NFL Hot Seat Coaches That Deserve One More Season

Dan Van WieContributor IIINovember 14, 2012

NFL Hot Seat Coaches That Deserve One More Season

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    The 2012 NFL season has a number of head coaches that are classified as "hot seat coaches" because they haven't been able to turn around their team fast enough to satisfy the fanbase or ownership.

    In general, the shelf life of NFL head coaches don't last very long with one team because of the intense pressure to win. Another contributing factor is that the message that coaches preach to their players only lasts so long before it starts to wear thin. Coaches are given shorter contracts, and when they hit lame-duck status, the players start to question how much longer the coach will be around.

    Usually coaches are allowed more than one year to turn around a franchise. But if you lose and rub people the wrong way all year, like Bobby Valentine of the Boston Red Sox did, then you will get canned in your first year.

    Jeff Howe from NESN wrote that the average tenure of the NFL head coaches in 2011 was just 3.25 years.

    The 2012 season saw seven new head coaches take over a team, and if you want to include the New Orleans Saints mess, then it would be eight teams that had a new head coach. The new coaches were Greg Schiano (Tampa Bay), Jeff Fisher (St. Louis), Dennis Allen (Oakland), Joe Philbin (Miami), Romeo Crennel (Kansas City), Mike Mularkey (Jacksonville) and Chuck Pagano (Indianapolis).

    Jon Gruden is just one of a number of ex-head coaches that are available for the right situation, so how many current head coaches will be fired at the end of the 2012 season? Here is our presentation for which "hot seat coaches" that should be granted one more year to fulfill their promise and destiny.

Arizona Cardinals Ken Whisenhunt

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    Arizona Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt got the team off to a 4-0 hot start in 2012 despite having a weak offensive line and a question mark at starting quarterback. The team has since gone into a long losing streak, which makes the hot start even more remarkable.

    Look at the Cardinals' upset win over New England. That game was indicative of the kind of coaching that Whisenhunt brings the Cardinals.

    It is up to the front office to upgrade the offensive line, running game and quarterbacks. Drafting Michael Floyd in the first round when the team had so many other needs looks like a really bad decision right now.

    We can only hope that Whisenhunt is provided with the proper tools to get the most out of his team. The defense shows tremendous promise, but the offense leaves much to be desired.

Buffalo Bills Chan Gailey

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    Buffalo Bills head coach Chan Gailey job seems safe for now because General Manager Buddy Nix has Gailey's back.

    Gailey's record in Buffalo is 13-28, which is a winning percentage of .324. That is pretty bad, but you at least hope to see some steady improvement from one year to the next. Buffalo went 4-12 in 2010, and then 6-10 in Gailey's second year. The jury is still out on where they will finish in 2012, but at 3-6 they might be hard pressed to top last year's record.

    Gailey's strong suit is developing offenses. Under Gailey, Buffalo's overall offense has gone from No. 25 in his first year to No. 14 in 2011 and is still at No. 14 in 2012. The average yards per game went from 304.9 up to 357.5, and this year they remain at the same average, 357.7. Points scored has gone from 17.7 to 23.3 and now 23.4 this year. So basically there hasn't been any significant growth this year despite the increased production and confidence in RB C.J. Spiller.

    If you listen to enough of Gailey's press conferences, you understand that he focuses on the offense and he leaves the defense and special teams to the rest of his staff. A head coach that really only concerns himself with only one of the three units seems rather odd in the current NFL. 

    But as long as Nix remains in charge, Gailey's job is safe. The key factor in Buffalo is the health of owner Ralph Wilson. Once Wilson passes away, the team will be sold and then all bets are off. Look for Gailey to return in 2013 and that will be his make-or-break season.

Cincinnati Bengals Marvin Lewis

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    In terms of longevity with one organization, Andy Reid has coached Philadelphia since 1999. After Reid, the list reads New England coach Bill Belichick (2000), Cincinnati coach Marvin Lewis (2003) and rounding out the top five is Chicago coach Lovie Smith and New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin (2004).

    The fact that Lewis has been able to exist as the top guy in Cincinnati for all these years is a tribute to his ability to get along with everybody and his work ethic. By getting along with everybody, that also includes Cincinnati owner Mike Brown, who can't be the easiest person to work for.

    Lewis led the Bengals to a surprising playoff appearance in 2011. They upset the defending Super Bowl champions last week and at 4-5 still have an outside shot at the playoffs.

    With Andy Dalton and A.J.Green, Lewis has some nice tools to work with going forward. The Bengals could still use some more weapons on offense. They have a tough defense that should still be good for years to come. Lewis deserves to stay on the job for at least one more year.

Dallas Cowboys Jason Garrett

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    The future for Jason Garrett remaining with the Dallas Cowboys was looking pretty bleak when they started out with a 3-5 record. But the Cowboys pulled out a win against Philadelphia and are now entering the easier portion of their schedule.

    Upon closer inspection, all of the Cowboys losses were to teams that are in first place of their division, with the exception of the Seattle loss. So, just how good are the Cowboys this year?

    That is something that we will find out over the final seven weeks. Based on the weaker schedule going forward, it is not out of the realm of possibility that Garrett can emerge with a record above .500 this year. They will still struggle to qualify for the postseason, but if they miss out by one game that will probably be enough for owner Jerry Jones to give Garrett one final chance to prove himself.

    Many football fans would probably vote to fire Garrett, but the final call is up to Jerry Jones. Jones has been known to make some questionable decisions, but that is his privilege as the owner. No doubt this decision will serve as a very good debate in the offseason. 

