There is an old adage in sports that says that a coach is hired to be fired. With very few exceptions, no head coach stays in their job forever. Even the great Bill Belichick once found himself on the unemployment line after being fired by the Cleveland Browns.
While this is a likely eventuality for every coach, most would still like to see it occur way later. However, entering the 2019 NFL season there are a number of coaches that find themselves on the hot seat already.
While there are several coaches who may not be in their position once the 2020 season gets underway, there are a few who are finding the hot seat scalding, wondering if they are even going to survive this season.
Here is a list of coaches that could very well not make it to the end of the 2019 season. (Odds for them being fired first are listed in parenthesis).
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Jay Gruden – Washington Redskins (+300)
There is possibly no seat hotter in the NFL than the Washington Redskins. Since Daniel Snyder became the owner of the Redskins back in 1999 the team has gone through eight head coaches. Two of them have won Super Bowl championships (Mike Shanahan and Joe Gibbs).
Jay Gruden has been in this position since 2014, holding it longer than anyone during the Snyder tenure. The team is 35-44-1 in his five seasons, and have made the playoffs just one time. Last season, the team finished 7-9. He is currently the longest-tenured coach in the NFL with a losing record.
Their first five contests are against the Philadelphia, Dallas, Chicago, New York, and New England. It would not be surprising to see this team 1-4 a week into October. If that’s the case, Gruden will be gone long before it’s time to say “trick-or-treat.”
Pat Shurmur – New York Giants (+700)
No doubt that Shurmur has been dealt a terrible hand. He loses his star wide receiver when Odell Beckham, Jr. was traded to Cleveland. Furthermore, he has a bit of a quarterback controversy after the team selected Daniel Jones out of Duke with the sixth overall pick in the draft. This, despite having a two time Super Bowl quarterback in Eli Manning.
The team looks to be rebuilding, as this is a pathetic defense and there is not much talent on the offensive side of the ball. The question will be whether management believes that Shurmur is the answer to developing their future franchise quarterback while also getting every ounce he can get out of Manning.
The Giants first six games are against Dallas, Buffalo, Tampa Bay, Washington, Minnesota, and New England. This team could very easily be 1-5, if not 0-6, and there will be calls throughout the New York press for his head on a platter.
However, where Shurmur can save himself is if he is wise enough to turn to Jones and turn the rookie into a solid quarterback in his first season. Whether he can do so and still keep the team in his corner after benching Manning will be quite a trick.
Matt Patricia – Detroit Lions (+1000)
While all coaches understand that there will likely be a day where they will be fired, Detroit is the place you go where you are absolutely assured that you will be terminated.
Since the 2000 season, the team has had nine different head coaches. This includes a couple who had huge success in other locations.
Patricia proved himself as an outstanding defensive coordinator in New England, but taking over the head coaching job of the Lions is a no-win scenario. Literally, a no-win scenario. In his first season, the team went 6-10 and another season like that will likely mean his demise.
The Lions also have a tough schedule. After opening in Arizona, they face the Chargers, Eagles, Chiefs, Packers, and Vikings in five successive weeks. Don’t be surprised if this team is 1-5 by Halloween and Patricia is out of a job.
Bill O’Brien – Houston Texans (+1200)
It is hard to believe that a guy coming off of an 11-5 season would find himself on the hot seat. However, Houston management is clearly growing anxious to see their team get to the next level. After going 9-7 in his first three seasons with the team, the Texans fell to 4-12 in 2017 before rebounding last year.
Management is likely happy with record, but it has been the playoffs where O’Brien’s teams have fumbled. Last year, they came in highly favored against Indianapolis, but laid an egg and were bounced in the first round. He is 1-3 in four playoff games, and clearly, management expects something more out of this team.
How long he stays with the team will depend upon the development of quarterback DeShaun Watson. Watson had an outstanding season last year, throwing for 26 touchdowns with just nine interceptions.
He will have to continue that kind of progress, as there is literally not an easy game in the schedule for Houston this season. They are facing a team that can make the playoffs every week, and unless Watson is able to put up All-Pro numbers the team may be looking for a new head coach.
Dan Quinn – Atlanta Falcons (+1200)
The Atlanta Falcons finished 7-9 last season, and a lot of head coaches would be given a grace period after combining to go 21-11 in the two prior years. However, the sting of that Super Bowl collapse three seasons ago still has to leave a bad taste in the mouths of management and fans alike.
The defense was absolutely abysmal last year, and quarterback Matt Ryan looks to be regressing. Add to it the fact that the Falcons open with five straight games against potential playoff teams, and Quinn could be in a lot of trouble.
To be honest, oddsmakers put him at the fourth spot of coaches to most likely being fired first. Excluding Gruden, he looks like he’s on the hottest seat of all. The Falcons may very well be 2-6 before the end of October. If that is the case, Quinn will be out.
The team has a bye week following their October 27 clash against Seattle. If they already look like their season may be over, Quinn will be out and a new coach will be in, given the opportunity to use the bye week to start making some changes.
Coaches Who Don’t Have to Worry
If you are a person who likes to root for the underdog, be aware that there are some real high wager bets you may want to consider. Oddsmakers believe that the least likely coach to be fired is Bill Belichick at +15,000. Sean McVay comes in second at +10,000, as does Doug Pederson, Andy Reid, and Sean Payton.