NFL Power Rankings Week 5: Which Coaches Are Earning Their Paycheck?

Sam WestmorelandFeatured ColumnistOctober 5, 2010

NFL Power Rankings Week 5: Which Coaches Are Earning Their Paycheck?

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    PHILADELPHIA - AUGUST 13:  Head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars, Jack Del Rio looks on from the sideline against the Philadelphia Eagles during their preseason game at Lincoln Financial Field on August 13, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by
    Nick Laham/Getty Images

    Week 5 of the NFL regular season saw some shift in the hot-seat dynamics of the league. 

    For some, their seat got a lot warmer; others saw their seats cool down noticeably with strong performances.

    In Jacksonville, head coach Jack del Rio managed to hold off the pink slip brigade quite well, as the Jaguars got a big win over Indianapolis.  

    But for every del Rio who got himself out of trouble, there are two coaches who managed to dig themselves deeper into it with losses this week. Who earned their paycheck?  Who is dreading their next visit to the general manager's office? A good power ranking should tell us just who's doing his job.

The Dregs: 32-26

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    GLENDALE, AZ - SEPTEMBER 26:  Head coach Tom Cable of the Oakland Raiders stands on the sidelines during the NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on September 26, 2010 in Glendale, Arizona.  The Cardinals defeated th
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    32. Tom Cable, Oakland Raiders: Cable’s Raiders have struggled to find the win column in 2010. With so many near-misses, he needs to get this team over the hump, or Al Davis will find someone who will. 

    31. Chan Gailey, Buffalo Bills: Gailey's team is getting more competitive, but they still don't have a victory in 2010. They hung with New England, but the Jets waxed them in Week 4. Gailey needs to get his act together, or face the wrath of ownership.

    30. Mike Singletary, San Francisco 49ers: When your team looks as bad as San Fran did Weeks 1 through 3, you’re going to wind up on the hot seat. 

    29. John Fox, Carolina Panthers: The Panthers still can’t win in the first half of the season. Surely the fans are clamoring for a change in Carolina.

    28. Jim Schwartz, Detroit Lions: It’s not fair, because the Lions have been competitive in three of their four games this season. But 0-4 means you need Teflon pants.

    27. Eric Mangini, Cleveland Browns: One win does not save you from the bottom of the barrel, Eric. You’re still in trouble in Cleveland. 

    26. Wade Phillips, Dallas Cowboys: Don’t let the win over Houston fool you; this team, and its coach, are still in serious trouble. If they can’t get it together, Phillips will be looking for a job. 

Not Completely Useless: 25-21

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    HOUSTON - SEPTEMBER 12:  Head coach Jim Caldwell of the Indianapolis Colts at Reliant Stadium on September 12, 2010 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    25. Brad Childress, Minnesota Vikings: He needs to keep the momentum from the Week 3 win going now that the bye’s over, if he wants to keep his job.

    24. Ken Whisenhunt, Arizona Cardinals: Whisenhunt’s team hasn’t even put up a fight in their two losses, and the two wins are by a combined five points. He’s in more trouble than you think.

    23. Tom Coughlin, New York Giants: Now that they’ve showed they can win, they have to keep doing it. 

    22. Norv Turner, San Diego Chargers: If San Diego could win on the road, Turner would be in the top 20. 

    21. Jim Caldwell, Indianapolis Colts: This team is too good to be 2-2 right now. Caldwell’s seat is getting warmer by the day. 

20. Jack Del Rio, Jacksonville Jaguars

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    TAMPA, FL - AUGUST 28:  Head coach Jack Del Rio of the Jacksonville Jaguars watches his team play against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during a preseason game at Raymond James Stadium on August 28, 2010 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
    J. Meric/Getty Images

    Why He Earned His Paycheck

    Del Rio and the Jags knocked off Indianapolis on Sunday, and Maurice Jones-Drew finally got going. They’re 2-2 and in a three-way tie for second in the AFC South. 

