Saturday, October 12, 2013
Coaching hot seats
By Tom Carpenter
Last week, I had Greg Schiano, Ron Rivera and Rex Ryan as the NFL coaches with the hottest seats entering Week 5. We'll get back to Schiano and Rivera in a minute, but Ryan got a big win out of his New York Jets on the road against the Atlanta Falcons on Monday Night Football. That certainly took the edge off the pressure on Ryan. In fact, now at 3-2, the Jets could actually make some noise this season. How the Jets fare over the next month of games (Pittsburgh Steelers, New England Patriots, @ Cincinnati Bengals, New Orleans Saints) leading up to their Week 10 bye will play a large role in whether Ryan returns to the hot seat or has his Jets in playoff contention.
Now, back to those coaches whose jobs could be in imminent danger:
- Ron Rivera, Carolina Panthers: Any goodwill with Panthers fans that Rivera drummed up with that Week 3 whipping of the New York Giants is in the rear-view mirror after they failed to score a touchdown in an ugly 22-6 loss to the Arizona Cardinals last week. They have a tasty schedule coming up against fellow struggling teams (@ MIN, STL, @TB, ATL), and if Rivera can't lead his Panthers to a .500 record during that stretch, the team may have a new head coach by the time they face the San Francisco 49ers in Week 10.
- Greg Schiano, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The most dangerous week for a hot-seat coach is the bye, because front offices often take advantage of the extra time to make a coaching switch. Schiano made it through his bye with job in tact, but his future will rest largely in the hands of rookie QB Mike Glennon and RB Doug Martin. Like Rivera, Schiano's team faces a number of beatable teams in the coming weeks (PHI, @ ATL and Rivera's Panthers). Wins will cool his seat, but the real key for Schiano is to not lose his locker room.
- Jason Garrett, Dallas Cowboys: Owner/GM Jerry Jones has remained steadfast in his devotion to Garrett, at least publicly, so the Cowboys likely would have to go off the rails for Jones to can Garrett during the season. However, they are riding a two-game losing streak and have lost three of their last four games, so the Cowboys are in position to do just that, if they can't get back on track quickly. That Week 11 bye will loom large if the Cowboys flop in the coming weeks (WAS, @ PHI, @ DET, MIN, @NO).