NFL coaches fired: The 2020 NFL regular season is in the books and “Black Monday” has arrived. After already seeing the Detroit Lions, Atlanta Falcons and Houston Texans fire their coaches during the season, more head coaches are being axed with the schedule wrapped up.
Let’s take a look at the NFL coaches fired thus far in 2020 and examine the latest coaching rumors to determine what head coaches will be next. As of Monday afternoon, seven NFL head coaches have been fired this season.
Update: Jan. 11, 2:40 PM EST
NFL coaches fired: What coaches have been fired?
Bill O’Brien, head coach and general manager
After naming Bill O’Brien their general manager in January, leading to the baffling DeAndre Hopkins trade, the Houston Texans stumbled out to an 0-4 start to begin the 2020 NFL season. If losing their first four games by a combined 43 points wasn’t enough, an argument with J.J. Watt sealed the deal.
The Texans stunned the NFL world by firing O’Brien on Oct. 5, moving on from their head coach and general manager. Romeo Crennel stepped in as the interim coach and the team immediately showed signs of life and played with more energy. Houston won’t have its 2021 first- or second-round picks, the result of the Laremy Tunsil trade, but Deshaun Watson should have a competent coach next season.
While Houston’s coaching search is just beginning, one candidate is already ruled to become head coach. Additionally, interim general manager Jack Easterby won’t be considered to retain the role next season. It’s great news for an organization that desperately needs a fresh start.
NFL coaches fired: Doug Pederson, Philadelphia Eagles
Entering Week 17, rumors indicated that Doug Pederson would return to the Philadelphia Eagles in 2021. Then, that Sunday Night Football performance happened. Whether it was deliberate tanking requested by the front office for a better 2021 NFL Draft pick or just the final examples of Pederson’s horrific decision-making, it put him in jeopardy.
On Sunday, reports surfaced that owner Jeffrey Lurie wasn’t convinced of Pederson’s plans for the future. It added another layer of doubt regarding his status as the team’s coach. Paired with his fractured relationship with the franchise quarterback, Lurie seemingly had to choose between keeping Pederson or Carson Wentz.
On Monday, the Eagles chose their highly-paid quarterback and fired their Super Bowl-winning coach.
Wentz leads the NFL in interceptions (14) and has been sacked a league-high 40 times. While the offensive line plays a role in that, sacks are more often a reflection of the quarterback. Yet, it took Doug Pederson far longer than it should have to finally make a change. That reflected poorly on a head coach’s decision-making. When things only didn’t improve for this team in the final games, Pederson’s reputation took a greater hit
Now, the Eagles will begin their search for a new head coach. They are immediately behind the six other teams, who have all conducted multiple interviews and are narrowing down their list of candidates. This won’t be the most attractive job available either, with significant questions about the offense and long-term cap restrictions limiting the ability to address needs.
NFL coaches fired: Dan Quinn, head coach
Dan Quinn was beloved far more by the players and organization. However, despite his stellar reputation around the NFL, Atlanta couldn’t afford to give its head coach any more time. Following a rough loss to the Carolina Panthers, the Falcons fired Quinn and general manager Thomas Dimitroff.
Since parting ways with Quinn, Atlanta is playing well under interim head coach Raheem Morris. Coming off their bye week, the Falcons will enter Week 11 with a 3-6 record. Given this team started 0-5, Morris is making quite the impression on players, fans and the organization.
In fact, he’s drawing real consideration in the coaching search. Additionally, the Falcons will begin conducting interviews to find their next general manager. While the process is still in its early stages, one strong candidate is already emerging. If he is fired, the Falcons could make NFL history.
NFL coaches fired: Detroit Lions fire Matt Patricia, GM Bob Quinn
Matt Patricia came dangerously close to being fired earlier this season. Sitting at 1-3, Detroit’s new ownership seemed ready to fire the head coach. The team won its next two games, temporarily saving his job, but that changed after the most recent skid.
Following a brutal Thanksgiving Day loss to the Houston Texans, the Lions fired Patricia and general manager Bob Quinn
A disciple of Bill Belichick, Lions’ general manager Bob Quinn hired Patricia in 2017. Quinn hoped his friend would turn the team into Patriots 2.0, establishing a strict culture and seeing it lead to plenty of wins. The exact opposite happened.
Following consecutive 9-7 seasons (2016-’17) and a 36-28 record under Jim Caldwell, the Lions never came close to that level of success with Patricia. Yet, Detroit’s head coach made himself out to be the victim for it all. He deflected blame and created an atmosphere that led to players celebrating at the end of the 2018 season when they could get away from him.
