NFL Week 7: 5 Coaches on Hot Seat

Oct 16, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano on the sideline during the second quarter against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

After another crazy week of football, it’s time to take a look at the latest list of head coaches on the hot head heading into NFL Week 7.

With the way things turned out last week, let’s just say the list of head coaches on the hot seat heading into NFL Week 7 just became more interesting to follow.

On Thursday, the San Diego Chargers secured Mike McCoy‘s job for at least one more week after the team came through with a big win against their division rivals in the Denver Broncos. For a team that’s been heavily criticized for their inability to close out games, it was good to see the Chargers come up on the winning end for a change. But McCoy still has a long way to go before the head coach sees his name off this list.

As for the rest of the head coaches on this week’s list, no one may be a bigger surprise than Jeff Fisher as the Los Angeles Rams suffered their second-straight loss in a game they easily could have won. If it wasn’t for a few questionable decisions over the last few weeks, the Rams could be sitting at 5-1 heading into Week 7 instead of 3-3, and the sad thing is their fan base knows it.

Of course, when it comes to teams dealing with frustration, the argument can be made that no team has been a bigger disappointment over the last six weeks than the Carolina Panthers as the defending NFC champions are off to a 1-5 start. With Ron Rivera kicking things off, here’s a look at where these NFL head coaches stand on the hot seat with the others heading into Week 7.

Sep 25, 2016; Charlotte, NC, USA; Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera talks to the official in the fourth quarter. The Vikings defeated the Panthers 22-10 at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Honorable Mention: Ron Rivera

It’s common for a team that lost in February to deal with the Super Bowl hangover the following season, but seeing the Carolina Panthers struggle the way they have over the first six games is just ridiculous.

Keep in mind this is a team that finished 15-1 during the regular season in 2015 thanks to having one of the league’s top defenses, and while the departure of Josh Norman wasn’t easy to deal with, nobody could have predicted the move to have this much of an impact. Not only did the Panthers fall behind early by trailing 21-0 at one point to the New Orleans Saints last weekend, but their epic comeback fell short as they went on to lose the game 41-38.

In fact, this marked the second time in three games Carolina allowed their opponent to score at least 33 points, which was unheard of at this time a year ago.

Even though the Panthers have won the NFC South in each of the last three seasons, let’s not forget it was only a few years ago when Rivera was on the hot seat before miraculously turning things around for this team. With Carolina being one of the biggest messes in the league right now, Rivera finds himself on the hot seat for the first time in a few years with the Panthers off to a 1-5 start.

Oct 16, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Los Angeles Rams head coach Jeff Fisher during the game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Detroit won 31-28. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

5. Jeff Fisher

A few weeks ago, the Los Angeles Rams were considered one of the hottest teams in the NFC after key road wins against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Arizona Cardinals. Since then, the Rams have lost two in a row, with the latest one coming on Sunday against the Detroit Lions.

The most frustrating part of Sunday’s loss to Detroit is Case Keenum arguably had the best game of his career after recording four total touchdowns, and also throwing for more than 300 yards for just the second time in his career. With Keenum playing at this level, there’s no reason why the Rams shouldn’t have won this game instead of losing 31-28.

So what exactly went wrong in this game? Injuries on defense could make a strong argument, but questionable play calling by Fisher is starting to become frustrating.

Between a terrible decision for a fake punt late in the game when trailing against the Bills to not going for a field goal before halftime against the Lions last Sunday, Fisher better learn to make better decisions as head coach. Otherwise, Fisher may miss out on that contract extension he was hoping to earn during the 2016 season.

Sep 25, 2016; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley reacts on the sideline in the second quarter against the Baltimore Ravens at EverBank Field. Mandatory Credit: Logan Bowles-USA TODAY Sports

4. Gus Bradley

A win is a win no matter what, and the Jacksonville Jaguars should consider themselves lucky for escaping a road matchup against the Chicago Bears with a win after how disastrous they looked over the first three quarters.

