Which NFL Coaches Are on the Hot Seat?

Story posted October 6, 2020 in CommRadio, Sports by Jonathan Draeger

Faculty positions in the NFL usually require constant success at the professional level.

Recently, the Houston Texans fired Bill O’Brien, who decided the team’s actions on and off the field as both head coach and general manager. Following an 0-4 start and an offseason highlighted by the shipping of star wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, Texans owner Janice McNair decided to relieve O’Brien of his duties.

O’Brien was the first head coach to be canned this season, but some coaches are not far behind. Here are some names to look out for in the unemployment line in the coming weeks.


Adam Gase

Adam Gase currently coaches the New York Jets following a stint in Miami. But his five-year tenure as head coach has been lackluster.

Gase has only produced one season over .500, which was his first year with the Dolphins in 2016. Since then, his production has declined.

This season, his team has started 0-4, due in part to lack of weapons on both sides of the ball. Gase’s offense is providing just 16.3 points per game on 300.5 yards per game, while the defense has given up 32.8 points and 376.5 yards per game to opposing teams. This is likely a result of investing money into players who either don’t want to be a part of the team or have a prolonged history of being injured.

Gase initially worked as the offensive coordinator for the Denver Broncos when Peyton Manning was setting fire to the NFL record books. Since climbing the ranks as a head coach, Gase has posted a 30-38 all-time record. Was all of his success in Denver based on the legendary career of Peyton Manning?

The fans are against Gase, with the away crowd in Indianapolis leading a chant to fire him. The Jets are not looking good right now, and the front office needs to move on from Gase as soon as possible.


Dan Quinn

28-3. That’s all you need to say about the Atlanta Falcons head coach for fans to wince in pain.

Dan Quinn has proven numerous times that he cannot manage his football team the whole 100 yards. This season, the Falcons have managed to blow two double-digit second-half leads, one resulting from a botched onside kick recovery against the Dallas Cowboys.

With the talent that Atlanta has, including one of the best receiving duos in the league in Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley, a veteran running back in Todd Gurley, and a former NFL MVP in Matt Ryan, the Falcons should be able to compete for Super Bowls. But since that 2016 appearance, Atlanta’s production declined, and the Falcons have missed the playoffs the past two seasons.

Quinn and his Falcons sit at 0-4, with winnable games against Dallas and Chicago going up in flames late. Much of this has to be attributed to shoddy defense. The Falcons have let up 27 points per game and 475.7 yards per game to opposing offenses. That may not appear awful at first glance, but when you consider that Quinn was hired as a specialist for defensive football, you start to see the red flags.


Matt Patricia

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick is notorious for having former assistants leave to pursue head coaching positions for other NFL teams. The products of that coaching tree tend to underperform.

Detroit Lions head coach Matt Patricia falls into this category. In his three-year tenure with Detroit, he has yet to record a season above .500.

The Lions have started the season 1-3, with the lone win coming over the Arizona Cardinals. But, in the three losses they’ve had, two have come by seven points or fewer.

The most concerning area has to be the defense, which happens to give up 31.8 points and 419.8 yards per game. Those numbers rank among the worst in the whole league.

Having a defense that can be thrown around like a ragdoll puts a damper on Patricia’s coaching career. Before Detroit, he was the defensive coordinator for the Patriots’ dynasty, acting as a cornerstone for two Super Bowl victories in 2015 and 2017.

Now on his own, he falls right in line with the rest of Belichick’s minions: a failed head coach. The front office expected a rise in defense, but it got a coach who has underperformed, despite all the hype around him back in 2018. It’s time to move on.


Mike McCarthy

This may seem a little too early to call, but with all the talent that the Dallas Cowboys have on both sides of the ball, Mike McCarthy should be leading his team to the top of a weak NFC East division.

A top-five running back in Ezekiel Elliot, a deep wide receiving corps, and a great quarterback in Dak Prescott should be enough for any competent coach to lead his team to prominence in the NFC. But McCarthy is doing a poor job with that right now.

The Dallas defense is struggling this year. The Cowboys have let up 36.5 points per game, which is on pace to break the record held by the 1981 Indianapolis Colts, which allowed 33.1.

In the past, McCarthy had success with the Green Bay Packers, with quarterbacks Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers leading the charge. But was it the quarterbacks that covered for McCarthy?

At the start of the 2017 season, McCarthy’s system started to show gaps, and as the Packers’ record declined in 2018, Green Bay showed him the door. If things don’t get better in Dallas quickly, it may not be long before Jerry Jones makes a similar decision.


As this season continues to roll on, these coaches find themselves skating on thin ice. Every decision they make from here on out can either help their cause or get them unemployed. They must choose wisely, or their careers are going to vanish before their eyes.


Jonathan Draeger is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. You can contact him at jrd6052@psu.edu.