NFL Head Coaches Who Could Be Out of a Job in 2020November 15, 2019
NFL Head Coaches Who Could Be Out of a Job in 2020
The NFL's coaching carousel is bound to claim a few heads this offseason.
Last year, eight teams decided to make a change at head coach, including conservative franchises such as the Cincinnati Bengals. This season, an appetizer of sorts already happened in Washington when the Redskins dismissed Jay Gruden after their blowout Week 5 loss to the New England Patriots.
More teams could go the Gruden route before the season ends. But an even bigger number of current coaches figure to be on the hunt for coordinator work or otherwise come January.
The following coaches have face-planted in their varying situations to the point that a change seems likely this offseason.
Freddie Kitchens, Cleveland Browns
As the season continues, Freddie Kitchens looks more and more like a bust for the Cleveland Browns.
Kitchens' resume was sketchy before the Browns named him their head coach in January. They seemed to think his pairing with quarterback Baker Mayfield would help the franchise carry its late-season momentum into 2019.
So much for that. The Browns are 3-6 and have lost four of their last five games.
As the weeks have gone on, Kitchens has become something of an internet meme for his play-calling, especially in the red zone. Even if Kitchens wasn't a punchline, his offensive prowess isn't showing up, as Mayfield has completed less than 60 percent of his passes and has thrown more interceptions than touchdowns.
The Browns assuredly didn't want to go one-and-done with a new head coach so soon after going all-in with big offseason moves. But something is off, and five AFC North games over the final seven doesn't bode well for a turnaround.
Adam Gase, New York Jets
On Wednesday, New York Jets CEO Christopher Johnson said he won't let head coach Adam Gase go this offseason.
"I want to assure you there will be no changes in coaches here," Johnson said, according to Brian Costello of the New York Post. "Adam has the trust of this team. He has the trust of Sam. He has Joe's trust. He has my trust. He's a good man. He's a good coach."
But NFL fans know better. Much can change between now and the offseason, and what a team says doesn't always match what it does.
Gase's Jets are 2-7. One of those was a seemingly fluky win over Dallas, and the other was a win over a two-win New York Giants club. Questions about the Gase hire barraged the Jets from the jump since he finished below .500 during two of his three seasons in Miami.
Gase is now 25-32 as a head coach. It didn't help that Jets quarterback Sam Darnold missed three early-season games with mononucleosis, but NFL teams expect coaches to work through key players' absences and win anyway.
The Jets' big-money offseason moves like signing running back Le'Veon Bell and linebacker C.J. Mosley had produced an air of playoff contention, not flirtation with another top draft pick.
Anthony Lynn, Los Angeles Chargers
Last season's 12-4 finish seems like a decade ago for the Los Angeles Chargers.
Anthony Lynn directed that ship, but he's also responsible for the 4-6 disaster that seems like it won't sniff the playoffs this year.
The Chargers opened the season with an encouraging win over Indianapolis. They've struggled to beat four-win Chicago but blew out eight-win Green Bay. The other win came over tanking Miami. Meanwhile, they've lost to a pair of three-win squads in the Lions and Broncos.
With quarterback Philip Rivers turning 38 in December, the Chargers might start pivoting toward their next era. But Lynn told reporters last week that he isn't thinking that far ahead.
"I don't have that luxury to think beyond this season," he said. "Right now, it's one week at a time for me. Philip is our starting quarterback, and I'm trying to figure out how to win the next game with Philip."
A minor regression would've been fine for Lynn. But with the Chargers struggling to hit .500 so far, they could embark upon a full-scale teardown this offseason.
Pat Shurmur, New York Giants
The wheels fell off for New York Giants head coach Pat Shurmur, rolled into a ditch and exploded.
In fact, that might not be a strong enough description of how things have gone for the 2-8 Giants.
Shurmur's team has now lost six games in a row. To make matters even worse, those two wins came against downtrodden Washington and Tampa Bay teams.
The Giants don't do much of anything well. Rookie quarterback Daniel Jones has thrown 15 touchdowns but has been sacked 32 times. Star running back Saquon Barkley just rushed for a single yard on 13 attempts against the Jets on Sunday. The defense gives up 28.9 points per game, the third-worst mark in the league.
While the Giants front office can't escape blame for its questionable roster construction, this isn't what anyone envisioned when Shurmur arrived in January 2018 to help turn around a three-win team. At this rate, the Giants will be lucky to match their 5-11 record from last season.
Dan Quinn, Atlanta Falcons
It might be too little, too late for Atlanta Falcons head coach Dan Quinn.
Quinn's seat may have cooled a bit after the Falcons upset the NFC South-leading New Orleans Saints in Week 10 after their bye. But it's a bad sign that they notched only their second win of the season in the second week of November.
Quinn's Falcons have been on a downward trajectory ever since Matt Ryan's MVP season and their Super Bowl LI appearance, which ended in unprecedented heartbreak.
Ryan has thrown 17 touchdowns against nine picks this season, but Atlanta's offense seems lucky to break the 20-point barrier on a weekly basis. Quinn's calling card while rising up the coaching ranks was defense, yet he's running a unit allowing 28.8 points per game.
The luster of a Super Bowl appearance is long gone for Quinn, as the core of this team isn't getting any younger.
Zac Taylor, Cincinnati Bengals
What else is there to say about the Cincinnati Bengals?
Winless in mid-November, first-year head coach Zac Taylor and his staff look fully overwhelmed with the task of reviving the downtrodden franchise. With the Bengals' season going nowhere, Taylor benched longtime starting quarterback Andy Dalton for fourth-round rookie Ryan Finley.
In Finley's first game under center, the Baltimore Ravens blew out the Bengals 49-13. Finley finished 16-of-30 for 167 yards, one touchdown and one interception, although much of his production came with the game well out of hand.
While injuries to receivers A.J. Green and John Ross III haven't helped, the Bengals front office has failed to build a competent roster. They gave linebacker Preston Brown a three-year, $16.5 million extension in March only to cut him earlier this week.
Taylor isn't fully to blame here, and the Bengals now have the inside track for the No. 1 overall pick. But as they enter that new era next year, can they afford to keep a coach who would be lucky to win more than a handful of games this season?