It took the Jaguars until the fourth quarter to score their first points of the game as they went on to win 17-16 against the Bears, but Gus Bradley‘s job is still far from safe. If a team with the offensive talent level of Jacksonville can only put up 17 points against a defense like Chicago, how on earth are they going to compete with the rest of the teams in the AFC South?

Bradley was already on the hot seat at the beginning of the season since he’s never won more than five games as a head coach. He’s been unable to get this team to reach their true potential, despite a recent two-game winning streak.

With a Week 7 matchup against the Oakland Raiders, this is the perfect opportunity for Bradley to cool his seat off if the Jaguars can find a way to win at home. Otherwise, the pressure is going to continue for Bradley when it comes to keeping his job.

Oct 13, 2016; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers head coach Mike McCoy speaks during a post game news conference following the game against the Denver Broncos at Qualcomm Stadium. San Diego won 21-13. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

3. Mike McCoy

No head coach picked up a bigger win last week than Mike McCoy after the San Diego Chargers avoided another fourth-quarter collapse with a win over the Denver Broncos. Thanks to the win, the Chargers are right back in the mix for the AFC West as a win over the defending Super Bowl Champions was just what McCoy’s squad needed to boost their confidence.

Last year, San Diego was one of the most frustrating teams to follow in the NFL as nine of their 12 losses came by single digits. Sadly, they picked up the habit again in 2016 as each of their four losses have come by six points or less. Thanks to these tough losses, McCoy has spent the last two weeks on the top of this list. But maybe a win like this was just what the Chargers needed to finally turn things around.

Of course, that’s easier said than done when looking at San Diego’s schedule over the next two weeks with road games against the Atlanta Falcons and Denver. Their confidence level may be high after last week’s win, but these next two games certainly aren’t going to be an easy task for a head coach like McCoy who needs all of the wins he can get.

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

2. Chuck Pagano

In a matter of minutes, the Indianapolis Colts went from being on their way to first place in the AFC South to sitting at the bottom thanks to Sunday’s collapse against the Houston Texans. The pressure was already on Chuck Pagano when he failed to lead the Colts to the playoffs in 2015, and after their 2-4 start this season, it’s safe to say that pressure hit a whole new level heading into Week 7.

What happened on Sunday against Houston was flat-out embarrassing for Indianapolis as the defense allowed 14 points in the final three minutes before going on to lose in overtime. The sad thing is, the Colts were dominating on defense for the entire game up until the final three minutes. And when bad things like this happen, the head coach is the first one to blame.

The fact that Indianapolis arguably plays in the weakest division makes their disappointing start even tougher to accept when considering they could easily be in the driver’s seat instead of Houston. Andrew Luck has been the heart and soul of this team ever since he was drafted in 2012, but the quarterback better figure out a way to help this team turn things around if he wants to see his beloved head coach around for the long run.

Oct 16, 2016; Foxborough, MA, USA; Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis on the side line during the fourth quarter against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium. The New England Patriots won 35-17. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

1. Marvin Lewis

Is there even a need to explain why Marvin Lewis is on this list? The fact that Lewis has remained head coach of the Cincinnati Bengals all these years despite never being able to win a playoff game is mind boggling at this point. And the frustration continued to mount in Week 6 against the New England Patriots.

Unfortunately, most teams are going to fail when they enter Foxboro in a must-win situation against the Patriots as the Bengals fell to 2-4 following a 35-17 loss. Don’t be fooled by the final score, either. There was one point in the second half where Cincinnati had a lead, which means they actually had a chance to come up on the winning end.

Instead, it was the same story as previous weeks against strong AFC contenders as the Bengals continued their struggles against playoff-caliber teams to put them in a deep hole heading into Week 7. When looking at the fact that Cincinnati has already matched last year’s loss total from the regular season, all signs point to Lewis’ squad missing out on the postseason for the first time since 2010.

Even if the Bengals did magically find a way to turn things around with a surprise run, it still wouldn’t matter for Lewis and his 0-7 playoff record.

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