Sometimes the hardest job in sports is being the coach. You can have the best team and the best plan, but if things do not go well in the season, your job is always on the line. Here’s the list of coaches that we may not be seeing next season.
Chip Kelly – Philadelphia: Following a Thanksgiving day blowout to the average at best Detroit Lions, it appears as though the great Chip Kelly experiment in Philadelphia isn’t working out. Chip achieved success in his first 2 seasons in Philly using primarily leftover Andy Reid players. A new GM role that let Chip control personnel moves this summer and excessively churn the roster has led to a completely new roster with Chip’s players. The only problem is that those players, many of whom were big free agent acquisitions like Byron Maxwell or Demarco Murray are severely underperforming.
Besides big free agency busts, Chip cut several key veterans on the offensive and defensive line without having suitable replacements ready. This year, more than any other, Chip has only himself to blame for the team not fitting his system correctly. With a plethora of coaching opportunities available in the college ranks, don’t be surprised to see Chip coaching on Saturdays instead of Sundays in 2016.
Jeff Fisher – St. Louis: Fisher has been a head coach in the NFL since 1994, but has had very little big-time success. Having only appeared in 1 Super Bowl in that span, it’s fair to say that the odds of winning the championship with Fisher as your coach are slim to none. That’s not to say Fisher is a bad coach, bad coaches don’t stay employed this long in a cut throat league. However, Fisher is an average coach who sometimes produces winning seasons before remaining stuck in the 7-9 win range. He’s done a good job rebuilding the St. Louis defense since he took over in the 2011 offseason, however his offenses have generally been incapable of winning ball games. Without a playoff appearance this year, it’s possible St. Louis ownership decides to make a change for a coach who can win an extra 2-3 games per year and make the Rams a consistent NFC contender.
Marvin Lewis – Cincinnati: Much like Jeff Fisher, Lewis is a perfectly acceptable head coach who has his players prepared on Sunday. Just like Fisher, Lewis has started his coaching career with one team for over 10 years. Again, just like Fisher, Lewis has trouble winning in the playoffs. Unlike Fisher, Lewis has consistently made the playoffs over the last four years, he just hasn’t won a game. Some of this can be attributed to the coach, and a good portion of it can be attributed to quarterback Andy Dalton’s poor performance in the post season. Lewis has his team looking primed to make a run this year with an 8-0 start followed by a couple of close losses. However, one has to think that if the Bengals get bounced in their first playoff game this year, Cincinnati may want to look to shake things up. They have a young core on both offense and defense that would be enticing to a majority of coaching candidates should they choose to get rid of Lewis.
Jason Garrett – Dallas: At this time last year Garrett was in the running for the coach of the year award. It’s amazing how quickly things can change in the NFL. Garret has had to realize this as his quarterback and star receiver both missed time this year due to injuries. While a coach shouldn’t be fired for something out of his control, it’s been Garrett’s inability to win without starting quarterback Tony Romo that has led many to question his coaching ability. An almost exactly career .500 coach (depending how this season ends) Garret has been a major let down this year. He was on the hot seat last season before turning in a 12-4 record and a playoff win. He received an extension and has been a personal choice of Jerry Jones to be the coach of the Cowboys. All of that good will probably means Garrett is back in Dallas next year, but if Dallas can’t win 1 game without Tony Romo, maybe Jerry Jones pulls the trigger and tries to lure a big name free agent to push Romo to the Super Bowl at the tail end of his career.
If any of these coaches make it to next season, it’ll depend almost exclusively on the way they end this season. We hope they can stand the pressure and live to see next season.