NFL head coaches
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NFL Head Coaches On The Hot Seat Entering The 2021 Season

An NFL head coach is hired to be a leader of men, create a strong culture, and, most importantly, win games. There are only 32 of these puppies, so hiring the right guy is a crucial and franchise-altering decision. Year in and year out, we see teams make the correct hire, but more than less, most head coaching positions are a revolving door. Here are my NFL head coaches on the hot seat going into the season.

Kliff Kingsbury- Arizona Cardinals

Mr. Mediocre. Props to Kliff Kingsbury as he was fired by his alma mater, had a losing record as a coach at Texas Tech, and still landed an NFL head coaching job. In two years with Arizona, Kingsbury has a record of 13-18-1 and missed the playoffs in both years. No excuses for Kliff this year, the Cardinals have a talented young quarterback in Kyler Murray, elite offensive weapons, and some name-brand guys on that defense. The biggest thing working against Kingsbury in 2021 is his division. The NFC West is the best and most competitive division in the NFL. The Seahawks go to the playoffs every year, the Rams just added Matt Stafford to a stacked roster, and the last time the 49ers were healthy, they went to the Super Bowl. If the Cardinals miss the playoffs for the third straight year, they are cleaning house.

Matt Nagy- Chicago Bears

Matt Nagy and GM Ryan Pace need a good season or both of them are gone. In Nagy’s first season, they went 12-4, and in the two previous seasons, the Bears have a record of 16-16. I know that Trubisky was not a starting quarterback in this league, but Nagy and Pace did pull the trigger and trade up for him. I always thought that Nagy was given more credit than he deserves. He came from the Andy Reid coaching tree and was dubbed an offensive mastermind after his first year in Chicago. But watching the Bears’ offense the past two years has been painful. Nagy even acknowledged his offensive woes last year when he let someone else calls the plays. In the playoff game versus the Saints, they struggled to even get first downs. I’ll give credit to Nagy and Pace for trading up to get Justin Fields. It took balls and may have bought them some extra time in Chicago. Unlike the NFL head coaches on this list, the Bears do not have that many flaws. Nagy and Pace need a good season or they are out of there.

Zac Taylor- Cincinnati Bengals

Unlike Kingsbury or Nagy, I do not think Taylor has to make the playoffs to buy him some more time in Cincinnati. However, they cannot have a top-five pick three years in a row. Taylor has an abysmal 6-25-1 record since taking over the realms in Cincinnati. It is not like the Bengals don’t know what winning looks like. From 2011 to 2015 under Marvin Lewis, the Bengals went to the playoffs five straight years and won nine or more games in those five seasons. Taylor has two things working against him: The Bengals stink, and the AFC North is a top three division in the NFL. They have an explosive offense with a dynamic young quarterback in Joe Burrow, and if this team can win 7 or 8 games in this division, it might give Taylor another year or two.

Mike McCarthy- Dallas Cowboys

Out of all the NFL head coaches on this list, McCarthy has the smallest room for error. He is the head coach of the biggest brand in football, and Jerry Jones wants to win. I know he did not have Dak Prescott for a good chunk of the season, but even when Dak was healthy, the team was 2-2. The defense was bad last year, and they looked indifferent when it came to making tackles. Hiring Mike Nolan as the defensive coordinator was a disaster, and it looked to be McCarthy doing a solid for an old friend than actually trying to improve the defense. Jerry Jones has shown to be the pseudo owner/GM and makes all the decisions in Dallas. They just signed Kellen Moore to a huge contract, and if McCarthy flames out, Jones looks like he already has his replacement ready.

Jon Gruden- Las Vegas Raiders

Do I think Gruden will get fired if they have another bad season? Probably not. But can we acknowledge that he is just an average coach? Since 2018, when Gruden returned to the Raiders, he has had a 19-29 record. The Raiders and Mark Davis have themselves to blame. I mean, come on, how many NFL coaches would you feel comfortable giving a 10-year, $100M contract to? Maybe three. And of those three, Jon Gruden is not on that list. Mike Mayock can play GM all he wants, but we know Gruden is calling the shots. I didn’t get trading away Amari Cooper and Khalil Mack for more draft picks. Isn’t the whole point of the NFL draft to find guys like Cooper and Mack? And with those draft picks they have taken some swings and have struck out on almost every pick. Clelin Ferrell stinks, Damon Arnette already lost his starting position, Johnathan Abram cannot cover, and the Alex Leatherwood pick just does not make sense. I don’t know if Gruden just wears guys out or he grinds too hard because the Raiders wheels seem to fall off the bus late in the season. In 2020, they started 6-3 and looked like a playoff lock in the AFC. They ultimately finished with a record of 8-8, missing the playoffs by three games. If it weren’t for the Jets’ stupidity, they would have finished under .500 for the third straight year under Gruden.

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