NFL Coaches Already On the Hot Seat in the 2022 Season
It doesn't take long for seats to start getting warm when you're an NFL head coach.
Nearly a third of the NFL franchises hired a new head coach coming into the 2022 season. The year before that there were seven new head coaches.
Some franchises are in a position to have some patience with their coach. Teams in the middle of a rebuild that just hired someone aren't likely to be putting anyone on the chopping block this early.
But there are definitely coaches who entered the season on a short leash or who aren't living up to massive expectations that need to get things turned around quickly.
Just three weeks into the season there might not be any imminent firings coming, but it's not too early to start seeing the writing on the wall for some. These six coaches are going to need to get things going soon.
Dennis Allen, New Orleans Saints
One would think Matt Rhule would be the NFC South representative on this list. After all, the Panthers are just 1-2, and he's now 11-25 as the lead man in Carolina.
However, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported that Panthers owner David Tepper is taking a patient approach with his head coach. No move is imminent, and "it would take an epic collapse or a horribly embarrassing outcome to alter the course."
Then Rhule's team went out and beat the Saints 22-14 on Sunday.
That's great news for Rhule and potentially bad news for Dennis Allen.
Every move the Saints made this offseason pointed toward them believing they didn't need to rebuild. When Sean Payton retired they simply promoted Allen from defensive coordinator. They traded, in part, a future first-round pick along with a future second to acquire two firsts this year from Philadelphia.
They pushed their cap problems another year down the road and are on track to be $63.8 million over the cap next season.
Thus far, the bet that Allen could keep the team competitive and in win-now mode hasn't paid off. The offense has scored just 51 points in three games, and the team's only win was a one-point nail-biter against the Falcons.
Jameis Winston is playing through a back injury. He had two fumbles and threw two interceptions against the Panthers.
Allen is still sticking with him as the starter. That could be a decision he comes to regret.
Pete Carroll, Seattle Seahawks
When the Seattle Seahawks traded away Russell Wilson this offseason it was an acknowledgment that a fun era of Seahawks football was over.
After this season, it's beginning to become apparent the next era might need to start with a new head coach.
There's no denying that Pete Carroll is the most successful coach in Seattle history. And an opening-week win over Wilson and the Denver Broncos appeared to be a sign that Carroll could be the man to rebuild this roster and compete again.
Two weeks later, it's clear that isn't the case.
While the offense has done well considering Geno Smith is the starting quarterback, the defense is the worst it's been during his tenure. After a hot start against the Broncos they've given up 54 points over the last two weeks.
They made Cordarrelle Patterson look like one of the best running backs in the league with 141 yards on 17 carries.
Then there was a 4th-and-2 on the 7-yard line where Carroll elected to kick a field goal rather than keep the drive alive inside the 10. After the game, Carroll said they were "a little out of whack," per Gregg Bell of the Seattle News Tribune.
Carroll is 71 years old and is showing signs of losing his fastball. There's a high likelihood the Seahawks are breaking in a new young quarterback next season. If Carroll doesn't get things turned around, he'll be passing the torch to a new head coach by season's end.
Kliff Kingsbury, Arizona Cardinals
Kliff Kingsbury's teams have struggled to keep the momentum of hot starts throughout the season.
That won't be an issue this year.
Kingsbury's team is looking at a 1-2 start, and the "1" in that record didn't come easy. Kyler Murray had to run almost an entire football field just to get a two-point conversion and had to run another touchdown in as time expired to force overtime before a 59-yard fumble recovery won them the game.
Meanwhile, the two losses have been convincing. The Cardinals' minus-25 point differential is worse than all but three teams in the league right now.
Kingsbury is 25-26-1 as the head coach in Arizona. However, when taking last season's second-half swoon into account, he is just 3-7 in his last 10 games he has coached.
Kingsbury went 35-40 as the head coach at Texas Tech. There were reasons you could spin that record positively, given the Red Raiders' resources compared to others in the Big 12, but at some point, you are what your record says you are.
Josh McDaniels, Las Vegas Raiders
It has not taken long for the shine to wear off the Josh McDaniels hiring in Las Vegas. The Raiders lost their third consecutive close game in Week 3 with a 24-22 loss to the Tennessee Titans, who moved to 1-2.
Much like Dennis Allen with the Saints, McDaniels took over with a team that clearly believes it should be in contention right now. The Raiders paid up to acquire Davante Adams and a 32-year-old Chandler Jones.
McDaniels' extensive history running the Patriots offense coupled with lessons learned from his first head coaching stint with the Denver Broncos were supposed to make him an instant hit.
Instead, the Raiders are 0-3, and things don't get much easier with the Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs on tap over the next two weeks.
It certainly isn't going to help any murmurings that McDaniels is in trouble that he had a closed-door meeting with team owner Mark Davis after the Titans loss, per Paul Gutierrez of ESPN.
As Josh Dubow of the Associated Press noted, McDaniels is just the third coach in Raiders' history to start a season 0-3. Art Shell (2006) was fired at the end of that season. Jon Gruden (2018) ended up going 22-31 without a single winning season.
It's too early to come to any conclusions, but 0-5 is a real possibility for the Raiders and that's only going to feed the frustration with the new head coach.
Ron Rivera, Washington Commanders
In most cases, year three is when you should see real improvement made for a new head coach. The first year can be all about instilling a culture. Year two generally sees the coach breaking in a lot of new personnel.
But the third year is when you start running out of justification if there's no growth.
Ron Rivera's Washington tenure is now in its third year, and it's not looking like there's a ton of growth through the three games. There's talent to be excited about. Jahan Dotson has showcased some big-play ability. Curtis Samuel looks rejuvenated, and Terry McLaurin remains a No. 1 wide receiver talent.
Yet, the Commanders offense put up just eight points in a loss to the Eagles in Week 3. Even when the offense was firing against the Detroit Lions in Week 2, the defense was giving up eight yards a carry and 191 yards rushing.
In other words, one side of the ball has laid an egg in each of the last two games.
This is Rivera's 12th season as a head coach in the NFL. Thus far, he's put together three winning seasons. If the Commanders can't start putting together good games on both sides of the ball, he isn't going to get his fourth.
That would be three losing seasons in three tries with the Commanders and could be enough to end his tenure.
Brandon Staley, Los Angeles Chargers
Brandon Staley got the job as the Los Angles Chargers head coach on the strength of his resume as a defensive mind.
Through three games, only the Arizona Cardinals and Detroit Lions have given up more points than the Chargers.
Last year, you could point to a lack of talent as to why the Chargers struggled with the defense. In year two, they added J.C. Jackson and Khalil Mack. Granted, Jackson has only played in Week 2 thanks to injuries, but the Chargers just gave up 38 to the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Despite having one of the young superstar quarterbacks in the league in Justin Herbert, the Chargers are sitting at 1-2.
The questionable decision-making doesn't stop with the defense, either. Herbert is dealing with a fractured rib cartilage, which made him questionable to even play Sunday. Not only did he play, but Staley kept his quarterback in the entire game despite trailing 38-10.
"Believe me, throughout the entire game, that's the first thought throughout the game and at the end of the game. Trust me, there's no one thinking about it more than I am," he told reporters about possibly pulling his franchise quarterback during the game.
Herbert may have wanted to finish the game, but that wasn't the most wise decision, as they'll need him to remain as healthy as possible in the competitive AFC West.
The Chargers know they have a small window to make a Super Bowl run while Herbert is on his rookie contract. If Staley doesn't get the team looking like a contender soon, questions are going to start to percolate if he's the one to do it.