We've played eight weeks of the 2010 NFL Season. By now, you're familiar with who's contending, who's not, and most importantly, who's in some trouble.
While some of the coaches from last week's rankings managed to win their games, others who were previously safe or at least safer, failed to win. Two of the seemingly most troubled coaches faced each other.
As teams near the halfway point this week, it's clear that some coaches are in imminent danger of being canned for poor performance.
This week, we'll take a look at our top five (or bottom five if you prefer), but we'll also take a look back at the original five troubled men and see how they've done so far.
And now, your Week 9 NFL Coach Hot Seat Rankings...
Here's a look back at who was originally labeled endangered, my comments on their performance, and whether or not I would like to have changed the original pick.
John Fox, Carolina Panthers
I ceased ranking Fox in the hot seat because, no matter how bad his performance, he wasn't going to be fired by the Panthers' management. In their eyes, he'd earned the right to coach the final year of his contract before potentially retiring from the game.
Fox's Panthers have been as bad as I predicted and worse, going 1-6 and beating only lowly San Francisco. They've bounced between quarterbacks Matt Moore and Jimmy Clausen and haven't looked good in any phase or really in any game.
Would I like to have it back? No. If he were on almost any other team, he'd have been fired already.
Lovie Smith, Chicago Bears
I originally ranked Smith here because, well, his team hadn't met expectations since 2006, when the Bears reached the Super Bowl. Many of the rumor mills had Smith being fired if his team failed to reach the postseason.
They still do, but Smith's Bears have a 4-3 record and have played well in most games. The record should likely be 3-4 but for a controversial call, but at 4-3 the Bears are positioned to be a player when the chips fall. The question is whether or not they can stay there with Jay Cutler doing his best Jeff George impersonation.
Would I like to have it back? No. I still think he's a goner because I don't think Chicago can stay in the race to the finish.
Raheem Morris, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
No one thought Morris, who barely survived his first season in the headset, had a prayer of lasting two years. The thought here was that, if he was almost fired once, another bad year would do him in for good.
As the great Lee Corso is fond of saying, not so fast, my friend. Tampa Bay has been every bit one of the surprise teams in the NFL through eight weeks, posting a 5-2 record, and showing an unlikely amount of growth and success. This young team is playing veteran-type football.
Would I like to have it back? At the time it seemed like a good idea, but yes I'd like to have this one back.
Tom Cable, Oakland Raiders
Cable coaches for Al Davis, so he's always on the hot seat. After also barely surviving the season and rumors of his firing after it was over, the theory was that he would be fired as soon as Al Davis could find a new bulb for his overhead projector.
Well, at 4-4 the Raiders are only one game behind surprising Kansas City for the AFC West lead. In a weak division and a conference that seems intent on beating itself up with bruising football, they are in great position to make a return to the playoffs. Darren McFadden has arrived and the offense and defense are finally starting to click. Gee, who'd have guessed that a little consistency at the top could make all the difference.
Would I like to have it back? I never saw this coming. The scary thing? This team plays hard for Cable. I want this one back.
Eric Mangini, Cleveland Browns
Mangini survived a complete overhaul of the people above him, he lost virtually all of his personnel power, and he is not well liked by his players. He also now has a former head coach above him in the front office (Mike Holmgren).
At first, Mangini seemed a sure bet to be canned, but after inserting rookie Colt McCoy against the Steelers, the team has looked more stable and dangerous. McCoy might be following in the footsteps of several recent rookie quarterbacks who made unlikely strides early in their first year. Upsetting champion New Orleans two weeks ago was even more important.
Would I like to have it back? No. I still maintain that Mangini is in trouble, but he might have finally found a way to get Cleveland back into the conversation. We'll have to stay tuned.
What Just Happened?
Childress is here not because his team is 2-5 (tied with the Detroit Lions for last place in the NFC North). He is here because his team shows absolutely no signs of recovering, because the Vikings have become a media circus, and because Childress and his personnel people failed to do one of the most important things in the sport: find a good, young franchise quarterback.
The theory was that Childress would go with Tarvaris Jackson once Brett Favre finally hung it up this summer. They made no move to bring in a quarterback, dealt away Sage Rosenfels, and skipped over several talented passers in the draft.
Favre came back, has played terrible and the Vikings are finding out that he's still better than Jackson. In relief on Sunday, Jackson had a chance to rally Minnesota against New England. He not only failed, he failed spectacularly.
Childress is falling out of favor fast. Zygi Wilf is not happy about the media circus surrounding the Randy Moss release and the constant storm around Favre. Childress is victimized a lot by his starting quarterback, but he has shown zero ability to step up and take control.
I'd say he's in more trouble than most people think at this point. The season looks bleak and is getting worse. He needs to step in, take charge and be the head coach instead of a great stone face on the sideline.
