The lifespan of an NFL head coach rivals that of a male ant. With the fierce competition to produce quickly, head coaches are given little time to develop a roster before they are out looking for their next coordinator job.
The longevity of an NFL head coach is 3.5 years but continues to fall year in and year out. It’s safe to say that close to half of the coaches in the NFL are currently feeling the pressure of being axed after the season. While some are a little more comfortable than others, it won’t be long before many are looking for work.
By our count two head coaches are on the ‘hot seat’ after one season with their respective teams (Mike Mularkey and Dennis Allen). Three coaches are under fire after two seasons (Pat Shurmur, Mike Munchak, and Ron Rivera). And the Cowboys could be replacing Jason Garrett after two full seasons and six games as an interim for Wade Phillips in 2010. That’s six coaches with under three years of head coaching experience that could be facing the harsh reality of a job search in January.
We examine the hottest of hot seats (The Goners) and those that should be sleeping with one eye open (The Seat is Hot).
Andy Reid, Philadelphia Eagles
Reid is a goner after a 4-10 record through week 15. This is a forgone conclusion. We think Reid will take a year off before entering the job search, although he’s certain to have a few suitors after getting canned in Philly. The Eagles will have a ton of cap space and may look to trim the fat this offseason after ‘The Dream Team’ didn’t pan out as planned. With a young quarterback showing some promise in Nick Foles and cupboards that are fairly full, this is a desirable job for many potential head coaches.
The Eagles and Howie Roseman most likely look to a candidate with proven experience in developing quarterbacks. Whether it’s Nick Foles or they elect to draft someone else, it’s sure to be a youngster at the helm for the Eagles. If Jon Gruden is lured from the booth, I think it’s the Eagles or Cowboys that bring him out of his comfy perch. I’m not sure that this is the gig for Jon Gruden but could be a landing spot for his brother Jay Gruden. Jay has had success in the development of Andy Dalton and the Bengals offense. He will draw plenty of interest from teams around the NFL but I think the Eagles opportunity is too good for him to pass on.
2013 Head Coach: JAY GRUDEN
Norv Turner, San Diego Chargers
The Chargers have been slowly backtracking after being annual playoff contenders just three seasons ago. Norv Turner has been on the hot seat for a long while but has always been a favorite of A.J. Smith. The problem for Turner is that Dean Spanos may be dumping Smith. Either way, the pressure to can Turner is too great and he’s a goner in San Diego. The Chargers decline has corresponded with the awful play from once promising QB Phillip Rivers. The next head coach will need to get the most out of Rivers if he wants any shot at sticking it out in sunny SD.
I think Spanos has seen enough of this front office with a massive overhaul on its way. They need an offensive minded head coach that can get Rivers back on track. The Chargers could court Andy Reid but I don’t think that’s the direction they ultimately go in. Stanford’s David Shaw is a hot name that many NFL teams will court. I don’t see Shaw bolting for the NFL this season. After having to deal with the Denver Broncos resurgent offense over the last couple of seasons, they may be wise to look at the root of that success in Mike McCoy. McCoy is seen as an offensive innovator after his work with Tim Tebow and re-crafting an offense around Peyton Manning.
2013 Head Coach: MIKE MCCOY
Pat Shurmur, Cleveland Browns
The Browns and Pat Shurmur seemed to be on the right track after a three game win streak but took a major step backwards Sunday against Washington. I think Pat Shurmur was a dead man walking with Joe Banner coming in. Banner’s existence in Berea paved the way for Mike Holmgren’s exit and most likely will lead to Tom Heckert’s demise. Shortly after Heckert goes, Shurmur will join him. His in-game struggles over his two year career have worn out their welcome in C-Town. Not to mention is archaic offense that has certainly not help the growth of Brandon Weeden and a bevy of youngsters on this roster.
The Browns are rumored to be interested in bringing in Mike Lombardi to take over as Player Personnel Director. Without offering to strong of an opinion, it’s asinine. Lombardi has been linked to Nick Saban. Not happening. A more realistic candidate is Josh McDaniels. McDaniels struck out in Denver after a strong start. He’s placed himself squarely back on the HC map with his work in New England. The New England offense is clicking on all cylinders, which may view as a direct reflection of McDaniels presence. McDaniels is an Ohio native with strong roots in the Cleveland/Youngstown area and makes a ton of sense. McDaniels first order of business in Berea should be retaining Dick Jauron as DC.
2013 Head Coach: JOSH MCDANIELS
Romeo Crennel, Kansas City Chiefs
Crennel did an admirable job in the wake of the Jovan Belcher tragedy. He motivated this team at the end of 2011 to earn the head coach job. But that’s not enough to keep your job. The harsh reality is that Crennel’s ceiling is as a defensive coordinator in the NFL. Nothing more, nothing less. The good news for whoever takes this job is that they will have the first pick in the draft. I’m not sure that’s any consolation given the QB need and this year’s QB crop. Assuming Geno Smith holds down the fort as the top QB in this class, the new head coach will have to be creative as Smith brings a unique skill set to the table.
The Chiefs could be major suitors for Oregon’s Chip Kelly. The NFL is salivating at the thought of Chip Kelly bringing his innovative offense and practice format to the NFL ranks. I believe this is the season Kelly bolts to the next level. Unfortunately for Chiefs fans I don’t see him landing in KC. Certainly the idea of crafting his attack around Geno Smith will be intriguing but not enough to stoke Kelly’s fire. An interesting candidate and I think a good one is Kyle Shanahan. Shanahan has excelled with Robert Griffin in Washington and did the same in Houston as offensive coordinator. The 32-year old Shanahan is certain to get a head gig in the NFL in the very near future and it may be in his dad’s old division.
2013 Head Coach: KYLE SHANAHAN