One Way or Another: The Top 10 NFL Head Coaches Who Are on the Hot Seat
With the NFL Draft weeks away, speculation is beginning to heat up in the large and highly anticipated world of the NFL.
Head coaches are beginning to feel the pinch that the off-season brings, and both players and fans are eagerly awaiting just who their respective teams will sign come April.
Although some teams are well and truly out from under the spotlight, many remain to await criticism and speculation as to just what their future holds.
Ultimately, head coaches will be blamed, and whether their jobs are terminated or withheld is a different story.
Here is a look at the Top 10 head coaches who are officially "on the hotseat" and may or may not be on their way out of town.
10. Mike Shanahan - Washington Redskins
Mike Shanahan has had a reasonably quiet off-season. With the Washington Redskins having needs a mile long, Mike does have his work cut out for him when taking over a previously 4-12 football team.
Although his off-season has proved to be quiet, he has managed to snag Larry Johnson from the Cincinnati Bengals, a move which ultimately solves Washington's need for a decent run game.
However, I still fail to see how this signing meets all of Washington's needs. Yes, quarterback Jason Campbell is solid at times, but he does draw in a boatload of criticism from analysts and experts nationwide.
The big issues with Washington though, is their lack of motivation.
Season after season of disappointment and lousy below .500 records has Washington faithfuls sitting back and wondering just when their team will finally rally in the tough, but talented NFC East division.
Two things need to happen with this team. One, Mike needs to step up and show us all why he is so respected in a league that is all to welcome to have him back. And two, the Draft must be a success for Washington. If one of these fails, it may be 4-12 again in 2010, or perhaps worse.
9. Chan Gailey - Buffalo Bills
Like Mike, Chan is yet to do much this off-season. The only positive that has come out of Buffalo so far is that Terrell Owens is definitely on the move.
Aside from that, Buffalo has been as quiet as it normally is each off-season. However, Chan does need to more or less motivate a team that is short on talent and depth heading into 2010. The NFL Draft is important for the Bills, but it won't solve every problem that faces them.
A quarterback is needed in Buffalo, and with former Packer Brian Brohm leading the starting role speculation, it seems that the Bills are heading toward a "make it or break it" type of regular season.
Chan is the man in charge, and although he did experience success with Georgia Tech, the NFL is a totally different league to become acquainted. with.
Needs and wants from Buffalo fans, Chan is under the gun this off-season.
8. Steve Spagnuolo - St. Louis Rams
Let's face it, the Rams have become one of the "joke" teams of the past five years.
Inconsistent play, poor quarterback passing, and a running back that is basically going to waste, Steve Spagnuolo has failed for the most part at turning this franchise around.
But let's cut Spagnuolo some slack. It isn't easy turning a pitiful team around in a single season. Therefore, some changes are needed in order to get the Rams back on track.
Following Sam Bradford's more than impressive workout over the weekend, it's fair to say that St. Louis is leading the vote to sign the former Oklahoma Sooners' quarterback in the Draft. But does this fulfill all of the Rams' needs?
Well, not really, but it is a start.
The important thing for fans to realize when reviewing Steve, is that he has had more than his fair share of success in coaching.
Formerly a defensive coordinator for the New York Giants, Steve knows the ins and outs of the game like a true professional.
Time is of the essence though with the Rams, and as season after season drags out, coaches are just going to gain more criticism. Unfortunately for Steve, he falls under this category.
7. Josh McDaniels - Denver Broncos
I wouldn't blame you if you thought the Denver Broncos were heading toward postseason football last season, I know I did. But in the long run, we saw the same old Denver Broncos appear toward the end of the season, and with the Brandon Marshall hiccup throwing a spanner in the works, Denver just wasn't the same.
Now Denver have gained Brady Quinn, and although there are numerous articles floating around the web, no one knows for sure just how Brady is going to perform come Sept., or if he will even get the starting job.
Fans have criticized Kyle Orton recently, calling him a barrage of names such as "Wash Up" and "Choker." Whichever one you choose to use, it's only fair to give Kyle at least one more shot at getting this quarterback thing right.
As for Josh, well, his coaching job isn't exactly in jeopardy just yet. Rest assured though, if Denver gets off to a possible 0-2 start next season, you may see the headline of "Josh McDaniels' coaching career in doubt" appear on a few sports sties.
6. Todd Haley - Kansas City Chiefs
Todd Haley is amongst the unheard ofs in the NFL coaching profession. Maybe it's because we are all firmly used to seeing Kansas City post unimpressive records season in and season out, or perhaps it's because Todd Haley really hasn't done much since being appointed head coach. Whatever one it is, Todd Haley needs to turn this franchise around.
Kansas City is a mediocre team when looking at them on paper. Led by former New England Patriot Matt Cassel, they did have their moments of brilliance last season. But at the end of the day, it still isn't good enough in the eyes of Chiefs fans.
The speculation toward Todd Haley has been dismal so far, however, we could see a different story come Sept. Kansas City has become a sort of "write off" type team in the NFL, and when a team gets that sort of name attached to them, it really starts to raise concerns.
A running back and some decent wide receivers are needed in Chief land, and only the Draft or the trading block can provide that. Kansas City isn't the richest team in the world, but if Todd Haley fails to live up to expectations, they will not hesitate on showing him the door.
