If history holds, somewhere between six and eight teams will have new head coaches after the 2018 season. But someone had to be first, so the Browns decided they’d take the lead by firing their head coach (and offensive coordinator) last week.
Cleveland will not get an early start on the head coaching search. (It seems unimaginable that, short of an undefeated end to the season, Gregg Williams goes from interim to permanent.) But at the midway point in the season, it’s now reasonable to look and see who could join Jackson in the Land of Misfit Coaches by the new year.
Below, we rank the coaches most likely to be relieved of their duties to least likely.
Vance Joseph, Broncos
Joseph was on the hot seat last year but Denver decided to retain him. Now the Broncos are 3–6 (with wins against Seattle, Oakland and Arizona) and face the Chargers and Steelers next. Sounds like the makings of a five-game losing streak in the middle of the season to make for a worthless December. John Elway has been dropping plenty of hints about Joseph’s future in Denver, so write this one in Sharpie.
Todd Bowles, Jets
It’s been tough sledding for Bowles in New York. He got 10 wins in his first season and has mustered just 13 in two-and-a-half seasons since. The Jets have their quarterback of the future in Sam Darnold, and logic follows that they’ll want to install an offensive guru as head coach to pair with Darnold for the years to come.
Jason Garrett, Cowboys
There’s only so much embarrassment Jerry Jones will take. The two are close, so an in-season firing is reportedly not in the works. But the Cowboys just lost at home to the Titans on Monday Night Football and have two more nationally televised games in three weeks to lose. Things are so bad, Troy Aikman is calling for a complete overhaul. It’s obviously time for new blood in Dallas.
Dirk Koetter, Buccaneers
Lovie Smith took the smoldering remains of Greg Schiano’s Bucs and went from 2–14 to 6–10 with a rookie quarterback, but that still wasn’t good enough. Koetter took Smith’s blossoming team to 9–7 and now the team has gotten worse each season since. In short, Smith got fired for far less than this. Jameis Winston may not be the future at quarterback for Tampa, but the Bucs may need to start totally fresh in 2019 at quarterback and head coach.
John Harbaugh, Ravens
Ozzie Newsome is retiring. Joe Flacco is reverting back to his normal self. And the Ravens are in danger of missing the playoffs for the fourth straight year. Connect those dots, and it’s a straight line to a pink slip for Harbaugh.
Mike McCarthy, Packers
You could probably swap McCarthy and Harbaugh and I wouldn’t have a problem with it. The Packers are still very much in the playoff hunt, and it’s possible a deep postseason run could save McCarthy’s job. But it would seem his marriage with Aaron Rodgers is bound to end in divorce this winter.
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1. The Falcons signed pass-rusher Bruce Irvin to a one-year deal Wednesday. Watch out for the Falcons, who have resurrected from their 1-3 start and are starting to get healthy again.
2. Needing depth at running back after injuries to Dalvin Cook and Roc Thomas, the Lions claimedAmeer Abdullah off waivers from the Lions. Party in the NFC North.
3. On a youth team in Atlanta back in the day, Steelers defensive back Morgan Burnett started at quarterback while Cam Newton played linebacker and sometimes running back. Thursday night they share the field. A good story from The Athletic’s Joe Person.
4. For the first time since he joined the Patriots, receiver Josh Gordon is absent from the injury report. He had been dealing with a hamstring injury since arriving in New England.
5. For some reason, Hue Jackson is continuing his media tour despite throwing people under the bus left and right and possibly talking his way out of his next offensive coordinator job.
Apparently too many Patriots are taking the gray locker room shorts home with them, and it’s been too great a burden on the equipment staff. The solution? According to ESPN, the Patriots have now issued shorts of a truly terrible orange color. In theory, no player will want to take them outside the facility. My local gym dealt with a similar issue with towels, and it has since placed chips in the towels that track if you leave the facility with one. The Patriots’ method is much cheaper. Another stroke of genius from Bill Belichick.
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