Jacksonville Jaguars Mike Mularkey

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    Mike Mularkey, head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars, really had his work cut out for him. He inherited quarterback Blaine Gabbert, who was in need of a major confidence boost to last as the Jaguars starting quarterback. Then there was the holdout of the Jaguars' best threat on offense, RB Maurice Jones-Drew.

    Jones-Drew wasn't much of a factor in the 2012 season, so the whole year should be written off. The Jaguars will need to regroup in the 2013 offseason and figure out what direction they want to go. Maybe Tim Tebow will be part of that direction, but that remains to be seen.

    Mularkey can't be the fall guy for this mess after just one year. If things continue to look this bleak after the 2013 season, then Mularkey might be the among the next group of coaches to be fired.

New Orleans Saints Sean Payton

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    When it was revealed that the NFL league office had to tear up Sean Payton's contract with the New Orleans Saints, there were some raised eyebrows around the league. With his year-long suspension from Commissioner Roger Goodell, Payton really isn't in a position to sign with another team until after the 2012 season concludes.

    The Saints have the ability to negotiate a new deal with Coach Payton now, but for whatever reason, it hasn't been wrapped up yet. The longer he remains without a contract, the greater the temptation will be for some other team to swoop in and try to steal him away. One example could be the Dallas Cowboys, since Jerry Jones is known to be high on Payton. Jason Garrett may be gone so the timing of this could work against the Saints.

    This story from ESPN.com debates the pros and cons of trying to hire Payton away to coach the Cowboys.

    It has been a year full of chaos and confusion in New Orleans. The Saints will come to their senses soon enough and get Payton signed to a new contract. If for whatever reason they allow him to sign with another team, it will be a move that they will wind up regretting.

Tennessee Titans Mike Munchak

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    Mike Munchak is only in his second year at the helm of the Tennessee Titans. From Chris Johnson holding out, to breaking in a new starting quarterback in Matt Hasselbeck and Jake Locker in successive years, it hasn't been easy for Munchak.

    Titans owner Bud Adams threw his team and the front office under the bus following their blowout 51-20 loss to the Chicago Bears. Munchak was able to rally the troops, turning in a rather convincing win of their own by blowing out the Miami Dolphins, 37-3.

    Amazing how quickly fortunes can rise and fall in just one short week in the NFL.

    Munchak needs more weapons on offense and to upgrade their defense, which is ranked No. 29 by giving up 399 yards per game.

    The Titans have their bye week coming up in Week 11, so let's see if Munchak can inspire the Titans to start going on a winning streak.

Washington Redskins Mike Shanahan

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    Mike Shanahan's results as the head coach of the Washington Redskins haven't been to good. Fourteen wins compared to 27 losses and a winning percentage of .341 is not the kind of performance that keeps you employed long in the NFL.

    Owner Daniel Snyder got his big-name head coach, but he thought there would be a quicker turnaround in experiencing success.

    When the Redskins mortgaged the future to acquire the draft rights for Robert Griffin III, Shanahan has the type of quarterback he needs to turn the offense into a dynamic unit. It didn't help that WR Pierre Garcon would only be healthy enough to catch just eight passes before coming down with a serious injury.

    The Redskins will continue to add pieces around Griffin to make their offense even more productive. Shanahan needs at least one more year to see this growth and development through. The real question is will owner Daniel Snyder find the patience required to let Shanahan do his thing for one more year?

The Going, Going, Gone List

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    We have already provided you with the head coaches that should be granted one more year to take their team to the next level.

    The coaches on this slide are the individuals that look like they will be getting fired during the 2012 season, or shortly after the season concludes. With seven weeks left in the season, it is very possible that other coaches will head south and could work their way onto this list. But for now we feel strongly that there will be at least six head coaching vacancies around the league.

    1) Andy Reid, Philadelphia Eagles. Reid has the longest tenure of any coach in the league. Owner Jeffrey Lurie made it pretty clear that he expected to reach the postseason this year or Reid would be fired. Despite constant turnovers from Michael Vick, Reid stuck with him and will go down on his sword because of him as well. Reid will more than likely resurface with another organization.

    2) Pat Shurmur, Cleveland Browns. Lots of changes going on in Cleveland, beginning with new owner Jimmy Haslam taking over the team. Mike Holmgren is out, and you can be sure that Shurmur will be the next key person out the door. It doesn't help that Shurmur's record to date is 6-19, which is a winning percentage of .240. That just isn't good enough.

    3) Romeo Crennel, Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs were picked by many NFL experts to win the AFC West division. Crennel found a way to lead the Chiefs to a 1-8 record. Stranger still was the decision to demote himself by stripping the defensive coordinator role from his plate. If there was one thing Crennel was good at, it was defensive coordinator. The thing he is not good at is being the head coach.

    4) Rex Ryan, New York Jets. Ryan wasn't aware of all the issues in the Jets locker room in 2011 was the first real warning that he had started to lose control of the team. The 2012 disaster of a season is the nail in the coffin for Ryan. From all of the broken promises and guarantees, to the handling of Tim Tebow and Mark Sanchez, Ryan will need to find a new home in 2013.

    5) Norv Turner, San Diego Chargers. The Chargers wanted to fire Turner after he missed the playoffs in 2011. The players asked for one more year to prove that Turner still couldn't lead them to the playoffs, and Turner is proving that he can't do it. It is time for Norv to go.

    6) Ron Rivera, Carolina Panthers. When the Panthers fired General Manager Marty Hurley, the writing was on the wall for Ron Rivera. Carolina was viewed as a potential surprise team for 2012 because they had NFL Rookie of the Year Cam Newton coming back to take the next step. Instead, the Panthers are 2-7 and Newton played much better as a rookie than he is as a sophomore. The next GM that is hired will bring in his own coach, so Rivera will be gone.

     

    Thanks for checking out the presentation.