We are back for the third annual look at NFL head coaches on the hot seat blog. The fans have had it, ownership is frustrated, and the pressure is on in several NFL cities. While the criteria may be different, the seats are all just as hot for these head coaches.
Tony Sparano –Remember a few years back when every Miami Dolphins fan was singing the praises of their new head coach? Well, you can’t blame them following the 1-win season of Cam Cameron. Unfortunately for Sparano, the bloom is off the rose, his biggest fan upstairs has left the building, and Dolphins fans are left wondering if they were sold a bill of goods with that first season playoff appearance.
Yet something strange happened to Sparano. He was reportedly fired in favor of Jim Harbaugh yet given a contract extension when Harbaugh had second thoughts on Miami. The vote of confidence came when the Dolphins realized they had been played by Harbaugh and left without a coach going into a lockout. However, it wasn’t that big of a vote as it was only a two-year extension. Most NFL head coaches get at least a three year extension.
[adinserter name=”366 right”]Sparano is coming off of back to back 7-9 seasons with questions at just about every position on the team. There is no doubt about it. This is Tony Sparano’s team. Unfortunately for the big man, that makes him more accountable than ever when it comes to on-field play. The Dolphins already had him out the door at the end of the last season. Anything short of a playoff appearance will likely put him out for good if he can’t turn it around this year.
Norv Turner – Here we go again, another season where we all predict the demise of one of the NFL’s quarterback coaches, Norv Turner. The Chargers finished last season with a disappointing 9-7 record, out of the playoffs. Even worse, it was the 4-12 Cincinnati Bengals that knocked the out of playoff contention. My gut tells me that Norv would have been out if not for the lockout, because I have no idea what kind of pictures he has on Chargers management that justified keeping his job.
What is worse is that the Chargers have been in one of the worst divisions in the NFL. While every team appeared to be in a rebuilding year, the Chargers started the year with the best team on paper in the division. Yet they struggle and even last year lost the division to the freaking Kansas City Chiefs, and yet again, Norv still has a job.
This has to be it for old Norv. I can’t imagine anything short of an AFC title game keeping his job. And you thought Jason Garrett had pressure?
Jack Del Rio – This list looks a lot last year’s and the year before with the inclusion of Del Rio and Norv but that is where we are in 2011. How Del Rio has held on this long is beyond my imagination? He went 8-8 last year, 7-9 the year before, 5-11 before that, with an overall record of 66-65 in eight seasons. He would have been roasted in Philadelphia, Dallas, or New York, yet in Jacksonville he remains
I think there is an easy answer for this, well 16 million reasons to be exact. According to numerous reports, Del Rio would have been owed $16 million if they fired him last season. Yet you have to wonder how much money the team has lost over the Del Rio tenure in black outs, empty stadium seats, and lost merchandising revenue? I can’t imagine it would be much less than 16 million dollars. Yet Del Rio returns for another season and for $5 million a year, Jaguars fans get to suffer another disappointing season of average football with one of the most overpaid head coaches in professional sports.
Gary Kubiak – Unfortunately fantasy football has led me to a love/hate relationship with the Houston Texans head coach. Kubiak can’t decide from week to week whether he wants to coach a running team or a passing team. That would be all fine and good if that lack of continuity turned into wins, but for Kubiak, it has turned into a record of disappointment for Texans fans.
There isn’t another team that blows as many big games per season due to the terrible decision making of their head coaching than the Houston Texans. He runs when he should be passing, he passes when he should be running, he continually fields one of the worst defensive units in the NFL, and yet he got an extension a couple of years ago. After opening last season at 4-2, he has won only two games since and lost most in the fourth quarter. The Texans have skilled players all over the field except at one position, head coach. The guy needs to go before he completely wastes the talents of one of the most skilled offenses in the NFL.
[adinserter name=”366 left”]Jason Garrett – Talk about pressure? The long awaited heir apparent to Wade Phillips’ head coaching job finally takes his seat on the throne this season. While I wasn’t able to find anything about financials, Garrett signed a four-year deal with the Cowboys. The pressure is on this kid from day one to win for double J. Jerry Jones needs fannies in those seats and if the Cowboys produce anything less than a 7 win record, I think Garrett is toast. If there is one thing I’ll say about Jerry, he isn’t cheap when it comes to doing what is best for the team. If the Cowboys show no signs of improvement this season and look worse than under Phillips, I think Jones eats those three years and goes after a big name next season.
Now do I think Garrett will last the season? Yes, because he has one hell of a defensive coordinator in Dallas. But strange things happen in the NFL and some of the best assistants have flopped as coaches. Wade got fired with a 6-10 record, with his star quarterback on the bench. I can’t imagine Mr. Jones would be very pleased with a comparable record with his star quarterback on the field.