Tuesday, 20 November 2012

The Hot Seats

Eleven weeks of the NFL season have now passed.  The weeks that have passed have painted their picture of the 2012 season, and has left a number of deep impressions upon the psyche of those that follow America's favourite game.

Of the 32 franchises, I take a look at those teams that I believe will part company with their head coach at the end of the season, as well as casting a slight glance upon those teams whose coaches seat may not be boiling, but its certainly a bit warm.

San Diego Chargers - Head Coach Norv Turner.  Record with Team - 53 wins 37 losses (as of November 19th)
This talented team has continually disappointed under the reign of Turner and GM AJ Smith.  It was a shock to virtually the free footballing world that Turner and Smith were kept on after the 2011 season.  With a record currently reading 4-6, it would be shocking if the Chargers owners repeated their generosity again.

Cleveland Browns - Head Coach Pat Shurmur.  Record 6-20
The Browns have new owners, and despite them remaining "competitive" in many of their games this season, the facts are that they have lost 8 games, and new owners generally want to bring "their" guys in with them.  There are some building blocks in place in Cleveland, but the franchise has known nothing since defeat since their rebirth in 1999.

Jacksonville Jaguars - Head Coach Mike Mularkey.  Record 1-9
Mularkey is only ten games into his first season with the Jags, but 2012 has been little shy of a disaster.  A lengthy holdout from star running back Maurice Jones-Drew during the offseason did little to aid the new coach, and the inept play of 2011 first round draft pick QB Blaine Gabbert has mortally wounded this team since day one.  The Jags also have a new (ish) owner, and with a dwindling fan base coupled with the team being frequently linked with a move to LA, it would shock no one if the house was cleared in Florida.

Kansas City Chiefs - Head Coach Romeo Crennel.  Record 3-10
Many predicted big things for the Chiefs at the start of the season.  Many talented players were fully fit after injury, the team had rallied around interim coach Crennel when he stepped in towards the end of the 2011 season, and some (yes, including me) tipped them to perform well, maybe going even as far as the Super Bowl.  This has not happened.  The team has been plagued by awful QB play, abysmal defense and a frustrated fan base.

Dallas Cowboys - Head Coach Jason Garrett.  Record 16-15.
Cowboys owners Jerry Jones has been vainly seeking a championship since the 1995 season, and is not renowned for his patience.  Garrett was the heir apparent for the head coaching job when he was appointed offensive coordinator to head coach Wade Phillips, and took over when Phillips was fired during the 2010 season.  The Cowboys have so much talent on paper, but poor play, bad clock management and a crippling amount of "dead money" against the salary cap has left the coach (and his oft criticised QB Tony Romo) on the brink on unemployment.

Philadelphia Eagles - Head Coach Andy Reid.  Record 129-86-1
Reid has been in charge of the Eagles since 1999.  He has taken the Eagles to 5 NFC Championship games, including a Super Bowl appearance.  However, the team record since the Super Bowl has been mixed.  Reid and the Eagles have drafted poorly, have made mistakes on free agents, and have made staggering personnel decisions, all things for which Reid has the ultimate say on.  On the field, as with many of the other named coaches, Reid has suffered at the hands of his quarterback.  A new one is clearly needed for 2013 and beyond, but it appears that Reid won't benefit from the new boys play.

Carolina Panthers - Head Coach Ron Rivera.  Record 8-18
The Panthers were going to challenge the dominence of the New Orleans Saints in the NFC West.  They spent money on running backs Jonathon Stewart, Deangelo Williams and free agent Mike Tolbert.  Cam Newton, the rookie sensation of 2011, was going to take the NFL by storm and top his phenomenal displays of a year before.  Yes, this was going to happen.  It didn't.  Newton has been inconsistent, the defence has been shoddy, the running backs not used.  The team fired their GM, Rivera will probably be next.

Ken Wisenhunt, Arizona Cardinals.
Mike Shanahan, Washington Redskins
Detroit Lions, Jim Schwartz
New York Jets, Rex Ryan
Buffalo Bills, Chan Gailey
Oakland Raiders, Dennis Allen.

Wisenhunt, Ryan and Schwartz may have done enough in the past to convince their bosses that they deserve one more year.  Shanahan may well rely on rookie QB RG3 getting his team up around an 8-8 record to save his job.  Gailey's future would seem to be tied up with Bills GM Buddy Nix, while Allen is in his first year in Oakland.  The old regime under Al Davis would probably pull the trigger, but with the team in a mess when he joined, he may just scrape another year.

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