Friday, August 9, 2013

NFL Head Coaches on the Hot Seat

Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images
By Kenneth Teape (@teapester725)

One of the best times of the year is upon us as NFL training camps opened up around the league meaning that football is getting closer and closer to starting. This is the time when everyone thinks they have a chance to contend in the upcoming season and things are as laid back as they will ever be during the NFL calendar. The laid back vibes cannot be enjoyed by everyone though. Every year there are some coaches whose seats are hotter than others and this season is no different. Here are some coaches whose seats are heating up as the season approaches.

Rex Ryan, New York Jets: The Rex Ryan tenure in New York looks as close to being over as any in the NFL. With the Jets under new management, Ryan looks like the next coach to be on the chopping block. His time in Gotham has had a fair share of highs but most recently there has been a lot more lows. Ryan’s head coaching tenure started out extremely well. The Jets improved his first two seasons, even making consecutive AFC Championship games.

But for anyone who watched the Jets the past two seasons it is hard to believe they had that much success in Ryan and Mark Sanchez’s first two years together. Everything since has been a debacle. Since then the Jets offense and defense has been trending in the wrong direction, as the offense is scoring less and the defense is giving up more. Ryan put all of his eggs into the Sanchez basket and it looks to be backfiring in his face. Sanchez is no longer progressing and looks like he will never replicate his first two seasons. The handling of the Tim Tebow disaster last season could not have been done any more poorly; a direct reflection of the head coach and his staff.

It is not all Ryan’s fault but he is ring leader of an out-of-control circus and needs to be put out of his misery should the team continue to stumble. It would be good for the Jets and Ryan to part ways as this is a relationship that just does not work any longer. It would benefit the Jets greatly to bring in a new coach that the new management would like and see what lies ahead in the future with Geno Smith under center.

Jim Schwartz, Detroit Lions: Schwartz stepped into quite possibly the worst head coaching job in the history of sports when he took over the Lions in 2009 after a 0-16 season. The first three seasons, the Lions improved their win total every year, going from two to six to 10 in 2011, also the first time they made the playoffs since 1999. But the honeymoon has to end sometime and it came to a screeching halt for Schwartz last season as the Lions bottomed out and went 4-12.

A number of things played into the poor season such as an underachieving defense, no run game to speak of on offense and Matthew Stafford taking a step back from his monster 2011. Even with those problems, seeing a six-game decrease in wins is not something that will keep you in the good graces of the franchise you work for.

Schwartz is on the hot seat because another underwhelming season will give him a losing record in four out of five seasons under his control making 2011 look more like a blip on the radar than the turning around of a franchise. His fiery and intense demeanor has also caused some headlines, most famously when he and San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh had an intense handshake post game and had to be separated heading to the locker room. 
That type passion is okay for a time but it seems to be wearing on the players and because of it he could see the door. Under his watch the Lions have also had many run ins with the law, as four different Lions players were arrested in seven occasions last offseason alone. Under Schwartz the Lions seem to be making headlines for all the wrong reasons.

Jason Garrett, Dallas Cowboys: The Cowboys come into every season with high expectations and every year they come through…by not living up to them and falling short of the playoffs. In two full seasons under the watch of Garrett the Cowboys could not have been any more average and ordinary, going 8-8 each year. He did go 5-3 to end the tumultuous season that was started under Wade Phillips in 2010 but the team has not improved at all under his watch.

Garrett was handpicked by Jerry Jones to be the offensive coordinator and assistant head coach in 2008 with the intention to be the head coach in waiting. Garrett was brought on because of his ability to call plays on offense but it has gotten so bad that Jones no longer wants Garrett having that responsibility; offensive play calling will fall upon Bill Callahan this season.

With Garrett as head coach the defense has been underwhelming as well, giving Jones an expensive, underachieving team that is not performing up to snuff as he had hoped when he doled out the money for a $1 billion stadium. Jones is known to have a quick trigger finger if the team is not performing up to his standards so if the Cowboys get off to another slow start this season it would not be surprising at all to see the plug being pulled on Garrett. Another loss to the Giants at Cowboys Stadium to start the season would be a rough beginning for Garrett this season.

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