As always during the latter stages of the NFL season, rumors run wild of which coaches are on the hot seat and could be on their way out once the current campaign concludes. We take a look at some of the names we believe are sitting on a scorching seat and could be looking for a new job for the 2017 season.
Gus Bradley, Jacksonville Jaguars
Bradley’s 14-44 record during his five seasons as the Jaguars’ lead man is enough evidence to believe that Jacksonville owner Shad Khan will be giving the former Seattle Seahawks’ defensive guru his walking papers on January 2nd, 2017. Jacksonville has grossly underachieved in Bradley’s fifth season, which many thought would become the Jaguars’ breakthrough year and there was plenty of reasons to run with the hype that was behind the team heading into the 2016 season.
One being that of quarterback Blake Bortles, who threw for over 30 touchdowns in 2015 and seemed headed towards another big season with the off-season addition of running back Chris Ivory and the development of wide receivers Allen Hurns, Allen Robinson and Marqise Lee. Think again. Bortles has regressed in a bad way, with a quarterback rating of just a smidge above 80 and is tied with New York Jets’ quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick for the league lead in interceptions (13).
Another is how Bradley’s defense, which happens to be his forte, hasn’t lived up to the high expectations since arriving from Seattle. The team drafted Jalen Ramsey and have a healthy Dante Fowler Jr. in the lineup and the Jaguars still can’t seem to stop anyone when they need to the most. Jacksonville would have to pull off a 6-0 run down the stretch to even entertain the thought of retaining Bradley as the head coach.
Todd Bowles, New York Jets
Yes, Bowles is only in his second season as the Jets’ head coach, but for some reason it seems like it was five years ago that New York was chasing a playoff berth and just narrowly missed out. Problem is, that was the scenario last season and it really seems like that took place in another decade. The Jets’ defense isn’t playing to the standards that Bowles set in 2015, which the club had a healthy and lockdown corner in Darrelle Revis.
Revis has lost a step and isn’t the player he was the first time around with the Jets, but the cornerback isn’t the only one to blame on the defense. New York’s secondary in general just hasn’t played well as a unit, with the club yielding 260 yards per game through the air. What’s worst, the Jets’ once proud defense is 11th in the NFL in yards allowed per game, giving up 345.9. The one positive on defense is how they defend against the run, with the Jets being fourth in yards allowed at 85.4.
Where the Jets have really taken their biggest blow is at the quarterback position. It has been a complete nightmare for Bowles and his offensive staff, as the team has already seen Ryan Fitzpatrick, Geno Smith and Bryce Petty all take snaps under center and none of the three seem to bring any answers or stability to the position. Fitzpatrick is tied for the NFL lead in interceptions with 13 and his big contract signing this past off-season looks like quite the bust. Bowles might be allotted a mulligan on this season if the Jets can nab seven wins, but that’s a huge if.
Mike McCoy, San Diego Chargers
You have to feel bad for McCoy in a way. The San Diego Chargers’ lead man has seen enough blown fourth quarter leads to make any head coach sick to their stomach and, in this case, the Chargers’ fan base is becoming a bit tired of the same ole stick week in and week out. Opening the season up with a sickening 33-27 loss to division rival Kansas City, which staged a crazy second half comeback to win the game, was one story. That loss was followed up, however, by a slew of other losses that looked eerily similar to of the Chiefs’ game.
A three-game losing streak early in the season to the Colts, Saints and Raiders didn’t help McCoy’s stock as the head coach and now the club is sitting at 4-6 and likely will not qualify for the postseason once again. Now we know that the players on the field have to make the plays, but with the Chargers possibly changing address’ sooner rather than later, ownership may likely be looking to make some changes at the top heading into a new town or new facility. Phillip Rivers’ numbers haven’t really dropped off during his time under McCoy, but some of the quarterback’s best seasons are going to waste because of the Chargers’ inability to win games in clutch time.
Mike McCarthy, Green Bay Packers
At the beginning of the season, even the thought of McCarthy being ousted sounded like a good joke you’d tell your friends while watching a game. Fast forward 11 weeks and the joke is now on McCarthy, who has seen his team fall to a miserable 4-6 in a very winnable NFC North Division. The Packers’ offense has begun to look stale under McCarthy’s direction and many are wondering if Aaron Rodgers and crew are starting to tune out one of the longest tenured coaches in the NFL. Though that may not be the case exactly, by the looks of the way Green Bay has been playing as of late, the Packers might as well have tuned out their longtime coach as the defense has fallen apart due to injuries and a lack of talent in the secondary.
Yes, McCarthy has a Super Bowl ring with the Packers, but the team hasn’t come close since then. Rodgers is currently 33 years old and it’s feasible to believe that he could play until his early 40’s, but the team has to be re-tooled all the way around, and that’s including the coaching staff. Eddie Lacy has proved to be too injury-prone and a priority for Green Bay during the off-season should be to draft an every down tailback. The defense has been to reliant on the play of some of the veteran mainstays on the team, including Clay Matthews, who has played through injuries all season and hasn’t been the player he once was. It’s not too late for the Packers to turn it around under McCarthy, but that window is closing and it’s closing quickly.
Jeff Fisher, Los Angeles Rams
Mr. 500. 8-8 or 7-9 seasons are the type of campaigns tied to a team that has Jeff Fisher at the helm. For the exception of one Super Bowl appearance back in 1999 with the Tennessee Titans, Fisher hasn’t accomplished much in terms as an NFL head coach and this season in Los Angeles has been much of the same. Average. Well in Los Angeles, a city that is used to winning championships, average just isn’t going to cut it and Fisher might have to make way for a big name head coach to lead the Rams to greener pastures.
Fisher’s creativity on the offensive side of the ball might become his undoing, as the team hasn’t been able to amount much of anything through the air and on the ground this 2016 season. Running back Todd Gurley is going through a sophomore slump and much of that can be attributed to teams loading up the box in disrespect to the Rams’ sub-par passing attack. Case Keenum got his shot and threw 11 interceptions along the way to being benched in favor of the spring’s No. 1 overall draft pick, Jared Goff.
The plan for Goff was simple: Have him sit out a year and learn. That was scrapped in favor of inserting him into the lineup for the final few weeks of the season to give Goff some live action against other teams. His 134-yard performance against Miami wasn’t anything to be amazed by and if no development is seen in Goff, the Rams could be looking for someone offensive-minded to come in and mold Goff into an NFL star.
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