Week 14 – 2014 Season

Things are really starting to heat up early this year. Lots of coaches are feeling more than a little warm under their bottoms.


  • Dennis Allen (0-4) –The Raiders fired Head Coach Dennis Allen after an 0-4 start and replaced him with former Miami Dolphin Head Coach Tony Sparano as Interim Head Coach. No evidence that Coach Sparano will do any better than his predecessor with the players he has. Will the GM Reggie McKensie survive?
  • Tony Sparano (1-7) – 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!

Hot Seat:

  • Ron Rivera (3-8-1) – Another coach who’s suffering due to the absolute incompetence of his GM. Unless Jerry Richardson decides to stick with Rivera over Gettleman, he’s gone.
  • Rex Ryan (2-10) – The Jets finally won another game. The fans are getting really fired up about firing GM John Idzik. Whether this will do anything to help Rex’s position is questionable. The play of Mark Sanchez in Philadelphia this year may have some bearing on this. With Randy Lerner no longer on the scene, Woody Johnson may reclaim his previous position as the worst owner in the NFL.
  • Jim Harbaugh (7-5) – Although a loss this past weekend would’ve made a 4th consecutive playoff appearance unlikely, nothing appears to be changing the direction of the 49er’s and Harbaugh parting at the end of the season.
  • Tom Coughlin (retires) (3-9) – Another strong game from Eli Manning and the New York Football Giants. This looks like Coughlin will go out a winner after all. But I still think he retires this year.
  • Lovie Smith (2-10) – Lovie continues to make Greg Schiano a happy man. His in-game coaching is suspect and his total mismanagement of the offense (as in his tenure in Chicago) makes it increasingly likely that he joins the ranks of Rich Kotite and Cam Cleveland. However, with the GM also being a first year, they may suffere through ONE miserable season.

Warm-up Deck:

  • Mike Smith (5-7) – Atlanta has not returned to the form of the team that went to the NFCC two years ago. They don’t appear to have the ability to win road games anymore – regardless of the opponent. Additionally, Mike Smith’s game management has been particularly poor this season, directly causing at least 2 games. But they still might win the NFC South. LOL
  • Gus Bradley (2-10) – With the continuing poor play of the Jaguars, Coach Bradley is starting to really feel the heat. Bortles is not progressing and the team appears to have regressed from last year in every meaningful way.
  • Marc Trestman (5-7) – 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!

Stable Position:

  • Doug Marone (7-5) – 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.
  • Sean Payton (5-7) – Even with the team below .500, they are still in first place in the NFC South and Payton’s previous success will insulate him from another bad year or two.
  • Jeff Fisher (5-7) – 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.
  • Joe Philbin (7-5) – 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.
  • Mike McCoy (8-4) – 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. Two years ago, under Norv, Phillip Rivers was being thought of as done. Now he’s the best ever.
  • Mike Tomlin (7-5) – 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.
  • Jason Garrett (8-4) – With the improved O-Line (There it is again!) and having a real coach as a DC (Rod Marinelli as opposed to the retired 187-year old Monte Kiffin), Dallas is really looking like a serious football team. Meanwhile, Manziel is still on the Cleveland bench. Maybe Stephen Jones knows a lot more about the personnel side of NFL football than his old man, Jerry.
  • Andy Reid (7-5) –
  • Marvin Lewis (8-3-1) – From looking like the best team in the AFC at one point, to getting blown out at home by Cleveland, this team is having a slow, painful implosion. Marvin Lewis has been with the team for so long it’s hard to believe that he’s had so little success. Unless they do something dramatically different, he could be in jeopardy.
  • Chuck Pagano (8-4) –
  • Chip Kelly (9-3) – This again points out the necessity of good Offensive Line play. A recurrent theme this week.
  • Mike McCarthy (9-3) – 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.

Definitely Safe:

  • Bruce Arians (9-3) – The runaway winner of the Coach of the Year for a second time. Why did Pittsburgh not want him again?
  • John Fox (9-3) – Super Bowl Runner-up. 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 doubt that he will this one either.
  • John Harbaugh (7-5) – Super Bowl Winner in 2012. It would take a much worse year than last year’s 8-8 for Harbaugh to be jettisoned.
  • Pete Carroll (8-4) – Super Bowl Winner
  • Bill Belicheck (9-3) – After a horrible September, Belicheck again proves his genius as one of the two most dominant teams in the league. If they can keep at this level through the playoffs, he might finally get that last ring.

First-Year Head Coaches (Generally safe):

With the exception of Detroit and – most notably – Cleveland, this year’s head coaching class is not having much success, especially when compared to last year’s stellar results. Lovie Smith should be gone. Will Wisenhunt, Zimmer or Gruden be far behind?

  • Ken Wisenhunt (2-10) – Wisenhunt’s Titans start the year blowing out a playoff team from last year, but now have three straight bad losses.
  • Jay Gruden (3-9) – 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.
  • Mike Zimmer (5-7) – 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.
  • Bill O’Brien (6-6) – 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 (7-5) – Amazing comeback from 25 points down. Brian Hoyer continues to befuddle the analysts. I just realized that one possible reason for his production (despite being “only a journeyman QB”) could be that he had Norv Turner as his OC last year. Norv is the Best OC/Worst Head Coach in the NFL. OK, only the most mediocre Head Coach. The point is that he’s been possibly the best OC in the league while stinking things up in 3 head Coaching stints.
  • Jim Caldwell (8-4) – The Lions are looking like world-beaters again. Caldwell seems to have tamed Stafford to limit his gun-slinging until critical moments in the Q4. So far the gambling has paid off.


Changes this week:

  • Moved Belicheck ahead of every other coach.
  • Moved Mike Smith and Gus Bradley from the hot seat back to the warm-up deck.
  • Bumped Marvin Lewis back up to the middle of the stable group.
  • Added caveat to Lovie Smith also having a first-year GM.




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