wins came with journeyman Ryan Fitzpatrick starting at quarterback for an injured Winston.
The two big concerns on Winston coming out of Florida State were maturity and turnovers. Neither has been adequately cured under Koetter. Winston and the Bucs likely need a playoff appearance in 2018 to keep Koetter around. Otherwise, the head coach is always going to be shuffled out of town before the young quarterback with loads of raw talent.
Even though the Cowboys have not reached the conference championship game since the glory days of Troy Aikman and Emmitt Smith, Jerry Jones always thinks his team is a legitimate contender. So, Jason Garrett should be nervous if the 2018 season fails to live up to expectations that are probably unrealistic.
Adam Gase is also worth keeping an eye on in Miami. He gambled on bringing Jay Cutler out of retirement to fill in for an injured Ryan Tannehill and lost. Even with a playoff appearance in 2016, Gase has not yet turned the Dolphins offense into a consistent point producer. At some point, you have to live up to your “offensive guru” label or else.
Featured image from Cleveland.com
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