Assuming there are no ties, 16 NFL coaches will lose games on Sunday. On Monday, it seems certain that at least three of them will lose their jobs, too. It’s called Black Monday in football circles, and Adam Gase of the New York Jets has long been presumed to be at the top of the list of NFL coaches who will be fired a day after the regular season ends.
Adam Gase and the New York Jets will part ways
For a franchise that has packed a lot of mediocrity (or worse) into its existence, there’s a quirky statistic related to the New York Jets. Beginning with Bill Parcells in 1997, six straight NFL coaches there posted winning records in their first season. In fact, three of them showed improvements of six or more games in the win column over their predecessor’s final season.
The streak ran dry with Adam Gase. Upon inheriting a 4-12 team from Todd Bowles, Gase got the Jets to 7-9 last fall. That was both admirable and Gase’s downfall. This Jets team is a largely talentless bunch on either side of the ball made worse by cutting ties with Jamal Adams and Le’Veon Bell. Gase overachieved in his first season.
Of the players still with the 2-13 team, not enough have seemed inclined to go to the wall for the coach. General manager Joe Douglas is also in his second season and presumably will survive, but he needs to make a successful hire. He will also have to lay out a vision to the incoming coach on how the draft picks he acquired from the Seattle Seahawks in the Adams trade will be used to fix a bad offense consistently in the bottom quarter of the league for a decade.
Two more NFL coaches who should be very worried
Anthony Lynn and the Los Angeles Chargers aren’t fooling anyone with their three-game winning streak by a combined nine points, so beating a Kansas City Chiefs team with no need to go full bore in Week 17 won’t make a difference. Lynn, who is in his fourth season, is not regarded as a good game-day coach.
The Chargers have been also-rans the past two seasons, but rookie quarterback Justin Herbert appears destined for a great career. Offloading Lynn ASAP should give the Chargers first crack at the numerous candidates who will view the LA job as the most desirable opening because of the QB situation.
Speaking of quarterback situations, Doug Marrone is widely regarded as a goner in Jacksonville, where the Jaguars got decent work from Gardner Minshew and are first in line to draft Trevor Lawrence.
Marrone is 23-42 since accepting a battlefield promotion late in the 2016 season, and he survived when general manager Dave Caldwell was axed in midseason. New GMs are rarely inclined to stick with NFL coaches they inherit, and the coach of a 1-14 team isn’t going to have much luck talking his way into another chance.
Other candidates to suffer Adam Gase’s fate
A lot of observers have placed second-year coach Zac Taylor on the list of coaches who should be nervous about answering their phone on Black Monday. However, the Cincinnati Bengals coaching staff got No. 1 draft pick Joe Burrow up and running from Day 1, and there is relatively little talent on the roster. Had the Bengals won half of their four close losses in the first half of the season, Taylor would be safe despite rumblings of dissatisfaction in the locker room. It might still be the case if Cincinnati beats the red-hot Baltimore Ravens in Week 17.
A few others with potentially tenuous futures with their current teams:
- Third-year Chicago Bears coach Matt Nagy’s fate is tied to that of general manager Ryan Pace, whose seat is a little hotter than the coach’s. There is a presumption by some that the Bears stand a better chance than most of landing Northwestern’s Pat Fitzgerald. But would a front-office overhaul be a prerequisite to Fitzgerald accepting.
- Winning a Super Bowl and following up with two more trips to the playoffs bought Doug Pederson more than enough clout to ride out a miserable year for the Philadelphia Eagles. If he’s not back in 2021, it should be by his choice.
- The Dallas Cowboys have played some ugly football in an ugly division, but they’re somehow still in the hunt to make the playoffs. Mike McCarthy will get a second year on the sideline unless he resists a presumed order to make changes to the defense – not necessarily firing anyone, but fixing the schemes.
- None of the interims appointed during the season are expected to remain in place, though Raheem Morris does have something of a chance with the Atlanta Falcons.