NFL Coaches on the Hot Seat, Week 2 Edition
Today is not going to be the annual infamous "Black Monday." No coaches—let alone a handfulare getting fired today, like they would following Week 17. It's just too early in the season.
But two weeks is enough time to begin the speculation.
Franchises and their fans want wins and yesterday, several coaches weren't able to deliver, pushing them one step closer to the proverbial "hot seat."
Now that phrase "hot seat" is fairly ambiguous—many people think it means a coach is on his way out the door. But I take it to mean this: the pressure to win is now at an all-time high.
And for these coaches, that's certainly the case.
No. 8: Todd Haley, Kansas City Chiefs
Clearly the Chiefs current state of disaster has been aided by injuries, specifically to Eric Berry, Tony Moeaki, and now, Jamaal Charles. And since Haley did lead Kansas City to the AFC West title last year, anything better than a winless season and he'll probably keep his job.
But there is still plenty of reason to look at Haley as swimming in dangerous water. For one, the club spent a good deal of money this offseason (Tamba Hali, Steve Breaston) so there was a hope that they would improve upon last year.
Still, it's an offseason subtraction that should have Haley most feeling the pressure. With Charlie Weis leaving for Florida and the Kansas City offense looking abysmal (not just in Weeks 1 and 2, but also in the preseason), it's hard to credit Haley very much for last season's success.
No. 7: Leslie Frazier, Minnesota Vikings
Since this is technically Frazier's first year at the helm of the Vikings' organization he has been with for several years—he's not going to be fired anytime soon. After all, ownership had plenty of other potential candidates and openly chose Frazier.
But the Vikings have been borderline embarrassing the first two weeks of the season.
The offense racked up less than 200 yards total offense in the Week 1 loss to San Diego, and yesterday, they squandered a 17-0 halftime lead at home.
And since he's already openly stated that Donovan McNabb is "his guy" going forward, unless the Vikings reel off a great streak, the fans won't be happy. Sooner or later, they are going to clamor for Christian Ponder.
No. 6: Andy Reid, Philadelphia Eagles
The Eagles spent so much money on free agents this offseason and entered 2011 with such enormous expectations that anything short of a Super Bowl title will mean the season was a failure. That alone is enough to put a coach on a perpetual hot seat.
And losing last night to the Falcons after leading by 10 in the fourth quarter makes the situation even tougher for the NFL's longest-tenured head coach.
But more than anything else, it's the quarterback situation that nudges Reid even closer to the hotseat.
Reid knew that Michael Vick was always at risk for injury, and they still dealt away Kevin Kolb. Maybe Vince Young and/or Mike Kafka will be worthy replacements, but if not, Reid will catch most of the flack should Vick be hampered by injuries all season.
No. 5: Tom Coughlin, New York Giants
Yes, the Giants won on Monday night. And they made a handful of great plays. But the Rams shot themselves in the foot time and time again: Greg Salas fumbling a punt set up one touchdown, Cadillac Williams' bonehead play led to another and a handful of dropped passes.
But a 12-point home win over a pretty average team isn't going to get the critics off his back, especially with the Eagles right around the corner.
Certainly, a handful of wins will slow down the talk of a coaching change, but—especially considering how good the rest of the NFC East is as well as the Jets and Rex Ryanlast night's shouldn't.
No. 4: Jim Caldwell, Indianapolis Colts
Caldwell does have two built in outs whenever the fans and the front office questions his job performance: he took the Colts to a Super Bowl just two years ago, and the most important athlete in the history of Indianapolis was taken away from him.
But even if there was a chance that Manning wouldn't be ready in 2011—and they knew there would be as far back as the spring—they should have had a better Plan B than Kerry Collins.
And when you factor in the Tony Dungy element—he put the team on the path to the Super Bowl berth in 2009 and last year's division titleCaldwell's closer to the hot seat than you'd think.
No. 3: Jack Del Rio, Jacksonville Jaguars
A significant portion of the the goodwill Del Rio and the Jags earned a week ago in Tennessee went bye-bye with that terrible effort in the Meadowlands yesterday.
No one expected Jacksonville to win, or necessarily even keep it close. But four turnovers, 203 total yards of offense and not even crossing into the opponent's red zone once? That's sad.
And given the decision to let David Garrard go, he was really up against it from the start of this year. They believed Luke McCown was "comparable" to Garrard, so that's why they let Garrard and his huge salary go?
Well, given yesterday's effort, that's hard to swallow.
No. 2: Pete Carroll, Seattle Seahawks
By winning the NFC West last year as well as a home playoff game against the defending Super Bowl champions, Carroll earned tons of credibility with the fans and ownership.
But don't think both have forgotten that he did so on the strength of a sub-.500 regular season record and the worst record ever by a division champion.
And this year's start—that special teams debacle in San Francisco followed by an embarrassing shutout in Pittsburgh—only made things worse.
Still, what lands him this "prominent" spot on this list is the considerable shakeup to the roster Carroll presided over this offseason. Letting the uber-popular Matt Hasselbeck walk—and giving Tarvaris Jackson, Sidney Rice and Zach Miller a ton of moneycould come back to bite him.
No. 1: Tony Sparano, Miami Dolphins
It's bad enough that the Dolphins ownership went out and courted Jim Harbaugh last winter. That clearly means Sparano is on the hot seat—no matter what kind of extension or guarantees ownership gave him, if they want to cut him loose, they will.
But Sparano and his staff have compounded that trouble by losing their first two games this year—both at Sun Life Stadiumto push their home losing streak to a dismal six games.
Even the worst teams in the league win at home occasionally. And since Sparano hasn't left the fans (and the front office) with a smile since November 14 of last year, he's losing supporters every week.