Week 18 – Is The Axe About To Fall On These NFL Head Coaches?

Urban Meyer and John Gruden have already left their posts at the Jacksonville Jaguars and Las Vegas Raiders this season.

The odds are that by Black Monday next week, we could well see several more NFL teams searching for a new head coach after falling below the standards expected, or at least hoped for, over the last five months.

The flip side of that is that there will also be plenty of coaches whose job is nowhere near under threat, and those who sit somewhere in between the two, perhaps uncomfortably so.

So let’s begin our look at the NFL Coaching Merry-Go-Round for 2022 by taking a look at the coaches that we think will be in place for the start of next season.

NFL Head Coaches Safe This Year?

  • Kliff Kingsbury – Arizona Cardinals
  • Sean McDermott – Buffalo Bills
  • Zac Taylor – Cincinnati Bengals
  • Mike McCarthy – Dallas Cowboys
  • Matt LaFleur – Green Bay Packers
  • Frank Reich – Indianapolis Colts
  • Brandon Staley – Los Angeles Chargers
  • Sean McVay – Los Angeles Rams
  • Nick Sirianni – Philadelphia Eagles
  • Kyle Shanahan – San Francisco 49ers
  • Mike Vrabel – Tennessee Titans

I feel these eleven coaches have done at least what was expected, if not comfortably more, than what was expected for their team this season. Perhaps the one that I feel probably is at the cusp of this list is Brandon Staley of the Chargers, but I feel the way he has built this team over the last Draft and in free agency, will give him a pass until next season at least.

It would be a huge shock if any of these coaches were to move on due to being fired by their owners.

NFL Coaches Who Will Move On, Only If They Want To?

  • Pete Carroll – Seattle Seahawks
  • Sean Payton – New Orleans Saints
  • John Harbaugh – Baltimore Ravens
  • Andy Reid – Kansas City Chiefs
  • Bill Belichick – New England Patriots
  • Mike Tomlin – Pittsburgh Steelers
  • Bruce Arians – Tampa Bay Buccaneers

This group of NFL head coaches are, for me at least, the untouchables. By that, I mean that they have done so much for their respective organisations since they have been there, that it is almost inconceivable that they would be sacked.

That said, Pete Carroll and Sean Payton are at the top of this list because they may feel they have done all they can with their teams at the moment. Carroll has question marks over Russell Wilson’s future at the club and will he want to build up with a new QB once again? Similarly, Payton’s stellar defense is a reason to stay at the Saints but this is not the same team without Drew Brees.

In truth, I can’t see any of these coaches leaving, but if they do, it won’t be because they’ve been fired, but because they have decided to call it a day themselves, or seek a fresh challenge.

NFL Head Coaches On Rocky Ground?

  • Arthur Smith – Atlanta Falcons
  • Matt Rhule – Carolina Panthers
  • Kevin Stefanski – Cleveland Browns
  • David Culley – Houston Texans
  • Rich Bisaccia (Interim) – Las Vegas Raiders
  • Brian Flores – Miami Dolphins
  • Joe Judge – New York Giants
  • Robert Saleh – New York Jets
  • Ron Rivera – Washington Football Team

For me, these coaches are the ones that may be given another chance, although I think that is more likely for some rather than others in this group.

I think Arthur Smith, Kevin Stefanski and Brian Flores should be fine. I think missing out on the playoffs will be a disappointment, but they didn’t miss out by that much and I think there has been enough encouraging signs for these teams to have faith with their coach for at least another season.

I also feel that is the case with David Culley and Robert Saleh of the Texans and Jets, two franchises who were so off the pace of the others in the NFL that even a four win season is evidence of at least some progress.

I think. Joe Judge hands onto his position in New York for similar reasons, but I think Matt Rhule and Ron Rivera will be the two most worried on this list after their teams underperformed this season, the Panthers despite a 3-0 start to the season.

Rich Bisaccia is an interesting one. He only got the Raiders job on an interim basis and as such, he’d expect to see a new head coach appointed, but I think he has done such a good job with the Raiders over the last weeks of the season that they could consider appointing him full time.

NFL Head Coaches Set To Be Fired?

  • Matt Nagy – Chicago Bears
  • Vic Fangio – Denver Broncos
  • Dan Campbell – Detroit Lions
  • Darrell Bevell (Interim) – Jacksonville Jaguars
  • Mike Zimmer – Minnesota Vikings

Now we come to those who I think are most at risk on Black Monday. I think Matt Nagy’s time in Chicago may well be over after another disappointing season for the Bears who don’t seem to have got any closer to the Packers or Vikings over the last few years.

I also think the Broncos may be persuaded to part with Vic Fangio after another season of struggle, particularly on offense where Teddy Bridgewater only showed quality sporadically.

Admittedly, I hope I am wrong about the Detroit Lions sacking Dan Campbell as I think he has generally done a good job with the tools handed to him, but that second-worst record in the NFL is a worry. Of those on this list, I think he is the one perhaps deserving of one more season.

I also feel Mike Zimmer will be under pressure at the Vikings and I know NFC North teams may feel I am picking on them a little here but when you are so far behind the Packers, and not one reached the Wildcards, with a team as talented as the Vikings, there is no real excuse for that.

Darrell Bevell’s position as the interim head coach at the Jaguars will likely come to an end on Black Monday too and it is going to be interesting to see who they bring in to try and restore some pride and fight into the ailing franchise.

Black Monday looms and more than a few head coaches are going to be sweating on Monday.


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