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NFL coaches fired: Head coaches on NFL hot seat in 2021

The 2021 season is almost here and that means the coaching hot seat is starting back up with a new wave of names who will be among the next NFL coaches fired.

Change is inevitable in the National Football League as organizations set higher standards for excellence and patience wears thin. For the likes of marquee coaches like Mike McCarthy and Kliff Kingsbury to those working high-profile jobs, the clock is ticking.

With that in mind, let’s examine the head coaches who could be fired by the end of the 2021 season.

Will Aaron Rodgers end his career in Green Bay?

Mike McCarthy, Dallas Cowboys

Mike McCarthy fooled Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys. After being fired by the Green Bay Packers, McCarthy swore he spent a year embracing analytics, committing himself to learn about the new information available to coaches and finding ways to implement it. It caught the Cowboys’ interest, he told them he analyzed every snap then admitted it was a lie in his introductory press conference.

Even if you put that aside, this is the same coach who hired his friend Mike Nolan as defensive coordinator. Everyone knows how that worked out for Dallas. Dak Prescott is healthy and Dan Quinn is a better choice for defensive play-caller, but Dallas should fire McCarthy if it doesn’t make the playoffs this season. If that standard is set, our Cowboys’ schedule predictions spell doom for him. Plus, his replacement is already on staff.

Kliff Kingsbury, Arizona Cardinals

NFL coaches fired, Kliff Kingsbury
Jul 28, 2021; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury looks on during the first day of Cardinal fall camp at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark Henle/The Arizona Republic via USA TODAY NETWORK

The Arizona Cardinals are clearly entering the 2021 season with a win-now mentality, signing J.J. Watt and AJ Green reflects that. Those are great additions from a talent and leadership perspective and some improvements have been made to both sides of the ball. But all of that means the heat is turned up even higher on Kingsbury.

Kliff Kingsbury record13-18-3

Kingsbury deserves plenty of blame for this team’s inability to consistently finish games in the fourth quarter. It’s also the very same offense the young coach designed that collapsed in the second half of the season, costing Arizona a playoff spot. We know Watt isn’t afraid to call out his head coach and if things don’t go well in Arizona, Kingsbury could suffer the same fate as Bill O’Brien.

Zac Taylor, Cincinnati Bengals

NFL coaches fired, Zac Taylor
Jan 3, 2021; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; Cincinnati Bengals head coach Zac Taylor during the second half against the Baltimore Ravens at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

When you’re a shaky organization that struggles to attract free-agent talent and top coaches, you have to take chances. That’s why the Cincinnati Bengals hired Zac Taylor, the Los Angeles Rams quarterbacks coach, in 2019 when there were a lot of qualified candidates. Cincinnati knew there would be growing pains, but even this organization can only take so much.

  • Zac Taylor record: 6-25-1

Taylor’s resume certainly wasn’t helped by the Joe Burrow injury and it’s difficult to execute a well-designed offense when the pass protection collapses under two seconds. That’s why the Bengals are giving Taylor a third try, one more chance to prove he is making strides. If he strikes out, he’ll be among the NFL coaches fired.

Matt Nagy, Chicago Bears

NFL coaches fired, Matt Nagy, NFL hot seat
Jun 9, 2021; Lake Forest, Illinois, USA; Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy walks on the field during organized team activities at Halas Hall. Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

There are no more excuses for Matt Nagy. He wanted a potential franchise quarterback and thanks to the 2021 NFL Draft unfolding perfectly, Chicago landed Justin Fields. Granted, Andy Dalton is the projected starter for flawed reasons, but the change will eventually be made.

Chicago is 8-8 over its past two seasons, making it clear the 12-4 season was a fluke. Quite frankly, Nagy would have been fired after the 2020 season if not for the Bears beating up on a weak schedule (Houston Texans Minnesota Vikings, Jacksonville Jaguars) to close out the season. Firmly on the NFL hot seat, along with general manager Ryan Pace, Chicago won’t hesitate to kick Nagy out if it misses the playoffs.

Vic Fangio, Denver Broncos

NFL coaches fired, Vic Fangio, NFL coaching hot seat
Jul 28, 2021; Englewood, CO, United States; Denver Broncos head coach Vic Fangio during training camp at UCHealth Training Complex. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Late in the 2020 season, it seemed a safe bet to predict Fangio would be among the NFL coaches fired. But he managed to stick around as the front office realized poor quarterback play, a young offense and a depleted defense really cost this team. Denver enters the 2021 season with an elite defense and a great cast of weapons, but the man under center remains an issue.

  • Vic Fangio record: 12-20

Ultimately, that might be what costs Nagy his only shot to be an NFL head coach. He is one of the most brilliant defensive schemers of his era and will play an instrumental role in Denver’s defense bouncing back this fall. But with an Aaron Rodgers trade off the table, a trip to the playoffs is unlikely. With a new regime making decisions, Fangio will be fired.

Who will be the next NFL coaches fired?

  • 1. Kliff Kingsbury
  • 2. Matt Nagy
  • 3. Vic Fangio
  • 4. Mike McCarthy
  • 5. Zac Taylor
  • 6. Mike Zimmer, Minnesota Vikings
  • 7. Jon Gruden, Las Vegas Raiders
  • 8. David Culley, Houston Texans

NFL coaches fired: How many head coaches were fired last season?

NFL coaches fired: Doug Pederson
Aug 15, 2019; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone (left) and Philadelphia Eagles head coach Doug Pederson shake hands after a game at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports