NFL Week 15: 5 Coaches on Hot Seat

BY Fansided and Dan Parzych/FanSided via NFL Spin Zone • December 14, 2016

December 11, 2016; Santa Clara, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers head coach Chip Kelly looks on during the fourth quarter against the New York Jets at Levi

With three weeks remaining in the 2016 season, here’s a look at the head coaches listed on the hot seat for NFL Week 15.

There’s another twist in the latest edition of head coaches on the hot seat for NFL Week 15 when considering the Los Angeles Rams made the shocking move of parting ways with Jeff Fisher. What’s even more ironic about the move is how Fisher was removed from last week’s list after he was surprisingly rewarded with a two-year extension from the Rams. But the organization clearly had enough with their former head coach following Sunday’s 42-14 loss to the Atlanta Falcons.

With Fisher officially out of a job, the question now becomes which head coach is going to follow in his footsteps by becoming the next one fired, whether it ends up being before or after the end of the regular season. At this point, there’s head coaches like Gus Bradley, who don’t stand much of a chance when it comes to keeping their job. However, there’s also a handful of candidates that could see their fate determined over these final three weeks.

Will the San Diego Chargers keep Mike McCoy around after the 2016 season? Better yet, does Chip Kelly deserve to lose his job after only one disappointing season with the San Francisco 49ers.

Starting off with Bruce Arians of the Arizona Cardinals, enjoy the latest list of head coaches on the hot seat for NFL Week 15.

Dec 11, 2016; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians looks on in the game against the Miami Dolphins during the second half at Hard Rock Stadium. The Miami Dolphins defeat the Arizona Cardinals 26-23. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Honorable Mention: Bruce Arians (Not On Last Week’s List)

After falling just shy of the Super Bowl last January, the Arizona Cardinals seems like strong favorites in the NFC to win it all this season. That’s been far from the case, though, as Bruce Arians‘ squad could end up being one of the biggest disappointments from 2016. From a talent perspective, the Cardinals seemed to have one of the best overall teams on paper. So where did it all go wrong for this team?

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    For whatever reason, consistency has been a major issue for Arizona as they’re coming off another frustrating 26-23 loss to the Miami Dolphins, a game in which Carson Palmer recorded three turnovers. Arians has stuck up for his quarterback all season. But with the team currently sitting with a 5-7-1 record, it’s obvious this team is in need of numerous changes once the offseason rolls around.

    Does that mean parting ways with Arians should be included on this list? It certainly can’t hurt for the Cardinals to at least consider the decision since this talented roster went to complete waste this year.

    When a team goes from being on the verge of reaching the Super Bowl to most likely missing the playoffs the following season, the head coach is going to receive a majority of the blame, which is why Arians enters this list as an honorable mention.

    Dec 11, 2016; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano reacts late in the second half of a game against the Houston Texans at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports

    5. Chuck Pagano (Not On Last Week’s List)

    One week after throwing four touchdowns against the New York Jets, Andrew Luck was supposed to come out firing against the Houston Texans to help the Indianapolis Colts put themselves in the driver’s seat of the AFC South. Instead, the Texans’ defense was simply too much for Luck and the Colts as Chuck Pagano finds himself back on the list for the first time in a couple of weeks.

    Pagano was already feeling plenty of pressure entering the 2016 season after the team thought about parting ways with their head coach after falling short of the playoffs last year, but ended up giving him a four-year extension this time. Luck being limited to playing in just seven games in 2015 was one of the main reasons why Pagano received the benefit of the doubt, and while injuries can be seen as an excuse once again, it may not work this time around.

    If Indianapolis ends up falling short of reaching the postseason after playing in arguably the weakest division in football, it’s going to be a new low for Pagano’s squad. Clearly, it’s time for the Colts to make some changes with the coaching staff as it’s tough to imagine Pagano’s job is safe when considering this situation seems just as frustrating as it was one year ago.

    Dec 11, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns head coach Hue Jackson looks on before a game between the Browns and the Cincinnati Bengals at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

    4. Hue Jackson (Last Week No. 5)

    As bad as it sounds, the best chance of the Cleveland Browns winning their first game of the 2016 season seemed like it would be against the Cincinnati Bengals at home. After suffering a 23-10 loss, Hue Jackson and the Browns have their more games to avoid ending up on the wrong side of history by finishing the year winless.

    Most head coaches are expected to struggle in their first year with a new team, but not even Jackson could have imagined how rough this year has been in Cleveland as this team has hit a new low even for this squad. Not only are the Browns 0-13 heading into their Week 15 matchup against the Buffalo Bills, but this unit has scored 13 points or fewer in each of their last five contests.

    Hopefully the Browns take into consideration all of the injuries Jackson has dealt with at quarterback. After all, Robert Griffin III played just for the second time against the Bengals after suffering a devastating shoulder injury opening weekend against the Philadelphia Eagles. Speaking of the Eagles, all signs point to Cleveland potentially landing two top-10 picks in this year’s draft thanks to the Carson Wentz deal, which would be a huge help to Jackson if he were given the opportunity to coach this team for a second season.

    Dec 11, 2016; Charlotte, NC, USA; San Diego Chargers head coach Mike McCoy on the sidelines in the second quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

    3. Mike McCoy (Not On Last Week’s List)

    The good news for the San Diego Chargers is the future appears to be bright thanks to young stars in Melvin Gordon and Joey Bosa. The bad news for Mike McCoy is the head coach may not be around beyond this season to watch these star players develop.

    Last season, the Chargers were one of the most frustrating teams to follow after numerous injuries on both sides of the football played a key factor in the team losing nine games by single-digits. Unfortunately, the trend carried over to the 2016 season as San Diego has already lost seven games by single digits, even though the Carolina Panthers defeated them by 12 points in Week 14.

    McCoy set the bar high for himself by leading the Chargers to the playoffs during his first season as head coach in 2013, but this year we’ll mark the third time in a row his team will fall short of playing deep into January. With only nine wins over the last two years heading into Sunday’s AFC West battle against the Oakland Raiders, McCoy seems like a strong candidate heading towards the unemployment line soon.

    After seeing the results from the last two years, it’s clear San Diego is in need of a change.

    Nov 27, 2016; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; San Francisco 49ers head coach Chip Kelly reacts on the sideline during the second half against Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium. The Dolphins won 31-24. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

    2. Chip Kelly (Last Week No. 3)

    Chip Kelly continues to prove each week that he doesn’t have the ability to be successful coaching at the NFL level. He may have looked like an offensive mastermind at the college level, but the last two seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles and San Francisco 49ers make it clear he should never be given another chance to coach in the NFL ever again.

      To watch the 49ers lose in overtime to the New York Jets the way they did on Sunday was arguably most embarrassing loss for Kelly from the 2016 season. With a 17-3 lead at halftime, the only thing San Francisco had to do in the second half was score a few points while playing a little defense against one of the league’s worst offenses in the Jets.

      Instead, the 49ers lost in dramatic fashion by allowing the Jets to tie the game up with a field goal in the final minute of regulation before eventually going on to lose in overtime. There was a strong feeling at the beginning of the year that San Francisco was still another year or two away from becoming contenders again in the NFC, but nobody could have predicted the season to go this bad.

      With 12 losses in a row, the 49ers would be foolish to even consider bringing back Kelly as head coach for another season.

      Dec 11, 2016; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley watches the action during the second half of an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings at EverBank Field. The Vikings won 25-16. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

      1. Gus Bradley (Last Week No. 1)

      Is there even a reason to explain why Gus Bradley is on this list for another week? The one downfall to Fisher already getting axed by the Rams is most of the attention for the next coach to be fired will be focused on Bradley for the next couple of weeks.

      Thanks to a successful sophomore season by Blake Borltes last year, the Jacksonville Jaguars were considered a team to keep an eye on in the AFC when it came to potential teams ready to make the jump of becoming contenders. Unfortunately, the pressure seemed to catch up to Bradley and the Jaguars as the team took a step back this year with only two wins heading into the final three games.

      The fact that Bradley is wrapping up his fourth season in Jacksonville and has yet to record more than five wins shows what little impact he makes as a head coach. While Bradley will most likely land a job as a coordinator with a different team assuming he is eventually let go, here’s to hoping this is the last time any team decides to give him a chance as a head coach.

      If Bradley can’t even win with an offensive unit loaded with talent like the Jaguars have, how could any team feel confident about his head coaching abilities?

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