October 23, 2012
The recent shift in Carolina makes even the most casual NFL fan start to wonder who will hit the chopping block next? Brady Quinn taking over in Kansas City could start to make Chiefs’ head coach Romeo Crennel expendable, while there are several other big name head coaches that could see the blade come down before the season is up.
While it’s actually pretty unlikely anyone gets canned before the season is through, things could start hitting the fan not too long after. Here’s a look at the top eight head coaches that have the hottest seats heading into week 8:
Pat Shurmur – Cleveland Browns (1-6)
Their record clearly isn’t good, but these Browns actually aren’t anything like your old Browns. Despite being a cellar dweller in 2011 and having just one win out of seven tries in 2012, they’ve been very competitive. In fact, their top offensive players are all rookies, and at the most important positions – quarterback (Brandon Weeden), running back (Trent Richardson) and wide receiver (Josh Gordon).
Despite having most of their production come from rookies, they’ve actually been in every single game this year. In fact, Cleveland hasn’t lost by more than 14 points all season, and lost four of their six games by a touchdown or less. With the team sold and a new regime ready to take over, Shurmur and co. certainly need to win more games and prove they’re the answer to turn this misguided ship around. With that said, there’s no doubt that this has been a competitive team on the football field, and that they continue to get better on both sides of the ball.
Norv Turner – San Diego Chargers (3-3)
I know sitting at .500 with a tie for first place in the AFC West doesn’t sound bad, but it’s less impressive when you know the Chargers began the season 3-1 and appearing as if they’d exercised some of their past demons. That doesn’t look to be the case, and surely didn’t seem to be the way things are when Philip Rivers and the Chargers imploded on Monday Night Football a week ago.
Turner has found success with the Chargers, but it hasn’t come much recently, and we’ve seen a very talented San Diego team crumble and/or come up short too many times with him calling the shots. If he doesn’t get the Chargers going in the right direction, his days could be numbered.
Rex Ryan – New York Jets (3-4)
Ryan had led his Jets to a 3-3 record and a three-way tie for first in the AFC East, but a loss to the division rival New England Patriots now has the team on the brink of a disastrous slide. Luckily, the schedule is easing up and a win over another divisional rival (Miami Dolphins) in week eight could help to ease the pain.
However, Ryan has had his chances to turn the reigns of a sluggish offense over to Tim Tebow, but instead has continued to ride the inconsistent Mark Sanchez at quarterback. If Sanchez sinks in 2012, the Jets will sink right with him. And if that’s the case, Ryan’s devotion to one of the more erratic passers in the game could ultimately cost him his job.
Romeo Crennel – Kansas City Chiefs (1-5)
I don’t think Romeo Crennel is the worst coach out there, but in a short career as the guy calling the shots (Browns and now Chiefs), he hasn’t looked great, either. He’s had a rough go of it at the quarterback position in both cities, and now is turning from Matt Cassel to Brady Quinn.
If the franchise understands the situation and gives him another crack with a rookie passer in 2013, then Crennel might live to see another day. Otherwise, he’s likely to go down in flames with Quinn leading the way.
Andy Reid – Philadelphia Eagles (3-3)
Philly is still right in the mix of things, both for the NFC West division crown, as well as a playoff spot. However, Reid’s inability to get through to turnover-prone quarterback Michael Vick has his hot seat on full blast, and could eventually be the reason he gets fired.
Reid may have to make a choice between Vick and the rookie Nick Foles, although if neither are successful, there’s a very good chance his long and storied era in Philadelphia could come to an end.
Jason Garrett – Dallas Cowboys (3-3)
Garrett is a fine offensive mind. A decisive decision-maker and leader, however, he may not be. The Cowboys are riddled with talent on both sides of the ball, yet they seem to be struck with entitlement issues like in the past, and can’t seem to get things right on offense.
They still have plenty of time to turn things around, while a season sweep of the Giants in week eight could go a long way in doing just that. If the Cowboys continue to play average ball and fail to make the post-season, however, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones will almost certainly be looking for a new head coach come 2013.
Ron Rivera – Carolina Panthers (1-5)
I don’t think Rivera is totally to blame for the Panthers being so sluggish. Cam Newton has clearly taken a step back in his development, while the team’s offensive play-calling has been predictable and ineffective.
But the defense is just as bad, and that’s actually Rivera’s speciality. Newton said himself in a recent interview with the media that “something needs to change”, and while I don’t care for his finger-pointing attitude, he is right. If the Panthers can’t find a way to get it done, a big part of that change could come at the end of the year with a Rivera firing.
Ken Whisenhunt – Arizona Cardinals (4-3)
If you ask me, Whisenhunt is actually doing his job. Well, he’s doing the best he can. His specialty is defense, and he has one of the best defenses in the entire league right now. They’re so good, that the Cardinals came out of nowhere to start the season at 4-0.
Unfortunately, since the days of Kurt Warner, Whisenhunt has not been able to find something remotely close to a consistent starting quarterback, and has had to watch his team drop the last three games due to spotty quarterback play and injuries. He should get credit for his elite defense and competitive team overall, but if he can’t figure out the quarterback problem, he could be on the chopping block because of it.