Already Fired their Head Coach
Las Vegas Raiders
The Las Vegas Raiders are the only team in the NFL that has let go of their head coach during the season. They let go of Jon Gruden after a 3-2 start five weeks into the season. Las Vegas didn’t let go of Gruden because of how he acted on the field. Gruden had his emails leaked to the New York Post that were extremely offensive to multiple groups of people. The Raiders had no other option but to fire Gruden. They could not have their football team led by a coach that spoke the way he did in those emails.
Interim head coach Rich Bisaccia is a great story because he is a well-respected coach that has been an NFL assistant for almost two decades. But he is not the team’s future at head coach. Teams rarely hire their interim head coaches for full-time roles. Bisaccia has a 3-5 record overall and a 1-5 record in the last six games. This team has fallen from one of the hottest teams in the league at the beginning of the year to a defeated culture and locker room who should be eliminated from playoff contention very soon.
The collapse of the team is not Bisaccia’s fault. Besides the Gruden situation, the team had to let go of both 2020 first-round picks Henry Ruggs III and Damon Arnette in back-to-back weeks because of major off-the-field issues. Las Vegas has dealt with a lot of adversity this season and it is too much for a potential playoff team to get over especially since it all happened in the middle of the year.
It wouldn’t be shocking if the Raiders just cleaned house and being a major rebuild of this roster. It feels like the most opportune time to let go of general manager Mike Mayock who has not had great success since taking over the position in 2019. It would soften the blow of how disappointing his tenure with the team has been if they blame it on the rebuild.
Las Vegas needs a major culture change this offseason. They have some holes on this roster that need to be filled before they are considered a potential playoff team in the AFC. But they have a franchise quarterback in Derek Carr who doesn’t appear to be going anywhere. Las Vegas also has a lot of other talented veterans on their roster including Darren Waller, Maxx Crosby, Yannick Ngakoue, Josh Jacobs, Kolton Miller, and Hunter Renfrow.
It may be better for the Jaguars long-term that they let go of Urban Meyer before more damage was done. (Courtesy of ANDY LYONS/GETTY IMAGES)
In the past two weeks, multiple reports have leaked out of the Jacksonville Jaguars’ building about the coaching job by Urban Meyer. They ultimately led to his firing following Week 14. It was apparent from the beginning of the season Meyer did not have a grasp of this young locker room. Since taking over he has made multiple ill-advised comments and transactions that have made people wish 2021 first overall pick Trevor Lawerence landed anywhere else, consider the team’s culture toxic, and question the coaching philosophy of Urban Meyer who was one of the greatest college head coaches of all time at the college level.
There were an absurd amount of actions that led to Meyer’s firing so early in his tenure with the team. All of the notable actions that led to his termination could be found here. Meyer made ignorant comments, disrespected players, disrespected coaches, and did not take this job seriously. Not only did he not take the job seriously but he made it very clear that he was uninterested in his job.
Besides the off-the-field antics, the Jaguars had a 2-11 record under Meyer. That is despite Jacksonville spending over $162.8 million in free agency and added five rookies with top-65 picks (nine rookies overall). Even though Jacksonville had added multiple new starters and contributors this offseason they have shown little growth as a team from the team that lost 15 straight last year. This shows a lack of development or regression from the league’s worst team from a season ago.
Rookie quarterback Trevor Lawerence had the ceiling of a prospect like Peyton Manning, Andrew Luck, and John Elway coming out of college. This season he has arguably been the worst full-time starting quarterback in the league in Meyer’s offense. Lawerence’s 2,735 passing yards to this point, 5.8 yards per attempt, and nine touchdown passes are the lowest by any quarterback who has played in 13 games this season. His 58.2% completion percentage and 32.0 QBR are only behind fellow rookies Zach Wilson and Justin Fields. Lawrence is currently tied with Joe Burrow with a league-high 14 interceptions. These statistics should be alarming coming from a player in Lawrence who a majority of scouts thought was one of the greatest quarterback prospects of all time. The blame had to have fallen on Urban Meyer who is an offensive coach.
Even though Jacksonville signed Meyer to a six-year contract where he is making between $10-$12 million, it was clear that he is a cancer to a young locker room that is in the middle of a rebuild and trying to be a relevant and competitive team. The Jaguars made the right decision by letting him go.
