Making the Call on Every Head Coaching Position for Next Offseason

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistOctober 16, 2013

Making the Call on Every Head Coaching Position for Next Offseason

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    After six weeks of NFL action, we're beginning to get a good idea of which teams will succeed and which teams are going to falter in the 2013 season.

    There have been surprises on both ends of the spectrum and plenty of teams that fall somewhere in the middle.

    While roster talent, injuries and strength of schedule certainly play a significant role in a team's fortunes, the credit for success of failure most often goes to the head coach.

    With that in mind, let's take a peek into the future and try to determine the status of each team's head coach following the 2013 NFL season.

    Predictions are based on each team's current record in relation to its expectations with consideration given to any obstacles the head coach has been forced to overcome during the season.

Arizona Cardinals: Bruce Arians

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    2013 Team Record: 3-3-0

    Arians was brought in to help turn around an offense that was inconsistent at best in 2012. After helping steer the Indianapolis Colts to a playoff berth during the absence of Colts head coach Chuck Pagano, he seemed like the perfect man for the job.

    The decision to bring in veteran quarterback Carson Palmer has not quite made Arizona an offensive juggernaut (ranked 25th in scoring with 18.5 points per game). However, the Cardinals are 3-3 and just two games back from the division-leading Seattle Seahawks.

    Prediction: Unless this team goes winless through the rest of the season, Arians is in no danger of losing his job. Expect him to be given an opportunity to find his quarterback in next year's draft and to be given at least two years to build around the new signal-caller.

Atlanta Falcons: Mike Smith

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    2013 Team Record: 1-4-0

    During his tenure with the Falcons, Smith has turned Atlanta into one of the hottest offensive teams in the league. However, he has yet to deliver a Super Bowl berth and did not get a playoff victory until last season.

    After reaching the NFC title game in 2012, the Falcons were expected to be legitimate contenders this season, but currently have the look of a team that will be selecting in the top of the 2014 draft.

    Smith has made several questionable calls, including the decisions to go for it on 4th-and-goal in consecutive weeks against the Patriots and Jets.

    Prediction: It is starting to look like the Falcons peaked last year and are now on a decline, which is a reflection on Smith's ability to lead this team. Injuries to running back Steven Jackson and wideout Julio Jones will not help the cause, but it seems like the Falcons will not be making the playoffs this year.

    If that happens, Smith could be on the chopping block.

Baltimore Ravens: John Harbaugh

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    2013 Team Record: 3-3-0

    Steering a team to success as the defending Super Bowl champions is never easy, and Harbaugh has done an admirable job.

    While the Ravens do not appear to be as complete of a team as last season, Baltimore has been very competitive and is currently tied for second place in the AFC North.

    Harbaugh has been questioned for his play-calling at times. However, this is a revamped team that is still searching for an identity and things are likely to straighten out as the season progresses.

    Prediction: Harbaugh will not be fired a year removed from a Super Bowl title, no matter how the rest of this season goes.

Buffalo Bills: Doug Marrone

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    2013 Team Record: 2-4-0

    As a rookie head coach with a rookie quarterback under center, Marrone has found himself in a rather unenviable situation.

    However, he has made the Bills extremely competitive and if not for the injury to first-year signal-caller EJ Manuel, this team would likely be sitting with a winning record.

    Marrone pulled quarterback Thad Lewis from the practice squad and inserted him as starting quarterback against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 6 and nearly came away with an overtime victory. 

    Buffalo appears set to roll with Lewis during Manuel's recovery, and thanks to Marrone, it doesn't look like there will be a significant decline in on-field performance.

    Prediction: Marrone has the Bills looking like a team on the rise and will not be fired after just one season, especially considering the circumstances. 

Carolina Panthers: Ron Rivera

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    2013 Team Record: 2-3-0

    This was supposed to be the year that quarterback Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers finally took that next step toward relevance.

    However, the Panthers have been wildly inconsistent this season, defeating the New York giants by 38 points one week and then losing to the Arizona Cardinals by 16 the next.

    Carolina is in second place in the NFC South, but appears to be miles behind the 5-1 New Orleans Saints for the division lead.

    Prediction: Rivera's team has shown glimpses of greatness during his reign, but has failed to emerge as a legitimate contender in the NFC. If he cannot find a way to steer the Panthers to a playoff berth this season, it may be time to find someone else that can get the most out of Newton and Co.