The Lions become the third team to fire their head coach and general manager this season, but more are certainly coming. For now, the organization can begin working on creating a list of candidates for both vacancies.
NFL coaches fired: Adam Gase, New York Jets
It finally happened. Following Sunday’s loss to the New England Patriots, ending another disastrous season for this organization, the New York Jets fired Adam Gase. It’s the move that probably should have happened last year, especially since the front office already felt like they couldn’t win with him. But, New York kept him around and the losses racked up. Just as the Jets were on the verge of securing Trevor Lawrence, Gase found a way to get his revenge on the team he knew would fire him by winning two games and sliding into the No. 2 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Gase never should have been hired in the first place. He had one good season with the Miami Dolphins in 2016, but the next two years proved that was a fluke. Praised for his offensive mind, Sam Darnold never progressed under Gase and this offense found new ways to make Sundays painful for the fans to watch. In the end, after just two seasons in New York, Gase finished with a 9-23 record and even that mark feels deceiving.
The Jets can now focus their efforts on getting things right this offseason, which is more likely to happen if owner Woody Johnson doesn’t decide. There are plenty of great candidates available in 2021, brilliant minds and leaders on both sides of the ball. Given this team holds two first-round picks and is flush with cap space, there’s a lot of incentive for a top candidate to take this job. While we don’t consider the New York Jets gig to be the best head coach spot available, it’s far from the worst.
As for Gase, he might not have to wait long for a job. Reports indicate he is emerging as an option to join the New England Patriots, likely serving as a quarterbacks coach.
NFL coaches fired: Jacksonville Jaguars part ways with Doug Marrone
The Jacksonville Jaguars have fired head coach Doug Marrone. It’s a move that always felt inevitable, even before the regular season kicked off, but was a foregone conclusion after a 1-15 record. While the organization will be grateful for the memories from the 2017 season, when the team reached the AFC Championship Game, 12 total victories across the past three years weren’t going to get the job done.
Jacksonville had to move on from Marrone, especially in an offseason with so many compelling candidates available. With the No. 1 overall pick, which will be used on Trevor Lawrence, the Jaguars need to find a head coach who can take advantage of this opportunity. Plus, it’s not the only benefit that comes with the job. The Jaguars will have $100-plus million in cap space, entering an NFL offseason where plenty of teams are over the projected salary cap and will be forced to cut marquee players. It all sets up for a general manager to address the glaring holes on this roster, which has a surprising amount of young talent on offense.
The Jaguars’ coaching job is the best gig available this offseason. Urban Meyer is already drawing strong consideration, but this will be an exhaustive search. The target should be an offensive-minded coach, one who can get the most out of James Robinson, D.J. Chark and Laviska Shenault. If the right scheme is implemented for Lawrence in 2021, this will be one of the most entertaining offenses next season. There are no excuses for ownership, the pieces are in place for Jacksonville to pick whoever it wants as its head coach. It all comes down to whether or not the right hire is made.
NFL coaches fired: Los Angeles Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn let go
A four-game winning streak to end the season wasn’t enough to save Anthony Lynn. On Monday, the Chargers announced they agreed to part ways with Lynn. The decision immediately creates one of the most attractive openings on the market.
Lynn’s first two seasons in Los Angeles went incredibly well. The team combined for a 21-11 record in the regular season, making one playoff appearance. Over the next two years, injuries to impact players on both sides of the ball and Lynn’s atrocious clock-management skills proved fatal.
The biggest problem that doomed Lynn is his record in one-score games. Los Angeles lost 16 one-score games over the past two seasons, a number that no organization could accept. As a result, despite how beloved he was by players and the organization, the Chargers had to move on.
With the offseason set to begin, this is a pivotal moment for the Chargers. If they hire the right coach and dedicate free agency and the 2021 NFL Draft to building around Justin Herbert, this could be a playoff contender next season.
NFL general managers fired: Jacksonville parts ways with Dave Caldwell
Following the team’s Week 12 loss, Jacksonville’s 10th consecutive defeat, general manager Dave Caldwell was fired. Hired by the Jaguars in 2013, Caldwell oversaw the selections of several All-Pro and Pro Bowl talents, but could never find the quarterback to put this team over the top.
The decision makes plenty of sense for Jacksonville, especially given how much time they allowed Caldwell to work with. While there will plenty of general manager vacancies this offseason, this job is the most appealing.
