Friday, August 15, 2014

Some Like It Hot! 2nd Annual NFL Head Coach Hotseat Power Ranking

Carroll has turned the Seahawks into a budding juggernaut.
Another year, another dollar! The 2014 NFL season is almost upon us. Last year, I had the bright idea of writing an article previewing the season in an unconventional way. You can go anywhere to be told who’s going to be the breakout star or surprise team. Why would you want that? That’s boring... to me anyway. But who wouldn't want to know where their favorite team's head coach was sitting while riding the wacky NFL coaching carousel. No bullshit, Al Qaeda leaders have better job security than NFL head coaches.

This post is actually a huge moment for me because it’s the first time I’ve done a second edition of a previous article. So if you were around for last season’s post, I'd like to say thanks for sticking with me. Anyway, let’s see who’s in the hottest hotseat in 2014, but first, here’s a list of the “fallen” from last season. Cue, Sarah McLachlan's "I Will Remember You."

Jim Schwartz, Lions
Mike Munchak, Titans
Gary Kubiak, Texans
Mike Shanahan, Racists, Redskins
Leslie Frazier, Vikings
Greg Schiano, Buccaneers
Rob Chudzinski, Browns (DUDE WAS A FIRST YEAR COACH IN THE NEUTRAL ZONE! Damn Cleveland! Doesn’t matter the sport, even your first year coaches aren’t safe! Mike Brown is somewhere nodding right now.)

Dead Man Walking (Norv Turner Award)

(Named After the Coach that survived the most seasons as a Dead Man Walking.)
Coaches here already have their pink slips under their office chairs, even if they don’t know it. These guys could literally be fired by the time I finish typing this. Only an improbable Super Bowl victory saves their jobs. 

Joe Philbin -  Miami Dolphins

After two bad Dolphins' seasons, including all the drama from last season, I’m as shocked as any that Philbin survived 2013. My only guess to why he got to keep his gig is Dolphins management figured he deserved a “do-over" after the Jonathan Martin/Richie Incognito fiasco. But if you ask me there's no way he should get a pass for all of the "in house drama" that took place down in South Beach. NFL head coaches are total control freaks in the locker room. I don't blame Bill Belichick for not knowing what Aaron Hernadez was doing off the field because coaches don't control that part of their players' lives. When it comes to everything on the field and in that locker room, head coaches are Alpha and Omega. If the Dolphins miss the playoffs this season Philbin will be calling LeBron James to ask, "Who did you get to move your stuff from Miami? Why? I'm ahhh. I'm asking for a friend."


Blazing Hot


The Coaches here are probably done after this season. Miss the playoffs and it’s over. Make the playoffs and it still may be over. They at least last through the season, but they’d need 10 plus victories and at least one playoff win to get another year.

Jason Garrett - Dallas Cowboys

Face of a winner.

Jason Garrett is like "Jason" in that he won't go away no matter how much death and destruction he causes. He's made the “Blazing Hot” list in back-to-back years and that's NOT a good thing by the way. I predicted that the 2013 Cowboys would have a shot to make the playoffs, blow it and somehow go 8-8. They smell even worst than that this season. Losing Sean Lee doesn’t help and Romo may or may not be 100%. Truth be told, Romo is the only reason the Cowboys are as good as they have been. It’s hard to see Jerry Jones giving Garrett another year if Dallas doesn’t make the playoffs in 2014. He should be our "Dead Man Walking" but then again it is Dallas and God knows what the hell they’re doing down there.

Dennis Allen - Oakland Raiders

Do you remember anything positive or negative about the 2013 Oakland Raiders? Nope me either. You could've told me that the NFL instituted relegation during the 2013 season and the Raiders played in the CFL. That's how out of touched the Raiders felt last season. (Relegation is used in English soccer leagues. It's a policy where the worst team each year moves down to a lower league.) I don’t see any scenario (Outside of Peyton Manning, Philip Rivers, and Alex Smith murdering one another in a three-way cage match to the death.) where the immortal Matt Schaub leads the Raiders into the playoffs. Which means I don’t see Allen in Oakland much longer.



