As the ending of the 2016 NFL season looms closer, there are quite a few teams that seem very close towards a coaching change: The Buffalo Bills, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, Chicago Bears, Los Angeles Rams & San Francisco 49ers.
We’ll begin with the 1-12 49ers, a team that was always going to tank this season, but no one thought it would look this bad. Colin Kaepernick isn’t horrible, but the team is, and with Trent Baalke going at the end of the season, the fact that Chip Kelly has only been on the team for one year isn’t going to matter. A new general manager is going to want his own hire I assume, while Kelly, who just doesn’t seem to fit in the NFL, will be headed back to college, or maybe wait until the Oregon job is available.
The 6-7 Colts might still make the playoffs, but losing at home to the Houston Texans has been a huge hit. Their owner is unhappy about the perceived wasting away of Andrew Luck with a bad team and coaching stuff. Chuck Pagano doesn’t have a bad record as the Colts head coach (47-30), without a single losing season. But the Colts seem like they’re stuck, because of Pagano and the team’s general manager, which means it could be time for a massive change.
The Rams have offered Jeff Fisher an extension, but it’s not going to be 7-9 this season. The Rams are historically bad on offense this season, and it’ll be Fisher’s 7th consecutive losing season. There might be other problems with this team, but Fisher, as costly as it might be, seems like has run out of excuses and people to throw under the bus. It’s been 8 years since he last took a team to the postseason. That’s too much, even when you’re working for the Rams.
What about the Jaguars? The regression of Blake Bortles has doomed him, probably. They’re 2-11 instead of catapulting from their 5-11 season. The main concern should be finding someone to develop Bortles and put him back on track. Bradley, who is 14-47 in almost four full seasons, isn’t the guy.
And what about the Chicago Bears? Isn’t John Fox an expert in building a franchise upwards? Well, not with the Bears, who did suffer from an incredible amount of injuries holding them back in 2016, but are a project that needs someone with a little bit more motivation to stick through the bad patches, and a long rebuilding process, suffering from years of bad decisions, struggling to rebuild the defense, sustain an offensive line, and severe ties with Jay Cutler.
And we finish with the 6-7 Bills. Another 8-8 season and missing the playoffs isn’t the worst thing in the world, but Rex Ryan was supposed to take them further than before, at least bother the Patriots a little bit. But the Ryan brothers have failed on defense, and Tyrod Taylor isn’t exactly in love with his head coach. I’m not sure if another coaching change is great for the Bills, but they seem likely to go through with it at the end of the season.
Are these the only hot seat HC jobs in the NFL? No. Marvin Lewis could be gone after this season, although I’m one of those who believe there’s no real reason to make a change there, despite the lack of postseason success. Hue Jackson hasn’t won a game with the Browns, but it has more to do with the awfulness of the franchise, not his ability to coach or not. Other names could come up between now and the end of the regular season. Mike McCarthy isn’t safe, not anymore. But for now, it looks like the six teams we mentioned earlier are closer to heading in a brand new direction, for better or worse.