NFL Hot Seat Watch: Odds on First Head Coach To Be Fired in 2012 Season
The NFL head-coaching carousel has not yet started its annual motion, but the ride will undoubtedly start soon.
Coaches are axed every year, and 2012 should be no different, with multiple coaches across the league performing far below expectations.
Every situation is unique, and some coaches on the hot seat are not completely to blame for their team's trajectory, but someone has to be the scapegoat for losing. More often that not, that responsibility lies with the head coach.
So, let's put some odds on who will be given their walking papers first, and keep in mind that only coaches with the best (or worst?) chance of being fired in the coming weeks are included on this list. That means any and all Bill Belichick and Tom Coughlin haters can make their case somewhere else.
6. Mike Mularkey: Jacksonville Jaguars
First-year coaches are typically given at least a full season to prove their worth to an organization. Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Mike Mularkey’s early returns are making a strong case to buck that trend.
The Jaguars have a 1-5 record after losing to the lowly Oakland Raiders. They lack both direction and purpose. Star running back Maurice Jones-Drew is hurt, QB Blaine Gabbert is not developing at an acceptable pace, and the defense ranks in the bottom third of the league against both the pass and the rush.
Mularkey did not inherit the most talented roster in football, but there were solid defensive pieces in place and a young offense ready to grow. You would know none of those things after watching a Jaguars game this season.
5. Chan Gailey: Buffalo Bills
Whether in complete blowouts or nail-biting finishers, the Buffalo Bills find ways to lose games. Head coach Chan Gailey must shoulder the blame for a team that consistently performs below expectations.
The offseason was dedicated to re-imagining and fixing the defense with guys like Stephon Gilmore and Mario Williams. Well, Gilmore has not been the ready-made star Buffalo envisioned, and the $100 million man has had all sorts of problems, including falling short of the force he was in Houston.
With an AFC East race begging to be won and a Bills roster stockpiled with more talent than usual, Gailey has little time left for excuses or mistakes. Buffalo demands wins now, and fans are quickly growing impatient with a coach that has never proven much of anything.
4. Pat Shurmur: Cleveland Browns
In Week 7, the Cleveland Browns reverted to their offensive struggles of earlier in the season and managed only 13 points against the Indianapolis Colts. Losing to an average Colts team undoubtedly did nothing but ensure that head coach Pat Shurmur remains firmly on the hot seat.
There are pieces in place, and both Trent Richardson and Brandon Weeden have flashed brilliance this season, but Shurmur is running out of time to make his case in front of new management.
The Browns sit at 1-5 on the season and fail to play consistent football on a week-to-week basis. Cleveland is an improving football team to be certain, but Shurmur needs to show drastic strides in the coming weeks to keep his job.
Finding ways to win games in the absence of an injured Richardson would be a tremendous start.
3. Romeo Crennel: Kansas City Chiefs
It is hard not to feel like the recent problems in Kansas City have little to do with head coach Romeo Crennel. After all, QBs Matt Cassel and Brady Quinn have been equally terrible under center this season.
However, with an extremely talented defense and the offensive skill of both Jamaal Charles and Dwayne Bowe, someone has to take some blame for the Chiefs' 1-5 record.
This was supposed to be the season Kansas City pounced on a vulnerable AFC West division, but the polar opposite has occurred. The Chiefs have given up 30 points four times through just six games. Kansas City is rarely competitive and already an afterthought in its own division.
Crennel could theoretically save his job by salvaging a decent record the rest of the way, but the smart money says his leash is rather short.
2. Ron Rivera: Carolina Panthers
The Carolina Panthers have taken a step backwards in 2012, and there is no way around that undeniable fact. After losing to the Dallas Cowboys, QB Cam Newton said something needed to change.
That change came quickly, as GM Marty Hurney was fired earlier in the week. Now head coach Ron Rivera has to be on alert as well.
Carolina has won only one game this season, falling behind early and often in most contests. The Panthers offense has lost its potency, averaging just 221.8 passing yards per game and seeing fewer than 500 combined rushing yards from Cam Newton and DeAngelo Williams through six games.
Defensive struggles have been just as prevalent, which is surprising for a unit led by a defensive-minded guy like Rivera.
1. Norv Turner: San Diego Chargers
San Diego Chargers head coach Norv Turner has deserved to be on the hot seat for years now.
In pressure moments, or when the postseason rolls around, Turner can consistently be counted on to fall apart. His seat was on fire to start the season, and he has only reaffirmed that notion through six games.
Yes, San Diego sits tied atop the AFC West at 3-3, but the Chargers were embarrassed on Monday Night Football against the Denver Broncos after squandering a 24-point halftime lead.
Turner does not have the support of anyone at this point, and the only way to save his job is multiple postseason wins and clear momentum moving forward.
The biggest question is if he will even remain in place long enough to sniff the postseason.