Jacksonville will head into the offseason with at least $53 million in cap space and have room to create more flexibility by releasing select players. Additionally, the Jaguars will likely have the No. 2 overall pick, the Los Angeles Rams’ 2021 first-round pick, the Minnesota Vikings 2021 second-round selection and multiple fourth- and fifth-round selections. Bring in the right coach and hit on those picks, suddenly this team can compete in the AFC South.
NFL coaches fired: Las Vegas Raiders fire defensive coordinator Paul Guenther
When Jon Gruden became the Raiders’ head coach, he immediately called an old friend. In need of a defensive coordinator, Gruden lured Guenther away from the Cincinnati Bengals hoping that he could be like Mike Zimmer. Less than three full seasons into the job, Guenther is now unemployed.
Quite simply, Gruden had no other choice. With the Raiders now a legitimate competitor in the NFL, this team couldn’t afford the defense that we routinely saw on the field. Las Vegas was walked all over by the Indianapolis Colts, who dropped 44 points on them. Over the team’s last four games, they allowed 150 points.
Guenther’s defense routinely ranked near the bottom of the NFL in total yards surrendered, points allowed and takeaways in his 41 seasons at the helm. This will likely be his last stint as a defensive coordinator in the NFL.
NFL general managers fired: Carolina Panthers part ways with Marty Hurney again
Related: Top candidates to become Panthers GM
Carolina Panthers team owner David Tepper is a firm believer in making swift moves when it’s time for a change. After parting ways with head coach Ron Rivera last season and striking gold with Matt Rhule, the Panthers will now search for a new general manager in 2021.
With Marty Hurney headed out the door, the second time he has been fired by Carolina, expect the Panthers to take an approach similar to what they used when pursuing a head coach. With the NFL continuously evolving, finding a rising up-and-comer could be key. Of course, one of the most important traits will be the GM’s relationship with Matt Rhule.
This vacancy will generate plenty of interest. The offense already has Christian McCaffrey, D.J. Moore and some exciting pieces on the defensive side. Pair that with a great coaching staff in its second season and a top-five pick in a loaded 2021 NFL Draft class, there will be no shortage of interest.
NFL coaches on hot seat: Which NFL coaches could still be in jeopardy?
We’ve already seen six NFL head coaches fired. In a deep field of coaching candidates, the demand for the most coveted names will be strong. Even if there are only five vacancies, that’s a lot for an NFL offseason. However, the possibility remains that more head coaches get the axe in the days and weeks to come.
NFL hot seat coaches: Matt Nagy’s job in jeopardy?
Matt Nagy was already on the hot seat coming into the 2020 season. When the Chicago Bears roared out to a 5-1 record and sat atop the NFC North, he was no longer in danger of being one of the NFL coaches fired. But, just as quickly as Chicago started hot, this team has cooled off considerably.
The Bears lost six consecutive games entering Week 14, with pressure firmly mounting on Nagy. While Chicago destroyed the Houston Texans, snapping the team’s skid, it was largely a credit to the defense having an incredible performance. THe Bears hired Nagy for his offensive mind, with general manager Ryan Pace pushing for him and building an offense to support him. As we’ve seen over the past two years, it’s not working.
Tony Pauline reported a few weeks ago, it would take a stunning turnaround for Nagy to save his job. One win against the Texans isn’t going to cut it. But, Chicago surprised a lot of people by knocking off the Minnesota Vikings in Week 15. It sparked a three-game win streak, putting this team in a position to make the NFL Playoffs.
Chicago played in Week 17 with a must-win approach and the results were ugly. Mitchell Trubisky regressed to the quarterback who doesn’t look worthy of a contract extension and this team was exposed on both sides of the ball. Fortunately for the Bears, the Arizona Cardinals lost and gifted a postseason spot to Chicago. It should be enough for Matt Nagy to return in 2021, thanks to three consecutive seasons with eight-plus wins, but a rough showing in the Wild Card game against the New Orleans Saints could always change things.
NFL coaching rumors: Latest on Denver Broncos head coach Vic Fangio
Hired by the Denver Broncos in 2019, Fangio’s first two seasons haven’t gone as general manager John Elway hoped. While Denver’s defense has held its own, especially through a myriad of injuries this season, a lack of consistency at quarterback has held the Broncos back.
Despite speculation that Fangio could be fired this offseason, Denver’s head coach is reportedly safe. Fangio is arguably one of the NFL’s most brilliant defensive minds and he would be scooped up the moment Denver fired him.
He deserves a third season with the Broncos. When this defense is healthy, it can be one of the best units in the AFC. All Fangio needs is a reliable quarterback, something Elway hasn’t been able to deliver. With Matthew Stafford and Matt Ryan potentially available for trade this offseason, though, that could change.