Three things are certain: death, taxes and the NFL head coaching carousel continuously spinning.
The NFL is a fiercely competitive league, driven by success and satisfying fanbases. When success isn’t happening, or there is a belief that head coaches’ messaging isn’t resonating with the locker room, they get axed.
While there will probably be near double the head coaches fired after the 2020 season, these three have the hottest seats entering the year.
Adam Gase, New York Jets
Sure, Adam Gase is in the second year of his tenure with the Jets, and they finished 6-2 over the last eight games 2019 after battling significant injuries throughout the season. But Gase’s resume extends far beyond an eight-game sample size. His teams have logged losing records in three consecutive seasons, and his perpetual relational issues with players are eye-opening.
Further complicating matters is that current general manager Joe Douglas is not responsible for the hiring of Gase; he’s not Douglas’ “guy.” Douglas has made some promising personnel moves since being hired less than a year ago, including a standout initial draft class. But if Gase’s Jets don’t significantly improve, and quarterback Sam Darnold doesn’t take a major step forward in Year 3 of his career, Gase is unlikely to see a third season in the Big Apple.
Anytime a polarizing coach who lacks an impressive resume, like Gase, is inherited by a new general manager, expecting that marriage to work and last is unlikely. Gase has a lot to prove in 2019, and his seat is toasty.
Doug Marrone, Jacksonville Jaguars
Expectations are generally low when it comes to the Jaguars next season. The keys to Jacksonville’s offense have been handed over to second-year quarterback Gardner Minshew with a modest supporting cast while the defense is still rebuilding post the dominant unit of 2017. There is plenty of exciting young talent on the roster but it coming together to the point of the Jaguars competing for a winning record in 2020 is unlikely.
In a division that features the Colts, Texans and Titans, it’s hard to envision the Jaguars not at the bottom of the AFC South. And if that happens, it's even more difficult to imagine Doug Marrone holding onto his job. Marrone’s Jaguars are a combined 11-22 over the last two seasons with consecutive last-place finishes in the division. In five full seasons as an NFL head coach, Marrone’s combined for a 36-44 record.
Jacksonville is loaded multiple first-round picks next season. Unless the Jaguars greatly overachieve, a more inspiring leader than Marrone will likely be brought in.
Matt Patricia, Detroit Lions
The Matt Patricia era of Lions football is off to a poor start. After logging a 6-10 mark in 2018, the Lions win total was cut in half last season after they posted a 3-12-1 record. Detroit moved on from Jim Caldwell after three winning seasons in four years as head coach, but Patricia’s Lions have not come close to meeting expectations.
Perhaps the most disappointing component to Patricia’s run is that he is regarded as a defensive genius and despite considerable personnel investments being made to find players that fit his scheme, Detroit’s defense was ranked No. 31 in 2019.
Patricia has a big task ahead of him. It’s not just about turning things around and at least tripling his win total from a year ago, Patricia has to prove he is the right man for the job for the long haul.
If Caldwell was let go after three winning seasons in four years, including two playoff appearances, then Patricia needs to make a statement after leading the Lions to a 9-22-1 record across the last two.
- May 25, 2022
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