    How He Could Blow It

    If the Jags play as they did in Weeks 2 and 3 again this season, del Rio will be as good as gone in Jacksonville. 

    Potential Potholes

    Weeks 6 through 10 are going to be the test for this team.

19. Pete Carroll, Seattle Seahawks

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    SEATTLE - SEPTEMBER 26:  Head coach Pete Carroll of the Seattle Seahawks looks on during the game against the San Diego Chargers at Qwest Field on September 26, 2010 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    Why He Earned His Paycheck

    Carroll’s got this team playing extremely well at home. They look better than they did last year, which is a testament to the head coach. 

    How He Could Blow It

    Unfortunately, they stink out loud on the road. Carroll needs to get his team ready to go when they’re traveling.

    Potential Potholes

    Week 6 at Chicago will be the next road test for Seattle.

18. Tony Sparano, Miami Dolphins

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    ORCHARD PARK, NY - SEPTEMBER 12: Tony Sparano, head coach of the Miami Dolphins stands on the sidelines during the NFL season opener against the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium on September 12, 2010 in Orchard Park, New York.  (Photo by Rick Stewart
    Rick Stewart/Getty Images

    Why He Earned His Paycheck

    Sparano’s team looked strong in Weeks 1 and 2, and sit a game out of first in the AFC East.

    How He Could Blow It

    The Dolphins need to fix their defense and special teams in a big hurry. They’ve looked terrible the past two weeks, and the offense isn’t built to play in shootouts. 

    Potential Potholes

    The Dolphins’ next six games don’t get any easier, as they face the Packers, Steelers, Bengals, Ravens, Titans, and Bears. 

17. Andy Reid, Philadelphia Eagles

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    DETROIT - SEPTEMBER 19:  Philadelphia Eagles head coach Andy Reid during the game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on September 19, 2010 in Detroit, Michigan. The Eagles defeated the Lions 35-32.  (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
    Leon Halip/Getty Images

    Why He Earned His Paycheck

    Reid has guided the Eagles to a 2-2 record at the quarter pole of 2010, beating the teams he was supposed to beat. The Eagles were competitive Sunday in a loss to Washington.

    How He Could Blow It

    This team needs to beat someone of consequence. Jacksonville and Detroit aren’t going to cut it if Reid wants to stay in Philly.

    Potential Potholes

    The schedule gets incredibly difficult from here on out. This is when we find out just how good the Eagles are. 

16. Josh McDaniels, Denver Broncos

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    NASHVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 03:  Coach Josh McDaniels of the Denver Broncos confers with an official during a game against the Tennessee Titans  at LP Field on October 3, 2010 in Nashville, Tennessee. Denver won 26-20.  (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
    Grant Halverson/Getty Images

    Why He Earned His Paycheck

    The Broncos offense is firing on all cylinders through four weeks, and the Broncos snagged a big road win over Tennessee on Sunday. 

    How He Could Blow It

    If the run game doesn’t return when starter Knowshon Moreno does, or Denver’s defense can’t figure out how to stop the pass, it’ll be a long season at Mile High Stadium. 

    Potential Potholes

    Weeks 5 and 6 pose serious threats to Denver. 

15. Jeff Fisher, Tennessee Titans

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    NASHVILLE, TN - SEPTEMBER 02:  Coach Jeff Fisher of the Tennessee Titans watches during an exhibition game against the New Orleans Saints at LP Field on September 2, 2010 in Nashville, Tennessee. Tennessee won 27-24.  (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Image
    Grant Halverson/Getty Images

    Why He Earned His Paycheck

    Fisher's gotten the Titans defensive unit back on track in 2010, making them a tough team for anyone to beat. His team has played every opponent close.

    How He Could Blow It

    If Fisher can't figure out how to jump-start the Titans offense, 8-8 is a definite possibility. 

    Potential Potholes

    Week 5 against Dallas, Week 7 against Philadelphia, Week 8 against San Diego. 

