NFL Head Coaches Who Could be on the Hot Seat
"Black Monday" has become somewhat of an annual tradition in the NFL.
It isn't a pleasant tradition, as it marks the Monday following the final Sunday of the NFL regular season when a group of head coaches, and generally their entire staffs, are fired.
Impatient ownership groups and front offices, combined with lackluster win-loss totals, tend to contribute to the consistent changing of the guard at the head coach position. Just look at teams like the Pittsburgh Steelers and the New England Patriots and compare their situations to teams like the Detroit Lions and Cleveland Browns.
Higher-ups in Detroit and Cleveland are not afraid to change directions and spend extra money when necessary if they think a new coach is the missing piece. Unfortunately for them and other teams as well, it isn't necessarily all about changing coaches as proven by a postseason drought like the Browns' current one.
Nevertheless, teams insist on continuously searching for new coaching staffs if they think the current staff isn't meeting expectations. Unless COVID-19 gets in the way of a season taking place or makes it tougher for franchises to do this financially speaking, it is tough to envision "Black Monday" going anywhere anytime soon.
With that being said, here are a few head coaches who will face an immense amount of pressure to turn things around for their squads, or could face the consequences instead.
Adam Gase, New York Jets
Gase has received plenty of blame from the media and Jets fans for the teams' performance in 2019, as well as the current state of the franchise.
Fair or unfair, new general manager Joe Douglas could have a tough decision to make if strides are not made by the Jets in 2020.
The whole key is Sam Darnold. Gase is known as a quarterbacks and offensive guru, which should be a huge benefit for the young signal-caller, who's in a position to be the franchise quarterback for the foreseeable future. And truth be told, it's tough to see how that relationship has developed to this point and whether or not Gase is the right man to coach him.
If Darnold takes some big steps forward, the Jets should reap the benefits as a result with a solid defensive core in place. If he doesn't and the Jets once again struggle, Douglas could be pressured into hand-picking his own new coach to lead the team forward.
It certainly doesn't hurt Gase that guys like safety Jamaal Adams and running back Le'Veon Bell have publicly backed him, but that may not be enough depending on the Jets' situation by the end of the season.
Anthony Lynn, Los Angeles Chargers
Lynn is a guy who's well-respected within league circles and has been a decent man for the job so far.
The Chargers did make the postseason in his second year at the helm. However, decent doesn't usually cut it and Lynn will have to do more soon to keep his job.
He has had the benefit of coaching talented rosters throughout his three years on the job, but has also dealt with plenty of unfortunate injuries to his players and is the first coach of the newly relocated Los Angeles Chargers. Those are some of the things that the Chargers' decision-makers will have to weigh if there's a chance they want to move in another direction.
With a 26-23 record and an impressive résumé as an NFL assistant throughout his career, Lynn has proven he can do the job at a respectable level. Chargers players, fans, and media have yet to have many complaints about Lynn other than a few game management mishaps.
Still, the Chargers need some buzz. They will surely want to return to the playoffs and avoid another long drought. And they just took Justin Hebert sixth overall with the vision he can be the next franchise quarterback. Does a post-Phillip Rivers era in Los Angeles mean the team could soon look to make a change at head coach? Time will tell.
Zac Taylor, Cincinnati Bengals
It never seemed like Marvin Lewis was going to be fired in Cincinnati, no matter how many subpar seasons or one-and-done playoff trips he oversaw.
However, owner Mike Brown finally decided to cut ties with Lewis and hired Taylor, Rams head coach Sean McVay's former right-hand man in Los Angeles.
Taylor is cut from the same cloth as McVay, a promising young coach who quickly moved up the assistant-coaching ranks with offensive prowess that many teams covet. An ugly 2-14 finish in his first year didn't help inspire confidence with the Bengals' decision to hire Taylor, but everyone knows the Bengals had one of the league's worst rosters.
With a decent off-season on paper, young building blocks who should be taking the next steps in their games soon, and Heisman Trophy-winner Joe Burrow at quarterback, the Bengals will be expected to do much better than last season. In his second year as head coach, Taylor will face heavy pressure in helping Burrow get acclimated to the next level.
If the job proves to be too big for Taylor through struggles by Burrow or the Bengals in general, the team could look to make a quick change before they got too committed to Taylor.
Swallowing their pride and admitting a poor hire after two seasons is something that has become far more common recently, so it isn't illogical to think Taylor could be out the door with another poor season.
Doug Marrone, Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jaguars are seemingly attempting to enter a new era in their franchise as they possess one of the more youthful and inexperienced rosters in the league.
Of all the members of the 2018 AFC Championship defense, only two now remain. Marrone has done well to earn more time as the lead man, but he soon may run out of it.
A popular pick to hold the No. 1 selection in the 2021 NFL Draft, the Jaguars will have to overachieve and turn some heads if they want to do their head coach any favors. If those forecasts hold true, it is likely a new quarterback-coach combination will be in place.
Marrone, who is entering his fourth full season after being named interim coach in December 2019, helped the Jaguars reach the postseason following the 2017 season. That season, the Jaguars proved to be a tough opponent to play every week led by their league-best defensive unit. In his other two seasons, the Jaguars finished last in the AFC South.
One more last-place finish could lead to the firing of Marrone, ending his second stint as an NFL head coach. It makes sense for the Jaguars to go with the recent movement of hiring younger, passing-oriented coaches, even if Marrone is a respected football mind.
Matt Patricia, Detroit Lions
You can't argue if someone says Bill Belichick could be the greatest coach the game has ever seen.
However, if you hear someone say that Belichick has a tree of assistants that have learned from him and gone on to great success elsewhere, you should dispute that.
Patricia is the latest Belichick disciple to be given a first-time head coaching job and have visible struggles. He will be entering his third season on the job and has nine wins and two last-place finishes in the NFC North to show for it. General manager Bob Quinn and Lions players shouldn't escape blame, but Patricia has yet to hold up his end of the bargain.
Patricia was hired with high expectations that he could turn around the Lions' recent struggles. After his second season, there was talk he could have been fired then. After meetings with Quinn and ownership, it was determined to give Patricia another crack at it. After all, the NFC North is not a cakewalk of a division and quarterback Matthew Stafford was missing for majority of last season.
He will have to fix his in-game management struggles and prove he is more than an Xs and Os defensive guy. The Lions have some quality talent at spots and Stafford is a borderline top-10 quarterback, so there are ingredients for the team to be competitive. If they fail to be that, Patricia may be looking for work elsewhere after three seasons.
Dan Quinn, Atlanta Falcons
The biggest surprise of the latest head coaching carousel may have been Quinn retaining his position as the head man of the Falcons.
After a season in which Quinn was supposedly on the hot seat and didn't do much to get off of it, it seemed like a good time for the Falcons to move in a different direction if the franchise wanted to do so.
Instead, Quinn was given a vote of confidence by his bosses and returns for his sixth season as head coach. It has been a decently successful stint for Quinn, carrying a 43-37 overall record with two postseason appearances (one Super Bowl appearance) and never finishing worse than 9-7.
Quinn's reputation definitely carries a dark cloud for his coaching performance in the Super Bowl defeat to the Patriots, but he was far from the only responsible party. There has been more good than bad from Quinn during his tenure as the Falcons' head coach and that is proven by the large vocal support from his players.
However, Quinn and the Falcons are coming off two losing seasons without playoff football. With former MVP quarterback Matt Ryan not getting any younger and plenty of talented pieces on both sides of the ball, owner Arthur Blank will be hard-pressed to keep Quinn on board if another disappointing season ensues. If the Falcons can get back to winning ways, Quinn may have bought himself some security.