Chicago Bears: Marc Trestman

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    2013 Team Record: 4-2-0

    Chicago was a solid team under head coach Lovie Smith in 2012 and appears to be just as competitive under Trestman this season.

    The difference is that the former CFL coach seems to have found a way to force quarterback Jay Cutler to finally realize his potential. Cutler is making smart decisions, taking responsibility for his mistakes and at long last looks like the leader that Chicago has been missing offensively.

    While the Bears have taken a step back defensively (ranked 26th in scoring this season, ranked third in 2012), Chicago appears to be a more compete team that should be in store for a playoff berth.

    Prediction: Only a head-to-head loss to the Detroit Lions is keeping the Bears out of first place in the NFC North, and Chicago seems destined to at least pick up a Wild Card spot at season's end. Trestman will not be under fire during the offseason.

Cincinnati Bengals: Marvin Lewis

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    2013 Team Record: 4-2-0

    This appears to be the year in which the Bengals finally emerge as leaders of the AFC North. It has taken Lewis a decade to get the team to this point, but owner Mike Brown has patiently backed his head coach every step of the way.

    Cincinnati currently holds a one-game lead in the division and should remain in contention the rest of the way. The hard part will be finding a way to win a postseason game after losing in the first round in each of the past two seasons.

    Prediction: For any other team, a third consecutive playoff loss might put Lewis into the hot seat. However Brown is extremely loyal to Lewis and is unlikely to consider firing him, so long as this team remains competitive.

Cleveland Browns: Rob Chudzinski

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    2013 Team Record: 3-3-0

    The Browns have struggled mightily in recent years, so having a .500 record six weeks into the season should be seen as a positive step forward.

    While Chudzinski has been aided by an excellent support staff, the head coach deserves a lot of the credit for keeping this team together through an extremely trying stretch.

    The Browns traded away starting running back Trent Richardson less than a month into the season and have endured a season's worth of quarterback drama. However, the team has remained competitive and is already two victories shy of its 2012 win total.

    Prediction: After steering the Browns through the Weeden-to-Hoyer-to-Weeden quarterback debacle, Chudzinski should be commended for simply keeping this team together. The Browns appear to be a team on the cusp of relevance and their head coach isn't going anywhere during the offseason.

Dallas Cowboys: Jason Garrett

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    2013 Team Record: 3-3-0

    The Cowboys remain one of the most unpredictable teams in all of football, but have a legitimate chance of winning the NFC East this season under Garrett.

    Dallas currently leads the division with a .500 record and will have every opportunity to lock down a division title over the final 11 Weeks of the season.

    The quandary here is that the Cowboys are a team with elite talent and haven never seemed to live up to potential under Garrett. 

    Prediction:'s Doug Farrar named Garrett on his preseason list of coaches on the hot seat. While Cowboys owner Jerry Jones may publicly say otherwise, it is apparent that if Garrett fails to produce a playoff berth this season, he is likely out as head coach.

Denver Broncos: John Fox

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    2013 Team Record: 6-0-0

    The Broncos are one of only two undefeated teams left in the NFL this season.

    Many will argue that Fox has had to do little real coaching because of the presence of quarterback Peyton Manning. However Fox has done a remarkable job of assembling a championship-caliber team and implementing the type of play-calling that wins games.

    Prediction: Unless the Broncos somehow find a way to miss the playoffs, Fox probably isn't going anywhere until after Manning has decided to retire.

Detroit Lions: Jim Schwartz

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    2013 Team Record: 4-2-0

    A talented Lions team finished just 4-12 a season ago, which placed Schwartz on the hot seat heading into the 2013 campaign.

    However, Detroit has already matched its 2012 win total and is currently tied for first place in the NFC North, which is a reflection on Schwartz's ability to persevere.

    Smart offseason acquisitions like free agent Running back Reggie Bush and top draft pick Ezekiel Ansah have this team looking like a contender. Schwartz now has an opportunity to prove that he can make it one.

    Prediction: If the Lions find a way to make the postseason this year, Schwartz will be safe for at least another season. 

Green Bay Packers: Mike McCarthy

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    2013 Team Record: 3-2-0

    After reaching the postseason in each of the past four years, expectations are high for the Packers in 2013.

    Unfortunately, Green Bay finds itself in one of the better divisions in football and may have to win eight of its next 11 games in order to take home the NFC North crown.

    It's worth remembering that McCarthy brought the Packers a Super Bowl title following the 2010 season, which will buy the head coach plenty of breathing room even if the team fails to make the playoff this season.