14. Marvin Lewis, Cincinnati Bengals

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    CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 26:  Head coach Marvin Lewis of the Cincinnati Bengals yells to his team during their game against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium on September 26, 2010 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Get
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Why He Earned His Paycheck

    Lewis finally got the offense to click in a competitive game, as both running back Cedric Benson and quarterback Carson Palmer had strong performances in Sunday's loss to Cleveland.

    How He Could Blow It

    He lost to the Browns! That's how he could blow it!

    Potential Potholes

    Weeks 7 through 10 are going to be brutal. 

13. Mike Shanahan, Washington Redskins

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    PHILADELPHIA - OCTOBER 03:  Head coach Mike Shanahan of the Washington Redskins looks on against the Philadelphia Eagles on October 3, 2010 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    Why He Earned His Paycheck

    The Redskins got a huge win over a division rival to move to 2-0 in the NFC East. 

    How He Could Blow It

    That defense is atrocious. Fix it quick, or it'll be a long season. 

    Potential Potholes

    Weeks 5 through 7 pit the 'Skins against some elite foes. We'll know whether Shanahan deserves his paycheck after that. 

12. Steve Spagnuolo, St. Louis Rams

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    FOXBORO, MA - AUGUST 26:  Head coach Steve Spagnuolo of the St. Louis Rams talks with Keenan Burton #14 in the second half against the New England Patriots on August 26, 2010 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts. The Rams defeated the Patriots 36
    Elsa/Getty Images

    Why He Earned His Paycheck

    The Rams are in first in the NFC West. Who saw that coming?

    How He Could Blow It

    Now that they're here, Spagnuolo has to keep his team on top of the heap.

    Potential Potholes

    San Diego in Week 6. 

11. Raheem Morris, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    TAMPA, FL - SEPTEMBER 12:  Head coach Raheem Morris of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers watches his team against the Cleveland Browns during the NFL season opener game at Raymond James Stadium on September 12, 2010 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Ima
    J. Meric/Getty Images

    Why He Earned His Paycheck

    Morris has the Bucs at 2-1, which no one saw coming.

    How He Could Blow It

    If Tampa plays the way they did against Pittsburgh again, they're in trouble.

    Potential Potholes

    Weeks 5 and 6 could be serious trouble. 

10. Gary Kubiak, Houston Texans

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    HOUSTON - SEPTEMBER 12:  Houston Texans head coach Gary Kubiak has words with referee Ed Hochuli after the Texans were charged with a timeout after the play clock was zero against the indianapolis Colts during the NFL season opener at Reliant Stadium on S
    Bob Levey/Getty Images

    Why He Earned His Paycheck

    Kubiak got the Texans ready to play against the Raiders, and Houston got the good bounce-back win.

    How He Could Blow It

    Does he even know what defense is?

    Potential Potholes

    Week 5 against the Giants and Week 8 against the Colts will be stern tests for Kubiak. 

9. Todd Haley, Kansas City Chiefs

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    KANSAS CITY, MO - SEPTEMBER 02:  Head coach Todd Haley of the Kansas City Chiefs applaudes players from the sidelines during the game against the Green Bay Packers on September 2, 2010 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire
    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    Why He's Earned his Paycheck

    Holy crap! The Chiefs are 3-0!

    How He Could Blow It

    Kansas City has to win on the road, against a good team, before I'm convinced.

    Potential Potholes

    Weeks 5 and 6 will tell us if the Chiefs are for real. 

8. Bill Belichick, New England Patriots

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    FOXBORO, MA - SEPTEMBER 26:  Coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots reacts after defeating the Buffalo Bills, 38-30,  at Gillette Stadium on September 26, 2010 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
    Jim Rogash/Getty Images

    Why He Earned His Paycheck

    A big win and a strong defensive showing mean Belichick's back!

    How He Could Blow It

    The Pats defense can't make that beat-down a one-time thing. 

    Potential Potholes

    Weeks 6 through 8 will be tough for Belichick and the Pats. 

