NFL Hot Seat: 5 Head Coaches Who Could Be Fired By End Of Season

By Michael Vesci
Nov. 19, 2018

We have already seen Cleveland Browns head coach Hue Jackson get fired alongside offensive coordinator Todd Haley earlier this year, but as the NFL season makes it way through the second half of the schedule there are plenty of coaches on the hot seat who could find themselves without a job by the end of the year. The difference between having a job and losing one could quite possibly be making playoffs which will be a daunting task for some clubs on this list. Today, we take a look at five NFL head coaches that are on the hot seat after 11 weeks of football.

Mike McCarthy, Green Bay Packers

Although he has a Super Bowl title on his resume, Packers head coach Mike McCarthy is on the hot seat in his 12th season with the team. Green Bay is 4-5-1 right now and sit one game out of a playoff spot. But they have to jump the Dallas Cowboys and Seattle Seahawks (who now own the head-to-head tiebreaker against them) to get to the Minnesota Vikings at the six-seed. Impossible? No, especially with six games remaining on their schedule, but making the playoffs may not be the only thing that makes or breaks McCarthy's future with the Packers. It seems that the 12-year head coach and veteran quarterback Aaron Rodgers are at odds over the offense which is causing tension between the two. If the Packers can make a playoff push over the next six weeks and get into an NFC Wild Card spot, perhaps McCarthy's job will be safe for at least one more season. One thing is for sure though, the Packers' front office will have to make the decision that appeases their franchise quarterback Aaron Rodgers as they hope to get the most out of the 34-year-old during this four-year extension he signed in the offseason.

Dirk Koetter, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

In just over two and a half seasons with the Bucs, Dirk Koetter's track record at the NFL level has gotten progressively worse with each passing season. After a 9-7 record in 2016 that found the team missing out on the playoffs due to a tiebreaker with the Detroit Lions, things seemed to be trending upwards for Tampa Bay. But they came crashing back down to earth in 2017 with a 5-11 record that left questions as to whether Jameis Winston was the team's franchise quarterback or not. We still do not have an answer to that after 11 weeks of this season as Winston has been playing quarterback carousel with Ryan Fitzpatrick for the starting position since his three-game suspension to start the year. With a fifth-year option worth $20.9 million, the Bucs need to figure out whether Winston is their future. While the 24-year-old has a turnover issue, he still possesses tons of upside to lead the offense which is why seeing him play is huge over the next six weeks. At 3-7, the Buccaneers have very slim playoff hopes as turnovers on offense and a porous defense have been a commonality all season long. With the team trending downward under Koetter and the constant quarterback carousel he has the team spinning on, it would be no surprise to see him in the unemployment line come January.

Todd Bowles, New York Jets

Everything was rosy for Todd Bowles in his first season with the New York Jets as the team went 10-6 thanks to a career year by journeyman quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. However, New York missed the playoffs after losing to the Bills in Week 17 and the Steelers beating the Browns. The next year, Fitzpatrick was back to his old self and by the end of the season the Jets were starting Bryce Petty to see if he was the future for the team as they ended the year 5-11. In 2017, New York would go 5-11 yet again but this time with 38-year-old journeyman quarterback Josh McCown leading the offense. Similar to Tampa Bay, the Jets have been a carousel at the quarterback position and now they have rookie Sam Darnold who they hope will be their franchise quarterback. It has been reported that Bowles has an uphill battle to keep his job beyond this year but if he is fired it will not be until after the season is over. Following a 41-10 loss to the Bills at the hands of quarterback Matt Barkley, the Jets headed into their bye week at 3-7 and slim playoff hopes. It will be up to the front office of New York to decide whether they believe that Bowles should be the coach going forward to help in Darnold's progress in the years to come.

Vance Joseph, Denver Broncos

Even after a signature win against the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday, Vance Joseph remains on the hot seat as the head coach of the Denver Broncos. Joseph was nearly fired by Broncos general manager John Elway after an abysmal 5-11 record in his first season as head coach. After a 3-1 start, Denver took a nosedive in 2017 and lost eight straight games under Joseph, most of which were in blowout fashion. The defense was top three in the league, but the offense was a quarterback carousel that rotated through Trevor Siemian, Brock Osweiler, and Paxton Lynch, all of whom could not produce consistently for the offense. With Elway staying in Denver to meet with Joseph at the end of the season, many assumed it was to fire him. However, the two talked about their plan of attack for the offseason in preparation for the next year. A 2-0 start to this Bronco's season was quickly washed away by losses in six of the next seven before pulling off a stunner against the Chargers in Week 11. With a 4-6 record, the Broncos are just one game back of a crowded AFC Wild Card picture and have very little room for error moving forward. Perhaps a strong end to the season that results in at least a .500 finish will be enough to spare Joseph's job since it would show improvement under his leadership. That could very well be possible too with the remaining schedule Denver has in the next six weeks.

Marvin Lewis, Cincinnati Bengals

The Bengals may have given Marvin Lewis a two-year extension at the end of last year's mediocre season, but could this be the end of his 16-year tenure in Cincinnati? After getting off to a 4-1 start, the Bengals have lost four of their last five games and sit at the .500 mark in a five-way tie for the last wild card spot in the AFC. In fact, this Cincinnati team could easily have a 3-7 record if it were not for a last-minute touchdown against the Falcons and the Dolphins handing them the game in the second half of that matchup. The defense has been having major issues lately and gave up 30- points in three consecutive games which resulted in the firing of defensive coordinator Teryl Austin. Calling the plays on defense in his place? Marvin Lewis. With a fairly easy schedule coming up for the Bengals, there should be no excuse why this team cannot break the narrative that they are mediocre and make a run at a playoff spot. If they cannot, Lewis could potentially pay for his job. Out of all five of these head coaches, Lewis is probably the least likely to see his tenure as a head coach end, but it is certainly in the realm of possibility considering the way Cincinnati has performed in recent years.

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