    Prediction: Barring a complete collapse during the final 11 weeks of the season, McCarthy's job is safe. The Packers have already endured a number of key injuries, which will test his ability to guide the team through rough waters. Regardless of how the Packers fare, it is tough to see the team pulling the plug on McCarthy during the offseason.

Houston Texans: Gary Kubiak

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    2013 Team Record: 2-4-0

    Heading into the 2013 season, the Texans were seen as one of the few teams that could legitimately challenge the Denver Broncos for the AFC title.

    However, the season to this point has been an utter disappointment. Quarterback Matt Schaub has had his confidence broken, the defense isn't playing at its usual elite level, and Kubiak has had a difficult time keeping this team together.

    Schaub is currently out with an injury, which means Kubiak might not have to make a decision at the quarterback position just yet.

    However, that time is fast approaching, and Kubiak's decision may have a huge effect on his future.

    It is beginning to look like the Texans won't be making a trip to the playoffs this year, which will likely prompt owner Bob McNair to reevaluate both his quarterback and his head coach during the offseason.

    Prediction: There is certainly no guarantee that Kubiak will be fired during the offseason. However, if the Texans fail to make the postseason with this talented roster, it will not be a surprise if he is.

Indianapolis Colts: Chuck Pagano

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    2013 Team Record: 4-2-0

    After persevering though his own personal cancer battle last season and still guiding the Colts to the playoffs, Pagano has likely secured his position in Indianapolis for quite some time.

    The fact that the Colts have not taken a step back in the second year of the Andrew Luck era is a testament to Pagano's ability to keep this team driving forward.

    While Indianapolis came out flat against the Chargers, the Colts appear to be one of the top teams in the AFC and should remain one for the foreseeable future.

    Prediction: Unless this team completely falls apart over the next couple of months, Pagano's job will be more than safe after the season.

Jacksonville Jaguars: Gus Bradley

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    2013 Team Record: 0-6-0

    The Jaguars are currently winless, and have a legitimate chance to remain that way for the rest of the season.

    Poor quarterback play and a talent-deprived roster has the Jacksonville looking like a semi-pro team, which isn't necessarily Bradley's fault.

    The former Seahawks defensive coordinator did not inherit a top-notch roster, and to his credit had managed to keep the team from breaking apart to this point.

    Prediction: While Bradley isn't necessarily to blame for the Jaguars' struggles, someone will have to take the blame if the team continues on its current path. If Jacksonville goes 2-14 or worse this season, Bradley may be out.

Kansas City Chiefs: Andy Reid

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    2013 Team Record: 6-0-0

    After winning just two games in 2012, the Chiefs are one of only two undefeated teams in the league after six weeks this season.

    The additions of Reid and quarterback Alex Smith have clearly made a difference and Kansas City will almost certainly reach the postseason because of them.

    In fact, if the Chiefs continue dominating opponents the way they have to date, this team may be playing for a Super Bowl title when all is said and done.

    Prediction: The Chiefs have gone from 2-14 to 6-0. Reid isn't going anywhere.

Miami Dolphins: Joe Philbin

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    2013 Team Record: 3-2-0

    Philbin did a respectable job in his first season as Miami's head coach, leading the Dolphins to a 7-9 record and making then-rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill a household name in the process. 

    With a 3-2 records and in second place in the AFC East, the Dolphins have a real chance as emerging as a playoff team this season.

    However, a good start to the season has raised the expectation level in Miami and it will be interesting to see just how Philbin responds.

    Prediction: Whether the Dolphins make the postseason or not, this team is making visible progress under Philbin's direction. As long as Miami continues to take steps forward, he will have a job.

Minnesota Vikings: Leslie Frazier

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    2013 Team Record: 1-4-0

    The Vikings were a surprise playoff team a season ago and continue to be a surprise this year.

    Unfortunately, Minnesota has been surprisingly bad though five games and Frazier could be losing his grip on the head coaching job.

    With new acquisition Josh Freeman set to start at quarterback for the remainder of the year, there is still a chance for Frazier to turn things around. However, to this point, his team has appeared out-played and out-coached in nearly every game.

    Prediction: If Frazier cannot find a way to lead this team to at least an 8-8 record, it will be hard for Minnesota to keep him in charge.

New England Patriots: Bill Belichick

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    2013 Team Record: 5-1-0

    The faces in New England are new, but the results are not.