7. Rex Ryan, New York Jets

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    ORCHARD PARK, NY - OCTOBER 03: Rex Ryan, head coach  of the New York Jets points on the sidelines against the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium on October 3, 2010 in Orchard Park, New York. The Jets won 38-14. (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)
    Rick Stewart/Getty Images

    Why He Earned His Paycheck

    Huh, I guess the Jets do have an offense. 

    How He Could Blow It

    If it turns out the last three weeks' offensive explosion was a fluke, Ryan's back to square one. 

    Potential Potholes

    Weeks 5, 6, and 8 are going to be brutal for New York. 

6. Lovie Smith, Chicago Bears

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    EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - OCTOBER 03:  Head coach Lovie Smith of the Chicago Bears looks on from the sidelines against the New York Giants at New Meadowlands Stadium on October 3, 2010 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
    Andrew Burton/Getty Images

    Why He Earned His Paycheck

    The Bears lost two quarterbacks Sunday night, but didn't get blown out by New York.

    How He Could Blow It

    If Jay Cutler's out for an extended period of time, Smith's in hot water.

    Potential Potholes

    Not much until Week 10. 

5. Mike McCarthy, Green Bay Packers

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    GREEN BAY, WI - SEPTEMBER 19: Head coach Mike McCarthy of the Green Bay Packers watches as his team takes on the Buffalo Bills at Lambeau Field on September 19, 2010 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Packers defeated the Bills 34-7. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/G
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Why He Earned His Paycheck

    The Packers won this week, and the offense looked better than it had all season.

    How He Could Blow It

    Isn't this team going to the Super Bowl? Sure didn't look like it on Sunday.

    Potential Potholes

    The season gets a lot tougher from here on out. The Packers need a strong effort the rest of the way. 

4. Mike Tomlin, Pittsburgh Steelers

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    PITTSBURGH - SEPTEMBER 12:  Head coach Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburgh Steelers watches his team play against the Atlanta Falcons during the NFL season opener game on September 12, 2010 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/
    Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

    Why He Earned His Paycheck

    Hey, 3-1 without your franchise quarterback's not too shabby!

    How He Could Blow It

    If Pittsburgh struggles when Big Ben returns. 

    Potential Potholes

    Weeks 7 through 10 are tough. 

3. Sean Payton, New Orleans Saints

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    NEW ORLEANS - SEPTEMBER 26:  Head Coach Sean Payton talks with Garrett Hartley #5 of the New Orleans Saints before attempting a field goal in overtime against the Atlanta Falcons at the Louisiana Superdome on September 26, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana.
    Chris Graythen/Getty Images

    Why He Earned His Paycheck

    A good bounce-back win over Carolina in Week 4 helps the Saints keep pace with the Falcons.

    How He Could Blow It

    The Saints need to get the offense in gear because the defense can't do it alone.

    Potential Potholes

    Week 8 against Pittsburgh. 

2. John Harbaugh, Baltimore Ravens

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    PITTSBURGH - OCTOBER 03:  Head coach John Harbaugh of the Baltimore Ravens watches his team practice prior to the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on October 3, 2010 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
    Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

    Why He Earned His Paycheck

    An impressive win over a tough Pittsburgh team moves the Ravens into first in the AFC North.

    How He Could Blow It

    That offense still hasn't convinced me it can succeed.

    Potential Potholes

    Weeks 5 and 6 will prove challenging to the Ravens. 

1. Mike Smith, Atlanta Falcons

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    ATLANTA - SEPTEMBER 19:  Head coach Mike Smith of the Atlanta Falcons against the Arizona Cardinals at Georgia Dome on September 19, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Why He Earned His Paycheck

    A pair of gritty wins and a blowout win have the Falcons in first place in the NFC South. Smith is a big reason why.

    How He Could Blow It

    The defense is shaky.

    Potential Potholes

    Weeks 6, 7, and 9 will be tests of the Falcons' mettle.