Four straight losses have Mike McCarthy moving closer to the top of our hot seat rankings
The unofficial second half of the NFL season begins this week as Thanksgiving is upon us. With it comes a clearer postseason picture and a whole bunch of teams that have no shot at the playoffs. Not coincidentally, those same teams often have head coaches who are on the hot seat with little sign of a cool-down period coming.
Heading into Week 12, here are nine coaches who could be fired in 2016, ranked from least likely to most likely.
Chuck Pagano, Indianapolis Colts (Last Week: 7)
Pagano’s seat wasn’t scorching hot prior to this week, mainly because he has Andrew Luck at quarterback – a guy capable of carrying a team to the playoffs. Sunday’s win over the Titans was a huge one for the Colts’ very real chances at the postseason as they’re now just one game behind the Texans in the AFC South. Not having Luck on Thanksgiving, as reports suggest, certainly will hurt, but with the lack of talent in the division, Indianapolis’ season won’t be determined by this one game.
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Todd Bowles, New York Jets (Last week: 9)
The Jets got a much-needed week off thanks to the bye, but things haven’t improved for them. Bowles anointed Ryan Fitzpatrick as the team’s Week 12 starter, which should upset players after he gave Bryce Petty an unfair one-week audition. Fitzpatrick is certain to be elsewhere (or retired) in 2017, meaning the Jets will need to sort out the quarterback situation. They’re (unofficially) out of the playoff hunt, so why not see what Petty has to offer? Bowles could lose some of his players based on this decision.
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Jeff Fisher, Los Angeles Rams (Last week: 8)
Fisher’s leash probably lengthens with Jared Goff starting at quarterback, although the rookie doesn’t seem to be improving the Rams’ odds of winning much the rest of the way. The offensive playbook is essentially only half-open for Goff because it seems as though the Rams want him to stick to quick, short passes rather than throwing it downfield. Eventually, however, Fisher will need to allow his rookie to take chances. If not, Goff won’t improve and Fisher’s job will once again be on the line.
USA TODAY SportsJoe Nicholson
Chip Kelly, San Francisco 49ers (Last week: 6)
The 49ers remained surprisingly competitive against the Patriots on Sunday despite Colin Kaepernick being sacked five times in the first half. However, the Patriots pulled away down the stretch as the Niners defense once again failed to stop the running game. Kelly wasn’t necessarily to blame for this one, but it continued a concerning trend for the 49ers, who have one win on the year. Not many coaches are able to sustain one-win seasons, and while Kelly should have a chance to bring in his own guys for another year, he needs to do a better job getting the most of the guys he has now.
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Mike McCoy, San Diego Chargers (Last week: 4)
The Chargers were on a bye this week so there isn’t much change with regards to McCoy’s job status. His seat hasn’t cooled off at all. The Chargers have trouble late in games, as evidenced by Philip Rivers’ four-pick fourth quarter two weeks ago. McCoy can’t prevent his quarterback from making crucial mistakes like that, but he can handle late-game calls that help his team to victory. If the Chargers wind up staying in San Diego, it’ll better his chances of remaining the team’s head coach.
Mike McCarthy, Green Bay Packers (Last week: 5)
For the fourth straight week, the Packers have lost – once again by a very wide margin to a far-from-dominant team (42-24 in primetime against the Redskins). Aaron Rodgers has proved that he’s not the team’s issue despite the fact that he hasn’t been completely himself, leaving much of the blame to be put on the uncreative Mike McCarthy. The offense is repetitive with route trees that often leave receivers standing motionless at the top. This team needs to be overhauled around Rodgers in the offseason, and that includes a creative mind at head coach. McCarthy's seat is undoubtedly warming up, and is doing so at a rapid rate.
Associated PressJeffrey Phelps
Marvin Lewis, Cincinnati Bengals (Last week: 2)
The Bengals faced a favorable Week 11 matchup against the Bills, yet all they did was sputter on offense and fail to score more than 12 points. Of course, A.J. Green was out for all of the game and Giovani Bernard got hurt too, but there’s no excuse for a team as explosive as Cincinnati to score 12 points. The Bengals simply aren’t a complete team and at 3-6-1 with things only getting worse, a change could be forthcoming – and it should be. The Bengals never have won a playoff game under Lewis. That’ll remain true because they’re not going to the playoffs.
Getty ImagesKirk Irwin
John Fox, Chicago Bears (Last week: 3)
Another week, another suspension and significant injury for the Bears. Granted, those aren’t the fault of Fox, but the Bears are quickly going from bad to absolutely terrible. Now with Jay Cutler likely out for the year, Fox will be stuck with Matt Barkley at quarterback. That could both help and hurt him – considering he might get some leeway with Cutler out – but the latter seems more likely. The Bears may not win another game this season, and if that were to happen, it’d be hard to see Fox returning for another season.
Gus Bradley, Jacksonville Jaguars (Last week: 1)
Bradley’s seat didn’t cool off at all in Week 11 as the Jaguars lost their fifth straight game. They remained competitive against the 6-4 Lions, but a loss is a loss. The team simply looks uninspired and undisciplined under Bradley, having the 10th-most penalties in the NFL. He’s now 14-44 in Jacksonville, including 2-8 in 2016. It’s just a matter of when, not if, he gets fired because the Jaguars need a change more than every other team.