The NFL is ruthless when it comes to judging head coaches. Most only have two or three years to turn failing franchises around before getting the boot. Some coaches have even less time, lasting only one year at the helm. Before the 2020 season ends, we could see some heads roll. More importantly, as many as eight to ten coaching positions could open this offseason.
Vic Fangio, Denver Broncos
Fangio served as a defensive coordinator in the NFL for the better part of two decades before getting Denver’s head coaching job in 2019. Things haven’t gone well in Mile High. The Broncos are 10-13 under Fangio and are trending in the wrong direction. Drew Lock doesn’t look like the answer, which could end Fangio’s short tenure in Denver.
Adam Gase, New York Jets
How two head coaches have already lost their jobs and Gase wasn’t one of them is beyond me. Despite being viewed as some sort of offensive guru, Gase has ruined Sam Darnold, never found a way to use Le’Veon Bell, and has turned the Jets into the league’s laughingstock.
At 0-8, the Jets have a shot at landing Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence with the first overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. Gase shouldn’t be there when the former National Champion arrives.
Anthony Lynn, Los Angeles Chargers
Lynn’s time with the Chargers started well. He went 21-11 in his first two seasons, but things began coming apart at the seams last year. The Chargers went 5-11 despite being dark horse Super Bowl picks during the preseason. Philip Rivers aged out of his prime quickly, but Los Angeles seems set for the future with rookie Justin Herbert. Lynn should get at least another year or two with the Oregon product.
Doug Marrone, Jacksonville Jaguars
Marrone and the Jaguars had their shot at winning a Super Bowl in 2017. They went 10-6 and lost to the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship, but that’s the only winning season Jacksonville experienced under Marrone. While Gardner Minshew isn’t a bad quarterback, he’s not the franchise’s future either. When the Jaguars find their next quarterback, Marrone shouldn’t be there.
The Jaguars are 23-34 under Marrone and trying to avoid their worst season under the seasoned head coach.
Mike McCarthy, Dallas Cowboys
McCarthy is only halfway through his first season in Dallas, but things already aren’t going according to plan. The team is 2-6, and the locker room is beginning to show the side effects of losing. Leaks are spilling out left and right, accusing McCarthy and his staff of incompetence and poor preparation.
Sources told NFL Network’s Jane Slater than McCarthy and his staff “just aren’t good at their jobs.” Dallas’ players not responding to a blatantly illegal hit on Andy Dalton by Washington defender Jon Bostic also raised some eyebrows.
#Cowboys players initially bought into keeping things internal. Now as they sit 2-4 the discontent is leaking out. On the coaching staff “totally unprepared. They don’t teach. They don’t have any sense of adjusting on the fly.” Another “they just aren’t good at their jobs”
— Jane Slater (@SlaterNFL) October 20, 2020
Former All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman walked through Dallas’ lackluster response on an episode of The Cris Collinsworth Podcast, “If you’re in Tampa, and somebody hits Tom Brady like that, I don’t think that guy makes it off the field. If you’re in Seattle and that happens to Russell Wilson? I don’t think that guy makes it off the field. If you’re in New Orleans and it happens to Drew? That guy does not make it off the field, that’s how football goes.”
Dalton suffered a concussion on the hit and needed help getting to the locker room. The Cowboys are down to their third-string quarterback, Ben DiNucci.
Matt Nagy, Chicago Bears
Nagy isn’t a bad head coach, but he’s running out of time in Chicago. The 42-year-old is in his third season with the Bears. He and general manager Ryan Pace are responsible for drafting Mitchell Trubisky over Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson. That mistake weighs heavily upon the former Coach of the Year.
If the Bears make the playoffs this season, Nagy should get another year in Chicago. However, if the 5-3 Bears collapse, his job could be on the line.
Matt Patricia, Detroit Lions
Nothing short of a winning record can save Patricia’s job this year. The longtime Patriots defensive coordinator is in his third season with the Lions. He’s 12-26-1 as a head coach but hasn’t lived up to his hype as a defensive guru. Detroit’s locker room experienced issues early in Patricia’s time with the team, and he drove away former stars like Damon Harrison and Darius Slay.
Zac Taylor, Cincinnati Bengals
Before becoming Cincinnati’s head coach, Taylor served as a quarterbacks coach with the Rams. A prospect of the Sean McVay system, Taylor got his current job without ever holding a full-time coordinator position. In his two years with the team, the Bengals are 4-19-1 with no significant wins over competitive teams.
Except for a 27-3 loss to Baltimore, the Bengals haven’t been blown out this season. Joe Burrow is keeping his team in close games, but the coaching staff hasn’t found a way to get Cincinnati over the top. Maybe Burrow buys Taylor another year as head coach, but the 37-year-old hasn’t impressed over the past 24 months.
Mike Zimmer, Minnesota Vikings
Zimmer is one of the better coaches in the NFL, but it’s his time to leave. After failing to reach the Super Bowl in his first six years with the team, Zimmer is attempting to put out too many fires in Minnesota. The Vikings sit at 2-5 as Kirk Cousins continues befriending opposing teams’ defensive backs and Dalvin Cook struggles with injuries.
The defense in Minnesota, which was once one of the NFL’s best, is old and injured. This team missed their championship window, and it’s time for Zimmer to start over with a new organization.
Romeo Crennel, Houston Texans (interim)
At 73 years old, Crennel is the oldest head coach in NFL history. He previously coached the Cleveland Browns (24-40) and the Kansas City Chiefs (4-15), compiling a losing record. While he’s serving in relief of Bill O’Brien, I don’t see Crennel keeping his position past this season.
Raheem Morris, Atlanta Falcons (interim)
Morris became known throughout the NFL when he coached the Josh Freeman-era Tampa Bay Buccaneers for three years. However, he made headlines earlier this season by underestimating Russell Wilson and Seattle’s passing game. Morris won’t be a head coach next year, barring a total turnaround in Atlanta.