NFL Coaches Who Are Still on the Hot Seat Entering 2020 Offseason
The hot seat sizzled up the tenures of a handful of NFL coaches, yet some warmer seats didn't result in change.
But those remaining seats aren't close to cooling off—at least not yet. Second chances for a handful of head coaches aren't guaranteed to last long. Last year, the Washington Redskins let Jay Gruden and his warm seat stick around before a sour start saw him fired after five games.
The same fate could befall other hot-seat candidates who have failed to produce. Whether it's strictly in the win column over a notable period or not showing enough progression from year to year, the following head coaches remain on the hot seat going into the 2020 offseason and season.
Doug Marrone, Jacksonville Jaguars
The fact that Doug Marrone retained his job with the Jacksonville Jaguars was one of the most surprising items of the offseason so far says quite a bit.
Marrone had a middling showing in Buffalo as a head coach (15-17) before getting a chance with the Jaguars two years later. The oddity of the hire proved to be foreshadowing, as he's only mustered a 22-28 record over four years.
While steering the Jaguars ship, Marrone did hit on an AFC title game appearance, but it's looking more and more like an anomaly. Backed by a strong cast of defensive names, his offensive reputation hasn't shined through as the unit has ranked 25th or worse in scoring in three of his four years.
This past season, Marrone oversaw the dud of a Nick Foles experiment and the flight of star cornerback Jalen Ramsey while the culture seemed to wilt. He's got another chance and a top-10 pick to work with, but one has to think there isn't much left of the leash.
Dan Quinn, Atlanta Falcons
The Dan Quinn era for the Atlanta Falcons would appear to have run its course by now.
Quinn helped the Falcons to a Super Bowl on the back of an MVP season from Matt Ryan before the crushing loss to the New England Patriots. And it feels like the team has never fully recovered and could use a reset.
But Falcons brass sees it differently. Either way, that magical season in 2016 was a rebound after a .500 year. However, two 7-9 seasons have followed a 10-6 2017 campaign that ended in divisional-round defeat to the eventual Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles.
Quinn tried to stop the bleeding in 2019 by firing the offensive, defensive and special teams coordinators on New Year's Eve. But his decision to take over and later share defensive play-calling duties still resulted in a bottom-10 scoring defense that yielded more than 25 points eight times, including a 53-point allowance to the Houston Texans.
On the other side of the ball, Matt Ryan regressed with 26 touchdowns and 14 interceptions and isn't getting any younger (34).
And through it all, Atlanta salvaged a 1-7 start to finish 7-9, which means 15 picks will go by before the Falcons are on the clock in April's draft. Quinn figures to be on eggshells to start the season.
Matt Patricia, Detroit Lions
Matt Patricia inherited a 9-7 Detroit Lions team and managed to turn it into 6-10 and 3-12-1 performers in the span of two seasons.
Granted, things are a little more nuanced than that because of injuries and roster turnover. But if Jim Caldwell was fired after going 11-5 and 9-7 twice over a four-year period, what's keeping Patricia in the same role?
Patricia did have the injury excuse going for him, as quarterback Matthew Stafford could only get in eight games and the team's two leading rushers (Kerryon Johnson and Bo Scarbrough) played in 14 games combined. Names like wideout Marvin Jones Jr. and tight end T.J. Hockenson finished the year on injured reserve next to Stafford.
For a Bill Belichick understudy honed in the ways of defense and injected with a $90 million talent in defensive end Trey Flowers, it's disconcerting the defense blew a handful of leads in 2019 and finished 31st in total defense and last in pass defense.
It's jarring to see the Lions now preach patience after the precedent set with Caldwell, only to accept a gross regression below .500, especially with Stafford turning 32 in February and having injury concerns after his streak of 154 straight starts came to an end.
Adam Gase, New York Jets
Adam Gase was one of those head-scratching hires in the first place because all he did prior to joining the New York Jets was go 23-25 in Miami.
Still, the Jets presumably saw something they liked from an offensive perspective in Gase when it came to grooming 2018 third overall pick Sam Darnold.
Except, Gase's Jets managed a 7-9 season while averaging just 17.3 points per game. That's sandwiched between clunkers like the Cincinnati Bengals and Washington Redskins right at the bottom.
And unfortunately for Gase, Darnold's case of mononucleosis that kept him out for three games doesn't hold much water, not while backups across the league like Ryan Tannehill, Jacoby Brissett and Kyle Allen, to name a few, picked up some wins.
The Jets' staunch support of Gase is one of the reasons they parted ways with general manager Mike Maccagnan and brought in Joe Douglas. But Gase responded with a 1-7 start and found ways to lose to both Miami and Cincinnati, giving both downtrodden franchises their first wins of the season.
Maybe the Jets have bought into the sunk-cost fallacy. Maybe they don't want to mess with Darnold again. But the seat is uncomfortably hot.
Matt Nagy, Chicago Bears
From Coach of the Year to hot seat?
So might go the story of Matt Nagy, who led the Chicago Bears from a 2018 first-round playoff exit after 12 wins to just 8-8 this season.
Nagy's offense and the play of a costly investment by the name of Mitchell Trubisky dramatically regressed in 2019. The Bears managed just 17.5 points per game while Trubisky produced a mere 17 touchdowns against 10 picks. Little in the way of offensive identity existed while the running game averaged 3.7 yards per carry and one ball-carrier (David Montgomery) surpassed the 300-yard mark.
It doesn't help that the defense went from allowing a league-best 17.7 points per game with 50 sacks in 2018 to 18.6 and 32, respectively, fueling the idea of a regression without defensive coordinator Vic Fangio and putting a further damper on things.
The Bears, given the investment in Trubisky and pieces like All-Pro linebacker Khalil Mack, have higher expectations than most teams. Going into 2020, another 8-8 season probably isn't going to cut it.