Jeff Fisher's spat with Eric Dickerson has him climbing our hot seat rankings
Exactly zero head coaches have been fired this season, which is somewhat surprising considering the number of bad teams at the bottom of the NFL standings. Part of that is because the head coaches on those teams are relatively new and it might be too soon to sever ties. That will change relatively soon, however.
In this week’s edition of hot seat rankings, one coach is rising due to an off-field situation with a Hall of Famer that is putting a negative spotlight on his team.
USA TODAY SportsJoe Nicholson
Mike McCoy, San Diego Chargers (Last week: 5)
The Chargers somehow keep winning games despite being thin at several positions due to injury. Philip Rivers is a bigger reason for that than McCoy, but the quarterback’s play might just save his coach’s job. The wrench thrown into all of this, of course, is the Chargers’ potential move from San Diego, which might lead the team to start fresh at head coach.
Chuck Pagano, Indianapolis Colts (Last Week: 9)
Pagano’s lack of coaching savvy is often masked by the play of Andrew Luck. Yes, the Colts won six games without Luck last season, but that doesn’t mean they’re better without him. Pagano’s Colts are still in the playoff hunt thanks only to the terrible division they play in. The Colts are wasting Luck’s talent with disappointing seasons, and a fresh start may be needed. That (probably) won’t happen this year as long as Indianapolis is still in it, but Luck needs a better offensive mind orchestrating the team.
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY SportsTroy Taormina
Chip Kelly, San Francisco 49ers (Last week: 6)
After a few weeks of underwhelming play, Kelly and Colin Kaepernick have seemingly clicked. Kaepernick has been one of the NFL's top quarterbacks in the past month, and although his play hasn’t translated to wins, he’s building his case to earn a job in 2017. Despite being 1-10, Kelly is doing the same. He’s saving his job by orchestrating an offense that can actually move the ball, while also making the most of bad personnel on defense. Kelly, bolstered by the fact he's still in his first season, is likely safe unless he opts to bolt for Oregon.
Kyle TeradaUSA TODAY Sports
Mike McCarthy, Green Bay Packers (Last week: 4)
McCarthy’s job would likely be saved by a postseason berth in 2016, and although that remains relatively unlikely, it’s still a possibility thanks to the Packers’ Monday night win over the Eagles. It cooled off his seat a bit, but the victory was likely more about the Eagles being underwhelming than the Packers suddenly being a complete team. The offense is still uncreative, Aaron Rodgers is still doing everything to carry his teammates and the defense remains littered with injuries.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY SportsKirby Lee
Todd Bowles, New York Jets (Last week: 8)
Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick didn’t play terribly against the Patriots, keeping the Jets in the game for 3 1/2 quarters. He didn’t, however, play well enough to lead the Jets to a win. The loss all but rules New York out of the playoff hunt, which means the team should be looking toward next season. Unfortunately, it's not. Bowles remains set on playing Fitzpatrick despite the fact that the QB won’t be back in 2017. The Jets, meanwhile, have Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg sitting on the sideline waiting to play. Rather than seeing what they have in either player, Bowles is wasting valuable time by playing Fitzpatrick.
Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY SportsRobert Deutsch
Jeff Fisher, Los Angeles Rams (Last week: 7)
Fisher’s tenure in Los Angeles took a bizarre turn this week due to his spat with Eric Dickerson. The Hall of Fame running back says the coach told him he’s no longer welcome on the Rams’ sideline because of the things he’s said about the team and because he’s a distraction to the players. Dickerson was understandably upset about the development, bringing the entire feud into the light for the public to digest. So in addition to the Rams being terrible, Fisher has this Dickerson situation to deal with, which isn’t a good look for a team trying to make positive headlines in a new city.
Getty ImagesDilip Vishwanat
John Fox, Chicago Bears (Last week: 2)
Fox has a good track record as a head coach, helping to rebuild the Panthers and Broncos in the past. His time in Chicago has been disastrous, however. Jay Cutler’s poor play and injuries haven’t helped, but the overall lack of success -- and progress -- has been concerning. On the bright side, the Bears came within a wide-open dropped pass in the end zone from beating the Titans.
Marvin Lewis, Cincinnati Bengals (Last week: 3)
The Bengals’ downward spiral from AFC North champs last season to one of the AFC’s worst has been hard to explain. Even before A.J. Green and Giovani Bernard got hurt, the Bengals were going nowhere. There’s plenty of talent on the roster, from Andy Dalton to Tyler Eifert to George Iloka to Dre Kirkpatrick, but they haven’t been able to put it all together. Lewis has won a ton of games in Cincinnati – 115 to be exact – but his lack of a playoff victory and inexplicably bad season in 2016 could be his undoing. He hasn’t looked like the same coach without former offensive coordinator Hue Jackson by his side.
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Gus Bradley, Jacksonville Jaguars (Last week: 1)
Another week, another disappointing loss for the Jaguars – and more important, for Bradley. Thanks to his most recent loss, the 45th of his career, Bradley is now the worst coach in league history since the NFL-AFL merger. His winning percentage is a measly .237, boasting a career record of 14-45. It’s just a matter of time before the Jaguars fire him and move on, and though that could come after this season, waiting until then is almost pointless. There’s no chance he should return as the Jaguars’ head coach, considering he has yet to prove he’s worthy of the job. Sure, his team isn’t the most talented, but his lack of leadership and his inability to motivate his players is a huge problem.