Rex Ryan - New York Jets

Ryan pulled a Norv Turner in that he kept a job he had no business keeping. Coming off that feat alone I had to move him down a level… or up… I’m still not sure how movement on this scale works. The Jets added a few nice pieces, most notable dogkiller, QB Michael Vick. Unless Geno Smith turns into a beast, which I DON’T see happening, I can already see the QB controversy in New York. Did Rex not learn from the whole Tim Tebow thing?! Rex's just really into overrated, overhyped super polarizing quarterbacks I guess. It’s been fun but it’s over if you miss the playoffs Rex.

 Hot & Heating Up

Coaches here are in some trouble. Expectations are high so they must win but if they loss too badly they could be out.

Mike Smith - Atlanta Falcons

Mike Smith how the hell did you survive going 4-12?!?! With a healthy Matt Ryan no less?! A drop off that bad can normally be directly attributed to an injury to your star QB. Falcon management must've felt Smith was owed a pass because of the Julio Jones injury and for getting Atlanta back on track after the Bobby Petrino/Michael Vick mess. Injuries aside, the Falcons are perennial under performers and Smith's leash is as short as it's ever been. A revamped D, and a healthy Julio should equal a bounce back year for Atlanta. But all bets are off on Smith keeping his job if the Falcons have another season like 2013.

Ron Rivera - Carolina Panthers

Rivera is as intense on the sideline as he was on the field.

Ron Rivera, a lame duck coach on the verge of looking through the classifieds for a high school coaching job, successfully reshaped himself into Riverboat Ron, a risk takin' SOB that doesn't take shit! Riverboat Ron led the Panthers into the playoffs, kept his job, played himself off the "Blazing List" and moved up, or down still not sure, to the H&H list. Good, no GREAT job Riverboat Ron! That being said, I don’t see the Panthers going anywhere in 2014. I'm factoring in a much tougher schedule and that little part where the Saints and Falcons have both improved. I don’t think Ron’s in as bad as shape as he was coming into last season, he’s not out of the woods by any means.


Marvin Lewis - Cincinnati Bengals

Only Bill Belichick has been with his team longer than Marvin Lewis has been with the Bengals. That's surprising considering one guy is a three time Super Bowl champion and the other guy is well, Marvin Fucking Lewis! Three straight trips to the playoffs means there's a lot more pressure on him than there use to be. Cincinnati is rich with talent on both sides of the ball and the return of Pro Bowl D-Lineman Geno Atkins means the Bengals should be a lot better going into the playoffs. I say "going into the playoffs" because anything less is a total and complete failure. Given how much money they committed to Andy “I haven’t proven I can win a playoff game but thanks for the money anyway” Dalton, Cincy has lofty goals not for their future, but for right now.


Toasty

The coaches here aren’t in any real trouble but all bets are off if they lose 10 plus. Coaches here are relatively safe if they win 7 or more games.

Gus Bradley - Jacksonville Jaguars

Damn son! Shit was all good just a week ago! Neutral list to Toasty in one year. That took some doing cause outside Cleveland, you get at least two seasons before you start feeling the heat. The Jags sucked harder than a hooker on Valentine's Day in 2013. Most of it could be blamed on their horrid QB situation that Bradley inherited. Now that he’s got his own QB in Blake Bortles (Who I think is going to be pretty good by the way.) there aren't going to be many excuses left. Given the success of rookie QBs the last few years, I don't think people in Jacksonville see a Super Bowl coming in 2014, but no way they should be 4-12 again.

Doug Marrone - Buffalo Bills

The Bills weren't great and like Bradley, its only Marrone’s second year but he doesn’t feel safe at all to me. QB EJ Manuel had to deal with a few injuries so it’s not all Marrone’s fault they were bad in 2013. Buffalo have the longest playoff drought in the NFL so expectations are never that high. But I’m sure they’d like to go to the playoffs sometime in my kid’s lifetime. Last year he was on the Neutral list but I could see Buffalo moving on if he’s really bad this second season. A few coaches from the Neutral list got the ax and it wouldn't be a shock if Marrone were one of those guys in 2014.