5. Tom Cable - Oakland Raiders
The controversy has died down lately in regards to Tom Cable's alleged actions last season. With the Raiders still struggling in the AFC West, drastic action is needed for The Black Hole.
First off, I will mention this whole Donovan McNabb issue. Yes, some fans do see Donovan becoming a Raider, but let's look at it this way: Would that really be a step toward the future, or a step in the opposite direction for Oakland? It's tough to say, but McNabb simply isn't the most consistent quarterback in the league.
Aside from that, other needs must be taken into consideration when looking at Oakland.
A quarterback is needed, but so are decent wide receivers and some offensive lineman. Like Kansas City, these prospects can only come from the Draft and if Al Davis gets it right (God knows he won't), Oakland may be able to at least post a few more wins on the board next season.
4. Pete Carroll - Seattle Seahawks
Yes, Pete hasn't even experienced his first game as head coach just yet, but the pressure is on from the get go in Seattle.
'Embarrassing' is the first word that comes to mind when thinking of the Seahawks, and unfortunately, a lot of the blame has to go on once superb quarterback Matt Hasselbeck.
Half throws and loose balls were significant all season long for the Seahawks, and after watching the Seattle vs. Green Bay game, I was convinced that the Seahawks could do with a young backup quarterback that could be molded over time, and act as a replacement should the going get tough.
Jimmy Clausen or perhaps Jevan Snead could be a likely option as their quick throwing ways would fit in with the Seattle style of offense.
Pete Carroll is barely on the hot seat yet, but Seattle fans are picky. They want success, and they want it now. Lolly gagging won't be tolerated from the newly appointed man.
3. Marvin Lewis - Cincinnati Bengals
It comes as a surprise to me that this man hasn't already been fired, or at the very least booed out of town. In my honest opinion, I used to think highly of Marvin Lewis. The problems in Cincinnati seemed to stem from more of a "bad luck" type cause, rather than poor coaching.
Nowadays though, I can no longer stick up for him. Poor call after poor call lands Marvin Lewis at the No. 3 spot on this list, and it is no wonder that the Bengal fans are loud and proud about voicing their opinions.
10-6 doesn't seem all that bad for an AFC team that suffered through the worst, but came out in the end. The only problem is, a choked away playoff game to the New York Jets, and far too many mistakes lands not only Marvin Lewis in hot water, but the entire Bengals side.
Talent wise, the Bengals aren't lacking too much. Despite criticism, faith is still to be had in quarterback Carson Palmer and the wide receiver duo of Chad Ochocinco and Laveranues Coles seems to be clicking.
No, the bigger problem is on the offensive line. With a passing, running, and catching game as good as the Bengals have, it is a wonder that Cincinnati is ranked 22nd in points scored.
Much of this has to do with the pressure being applied on quarterback Carson Palmer. Every snap comes with an air of doubt to it, and if things don't change thanks to a wise draft pick, then sorry Bengal fans, it may be another long regular season.
To be fair though, the Bengals have signed former Tampa Bay receiver Antonio Bryant, who is expected to bring a spark of excitement to the Bengals' offense.
At least that is something to look forward to, right?
2. Tom Coughlin - New York Giants
He's a questionable guy at times.
Red cheeked, mumbling Tom Coughlin set the stage in 2009 for the ultimate disappointment. In what started out to be another promising season, the Giants fell to a new low of 8-8. To top it all off, their beloved home of Giants Stadium was demolished, and everything old about the Giants quickly but subtly flew out the window.
Fortunately, there are no big issues in the land of big blue. But there are ones that can be cause for a bit of concern.
Offensively, the Giants are solid. Eli Manning is sure to be 100 percent in 2010, and young wide receivers Mario Manningham, Domenik Hixon, and Steve Smith have set the bar for excellence in New York.
However, the problem lies on defense, particularly the fundamentals. On paper, the Giants' defense looks like it could pack a punch, but in reality, they are ranked 30th in points allowed, fitting for a team that turned in an 8-8 season.
The Draft isn't looking like it will be all that promising for the Giants, as their first round pick is well behind top contenders such as the St. Louis Rams and Detroit Lions.
Fortunately though for the Giants, the likelihood of a player slipping through is high, and that may be what makes or breaks Tom Coughlin's future.
1. Jack Del Rio - Jacksonville Jaguars
Jack has been around long enough to know how important every decision is when running a football team. You'd think with that in mind though, his struggling 7-9 Jaguars of 2009 would have a more positive mindset heading into the off-season.
Fortunately for Jack, fans seem to be forgetting about him. 'Slipping under the radar', if you will, Jack Del Rio has only suffered a small amount of scrutiny compared to others of his profession.
Still, that doesn't take away from the importance that this year's draft brings. The Jaguars capped off a dismal 2009 in a fairly unfashionable like way.
Jacksonville (faithfuls?) questioning Jack Del Rio, and the overall talent that his team possesses. With the quarterback position looking moderately stable, the slightest rock in the boat could set the Jaguars askew once again.
Therefore, the importance of a stable player is the most important in this situation. With a wide range of positions needing attention, none is more needy than the defensive line.
Ranked 19th in the NFL in overall defensive rush yards, the Jaguars struggled in nearly every game to contain the run.
Jack had better get the gears moving, as his slow and un-opportunistic attitude may cost him his job in three month's time.