In an ideal league, every team in the NFL would have a coach like Bill Belichick and Sean Payton at its helm. Unfortunately for Utopian sake, for every coaching great there will be five skippers that cannot not seem to steer their ships in the right direction.
With the 2015 NFL season just around the corner, speculation has increased incrementally regarding the future of some NFL coaches. No one is worried about a Belichick or Payton firing, these titans of the tundra excel at the mental aspects of the game like none other. On the other end of the coaching spectrum, are five men who may already be updating their resumes.
Mike McCoy, San Diego Chargers
Hired prior to the 2013 season, Mike McCoy took over a San Diego Chargers team that had chased long-term front man Norv Turner out of town. While no one is blaming McCoy for the advent of Peyton Manning into the AFC West, consecutive third-place finishes does not do much for job security. More recently, rumors have circulated that quarterback Philip Rivers, whose contract is up at the end of the 2015 season, may be on the move via trade.
With his team’s star player allegedly unsatisfied and just one playoff appearance in two seasons, McCoy’s honeymoon has concluded. The Chargers regressed after their 2013 wild card berth, and have done little to recoup from their slide this offseason. Year three for new head coaches must breed results or things could get shaky for one’s employment status. McCoy must produce in 2015 or risk the consequences.
Marvin Lewis, Cincinnati Bengals
It seems as if the annual list of coaches whose jobs may be in jeopardy consistently features this Bengals’ skipper. Lewis has been a picture of mediocrity since being hired in 2003, winning 100 games with 90 losses and two ties. In 12 seasons of coaching, Lewis has reached the playoffs six times, but has not won a postseason game. Though the coach has managed to win the AFC North three times, Lewis-coached teams have never been able to play well when it matters most.
The second-longest tenured coach in the NFL, Lewis is now at a point in his career that he must either produce or move on. With only five of 12 seasons marking double-digit wins, things could be murky for Lewis in Cincinnati if things go south in 2015. If the Bengals decide to start anew after the upcoming season, that move would likely be without Lewis.
Joe Philbin, Miami Dolphins
Three seasons into his Dolphins tenure, Joe Philbin is entering the most important year of his career. After enduring the Jeff Ireland era and the team’s bullying scandal from a year ago, Philbin’s stress level entering 2015 must be at an all-time high. Boasting a pedestrian record of 23-25 in three seasons, Philbin’s Dolphins do have intriguing prospects for the upcoming season.
Ryan Tannehill is entering his third season in the league, and the team around him has never been more talented. Unfortunately for both Miami’s coach and quarterback, the AFC East has never been as talent-packed as it is looking to be this season. Philbin must produce under more pressure, and in a more crowded division than ever before. With personnel capability concerns and no career playoff appearances, Philbin’s seat is heating up in South Beach.
Chip Kelly, Philadelphia Eagles
Despite back-to-back 10-win seasons in Philadelphia, Chip Kelly enters his third season at the helm under a barrage of scrutiny. Kelly flipped its roster like a house featured on HGTV, booting long-time Eagles in Trent Cole and Todd Herremans, and reshuffling a depth chart that was one win shy of repeating as NFC East champions. Kelly is implementing his own play for the future of the Eagles, but will a rabid fan base remain patient in the meantime?
Kelly mortgaged his own future in the NFL on one roller coaster of an offseason. The Eagles coach traded fan-favorite LeSean McCoy to the Buffalo Bills. He then moved the expected starting quarterback, Nick Foles, to the St. Louis Rams. While Kelly acquired Sam Bradford and Kiko Alonso in his blockbuster deals, the benefit of these moves has yet to be determined. Still, after an active free agency, the Eagles are poised to take back their NFC East crown in a best-case scenario. Should the opposite play out, Kelly might be on his way out of Philadelphia.
Jeff Fisher, St. Louis Rams
After 20 seasons as an NFL head coach, Jeff Fisher is no stranger to the hot seat. Now at the helm of his second NFL franchise, Fisher is more title-driven than ever before, but can his team’s play match his desire? In three years as Rams’ coach, Fisher is 20-27-1. In that span, his team barely sniffed a playoff race, and has been a picture of instability with four starting quarterbacks in three years.
More recently, Fisher traded former No. 1 overall pick Sam Bradford to the Eagles, acquiring Nick Foles and a second-round pick in the process. While Bradford was in St. Louis prior to Fisher’s arrival, the trade exemplifies a break in loyalty to what the team had been building. Should the Rams continue their struggles on the field, Fisher’s resume may not save him from a canning after another paltry season.
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