NFL's 5 Biggest Lame Duck Head Coaches
Five of the NFL’s 32 head coaches should consider themselves lame ducks as they enter Week 17 of the 2011 season.
All of these coaches are on losing teams that vastly underachieved on expectations. Three others (Jack Del Rio, Todd Haley and Tony Sparano) have already been fired.
A handful more of the league’s coaches probably will be back, but there are some serious concerns about their ability to lead their respective teams.
5. Tom Coughlin, New York Giants/Jason Garrett, Dallas Cowboys
These two teams meet in the Week 17 finale to decide who takes the NFC East.
Tom Coughlin has a strong resume that includes an improbable Super Bowl title, but he has also finished with a worse record in the second half than the first half in all eight seasons as head coach of the New York Giants.
Jason Garrett took over as interim head coach of the Dallas Cowboys midway through the 2010 season, when Wade Phillips got the axe. Garrett was a tremendous offensive coordinator, but lacks the track record of Coughlin's. Either way, Jerry Jones will be livid if the Cowboys fail to make the playoffs.
Whichever coach loses this season-ending matchup should start packing his bags.
4. Steve Spagnuolo, St. Louis Rams
Steve Spagnuolo designed a masterful game plan for the 2007 Super Bowl, effectively pressuring Tom Brady throughout the game, and leading to the New York Giants' tremendous 17-14 upset victory.
Spagnuolo was a huge success as a defensive coordinator but has failed miserably as head coach. He won one game as a rookie, before showing serious improvement with a 7-9 record in 2010.
Since then, he has regressed in 2011, and his 2-13 record is tied with the Indianapolis Colts for the worst in the business.
You can’t win 10 games in three seasons and keep your job.
3. Jim Caldwell, Indianapolis Colts
Jim Caldwell inherited an Indianapolis Colts team that had all the keys to success, and he got them to a Super Bowl in his rookie season.
He followed that up with another playoff season, but now without Peyton Manning, it’s becoming more and more evident that virtually all of Caldwell’s success has been at the hands of Manning.
The Colts started this season 0-13, nearly becoming the second team in NFL history to go winless on the season.
The offense couldn’t score and the defense couldn’t keep opponents from scoring. There really is no reason to expect Caldwell back for 2012.
2. Raheem Morris, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
A 4-2 start to the season looked promising for Raheem Morris and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Then they lost eight straight.
The Bucs are currently mired at 4-10 and even behind the rookie quarterback-led Carolina Panthers in the NFC South.
Josh Freeman looked awful after a promising 2010, and wideout Mike Williams regressed after a great rookie year.
Morris may have set the bar too high after the 10-6 in ’10, and simply a false mirage of the Bucs' abilities, but the young HC will have to live with the consequences.
1. Norv Turner, San Diego Chargers
This is a move that is coming two or three seasons too late. It’s ironic that the San Diego Chargers fired Marty Schottenheimer after a 14-2 season in 2006, but Norv Turner has gone from 11 wins to eight, to 13, back down to nine, and now to either seven or eight.
He should have several Super Bowl trips under his belt considering the talent he's had to work with (especially with quarterback Philip Rivers).
Turner doesn’t play in a particularly tough division, as neither the Oakland Raiders, Kansas City Chiefs or Denver Broncos have done much to separate themselves from the Chargers—even this year.
Turner should be handed his walking papers as he’s heading into the locker room after Week 17.