As the season went on Meyer looks more lost and uninterested in this team by the week. At certain points of the season, people are starting to question whether Meyer is trying to get fired so he can receive his guaranteed money and return to his old job as a college football analyst.
Now that the Jaguars will be looking for a head coach for the second season in a row. This can be an intriguing job for an offensive coach who may want to develop quarterback Trevor Lawerence. But they are tasked with reversing the regression that took place this season and needs to instill a new strong culture right away to get the best out of this young locker room.
Most likely to fire their Head Coach at the end of the season
New York Giants
The writing appears to be on the wall in New York. Coming into the year it felt likely that unless the team made the playoffs that general manager David Gettleman would be fired. After being competitive down the stretch last season the Giants have regressed this year. Defensively, the Giants aren’t as tough despite having a lot of talent on that side of the ball. Offensively, the Giants have been a mess. For the second season in a row, this offense has been limited by injuries despite bringing in two more playmakers in Kenny Golladay and 2021 first-round pick Kadarius Toney. New York’s offensive line is still a mess.
New York even fired offensive coordinator Jason Garrett a few weeks ago which made the claim that the offensive struggles were his fault. Since they fired Garrett their offensive hasn’t improved at all. It is starting to look like the Giants placed too much blame for the team’s offensive struggles on Garrett.
This team has shown no improvement since hiring Joe Judge to replace Pat Shurmur. At least under Shurmur, the Giants got production out of Saquon Barkley. The lack of production from Barkley isn’t entirely on the coaching staff. He has shown an inability to stay healthy and appears to rush back from injuries too soon. New York has also has been rebuilding their offensive line for way too long. This unit has limited the development of Daniel Jones and made Saquon Barkley’s job a lot harder than it should be.
Judge is extremely tough on his players and has high expectations. Back before training camp, three veterans retired before the season started because of how hard Judge pushed his players in camp. He sounds great with a microphone in front of him. But the results of his coaching show that this team may be coached too hard and have not improved in the two seasons he has run the team. New York has two first-round picks this offseason and may want to clean house completely before using both on potential franchise cornerstones this offseason.
However, it is worth noting that NFL Insider Ralph Vacchiano reported that the Giants will likely retain Joe Judge for another season. That move seems ill-advised considering how poor the team has played the last two seasons. However this season we have seen two third-year head coaches breakout in Kliff Kingsbury (Arizona) and Zac Taylor (Cincinnati) who have their teams in a position to be in the playoff race down the stretch.
Coming into the season, the goal for the Chicago Bears was to do everything possible to keep this coaching staff and administration in-house for year two of Justin Fields’ career for his development. Matt Nagy has shown that he could be a very good coach but has gotten criticism for the offensive struggles his teams have had at times.
Despite all the reports of how great Fields looked in camp, Andy Dalton was named the team’s starter. This shouldn’t be a complete shock considering the Bears basically promised Dalton the starting job before trading up to draft Fields. That promise to Dalton will likely result in Nagy losing his job this offseason. It was clear early in the season that Dalton was not going to lead this team back to the playoffs.
This offense was a mess and people were calling for Chicago to start Fields. This put Nagy in a tough spot because he promised a veteran he would start but the offense could be better on Fields. Nagy also felt that Fields wasn’t ready yet. It was clear in Fields’ first couple of starts that he going to be pro-ready like Justin Herbert and Joe Burrow was last season. It is only recently that Fields has put the pieces together and is beginning to show what made him a highly regarded prospect during the draft process this year.
The quarterback drama and offensive struggles lost Nagy his locker room. Veterans like Allen Robinson have been brought up in rumors about wanting Nagy gone. Robinson denied the rumors about him wanting the coach fired. But Robinson’s struggles this season could be used as evidence for the rumor to be true.
There has been too much speculation about Nagy potentially being fired over the last two years and it will only continue as long as he is there in Chicago. At this point, it may be better off if Chicago does let go of Nagy. Offensive coaches may be interested in developing and coaching Fields. They would also be getting a defense that is a few pieces away from being one of the better defensive units in the league.
Chicago’s season is more evidence that a coach on the hot seat should not rely on a rookie quarterback to save his job. The inevitable struggles of that rookie quarterback will only accelerate the displeasure with the coaching with the media and team administration which could get him fired after the end of that quarterback’s rookie season.