NFL coach firings and potential openings: Who’s on the hot seat now?

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Updated: October 9, 2019

The Washington Redskins fired Jay Gruden on Monday, officially starting the NFL coaching carousel for the 2019-2020 cycle.

Gruden went 35-49-1 for Washington with one playoff appearance in five-plus seasons. He’ll be replaced by interim fill-in Bill Callahan. And based on recent years, Gruden will be far from the last coach to be let go this year, with a few interesting situations across the league to watch.

What’s next in the carousel? Here’s everything you need to know about the movement through hiring-and-firing season, with updates on four other coaches who could be the next to go.

Open jobs

Washington Redskins

After firing Gruden on Monday, it appears the Redskins’ power structure will remain. That means team president Bruce Allen will continue to assert his authority on both the business and football side. It’s a recipe that has failed to produce a consistent winner. The Redskins have won 10 games once during Allen’s tenure. But Allen appears safe for a few reasons:

  • He’s handling the pursuit of a new stadium.

  • He helps owner Dan Snyder save money.

  • He represents him well in league settings.

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Stephen A. Smith would love to see Mike Tomlin get a Jon Gruden-type deal and have complete control of football operations for the Redskins.

That means, as of now, Allen would be the one heading a coaching search. In the past, when Snyder has changed coaches, he has gone the opposite of what the Redskins just had. Gruden’s teams weren’t viewed as disciplined so they’ll likely want someone who provides more of that, whether it’s an offensive or defensive coach.

But first and foremost, the Redskins will look for someone to help rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins develop. If it’s a defensive guy, they’d better have a good plan for Haskins; that plan could include keeping current offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell. They probably wouldn’t be averse to trying to lure a college coach to the NFL; whether that works is another matter. — John Keim

More:

  • Gruden is gone, but Redskins’ underlying issues go much deeper

  • Gruden laments injuries, lack of ‘total say’ during Redskins tenure

  • Redskins not changing stance on Haskins after Gruden’s firing

Gauging coaches on the hot seat

Dan Quinn, Atlanta Falcons

It might not happen until after the season, but the arrow is definitely pointing down for Quinn, especially if the Falcons miss the playoffs. Quinn’s team has one win and continues to have mental lapses despite all the talk of great practices and correcting errors.

He put the pressure on himself when he parted ways with all three coordinators after last year’s 7-9 finish and took over the defensive playcalling. His defense is giving up 30.4 points per game, 378.2 yards per game, and allows opponents to convert 56.5% on third down. Not to mention the Falcons are tied for last in the league with five sacks.

Owner Arthur Blank expressed belief in Quinn and his staff even after an embarrassing loss at Houston. The Falcons are 18-19 during the regular season since Quinn took them to Super Bowl LI following the 2016 season. And Blank expected his team to be a contender this year with a high-powered offense and Quinn calling the defense. — Vaughn McClure

More:

  • Quinn has to be feeling the heat after another Falcons loss


Ron Rivera, Carolina Panthers

Although he’s a two-time Coach of the Year recipient and led the Panthers to Super Bowl 50, Rivera has had three winning seasons since arriving in 2011 and never has posted consecutive winning seasons. If Carolina has a losing record in 2019, that will be three in four seasons since making it to the title game in 2015.

New owner David Tepper has shown patience since taking over in 2018. He has given Rivera everything he has asked for, from personnel to building an indoor practice facility. But Tepper has made it clear that winning is his priority, and his history as a businessman shows he’s willing to make bold decisions. — David Newton


Jason Garrett, Dallas Cowboys

At 3-2, the seat isn’t hot for Garrett, but it might be warm after two straight losses to the Saints and Packers. Only once before has owner Jerry Jones made an in-season coaching change and that came with the team 1-7 in 2010 with Garrett taking over for Wade Phillips. Expectations for that team were high but quarterback Tony Romo suffered a collarbone injury that sent the season into a tailspin.

tagged by oddsmakers as having the best chance to be fired in-season. “Don’t bet any money [on] that happening,” Jones said. “You’ll lose it.” — Todd Archer

More:

  • Jones dismisses notion of firing Garrett

  • How Garrett, a survivor, showed something new in the loss to the Packers


Mike Tomlin, Pittsburgh Steelers

Under normal circumstances, Tomlin’s seat would be burning up with a 1-4 start, but there are extenuating circumstances. A season-ending injury to Ben Roethlisberger in Week 2 coupled with Mason Rudolph‘s concussion in Week 5 have contributed to the Steelers’ rocky start.

Tomlin’s job could be in trouble because of things outside of quarterback play — such as a stagnant running game and undisciplined penalties on both sides of the ball. He is in his 13th season in Pittsburgh, and maybe the Steelers need to hear from someone else.

Tomlin would likely find a landing spot quickly given his eight playoff appearances and Super Bowl title. When asked about his name being mentioned for the Redskins job, Tomlin said: “I’m the head coach of a 1-4 football team that’s going on the road to play a Hall of Fame quarterback with a third-string quarterback. Do you think I’m worried about anything other than that?” — Brooke Pryor

Article source: http://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/27800574/nfl-coach-firings-potential-openings-hot-seat-now