Hot Seat Watch for NFL Players, Coaches Heading into Offseason, Postseason
Ah, Black Monday.
Every year we know it's coming and yet every year the bloodletting makes the Red Wedding from Game of Thrones look reasonable and calm (if you haven't seen it, the linked video might be a bit intense but so are the firings on Black Monday).
So far the butcher's bill reads like this, with the teams announcing moves after Week 17's games:
Removing these coaches of course makes some of the situations their players find themselves in a bit tenuous. And, of course, just because your name isn't on the list now doesn't mean your coaching job is safe.
So with that in mind, we've compiled a list of players and coaches whose situations are a bit shaky—some immediately and others moving forward even into next year.
Geno Smith, New York Jets
While the Jets ended on a high note—Rex Ryan’s job saved for now, a win over the hated Miami Dolphins, which caused said Dolphins to miss the playoffs, festive celebrations all around—there is no guarantee that the New York Jets will not find competition for Geno Smith.
In fact, even Smith expects it according to the New York Daily News' Brian Costello.
He should, because while you can rightfully point to the complete lack of offensive weapons around him and say he played well at times in spite of it, you cannot say with confidence he is the future in New York.
Josh Gordon, Cleveland Browns
When Mike Lombardi was hired by the Cleveland Browns, receiver Josh Gordon had a bad feeling about it.
Then, rumors flew at the trade deadline that Gordon was not long for the Browns’ organization, as documented by ESPN's Pat McManamon.
As then-head coach Rob Chudzinski said at the time, "We have no plans of trading any of our guys, including Josh."
Of course, Chudzinski is now the former coach and it seems as if Gordon may have lost a major defender in the building.
Perhaps he did enough to make fans of Lombardi and CEO Joe Banner. Or perhaps they see his value as about as high as it will get, especially as he is one failed drug test away from a year-long suspension.
Still, you have to wonder if Gordon will be around Cleveland much longer.
Christian Ponder, Minnesota Vikings
With Leslie Frazier gone, you can’t imagine that Christian Ponder will be the quarterback there for much longer.
Heck, he might not even be on the roster a lot longer.
Whoever gets this job is not going to mess around with Ponder for much longer. He will want to draft his own guy (a distinct possibility at No. 8 in the coming draft) or find a free agent to fill the void.
Ponder has had his moments, but not enough of them and too many mistakes on top of that.
His situation is definitely tenuous at best.
Dennis Allen, Oakland Raiders
Right now, nobody is sure what Allen’s status is. On the one hand, NFL.com's Gregg Rosenthal has him feeling pretty positive about it but on the other hand he’s had back-to-back 4-12 seasons, and, while there have been small steps forward, it just isn’t enough.
Six losses in a row to end the season is pretty damning as well.
Can he sell ownership on one more season? He might deserve it—the first two were under major cap duress, and we’ve seen other coaches buy another year.
Even if he does save his job for 2014, he’d better find a way to improve his record or by this time next year we’ll be talking about his new job search.
Jeff Ireland, Miami Dolphins
We talked a lot about the 2013 and 2014 salary cap situation for the Miami Dolphins during the 2013 preseason, but our assumption that Ireland had mortgaged next year for this year seems incorrect, according to The Phinsider.
Depending on free agents they have coming up, things really look cushy on Over The Cap.
That said, Jeff Ireland didn't exactly spend well this offseason.
We can start with Mike Wallace, a high-priced free agent signing which was a complete waste of ink for most of the season.
Brian Hartline outproduced him.
Hartline, who had a cap number of $2.115 million versus Wallace's $3.25 million.
You could maybe write that off as Ryan Tannehill struggling but honestly, how did Hartline get the numbers he did then?
Ireland let Jake Long go, a guy who was only rated as the No. 8 tackle in the NFL by Pro Football Focus last year (subscriber link). Putting aside the utter chaos that was the Jonathan Martin/Richie Incognito mess, losing Long put the line in a poor position to overcome injury and talent problems which led to the mess we saw at the end of the season.
The offensive line allowed the most sacks in the NFL (58) and a ridiculous 98 quarterback hits as well.
Previously Ireland traded Brandon Marshall to Chicago for a song and then let Reggie Bush go to Detroit. Like Long, both players were sorely missed in the offense the year after they left.
His drafts have also been hit and miss, his 2008 and 2009 selections being flat-out bad while his 2010 and 2011 have been OK at best. It's too soon to judge the 2013 class, but No. 3 overall pick Dion Jordan has languished on the bench, Jamar Taylor has been hurt all season and running back Mike Gillislee has rarely seen the field (though as a fifth rounder, that's no shock).
The best player of the class? Kicker Caleb Sturgis.
The Dolphins fell apart this season, and the front office and coaching staff may get a pass because of it. It's the last one Miami fans should stand for, though.
Ireland, more than anyone, needs to improve his methods and get better results.
Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals
While Andy Dalton had some fantastic moments this season, he also had some duds.
I outlined why I don’t feel good about him going into this weekend’s playoff matchup against the San Diego Chargers already. Many of those reasons are the same ones which make his situation a tad tenuous.
The Bengals have been good enough to make the playoffs for three straight years with Dalton at the helm.
In the first two instances, they were immediately sent back home. Dalton played poorly in both of those games, throwing for just 384 yards and four interceptions.
That’s right, folks—Andy Dalton has yet to throw a single touchdown in the postseason. During their loss last season, it was the defense which held them in the game, not the offense.
With A.J. Green there, he’s never really lacked for talent, but now that Marvin Jones, Tyler Eifert and Giovani Bernard are supplementing Green, Dalton really has no excuse.
The Bengals have to get out of the first round or else this is a team that needs to take a long, hard look at what is holding them back.
The answer is probably under center.
Tom Coughlin, New York Giants
It’s an interesting position coach Tom Coughlin finds himself in.
It looks as if Coughlin will return—but his coaching staff may not according to Ebenezer Samuel of the Daily News.
You know that won’t sit well with Coughlin.
Coughlin just finished his first losing season since 2004, and it is clear in the above article that ownership is unhappy with the way things went. The story mentions offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride, but it’s not hard to guess defensive coordinator Perry Fewell could also be forced out.
And if you’re a 67-year-old coach with no extension entering the last year of your contract, would you want to break in new coordinators whom you will probably not have a ton of say in choosing (since who knows how long you’ll be there)?
The Giants may want him back, but they might also put him in a situation where he might not really be all that enthused to.
Further, this past season merely highlights the frustrating tendency Coughlin’s Giants teams have had since their first Super Bowl win—if they don’t make it to the Super Bowl, they usually don’t make the playoffs (2008 being the exception).
The fans were restless this season. Another similar season and they might set things on fire.
Mike Glennon, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
At 10:55 a.m. E.S.T. Monday morning, Scott Smith of Buccaneers.com tweeted out the following:
Mike Williams: In team meeting, Coach said, "We have our quarterback." Williams says he agrees.
At 11:38 a.m. E.S.T. Monday morning, Jay Glazer of Fox Sports tweeted this:
Greg Schiano and Mark Dominik have been fired!
If you’re Mike Glennon, that’s not a good morning.
Glennon hasn’t been awful this season, not for a rookie who was never ready to step under center. He hasn't been great though, and certainly hasn’t earned that starting job.
In Glennon’s case, he’s going to run into a guy who is going to want his own player under center. Even worse, the general manager who drafted him—Dominik—is also gone.
Glennon is going to have a steep hill to climb and prove himself to the new bosses.