Posted on July 27, 2019, by Travis Pulver

Training camps are underway all over the country and in a couple of weeks, the preseason will kick off with the Hall of Fame Game. Conversations about who will win what will change as the preseason and season goes on. But there is one conversation that is not likely to change too much as the season goes on.

Which head coach is going to be the first to lose his job?

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There are certain guys we know will not be the first to go. Bill Belichick is not going anywhere anytime soon. Neither is Sean Payton, Sean McVay, Andy Reid, Matt Nagy, Doug Pederson, Frank Reich, and probably Pete Carroll.

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It would probably take a meltdown of epic proportions along with an unbelievable scandal for most of the aforementioned to get fired.

But as for who could get fired first, well—that isn’t too hard to figure out. First-year head coaches are not necessarily immune, but more than likely, their jobs are safe. Any team coming off one or two losing seasons will have a coach on the hot seat. Of course, the more a team has been losing, the more heated the seat will be.

The Candidates

According to Bovada.lv, it will be Washington Redskins head coach Jay Gruden. His odds and those of the rest of the league’s head coaches are as follows:

o    Jay Gruden    +300

o    Pat Shurmur    +700

o    Matt Patricia    +1000

o    Bill O’Brien, Dan Quinn    +1200

o    Doug Marrone, Jason Garrett, Mike Zimmer    +1500

o    Adam Gase, Brian Flores, Mike Tomlin, Ron Rivera    +2000

o    Kliff Kingsbury, Anthony Lynn, Freddie Kitchens, Mike Vrabel    +3000

o    Sean McDermott, Kyle Shanahan    +3500

o    Matt LaFleur, Pete Carroll    +4000

o    Vic Fangio, Bruce Arians, John Harbaugh, Jon Gruden    +5000

o    Zac Taylor, Frank Reich, Matt Nagy    +7500

o    Sean Payton, Andy Reid, Doug Pederson, Sean McVay    +10000

o    Bill Belichick    +15000

The way Bovada has worded the prop bet, it isn’t necessarily the first head coach to be fired, but the first ‘to leave his post.’ So, if he steps away for health reasons (keep an eye on anyone over 60), decides to retire, or just flat out quits, he counts.

However, people seldom leave NFL head coaching jobs of their own accord, so it will likely be someone getting fired. But of the league’s 32 head coaches, the most likely candidates are probably Jay Gruden, Bill O’Brien, Jason Garrett, and Mike Zimmer.

The Vikings guaranteed a lot of money to Kirk Cousins, but the offense did not look great last season. After letting the offensive coordinator go last season, if it doesn’t improve this season, Zimmer is probably done for. Jason Garrett has been on the hot seat so long it is ridiculous. It will likely take an epic collapse for Jerry Jones to let him go finally, but with their defense, that isn’t going to happen.

That leaves Gruden and O’Brien.

The Prediction

Gruden is the obvious candidate since he is the longest-tenured head coach with a losing record in the NFL (his first season was 2014; Redskins have gone 35-44-1 and won the division once).

Don’t count O’Brien out, though. His tenure as the head coach of the Texans has actually been a relatively successful one with three 9-7 seasons followed by a 4-12 one, and an 11-5 record last year. But the success has been primarily because of the strength of the defense.

He came in with a reputation as an offensive-minded guy; someone that could work wonders with quarterbacks (he made Christian Hackenberg look good his freshman year). But during his time in Houston, the quarterback position has been a relative disaster.

O’Brien didn’t even try to acquire one until his third year with the team and ended up with a dud in Brock Osweiler.   When he finally got one in 2017 (Deshaun Watson), he failed to give him an adequate offensive line. As the third season for Watson gets underway, it remains to be seen if he did enough this time.

Gruden is the safe bet, but there is value in taking O’Brien.

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