Every year sees turnover in the NFL coaching ranks. Here are the coaches who look to be in the most trouble heading into the year.
John Fox, Chicago Bears: Entering his 3rd year, this is how bleak it is for the Bears – they went from six wins to three wins and now have an overpaid career backup (Mike Glennon) battling an over-drafted rookie (Mitch Trubisky) for the starting job on a team where the receiver with the most career catches is someone named Cameron Meredith, who was undrafted out of Illinois State. The line is shaky, and the secondary is nondescript, which isn’t something you want in a division with Matt Stafford and Aaron Rodgers. It’d probably take a .500 season to save Fox’s job.
Marvin Lewis, Cincinnati: He’s going through a health issue right now, and he’s coming up on his 59th birthday next month, and has never had a playoff win, I don’t know if the Bengals can keep Lewis. He’s 0-7 in the playoffs in Cincinnati, and after going to the postseason five straight years, and then dropping to 6-9-1 – they had injuries, I know – he’s gotta deliver, or it’s time to move on.
Chuck Pagano, Indianapolis Colts: The biggest surprise of the entire NFL offseason was the fact Pagano kept his job. Owner Jim Irsay fired GM Ryan Grigson, and everyone thought Pagano was a goner, too. After three straight 11-5 seasons – led by Andrew Luck – they’ve gone 8-8 the last two years and this team has the feel of a rebuild. Luck turns 28 next month, and he’s too talented to waste his prime years on a struggling team.
Todd Bowles, New York Jets: After 14 years of working his way up the ladder from position coach, to defensive coordinator to head coach, Todd Bowles exceeded all expectations with the Jets in Year 1: 10-6. They missed the playoffs on the final day of the regular season, a gut-wrenching loss to the Bills. Since then, it’s been downhill. They went 5-11 last year, the locker room was toxic, and they’ve gutted the roster. A bleak year is ahead. They’ll win between zero and two games, and then the Jets will get the #1 pick and Bowles will probably be fired. Here’s the worst part: People are rooting for the Jets to fail because they want the #1 pick. I can’t imagine a scenario where the Jets, after consecutive years of getting increasingly worse, keep Bowles. Bowles is a lifelong defensive coach, and since they’ll draft a QB first, the team should want to get a bright young offensive coach just in case Sam Darnold is thinking about staying at USC.
Just missed: Hue Jackson, Cleveland Browns (come on, he’s only had one year!) and Jim Caldwell, Detroit Lions.