Ranking the hottest seats in the NFL

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

There have been some disastrous starts for a select group of franchises around the league, and some NFL coaches find themselves firmly on the hot seat.

At the midway point of the season, we’re looking at the five coaches sitting on the hottest of seats — ranked from hot to hottest.

Whether due to a crushing lack of discipline, a distinct lack of command or just the end of a long road for one particular coach, these guys are in danger of being jettisoned.

5. Anthony Lynn, Los Angeles Chargers

It’s crazy how fast things can change in the NFL. Anthony Lynn helmed a Chargers team that went 12-4 last year, and before the 2019 season began many wondered if this might finally be the year Philip Rivers could win a Super Bowl.

Injuries once more struck this franchise in a brutal way. Despite that, the Chargers have been in some very winnable games, losing all five of their games by one score. Lynn and his coaching staff have contributed to those losses with questionable decision making.

Now, it appears the organization is looking into moving on from Rivers and drafting a quarterback in the first round next April. If that is the direction the Chargers are going, then it also makes sense to look for an offensive-minded guru to take over as head coach. Especially if the team continues to lose badly the rest of the way in 2019.

4. Vic Fangio, Denver Broncos

“We’re a 2-6 football team. And it just feels like we’re kind of afraid to lose a game.”

Damning words, spoken by Joe Flacco, after the Broncos lost Sunday to the Indianapolis Colts on a last-second field goal, which occurred because head coach Vic Fangio opted to punt from Indianapolis’ 43-yard line with under two minutes remaining.

Fangio is one of the best defensive coaches in the league. He finally got his shot to lead an organization for the first time after spending years as an assistant. It’s not going well.

The Broncos have failed to live up to their own expectations, and it’s pretty clear the organization needs to be rebuilt from the ground up — starting with John Elway and a new head coach.

Whether that happens remains to be seen. But it should.

3. Adam Gase, New York Jets

Speaking of organizations in need of a face lift, the Jets continue to excel at dysfunction. The Kelechi Osemele saga is Exhibit A. The fact that the Jets hired Adam Gase to replace Todd Bowles was another really clear sign that things would not be getting better any time soon. As was his out-of-this-world introductory press conference.

Gase was a failure in Miami, and so far he’s done nothing to elevate the Jets. He’s known as a quarterback guru, but looking at Sam Darnold’s recent horror show of ghost sightings, it’s clear things aren’t going swell on that front — much like we saw with Ryan Tannehill under Gase in South Beach.

The Jets are 1-6, and only one team (Miami) has a worse point differential (-107). At least Miami is actively trying to tank.

2. Freddie Kitchens, Cleveland Browns

Before the season began, many (including myself) were highly skeptical that Kitchens — a guy who had a grand total of one-half season’s experience as an offensive coordinator in the NFL — would be up to the task of leading a franchise as a head coach.

Cleveland’s level of talent across the board is outstanding. General manager John Dorsey has done an exceptional job of loading up this roster with said talent. Yet the Browns enter Week 9 of the NFL season with a dismal 2-5 record that includes downright embarrassing losses to Tennessee and San Francisco. This past Sunday, Kitchens made multiple poor decisions in a winnable game against New England.

It sure seems like Kitchens is in way over his head. This team has underachieved perhaps more than any other thus far during the 2019 season. And given the hype that came with the Browns this year, they are absolutely the most disappointing franchise in the league.

1. Dan Quinn, Atlanta Falcons

Atlanta has fallen off a cliff ever since losing that 28-3 lead over New England in Super Bowl LI. The Falcons did okay the next season, going 10-6 but losing in the divisional round of the playoffs. Last year, they went 7-9, missing the playoffs altogether.

This year? Atlanta has one win, and Quinn — a defensive-minded head coach — leads one of the worst units in the league.

Following Sunday’s brutal loss to Seattle, owner Arthur Blank shared his thoughts on the franchise’s current status, and his head coach.

“Nobody would have anticipated 1-7,” Blank said, “and the lack of consistency. Today was a prime example of that. So we’ll take the next couple of weeks, this bye period of time, and evaluate where we are,” Blank said. “And whatever decision we have to make will be made for the right reasons for the long term.”

There’s always a chance Quinn stays on and remains the coach the rest of this season, and going forward. But when the owner is saying the team needs to “evaluate where we are” that’s usually a sign things are about to change.