NFL head coaches generally get fired for one of two reasons: either his team has not lived up to expectations, or his team going is nowhere on an accelerated path to oblivion and a change at the top gives the illusion that management really cares. Either way, the result is the same—a fast pass to the unemployment line. Given those parameters, here are three NFL head coaches who begin the season on a warm, if not hot, seat.
Vic Fangio takes over for Vance Joseph, who led the Denver Broncos to a disappointing 6-10 record in 2018. Fangio, a defensive-minded coach who built powerful squads in Chicago, Baltimore, and San Francisco, inherits a wealth of talent at linebacker, safety, and cornerback. It’s uncertain how much better the Von Miller-led defense can be even under the tutelage of a master strategist.
The offense, which now has an aging Joe Flacco behind center and little depth at running back and wide receiver, will dictate how far the team goes in the ultra-competitive AFC West. With a vastly improved Oakland Raider team along with the Los Angeles Chargers and powerhouse Kansas City Chiefs, the Broncos may be out of the playoff hunt by midseason with team president John Elway checking coaching resumes in late October.
Falling off a Kliff
Beyond being one of the more controversial heading coaching hires, Arizona Cardinals new head coach Kliff Kingsbury went all in by “forcing” the team’s top brass to draft Kyle Murray with the top pick in this year’s draft.
The undersized Heisman Trophy winner has the physical tools to be a standout quarterback, but his lack of height remains an issue against teams with big defensive lines. Murray will need his speed and athleticism to avoid a season-ending injury. Yes, visions of RG3, a player with similar talents whose career was cut short by multiple stints on the IL, are front of mind.
Kingsbury’s salvation rests in whether superstar running back David Johnson returns to form. They are up against the NFC West, which includes 2019 Super Bowl runner-up Los Angeles Rams, Seattle Seahawks, and the rising stars of the San Francisco 49ers. It will be a long season in the desert.
The hype already started for Dwayne Haskins, the Ohio State quarterback the Washington Redskins were lucky to snare in the first round of the recent draft. Skins Nation already sees the team winning the next several Super Bowls with the strong-armed QB under center.
While Haskins may have a great arm, the lack of offensive support likely will leave the team again mired in mediocrity. Even with a great comeback year by defensive back Josh Norman and another pro bowl year from Ryan Kerrigan, the team’s defense is lacking, to say the least.
It would be reasonable to think the Washington Redskins ownership has head coach Jay Gruden on a short leash. With a 35-45-1 record since he took the reins in 2014, the junior of the Gruden coaching duo can only hope his brother John has a spot on his staff come midseason.