Skip to content

Is the NFL heading for a record number of coaching changes?

Kirby Lee / USA TODAY Sports

The inevitable conclusion of the regular season marks a particularly nerve-racking time for many of the NFL's head coaches.

While the likes of Bill Belichick and Mike Tomlin have nothing to worry about, many others don't have the same luxury with the new year on the horizon. It was suggested by FOX's Jay Glazer during a pregame show on Sunday that 13-14 teams could change head coaches this winter.

That may seem like an overestimate, and perhaps it proves to be just that come January. But, if there ever was a year for the coaching carousel to explode, this is it.

Here's a look at who could be joining now-former Giants head coach Ben McAdoo on the unemployment line.

Start packing your bags

John Fox, Bears

Fox's tenure with the Bears has been nothing short of disastrous, posting a 15-33 cumulative record through three seasons. Fox, along with general manager Ryan Pace, created a needless quarterback controversy, did nothing to elevate the team's talent level, and has been roasted for being effectively useless.

"We don't know exactly what we're doing," Fox revealed in November. Couldn't have said it better, John.

Chuck Pagano, Colts

Once lauded for being one of the NFL's most inspirational stories, it's clear that Pagano should've been ousted by the Colts years ago. Complicit in the nightmare that was Andrew Luck's 2017 season, Pagano didn't have a contingency plan, leaving many surprised that he was retained when general manager Ryan Grigson was fired in January. The Colts have missed the playoffs in three consecutive years, and it's time for new leadership.

Dirk Koetter, Buccaneers

Koetter's relationship with quarterback Jameis Winston has transparently fractured and the team appears to be stumbling backward instead of making any tangible progress. At the end of the 2015 season, Koetter was promoted from offensive coordinator to head coach, and the Buccaneers' internal search may have blinded them to the wealth of talent on the open market. With a 13-18 cumulative record through two seasons, the Buccaneers have struggled to compete in the hyper-competitive NFC South. Koetter has to go.

Vance Joseph, Broncos

The Broncos rushed through their coaching search after Gary Kubiak retired and seemed to decide on Joseph before exhausting their options. He has not handled his first season in charge particularly well, fumbling through an abominable quarterback situation while suffering the organization's worst season since 2010.

It's time to polish the resume

Hue Jackson, Browns

The Browns have been purposefully dreadful during Jackson's two seasons, but better times are ahead. Even with this in mind, 1-30 over two seasons just isn't going to cut it.

Mike Mularkey, Titans

A man of Mularkey's blandness should not be in charge of guiding a young quarterback as dynamic as Marcus Mariota. He was kept on after an interim stint in 2015 and did well enough to almost make the playoffs in 2016 before Mariota broke his leg. After a so-so 2017, it is time to hire an inspiring coach in Tennessee.

Jack Del Rio, Raiders

It was reported on Saturday that Del Rio has a 50-50 chance of returning to the Raiders next season, leading some to believe that he could be dismissed after what's been a disappointing season. Oakland was expected to be a Super Bowl contender in 2017 but regressed into a pumpkin. Given the immense amount of talent on the roster, this could prove to be a marquee destination.

Jim Caldwell, Lions

Lions owner Martha Ford and president Rod Wood were unwilling to give Caldwell a vote of confidence after the Lions were eliminated from playoff contention Sunday. The Lions looked to have built a balanced offense and decent defense, but have been unable to win a division title or make it past the wild-card round in his four years in Detroit.

May be safe, but it's worth sweating

Jay Gruden, Redskins

Before the season, Gruden became the first coach in Dan Snyder's time as owner of the Redskins to be signed to an extension. It's now evident he has not met the expectations that come with the territory. At best, the Redskins will finish with an 8-8 record, marking the fourth straight season that Gruden has failed to collect double-digit wins. He has also been rumored to be a preferred candidate to replace Marvin Lewis with the Bengals, should he become available.

Bill O'Brien, Texans

The Texans were quickly becoming one of the most polarizing stories of the 2017 season, and O'Brien appeared to have built a strong rapport with his players after previously cycling through quarterbacks. Armed with rookie standout Deshaun Watson, the Texans were on the rise. Then, disaster struck.

Watson tore his ACL during a non-contact play in practice on Nov. 2, subsequently plummeting the club out of the playoff race. O'Brien received a strong vote of confidence from Watson, who made it clear that he wanted to continue to thrive under him. But, don't forget the reports from late last season indicating tension between O'Brien and management. Will the two sides end up parting ways on the heels of another disappointing season?

Mike McCarthy, Packers

Green Bay is notoriously patient with its coaches. The effort to maintain continuity has played a prominent role in the organization's long-standing place among the NFL's elite. After missing out on the playoffs for the first time since 2008, however, McCarthy's job security is now being called into question.

Aaron Rodgers missing two months of action with a broken collarbone was, of course, a primary factor in the Packers' uncharacteristic season. In many ways, the diminished expectations that came with the absence of his star quarterback will work in McCarthy's favor. But not having a player to throw the team on his back each week also exposed a number of issues for Green Bay. After 12 years, might it finally be time for a change?

Adam Gase, Dolphins

Gase was rumored to be an offensive mastermind in Denver and Chicago, but the Dolphins have not been able to produce under his two-year guidance, ranking 27th overall in yards through Week 16.

He forced his star running back out of town, may have done the same with Jarvis Landry - who will be a free agent in March - and has two quarterbacks who may very easily be out of Miami in the coming months. The Gase experiment has not worked so far and the stars are aligned for the Dolphins to move in a new direction if they see fit.

Stepping down?

Bruce Arians, Cardinals

Arians has faced numerous health scares in the past and it seems possible he will retire at the end of the season. Although he's been resilient and headstrong, Arians told reporters in December that he would consider several factors, including his health, when making a decision about 2018. We may be seeing the last of Arians in the NFL.

Marvin Lewis, Bengals

It was reported that Lewis would step down from the Bengals at the end of the season, but he denied the veracity of the story, telling reporters that it caused unnecessary angst. We're not completely convinced, however, and with the Bengals slated to miss the playoffs for the second consecutive year, it's clear that Lewis' time in Cincinnati has expired after serving as head coach since 2003.

(Photos courtesy: Getty Images)

Daily Newsletter

Get the latest trending sports news daily in your inbox