Sep 29, 2016; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis looks on from the sidelines against the Miami Dolphins in the first half at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
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With five weeks of football in the books, here’s the latest list of head coaches on the hot seat heading into NFL Week 6.
It’s crazy to think how fast the regular season is flying by. After five weeks of exciting football, it’s time to take a look at which head coaches find themselves on the hot seat heading into NFL Week 6.
From Mike McCoy to Chuck Pagano, most of the head coaches from last week’s made the cut once again for Week 6 (even though it’s nothing to be proud of). But there’s a new face in the mix in Marvin Lewis after the Cincinnati Bengals dropped to 2-3 on the season. It’s never an easy task to pull off a win on the road, but pathetic doesn’t even begin to describe the performance displayed by the Bengals against the Dallas Cowboys last weekend.
While Cincinnati has a history of providing the head coach with more opportunities than he deserves, it’s hard not to wonder just how much longer they can tolerate their head coach if he fails to deliver results.
As for the rest of the head coaches on this list, the names may be the same, but some of them moved places thanks to results from Week 5. Without wasting any more time, let’s take a look at where these NFL head coaches on the hot seat stand heading into Week 6.
Sep 18, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions head coach Jim Caldwell during the first quarter against the Tennessee Titans at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports
Honorable Mention: Jim Caldwell (Last Week No. 3)
Normally, a head coach wouldn’t be on the hot seat at this point in the season after knocking off one of the previously undefeated teams, but Jim Caldwell still has a long way to go when it comes to helping the Detroit Lions reach their true potential.
Matthew Stafford and the Lions’ offense wasted no time getting things rolling against the defense of the Philadelphia Eagles after the quarterback threw three touchdowns in the first half. But they failed to score again until the final minutes of the fourth quarter with what turned out to be the game-winning field goal.
It may still be early in the season, but the argument can be made this was a must-win game for Detroit against Philadelphia as the last thing this team could afford was a 1-4 start, especially when looking at how the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings are playing. As impressive as this win was for Caldwell’s squad, the true test will be whether they can carry the momentum over the next couple of weeks.
With favorable matchups at home against the Los Angeles Rams and Washington Redskins, it’s time for Stafford to continue leading this offense while helping Caldwell’s seat cool down a little more.
Oct 2, 2016; San Diego, CA, USA; New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton looks on from the sideline during the second half of the game against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium. New Orleans won 35-34. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports
5. Sean Payton (Last Week: No. 5)
Just because the New Orleans Saints were on a bye doesn’t mean Sean Payton was going to get out of making this list heading into Week 6, especially when looking at the work the head coach has cut out for him.
For starters, the Saints should consider themselves lucky with how close they came to losing against the San Diego Chargers in Week 4 after New Orleans pulled through with two touchdowns in the final five minutes of the game. If it wasn’t for that epic last-second comeback, this team would still be winless heading into their Week 6 matchup against the Carolina Panthers, a division game that certainly isn’t going to be easy.
Defense has arguably been the biggest issue for the Saints so far this season as the team has allowed at least 34 points in three of four games, including their recent win against the Chargers. The offense is loaded with enough talent to potentially score more than 30 points per game, but there’s only so much Drew Brees can do on his own without any help from the defense.
If New Orleans doesn’t figure out a way to turn things around soon, they could be heading towards their fourth losing season in five years, which doesn’t make Payton look good at all.
Sep 30, 2016; London, United Kingdom; Jacksonville Jaguars coach Gus Bradley at press conference during practice at Allianz Park in preparation for the NFL International Series game against the Indianapolis Colts. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
4. Gus Bradley (Last Week: No. 4)
At 1-3, most teams would find it difficult to overcome the tough obstacle of getting back in a division race. But the good thing for the Jacksonville Jaguars is they play in the AFC South, arguably the weakest division in football.
The fact that three teams in the division have records below .500 means the Jaguars have just as much of a chance as the rest to come out on top as AFC South champions, but they still have a long way to go. After losing their first three games (two of which came by single digits) to start the season, Jacksonville came out strong during their trip to London by holding on for a 30-27 win over the Indianapolis Colts.