    Despite fielding a completely revamped offensive lineup, the Patriots continue to be the top team in the AFC East and one of the better teams in the entire league.

    While the presence of quarterback Tom Brady makes it easy to believe that the Patriots should win most games, Belichick has done an excellent job of game-planning around roster changes and keeping this team on a consistent path.

    Prediction: Unless Belichick inexplicably decides to cut Brady, his job will be safe in New England.

New Orleans Saints: Sean Payton

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    2013 Team Record: 5-1-0

    With Payton suspended and away from the team in 2012, the Saints struggled to find consistency and relevance.

    Now that he has made his return, New Orleans appears to be one of the best teams in the league and early favorites for the NFC South title.

    The addition of defensive coordinator Rob Ryan had helped immensely (the Saints are ranked sixth defensively, allowing just 17.2 points per game), but Payton is unquestionably the spark that drives this franchise.

    Prediction: New Orleans is happy to have Payton back in the fold and won't be sending him away any time soon.

New York Giants: Tom Coughlin

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    2013 Team Record: 0-6-0

    In just two short years, the Giants have gone from being the best team in all of football to possibly the worst.

    Quarterback Eli Manning is on pace for a 40-interception season, the defense can't seem to stop anyone and the running game has been a huge disappointment.

    To his credit, Coughlin has done a commendable job of keeping this team together throughout a disastrous first month.

    However, this team is likely in store for a long rebuilding effort, and rumors continue to swirl that Coughlin will not want to stick around to see it.

    Prediction: Owner John Mara is very unlikely to fire Coughlin mid-season and may not do so during the offseason. However, he will likely ask Coughlin to take a long look at his future, which will probably result in the head coach resigning at season's end.

New York Jets: Rex Ryan

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    2013 Team Record: 3-3-0

    Coming off a disappointing 2012 season and with a new general manager in the front office, Ryan entered 2013 with all the appearances of a lame-duck coach.

    However, he has found a way to guide his team and its rookie quarterback to a surprising .500 record, making it clear he has no intentions of giving up.

    If Ryan can continue to get his team to buy into him, the Jets may emerge as Wild Card contenders by season's end and general manger John Idzik may be forced to retain Ryan for another season.

    Prediction: While Ryan must be commended for continuing to show fight, he is probably gone, barring a surprising playoff run. Idzik has his quarterback in Geno Smith and will likely want to hand-pick his own head coach, as well.

Oakland Raiders: Dennis Allen

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    2013 Team Record: 2-4-0

    No one really expected the Raiders to be particularly good this season, but Allen has managed to at least put an entertaining product on the field.

    Oakland may have struck gold with quarterback Terrelle Pryor and managed to pick up a convincing divisional win over the Chargers earlier this season.

    The Raiders are far from one of the worst teams in the league, which is more than early expectations might have suggested.

    Prediction: After winning just four games in 2012, a six-win season will likely be enough to save Allen's job. The Raiders are looking like a six-win team.

Philadelphia Eagles: Chip Kelly

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    2013 Team Record: 3-3-0

    Most expected that Kelly and his high-powered offense would make the Eagles an exciting team to watch in 2013.

    Most just didn't expect him to win a lot of games as a rookie head coach.

    However, Philadelphia has found a way to remain competitive and is currently tied for first place in the NFC East, which means Kelly's tenure, to this point, has been a success.

    Prediction: The Eagles are both fun to watch and winning football games, which means Kelly is here to stay for the foreseeable future.

Pittsburgh Steelers: Mike Tomlin

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    2013 Team Record: 1-4-0

    These are not the Steelers we are used to seeing.

    While the majority of the season has yet to unfold, it appears that Pittsburgh is in store for a huge disappointment in 2013.

    Tomlin must take much of the blame, as this team has been molded by his hands since he took over as head coach in 2007.

    The team's identity has changed dramatically under Tomlin's guidance, and if this season is any indication, it hasn't been for the better.

    At this point, an 8-8 season would likely be seen as a success.

    Prediction: The Steelers have been one of the most consistent organizations in all of football for quite some time. However, this team seems to be in a steady decline under Tomlin, who inherited a championship-caliber franchise. 

    Tomlin would likely be fired by a different organization, but the Rooney family will give him an opportunity to turn things around next season.

San Diego Chargers: Mike McCoy

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    2013 Team Record: 3-3-0

    As a new head coach, McCoy faced the difficult task of implementing a new system for a roster of veterans who have become accustomed to a particular style of play.