What Just Happened?
Getting a win to break their three-game losing streak was huge, but there is still reason to worry for Norv Turner. The Chargers are still in third place in their division behind Oakland and Kansas City. They are still 0-4 on the road (3-1 at home). They still aren't playing particularly well outside of the quarterback position.
Philip Rivers will have nearly 6,000 yards passing if he continues on this pace. He's not on that pace because he's having a Peyton Manning-type break out. He's on it because the Bolts can't even hope to compete if he's not throwing it 30 or more times a game.
Turner has to keep the pressure on his team and start breaking out of the road slump. If they can't win on the road, they're no better than 7-9. As weak as the AFC West might be, 7-9 still probably won't win it with Oakland and Kansas City playing very well.
He's in better shape than Childress, but only slightly. He's ranked higher because it's more likely in my mind that he would be fired if the season tanks.
Turner has never been able to get a team deep into the playoffs. The Chargers always are digging out of a hole early and this season may have tipped them a little too far down the ladder. The running game and special teams are most concerning right now. Turner has to get them going quickly.
What Just Happened?
Coming off a 59-14 shellacking at the hands of the Oakland Raiders, the Denver Broncos went to London and got beat by the lowly 49ers. To make it worse, they were beaten by a third-string quarterback making his first start in red and gold.
McDaniels has never been quite that popular. He struggled with maturity last year and this year has struggled to keep his team competitive. On paper, this team should have challenged for the playoffs. In practice, they are falling to pieces.
Their defense isn't playing well, Kyle Orton is trying to do too much to make up for the lack of consistent receivers or runners, and McDaniels looks kind of lost. He's certainly lost the team. Getting it back won't be easy and it's not likely that he has unlimited chances to get it right.
McDaniels is purported to be safe until 2011, but owner Pat Bowlen surprisingly fired former coach Mike Shanahan two years ago when everyone thought he was safe. Don't bet on McDaniels being bullet proof if his team falls apart further.
The knock on the Broncos last year was that they fell apart after opening 6-0. This year, they beat that by never showing up at all. Another loss or two like the one they had against Oakland and someone will have to take the blame...and the fall.
What Just Happened?
Another loss just happened. The Bengals are now, by virtue of losing to 2-5 Cleveland a few weeks back, in the AFC North basement. This comes after winning the division in 2009, and being widely expected to repeat and improve upon their previous year's performance.
That doesn't seem likely now. Carson Palmer and the offense can't consistently click. Palmer is throwing too many interceptions. Most people thought Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco couldn't co-exist. The problem isn't that they can't co-exist. The problem is that they can't get open.
The defense isn't playing good either and is showing a penchant for flaming out in big situations.
Oh, and now they have to face Pittsburgh on Monday Night Football. That's a perfect medicine. Or not.
Bleak. Lewis has been on the hot seat intermittently for the better part of his Bengals tenure. Now he might be in real trouble. This is not the first time that the Bengals have won the division, and subsequently looked hideous the following year.
This year, however, the team is pretty deep, talented and complete. There's no reason they shouldn't be in the conversation, yet they are in last place in a tough division.
If they can't find a way to beat Pittsburgh, they will have likely fallen too far behind in the AFC North to hope for the playoffs.
What Just Happened?
Bad things happen to good people. You'd be hard pressed to find a nicer, more genteel coach than Wade Phillips. He's had a calming effect on Jerry Jones in some ways.
He hasn't had a winning effect on the Cowboys this season, however. That has him at the top of these rankings, and also as the man who has the least chance of keeping his job.
At this point, about the only way Phillips could remain as coach of the Dallas Cowboys would be to find a way to buy the team from Jones.
That's not happening.
Dallas lost again Sunday, dropping to a stunning 1-6. For pundits and analysts predicting an old-fashioned Steelers vs. Cowboys Super Bowl, the disappointment is palpable. For Jerry Jones, who was expecting to be the first owner to have his team play a true Super Bowl home game, the disappointment isn't just palpable. It's downright unmistakable. Jones is seething under his calm exterior.
They can't play offense (especially not without Tony Romo). They can't stop anyone on defense (not a surprise if you look at the stats for the last decade). They aren't even good on special teams (also not shocking).
It's all bad. The penalties indicate that Phillips has lost the ability to maintain discipline. The performance shows he can't right the ship. That means he can't be kept. It's time for someone new to attempt the restoration of the Cowboys' former glory.
Impossible. It's not a matter of if. It's a matter of when. The biggest questions being asked in Dallas right now are: Who will coach this team next season? Who will the Cowboys draft with their top-10 draft choice? How long will Jerry Jones wait after the season's final whistle before he sends Phillips packing.