Neutral  

These coaches are just safe. They could lose 10 plus and still come back, but they definitely see more heat in the next season if they do that. Most of these coaches either just got the job or are in year two of the job. The ones that have a year of service start to move up or down after this season. But for this season, they could win or lose and they still return. (NOTE: Names in bold are coaches in their 1st with a team.)

Chip Kelly has brought happy times to Philly.

Chip Kelly - Philadelphia Eagles

From an offensive X’s and O’s standpoint, Kelly very well could be the best coach in the NFL. Philly’s dynamic offensive scheme helped turn Nick Foles into a Pro Bowler and in turn, me into a back-to-back Fantasy Football Champion! Thanks Chip! Expectations are rightfully very high in Philly. Especially seeing how shaky the Giants, Cowboys and Washington all look. I see the Eagles at least winning the NFC East, but I’m sure Kelly and the Eagles are aiming much higher than a division title.


Bruce Arians - Arizona Cardinals

People forget that this guy was almost a back-to-back Coach of the Year! Arians won in 2012 during “ChuckStrong” and could have won it last season as well. He got 10 wins in the NFL’s toughest division and somehow made the corpse of Carson Palmer look like a real NFL QB again. That alone should have gotten the guy at least co-COY. The NFC West looks to be a just as tough in 2014, with the 49ers and Seahawks being Super Bowl favorites so I could see the Cards winning fewer games. Either way, winning or losing season, Arians is one of the safest in the Neutral zone.


Andy Reid - Kansas City Chiefs

The 2013 Chiefs surprised all with their 11-5 season but not me. A bad division, new good coach replacing an old horrible coach, and a soft schedule meant everything was in place for Reid to have success in year one. You'll notice as their opponents got better down the stretch, the Chiefs got worse. Alex Smith is "serviceable" but he's not winning you a Super Bowl. If Reid couldn't win it all in Philly when Donovan McNabb was at the peak of his powers, no way he's winning it with a WAYYY less talented noodle armed Alex Smith. 2014 doesn’t look like it's going to be as nice as 2013 in Kansas City. However, even if they lose, Reid won’t feel much heat... yet.

Marc Trestman - Chicago Bears
Mike Pettine – Cleveland Browns
Jim Caldwell – Detroit Lions
Bill O’Brien – Houston Texans
Chuck Pagano – Indianapolis Colts
Mike Zimmer - Minnesota Vikings
Mike McCoy - San Diego Chargers
Jeff Fisher – St. Louis Rams
Lovie Smith – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Ken Whisenhunt – Tennessee Titans
Jay Gruden – Washington Racists Redskins

Unmovable

Nothing to say because the coaches here aren’t going anywhere. They’ve got Super Bowl appearances and/or Super Bowl wins. They'd have to lose 10 plus for a few years before they feel an ounce of heat. These guys basically quit/retire to lose their jobs.

After leading the Broncos to the Super Bowl, John Fox upgraded to unmovable.

John Harbaugh – Baltimore Ravens
John Fox- Denver Broncos
Mike McCarthy – Green Bay Packers
Mike Tomlin – Pittsburgh Steelers
Sean Payton – New Orleans Saints
Tom Coughlin – New York Giants
Jim Harbaugh – San Francisco 49ers
Peter Carroll – Seattle Seahawks

God Mode (Nick Saban Award)

(Named After The Coach With Greatest Job Security in the history of football.)
This slot is saved for the one guy that could lose every year for a decade and still not move. When this guy retires, the team is going to try to talk him into staying longer. This guy is NEVER EVER feeling heat. He has statues outside of the stadium, fans name they’re babies after him and water towers in his hometown have his name painted across them. He doesn’t lose the job until he quits the job and if he wants to come back, you fire the guy that replaced him on the spot if it means he coaches your team again.


Bill Belichick – New England Patriots

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