    Fortunately, McCoy is used to adapting to his personnel and has done a remarkable job of getting this team to make a seamless transition.

    The Chargers have been playing extremely well, especially offensively, and if not for a few key plays would likely be sitting at 4-2 or better.

    The biggest obstacle for this team is that it plays in a division with the undefeated Broncos and Chiefs and will likely have to strive for a Wild Card spot.

    Prediction: Most head coaches are given at least two seasons before they are in danger of losing their job. McCoy has proven himself this far and will be no exception.

San Francisco 49ers: Jim Harbaugh

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    2013 Team Record: 4-2-0

    The 49ers are not quite the same team that represented the NFC in the Super Bowl last season.

    Under Harbaugh, however, the team has found a way to rebound from a rocky start to the season. San Francisco is now just a game behind Seattle in the NFC West and has a legitimate chance of making a return trip to the postseason.

    Harbaugh has weathered a storm of injuries, inconsistent play from quarterback Colin Kaepernick and a series of off-field issues by defensive star Aldon Smith.

    Despite the setbacks, he has this team again looking like one of the best in the conference.

    Prediction: Harbaugh's job is safe.

Seattle Seahawks: Pete Carroll

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    2013 Team Record: 5-1-0

    Along with the Saints, the Seahawks appear to be one of the two best teams in the NFC to this point.

    Carroll deserves a lot of credit for taking a good Seattle team and turning it into a great one over the past couple of seasons.

    He had this team believing in quarterback Russell Wilson and in itself early last year, and is continuing the trend of confidence in 2013.

    While Carroll's collegiate style of coaching isn't for everyone, it is working in Seattle.

    Prediction: The only way Carroll loses his job during the offseason is if it is somehow discovered that he has been behind the team's rash of PED violations.

St. Louis Rams: Jeff Fisher

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    2013 Team Record: 3-3-0

    The Rams haven't been playing the brand of winning football that Fisher had likely hoped for this season, but are still hanging around in the tough NFC West.

    The talent on the roster suggests that this is a .500 football club, which is right where the Rams find themselves at this point.

    Fishers inherited a long rebuilding effort when he took over as head coach last season and has this team on the verge of a significant turnaround.

    The biggest question now is whether or not the team should move forward with quarterback Sam Bradford or look for a new signal-caller in next year's draft.

    Prediction: While Fisher has not found instant success with the Rams, he has the team positioned to make a leap forward in 2014. He will be given every opportunity to see his efforts through.

Taqmpa Bay Buccaneers: Greg Schiano

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    2013 Team Record: 0-5-0

    The 2013 Buccaneers have been a disaster, and Schiano deserves much of the blame.

    This talented roster has somehow found a way to lose every game, which is a direct reflection on its head coach. 

    Schiano handled the situation with quarterback Josh Freeman poorly, and may have even been responsible for leaking confidential information about the former Tampa Bay signal-caller.

    The Buccaneers still have 11 games left to play, but it already appears that Schiano has lost this team.

    Prediction: Schiano will be fired during the offseason, if not before.

Tennessee Titans: Mike Munchak

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    2013 Team Record: 3-3-0

    After years of mediocrity, the Titans finally appear to be real contenders in the AFC South this season.

    Quarterback Jake Locker was playing at a high level before his injury and the Tennessee defense (ranked eighth, allowing 19.2 points per game) has been stifling opponents and giving the team chances to win.

    Munchak's team is currently in second place in the division and will have an opportunity to overtake the 4-2 Colts with two games against them remaining on the schedule.

    Prediction: There is a lot of football left to be played, but Munchak has his team performing at a high level. If he can continue to do so, he will be around for at least one more year.

Washington Redskins: Mike Shanahan

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    2013 Team Record: 1-4-0

    After reaching the playoff with then-rookie Robert Griffin III under center in 2012, the Redskins had high expectations this season.

    Unfortunately, the team appears to be a shadow of its former self, and not just because of the injury Griffin suffered during the playoffs last year.

    The defense is surrendering too many points (28.6 per game) and Shanahan has not been able to find a way to compensate.

    It appears extremely unlikely that Washington is going to land a postseason berth this year, but Griffin's continued recovery likely earns Shanahan an built-in excuse for failure.

    Prediction: Shanahan will probably hang onto his job, unless Griffin suffers another devastating injury because of his decisions.