Hot Seat – Week 4

Written 9/30/2014

How things are really starting to heat up early this year. Lots of new coaches on the hot seat and some of the others fall off.

Breaking news: The Raiders have fired Head Coach Dennis Allen after an 0-4 start and will replace him with an internal candidate. Update: The Raiders have elevated Tony Sparano to the position of Interim Head Coach.

Fired:

  • Dennis Allen (0-4) –

Hot Seat:

  • Joe Philbin (2-2) – So what was that with Philbin NOT endorsing Tannenhill as the starting QB going forward. After starting off with a bang against the Patriots, Philbin is starting to pick up where things were at the end of last season. Things are not looking good in Miami.
  • Lovie Smith (1-3) – After losing 56-0 to Atlanta, Lovie is looking like an extremely incompetent coach. This week’s win over Pittsburgh helps, but his continuing refusal to make Glennon his starting QB is raises serious questions about his player management. This echoes the problems he had with his offenses in Chicago. He’s lucky that McCown got hurt. Will it be enough to save him?
  • Rex Ryan (1-3) – The Jets continue to play Jekyll and Hyde. Regardless of Rex’s coaching ability, there’s a serious disconnect between him and GM John Idzik. Unless Woody Johnson’s a Hell of a lot more perceptive than he’s ever shown himself to be in the past and fires Idzik, it’s unlikely that Ryan survives past this season.

Warm-up Deck:

  • Tony Sparano (0-0) – So Sparano gets a second chance to prove that he can be an NFL head coach. A 12-game audition. Good luck with that with this team!
  • Tom Coughlin (retires) (2-2) – After 2 strong games, I can no longer keep Coughlin on the Hot List. But I still think he retires after this year.
  • Doug Marone (2-2) – Buffalo is looking much better than anyone outside of Buffalo expected. Breaking news is that Marone has now benched EJ Manuel in favor of Kyle Orton. He might be correct in thinking that this team is playing well enough in all other phases that Manuel is dragging them down. This doesn’t change the toxic relationship between him and the front office, and with new ownership set to takeover, something will be changing.
  • Ron Rivera (2-2) – From an incredible 2 game start, the Panthers have suffered back-to-back embarrassing losses to AFC North teams. Management has to be asking how come the coaching staff couldn’t get the ball to Steve Smith last year, when he’s shown to be one of the best in the league again under Kubiak’s system.
  • Jim Harbaugh (2-2) – The press is reporting that coach Harbaugh has lost this team. Regardless, the relationship with management isn’t getting any better. The only question is if he finishes out the season.
  • Gus Bradley (0-4) – I applaud the team’s insistence that they would “red shirt” rookie QB Bortles. If for no other reason than it kept all the pressure off him until he could develop. So now Henne has shown that he can’t get the job done and they decide that it’s time to get Bortles some playing time. Kudos. Bradley’s future will depend on how Bortles fares from now until the end of the season. If his OC/QB coaches can keep him improving, Bradley should be fine for another year.
  • Jeff Fisher (1-2) – (BYE) I have no idea what is going to go on in Saint Louis. They’re as hard to figure out as any team in the league.
  • Sean Payton (1-3) – Rob Ryan’s defense that was resuscitated last year, has for some reason imploded this season. Sean Payton may be definitely safe, but Rob Ryan certainly isn’t.

Successful Sophmores:

  • Marc Trestman (2-2) – Last week, the Bears beat the 49er’s and were leading the division. This week they lose to GB (against who Cutler is 1-10) and there’s no way they’re even in the play-off discussion. God, I love sports pundits!
  • Andy Reid (2-2) –
  • Chuck Pagano (2-2) – Luck’s Magic(tm)
  • Chip Kelly (3-1) – This again points out the necessity of good Offensive Line play. A recurrent theme this week.
  • Mike McCoy (3-1) – It’s amazing how bad QB’s start to perform when one of the best OC’s of all time (Norv Turner) becomes the head coach
  • Bruce Arians (4-0) – And why was this guy not a head coach before?

Stable Position:

  • Jason Garrett (3-1) – With the improved O-Line (There it is again!) and having a real coach as a DC (Rod Marinelli as opposed to the retired Monte Kiffin), Dallas is really looking like a serious football team. Meanwhile, Manziel is still on the Cleveland bench. I guess Stephen Jones knows a lot more about NFL football than his old man.
  • Mike Smith (2-2) – Atlanta has not returned to the form of the team that went to the NFCC two years ago. They have very poor run defense and have won by out-scoring their opponents.
  • Mike McCarthy (2-2) – With no D-Line to speak of, Rodgers had all day to sit in the pocket spotting receivers. Not as if that was all that hard to start with.
  • Marvin Lewis (3-0) – (BYE) The Bengals are looking like the best team in the AFC at this point. Okay, maybe second to Denver. Still, noone’s going to actually believe in them until they show they can win in the play-offs when it matters.
  • Mike Tomlin (2-2) – Wow. You’re not supposed to lose to (arguably) the worst team in the league if you’re the Pittsburgh Steelers. Tomlin is downgraded from safe again this year.
  • Bill Belicheck (2-2) – Tom Brady and the New England Patriots are looking below average for the first time in a long while. This again points out the necessity of good Offensive Line play. This the first time I’ve had Belicheck off the Safe list.

Definitely Safe:

  • John Fox (2-1) – (BYE) Ho, Hum. Wake me up when it’s January. Fox’s only problems are medical, and if he didn’t quit after last year, I’m doubting that he will this one either.
  • John Harbaugh (3-1) – Gary Kubiak’s offense just keeps getting better and better. If they hadn’t lost the first game to the Bengals, we should’ve been hearing play-off talk again by now. But, no this is Baltimore, after all. One of the junior teams, not worthy of national news coverage, especially now that they don’t have Ray Lewis or Ed Reed.
  • Pete Carroll (2-1) – (BYE)

First-Year Head Coaches (Generally safe):

A lot of up and down teams here. Lovie has officially moved onto the Hot List.

  • Ken Wisenhunt (1-3) – Wisenhunt’s Titans start the year blowing out a playoff team from last year, but now have three straight bad losses.
  • Jay Gruden (1-3) – After 2 stellar outings Kirk Cousins lays an egg and suddenly everybody is saying “OK, we were wrong, he can’t play.” Huh? Besides, the Giants always beat up the ‘skins.
  • Bill O’Brien (3-1) – I’m not on the Houston Texans bandwagon. Their wins have been shaky against mediocre teams. Although they do get to play in the AFC South and have a last place schedule, they can’t keep up with the “big boys”.
  • Mike Pettine (1-2) – (BYE) Nice trick on the Manziel reception. Too bad rookie RB West screwed it up. Cleveland continues to look like a contender in the AFC North regardless of their record.
  • Mike Zimmer (2-2) – A tumultuous time for the Vikings: Losing the best offensive player in the league (Adrian Peterson) for domestic abuse preceded a bad loss to the Patriots; losing Matt Cassell to injury has now issued in the Teddy Bridgewater era – for now; TB played well enough to win in his first start, against the up-and-down Falcons. Let’s see how long it takes for the league’s D. Coordinators to get the amount of tape on him that they need.
  • Jim Caldwell (3-1) – The Lions are looking like world-beaters again. After week 4.
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