Every year there are head coaches mentioned that start the NFL season on the hot seat. The NFL is a what have you done for me lately league. Coaches are expected to win right away and most fan bases have very little patience for losing. A coach can be on the hot seat for a multitude of reasons, a coach who underperforms with a roster that looks to contend, a coach who is in a rebuilding process but the team shows signs of regression instead of improvement, coaches who are on their last chances after firing coordinators or changing personnel.
With that being said, let’s dive into the five coaches who should be on the hot seat and coaching for their jobs in the 2023 season.
- Robert Saleh (New York Jets)
This one may surprise some people, but it shouldn’t. Saleh will be entering his third season as the head coach for the New York Jets, his record entering his third year is 11-23, not great. It’s not only about his current record though, whether he had a say in drafting Zach Wilson or not,
Wilson is connected to Saleh because he was drafted the same year Saleh became head coach. Zach Wilson is early in his career but he hasn’t lived up to being a high draft pick. Mekhi Becton also recently came out and said he wasn’t happy with the Jets decision to play him at right tackle last year and seemingly blamed the switch for his knee injury in training camp. That could be a situation to watch if anymore issues come out from players if the Jets start to struggle or lose this season.
The Jets had a very good defense last year and have some young talented weapons on offense including the offensive rookie of the year Garrett Wilson, and running back Brecee Hall. All the talk this offseason was all the Jets needed is a quarterback to lead the team, well they got their guy in trading for Aaron Rodgers. Now, the expectations in New York are tremendous and the Jets are a popular pick to go to the playoffs and beyond. If the Jets don’t make the playoffs it will be an unsuccessful year in the eyes of the fans and media outlets.That failure has to fall on someone and it just may be the head coach.
- Josh McDaniels (Las Vegas Raiders)
This will be McDaniels second year as the Raiders head coach, and he went 6-11 in his first year after the Raiders made the playoffs a year before when he wasn’t the coach. That looks bad on him because the Raiders went all in last season by acquiring Derek Carr’s former college teammate Davante Adams. They also added to the pass rush by bringing in Chandler Jones to pair with Maxx Crosby.
With the lack of success the blame had to be put on someone and the scapegoat became Derek Carr who is no longer a Raider. McDaniels decided to go all in with Jimmy Garoppolo who will be the starting quarterback in a tough AFC West division. McDaniels has already been fired as a head coach after two seasons in Denver and it could happen again if the Raiders season ends with another losing record.
- Kevin Stefanski (Cleveland Browns)
Kevin Stefanski will be entering his fourth season as the Cleveland Browns head coach. He has a record of 26-24 as their coach but the record has declined each of the last two years he has been the coach, he started well with an 11-5 record and a playoff appearance. He followed that season with an 8-9 record and finished third in the AFC North, then last season the Browns went 7-10 finishing in last place in the AFC North. Last season he got a reprieve because he didn’t have quarterback Deshaun Watson for majority of the season, although Watson did not look very impressive in the games he did play in. The main reason the Browns spent $230 million guaranteed money on Watson was to win and to win right away, if they don’t start winning the scapegoat will be Stefanski. Now, with a full season with Watson under center and the Browns bringing in Elijah Moore on offense and Za’Darius Smith on defense all eyes will be on Stefanski if the team under performs again.
2.Mike McCarthy (Dallas Cowboys)
Mike McCarthy will be entering his fourth season as the Dallas Cowboys head coach. He has a record of 30-20 as their coach and has made the playoffs in back to back seasons finishing 12-5 each of those two years.Most would think a coach who has made the playoffs in back to back seasons would have job security but he only has one playoff win in the two seasons the Cowboys have made the playoffs and they were expected to win more than that. As I stated earlier in the article coaches can be on the hot seat for different reasons in the NFL and he should be on the hot seat because he has under performed with the roster he has had. The Cowboys have had Superbowl expectations the past couple of years and haven’t even made the NFC Championship game.
Another factor leading me to believe he is on the hot seat is that McCarthy parted ways with offensive coordinator Kellen Moore this offseason and McCarthy will now be the play caller in Dallas, which puts tremendous pressure on him as he knows his job may be on the line. The Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn is also already in the building and there have been rumblings in previous years that he could eventually take over as head coach if McCarthy was fired. The Cowboys will need to take the next step in the playoffs for McCarthy to feel comfortable, the fan base is tired of the same underachieving year after year and Jerry Jones could feel enough pressure to make a move if they fall short of expectations again.
- Brandon Staley (Los Angeles Chargers)
Brandon Staley will be entering his third season as the Los Angeles Chargers head coach. He has a record of 19-15 as their coach. Staley seems to be the coach on the hottest seat coming into this season because of how the last two seasons have ended for the Chargers. In 2021, they lost to the Raiders where the Raiders attempted to end the game in a tie and both teams would have still made the playoffs. Instead, Staley called a timeout and the Raiders ended up driving down the field and kicking a game winning field goal and the Chargers missed the playoffs. In 2022, the Chargers played the Jacksonville Jaguars in the AFC wild card game where they ended up losing 31-30.
This was a game where many thought Staley would lose his job because the Chargers were up 27-0 just before halftime, then Trevor Lawrence and the Jaguars outscored the Chargers 31-3 the rest of the game. Staley replaced both coordinators at the end of the season so if the Chargers fall short of expectations and don’t win a playoff game again Staley won’t have anyone left to be the scapegoat. The Chargers have the quarterback in Justin Herbert and the talent around the quarterback to be a playoff team and make a run this year and the next couple of years, this will be the year for Staley to prove he can be the coach that leads them or not…