So we have several candidates to be on the next hot seat.
Miami Dolphins (1-3) – Joe Philbin had completely lost this team. Not only that, but the players had no respect for either the DC Croyne or the OC Bill Lazor. After the big loss to the Jets in London, the only question Steven Ross had was who he was going to get to coach the team after he fired Philbin since obviously neither Crone nor Lazor could. OUT
Teams that are 1-4 or 1-5:
Baltimore (1-5) – The Ravens have continued to decline from their abysmal defensive secondary from last year which gave up two 14-pt leads to the Patriots in the playoffs. That they were even in the playoffs is a credit to the coaching staff and organization for continuing to come up with players after all the injuries / releases.
This year they got their 2 top corners back, but they’re still getting torched by long plays late in games. They’ve had numerous injuries, but then so does everyone. They also seem to be the beneficiaries of bad calls by the officials late in games (meaning that the calls go against them). This is nothing new to the Ravens. It’s been a consistent theme throughout their history – with the notable exception of their Super Bowl run in 2011-2 (after one of the all-time greats, Ray Lewis, announced his retirement). In short the Ravens are playing just well enough to NOT win. Is this due to the loss of Haloti Ngata (trade) +/- Terrell Suggs (season-ending injury) or just karma – as many fans from Cleveland would contend.
In any case, the Ravens organization is not going to panic. There may be some more dramatic changes in the off-season. I don’t see DC Dean Pees coming back at this rate. The jury is still out on Marc Trestman. Maybe even Ozzie Newsome retires, but that seems pretty far-fetched. But I would be shocked beyond believe if they were to get rid of coach John Harbaugh after all he’s accomplished with this team over the past 8 years. SAFE
Detroit (1-5) – For the eighth time in modern NFL history, the Lions were the last winless team in the league. This after going to the playoffs last year for only the second time since 1999. They have a new OC in Joe Lombardi who seems to be in over his head. Matthew Stafford has significantly regressed this year and the defense has looked like a shell of itself without Ndamakong Suh and Nick Fairly. Whether Jim Caldwell gets it turned around in year 2 of his tenure may not matter as the Ford family has shown a high ability to mismanage this team exceeded only by the Jets’ Woody Johnson. To my eyes, this is a continuation of Caldwell’s failures as the Colts head coach in 2010 (1-15 after Peyton Manning got hurt) and as the Ravens OC in 2013 (a historically bad offense the year after winning the Super Bowl). DOUBTFUL
Jacksonville Jaguars (1-5) – In year 3 of the Gus Bradley regime, one would expect a much more competent defense. It’s notable that the Seattle defense had no drop-off in his departure, but they are really struggling after losing Dan Quinn this past off-season while the Falcons defense has turned completely around. Still Blake Bortles does appear to be getting better. How patient Shahid Khan will be is yet to be seen. QUESTIONABLE
Kansas City Chiefs (1-5) – Two years into the latest Andy Reid regime, things are starting to look a lot like the end of the old Andy Reid regime in Philadelphia. Poor game management. Overly conservative play calling. Not a whole lot of good players. Kansas City has been pretty much a revolving door of failed Head Coach retreads for the last 20 years. Expect Mike Shanahan to replace Reid after this year. 😉 PROBABLE
Tennessee Titans (1-4) – After Pittsburgh won the Super Bowl during Bill Cowher’s final year, Ken Whisenhunt left there for Arizona after being passed over for the head coaching position in favor of Mike Tomlin. After a year and a half of mostly mediocre play, Wisenhunt was finally forced to resort to back-up (and Super Bowl winning) QB Kurt Warner. He only succeeded in taking the Cardinals to the Super Bowl the next year (to face the Tomlin-led Steelers!). After Warner retired, the Cardinals sunk back into mediocrity as their QB situation returned to its previous level. A successful year as the Offensive Coordinator under Mike McCoy in San Diego (with Philip Rivers as his QB) set up Wisenhunt for another HC stint. So instead of taking the position in Detroit where he would have had Matt Stafford as his franchise QB, Wisenhunt goes to Tennessee where he has just as bad of a QB situation as he had in Arizona. A curious decision to start with. [Perhaps he heard of Rivers’ dislike of the SoCal area and knew that he wanted to go back to Tennessee, so he thought he could get him.] The Titans wallowed into a 2-14 record last year that set them up to pick Marcus Mariotta in this year’s draft. To some people’s surprise, he created an offense that the former college spread offense QB could master. Mariotta has looked good for most of the season. However, he has started to be hampered by a extremely limited offense with outrageously conservative play-calling (like punting from the opponents’ 40-yard line).
Coming out of Pittsburgh’s SB year, I thought he was one of the best OC that I had seen. However, his struggles in Arizona coupled with bailing on the Chargers after one year and the poor performance with the Titans has led me to completely change my opinion. Whether he is able to keep his job depends partly on how well Mariotta progresses. However, I’ve seen enough to pull the plug and get someone else to be the Titans’ 4th coach in 6 years. QUESTIONABLE
CLE (2-3) – Josh McKown is playing like Brian Hoyer did for the first half of last year except that he isn’t making as many bad plays. Cleveland is still not a good team, but they’ve been coming to play.
HOU (2-4) – The only reason the Texans have any wins is that they play in the worst division in football, the AFC South, and they’re playing the teams in the 2nd worst division, the NFC South. Now that O’Brien has convinced himself and every other observer of the NFL that Ryan Mallett cannot play QB in the NFL, he is going back to Brian Hoyer. How this all feels to the human ping-pong ball known as Brian Hoyer and how it affects him will be shown on the field on Sunday. Meanwhile, O’Brien’s detractors now have a significantly poor showing by him in his QB management to send him packing if things don’t improve significantly. Unfortunately, in the AFC South things are bound to go better.
OAK (2-3) – Derek Carr and company are really rolling with rookie WR Amari Cooper who is unquestionably the real deal. Meanwhile, Kahlil Mack and Aldon Smith are anchoring a defense that is playing much better than previously.