Until the Jaguars find themselves above .500, chances are Gus Bradley is going to remain on this list as it’s tough to feel bad for a head coach with such a talented offense. With Blake Bortles having reliable weapons in the passing game like Allen Hurns and Allen Robinson, Jacksonville’s offense should be a nightmare for most opponents. For whatever reason, though, they’ve struggled for most of the first four games.
Bradley has already received plenty of criticism for failing to win more than five games in any of his first three seasons with the team. With three of the team’s next four games on the road, the head coach faces even more pressure coming off the bye week.
Sep 11, 2016; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano argues a call in the second half of the game against the Detroit Lions at Lucas Oil Stadium. the Detroit Lions beat the Indianapolis Colts by the score of 39-35. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
3. Chuck Pagano (Last Week: No. 2)
The Indianapolis Colts have to be one of the most frustrating teams to watch in the NFL when considering all but one of their games have been decided by single digits as this team could easily be sitting pretty at 4-1 instead of 2-3.
Unfortunately, there’s nothing Chuck Pagano or the Colts can do about their current record. But at least the struggles of the Houston Texans gives this team a much better shot at competing in the division. With that being said, it’s tough to ignore how close Indianapolis was to hitting a whole new low last weekend during a home matchup against the Chicago Bears.
The Colts avoided their fourth loss of the season thanks to a key 35-yard touchdown from Andrew Luck to T.Y Hilton with less than four minutes left to basically seal the victory. On paper, this should have been an easy home win for Indianapolis as a loss would have put even more pressure on Pagano.
A win against the Houston Texans in the national spotlight on Sunday certainly won’t be easy, but it would certainly help Pagano’s case when it comes to keeping him on board a little bit longer as head coach for the Colts.
Oct 9, 2016; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys head coach Marvin Lewis prior to the game against Cincinnati Bengals at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
2. Marvin Lewis (First Appearance)
For whatever reason, the Cincinnati Bengals never want to give up on Marvin Lewis as head coach, despite his inability to lead the team to a playoff win. Since taking over as head coach in 2003, Lewis has led the Bengals to seven playoff trips. But his 0-7 postseason record is one of the most frustrating statistics in the NFL. What’s even more frustrating is Cincinnati has reached the playoffs in each of the last five seasons while having one of the best overall teams, yet for some reason they just can’t come through with a win when it matters the most.
All signs pointed to this drought coming to an end last January before the Bengals collapsed against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Wild Card Round. Now, with the way things look through five weeks, it’s tough to determine whether this team is even a playoff contender. It was one thing to lose two tough games against the Steelers and Denver Broncos, but what happened last Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys on the road was flat-out embarrassing for Cincinnati.
Nothing against the Cowboys’ defense, but there’s no reason why it should have taken the Bengals until the fourth quarter to score their first points of the game. Most head coaches in Lewis’ shoes would never make it out of the third or fourth season with these failures. But for some reason Cincinnati just continues to give their coach more opportunities than he deserves.
October 9, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers head coach Mike McCoy (left) argues with NFL line judge Gary Arthur (108) during the third quarter against the Oakland Raiders at Oakland Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
1. Mike McCoy (Last Week No. 1)
Mike McCoy is getting too comfortable with the No. 1 spot on this list as the San Diego Chargers continue to find ways of losing football games they should be winning, with the latest coming in Week 5 against the Oakland Raiders.
The Chargers found themselves in the perfect position to tie the game up late in the fourth quarter before a botched snap on a failed field goal attempt basically sealed another loss for McCoy’s squad. One year after losing nine of 12 games by single digits, each of San Diego’s four losses have come by single digits in 2016 as the frustration continues to pile up for this organization.
It’s these single-digit losses that are preventing the Chargers from keeping up with the Raiders and Denver Broncos on top of the AFC West as it seems to be only a matter of time before the organization gives up on McCoy as head coach. McCoy may have found success early on when he led San Diego to the playoffs during his first year as head coach in 2013, but it’s been all downhill for this team ever since.
When teams fail to close out games like the Chargers have, the first one to blame is the head coach, and when looking at the next three games on the schedule (two games against the Broncos and one against the Atlanta Falcons), it’s not going to get easier for McCoy any time soon.