Apparently, this is the time for firing coaches in the NFL.
Since the end of Sunday, Tony Sparano of the Miami Dolphins and Todd Haley of the Kansas City Chiefs have each been cut loose, which only begs the question—who’s next?
It’d be easy to look at team records and make simpleton determinations as to which coaches should be fired, but it’s not always that black and white.
However, there are three coaches that stand out to me as surefire candidates to be out of a job before the season ends, or at least soon after.
Norv Turner has been the San Diego Chargers’ head coach since 2007, but this isn’t the same team that won the AFC West in each of his first three seasons.
In 2010, the Chargers had to win seven of their last nine just to finish 9-7 and miss the playoffs in favor of the Kansas City Chiefs.
This year, San Diego started 4-1 before losing six straight. They seem to be back on track in typical late-season fashion, but it will again be too late to reach the playoffs.
For a team that made the postseason five of six times from 2004-2009, a second straight whiff will not go over well in San Diego.
Turner is contracted through 2013, but I’ll be surprised if he makes it past January.
I know it gets hot in Tampa, FL, but Raheem Morris’s seat must be on fire right now. He wouldn’t be in so much danger of losing his job if it weren't for his success in 2010.
He showed the city and the front office what he could do with Josh Freeman, as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers finished 10-6 and barely missed the playoffs last season.
The same Josh Freeman has started all but one game in 2011 and has thrown 12 touchdowns and 18 interceptions.
The Buccaneers score the seventh-fewest points per game in the NFL, but this isn’t as troubling as the defensive side of the ball.
Morris is a defensive coach and should at least have his players performing well there.
Instead, his team allows the second-most points per game (28.5), ahead of only the Indianapolis Colts. It's also in the bottom seven in both rushing and passing defense.
The final nail in the coffin comes down to overall team performance. After starting the season 4-2 with wins over New Orleans and Atlanta, the Bucs have since lost seven straight games.
Their last two losses were ugly ones to Carolina (38-19) and Jacksonville (41-14).
Because of all this, Morris will soon be walking the plank.
Like Morris, Steve Spagnuolo is a defensive-minded head coach that can’t even get that group of players to perform well.
The St. Louis Rams are actually respectable against the pass but are dead last in the NFL in rush defense. They were allowing 157.8 yards per game prior to Monday's matchup with the Seattle Seahawks.
On top of allowing nearly 25 points per game, it’s no wonder the Rams can’t stay close in games. They are 2-11 on the season and have been utterly destroyed in multiple games.
Their offense has one weapon—Steven Jackson—and opposing teams know to focus their efforts on stopping him.
In the passing game, their leading receiver is Brandon Lloyd with 512 yards and four touchdowns in eight games. His highest output since joining the Rams mid-season was Monday's 82-yard effort against Seattle.
Spagnuolo simply hasn’t shown a propensity to turn a down team into a winning one over the course of three seasons. He is 10-35 in St. Louis, and that kind of mark in a weak division shouldn't last past 2011.