Here we sit in the final quarter of this NFL season. The best of the best have distanced themselves from the bums. The Panthers, Patriots, Bengals and Broncos are all firmly in control of their respective divisions and stand no chance of missing the playoffs. Good for them, but that’s not what we’re here to talk about. We are here to talk about the inevitable shake-ups to come with the teams doing badly. That’s right, we are here to talk about which NFL coaches should be getting their resumes ready. The Titans and Dolphins made the bold move of firing their coaches during the season, but most teams prefer to wait until the offseason to make their captain walk the plank. So let’s look at which NFL coaches have bungled their shot at the big time so badly that they will surely be residing in a different zip-code next year.
Jim Caldwell- Detroit Lions
Detroit already started their shake-up during the season by firing their president, general manager and offensive coordinator after an abysmal 1-7 start to the season. This makes it all the more likely that Caldwell will be fired, even if he didn’t necessarily deserve it. Luckily for the yet-to-be-named new general manager the choice will be easy because he does indeed deserve to get the ax. There is a long list of coaching blunders that Lions have had to suffer in the less than 2 seasons that Caldwell has been in charge in Detroit but you need to look no further than the final play of last week’s game against the Packers. The entire world knew that Aaron Rodgers would be throwing a long hail mary pass for the win, but somehow Caldwell didn’t think that the 2-time MVP QB could complete a 60 yd pass (it looked like he could have gone for 80 yds). The coach set up to defend the lateral play and Richard Rodgers went up above all the defenders and came down with the win. Last year the Lions were successful in spite of Caldwell, this year they are losing because of him. He’s gone.
Chip Kelly- Philadelphia Eagles
The man known as ‘The Genius’ by some people (not me) has really dropped the ball in Philadelphia. After being raised up from the college game 3 seasons ago, he took the Eagles to a 10-6 record, a 1st place finish in the NFC East and a trip to the playoffs. In his second season the finished with a 10-6 record again but narrowly missed the playoffs. In this, his 3rd season in charge in Philly, the team is doing horrible and seem to have quit on their head coach. They got embarrassed in front of the whole world on Thanksgiving by the similarly pitiful Lions, and the wheels really seem to be falling off. What’s worse is that this is the first season that the team has finally been made in Kelly’s vision. Over the last 2 years, he has shipped off the team’s best offensive players in LeSean McCoy, Jeremy Maclin, and DeSean Jackson. Sure, he replaced them with DeMarco Murray and Ryan Matthews but it’s hard to justify that big of a shift when the results are so poor. The Eagles may very well give this Chip Kelly experiment another season, but I could also see Kelly leaving on his own. With so many openings in college football and it becoming clear that his brand of football is not as successful against NFL defenses, Chip might go back to where he made his bones and had his greatest success.
Mike Pettine- Cleveland Browns
In his first year as a head coach, Mike Pettine led the Browns to a 7-9 record last season. A pretty good start when you consider how bereft of talent the Browns usually are. Josh Gordon, arguably their best player of the last half a decade, has been repeatedly suspended by the league because he can’t stop smoking weed for long enough to pass a drug test and looks to be gone for good. They also wasted a first round draft pick in 2014 on Johnny Manziel, who might yet become a good NFL qb, but has been so mishandled by the coaching staff that there are some rumors that he may already be on his way out of town. That’s cool because so is the head coach. Pettine has helped the Browns to a 2 win season thus far, and is the 4th head coach that the Browns have had since the 2009 season. That stat is the biggest indictment of the organization. As a Lions fan, they may be the only team in the entire league that I’m not jealous of. They are that bad. May the Lord have mercy on whatever poor soul becomes the next head coach in Cleveland.
Well there you have it, the guys who will be jobless come February. Sure there are other people who will probably lose there jobs, but these ones seem like veritable locks to have their heads roll. I was tempted to add Mike McCoy, but I feel like the insane amount of injuries that the Chargers have sustained will save him for another year. Sean Payton and John Harbaugh also seem like a good candidates, but having won a Super Bowl means a lot. Those guys seems safe for one more year.