When the Los Angeles Rams fired Jeff Fisher last year, it signaled the beginning of an exciting new journey that has been kicked into high gear this year by rookie Sean McVay. That move was the equivalent of the organization waking up from a drug-induced stupor to escape the insane asylum.
This year, there are a number or teams that need to take that step. Teams that must wake up and realize they’re mired in the definition of insanity — doing the same thing over and over again and hoping for different results.
These are the NFL head coaches that must be fired in order for some sanity to shine like a beacon of hope for their respective teams.
Jack Del Rio, Oakland Raiders
It’s hard to say what Del Rio has done since he became the head coach in Oakland that’s really made a big difference for the organization. He once said he was there to “bring swagger back” to the Raiders, but that hasn’t happened.
If anything, the Raiders have much more bark than bite these days. Especially on the defensive side of the ball.
Did you know Oakland still hasn’t intercepted a single pass in 2017? Despite having one of the game’s true elite players in Khalil Mack, the Raiders are toothless. They rank No. 26 in total defense and No. 27 in pass defense. And this, despite the fact Del Rio is a defensive-minded head coach who used to play middle linebacker in the NFL.
In almost three full seasons with the Raiders, Del Rio has a record of 23-19, and that includes last year’s 12-4 record. That’s not exactly swaggerlicious. And this year, they’re going the wrong way on the fast track towards irrelevance.
Dirk Koetter, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Is there any doubt Koetter has lost his team? Even he’s admitted his players have likely lost confidence in him and his coaching staff.
Koetter was promoted from offensive coordinator to be the head coach because he had a good rapport with Jameis Winston and was thought to be the best person to develop him. That hasn’t come to fruition. If anything Winston is exactly the same as he was when he first entered the NFL as a turnover-prone, albeit extremely talented young rookie out of Florida State in 2015.
With rumors that Jon Gruden and the Bucs have some mutual interest in a reunion, it seems like Koetter is already on his way out the door. That’s for the best, because he’s not doing anything positive right now to help the team ascend like it was supposed to in 2017.
Adam Gase, Miami Dolphins
The Dolphins are one of the most undisciplined teams in the NFL. They were charged with 17 penalties on Sunday against the Bucs, which was the most in the NFL this year, and average over eight penalties per game (No. 31 in the league).
So it’s safe to say there’s a disconnect there between what Gase has tried to instill in his team and what actually happens on game days.
Throw in the fact that the Dolphins have one of the worst offenses in the NFL — and don’t blame it all on Jay Cutler — and we’re talking about a coach who’s not doing what it is he was hired to do. Remember, Gase was brought to Miami because he was an offensive genius who’d elevate the team to new heights. And while it’s certainly true Ryan Tannehill did have a decent season last year, Miami’s offense finished the season ranked 24th in total offense.
This year the Fins can’t run the ball worth a darn and are a disheveled mess on both sides of the ball. It’s time to realize that Gase is better off as an offensive coordinator than as the head honcho.
Ben McAdoo, New York Giants
McAdoo is great at entertaining us with his endless supply of gut-busting quotes. He seems to be a natural comedian at the podium. But that’s where the superlatives stop with this head coach.
The Giants have won just two games this year, and only one of those wins included a decent performance by Eli Manning and Co. on the offensive side of the ball.
Like Gase, McAdoo is an offensive-minded coach who has utterly failed to convert that into anything positive for his team’s offense. Last year New York featured the No. 25 offense in the NFL but won 11 games, thanks to a stellar defense. Now that the defense has fallen apart in 2017, the offense’s issues are even more exaggerated, which is why the Giants are 2-8 heading into Week 12.
The Giants are probably already looking to fire McAdoo, but they have made it clear nothing will happen until after the season. If Big Blue is going to get back to a Super Bowl anytime soon, McAdoo has to be removed.
Chuck Pagano, Indianapolis Colts
Jim Irsay should have fired Chuck Pagano before this season when he fired failed general manager Ryan Grigson. But for reasons that makes sense only to that eccentric owner, Pagano was retained.
The Colts are still a hot mess on both sides of the ball. Nothing has changed. Including Pagano’s penchant for making the most ridiculous decisions in football during key situations.
Pagano did sign a four-year contract extension in 2016, so Irsay could decide to stick with his guy a bit longer. But that would be a mistake. Since he was hired in 2012, the Colts have had just as many good seasons as bad ones, but the good ones are three years in the rear-view mirror.
John Fox, Chicago Bears
In the three years since Fox was hired by Chicago, the Bears have actually gotten worse, winning six games in 2015, three games last year and three games so far in 2017.
But that’s not the big reason Fox needs to be fired by the Bears. In addition to the fact that Fox continually shoots his team in the foot with strange and highly questionable in-game decisions (like this one), he is as conservative as they come. Often, to a fault.
Chicago has a very talented young quarterback in Mitchell Trubisky who needs a head coach who can propel him to great heights. Like what Jared Goff now has in Los Angeles, and like what Carson Wentz has in Philadelphia.
If the Bears are going to emerge as a force in the NFC North in the years to come, Trubisky needs to have that type of coach in his corner, rather than Fox, who’s from the old-school, three yards and a cloud of dust mindset.
Marvin Lewis, Cincinnati Bengals
Do we really need to lay this one out? The Bengals have needed to ax Lewis for years now. This franchise really does typify the definition of insanity. It has been doing the same thing over and over again for well over a decade, and (shockingly!) nothing has changed.
Bengals owner Mike Brown has been staunchly loyal to Lewis, which is great. Loyalty isn’t something that we should casually ignore. However, he seems to be blind to the fact that Lewis is the reason Cincinnati is constantly mediocre.
The Bengals constantly bring in players of questionable (or worse) character. They have never won a playoff game with Lewis as the head coach. Even in years when they’ve put together a great regular season, the Bengals have absolutely fallen apart when the games matter most.
The team’s best trait in recent years is that it has provided some decent coaches to other teams, most notably Mike Zimmer, Jay Gruden and Hue Jackson.
Lewis is a lame duck this year, meaning Brown might actually be prepared to move on. The franchise is currently 4-6 by virtue of beating the hapless Denver Broncos on Sunday, but this team actually feels worse than that. It’s time to make a change.
Jay Gruden, Washington Redskins
Gruden has had four seasons to make a good impression in Washington. Since he was hired in 2014, the Redskins have gone 25-32 and lost their only playoff game. That’s not good.
Just looking at the team this year, it’s clear that injuries have contributed to the team’s woes. However, it’s equally alarming that Gruden has failed to make the best use of his best talent. Before he was injured in Week 11, he was (by far) the best offensive weapon in Gruden’s arsenal. But he consistently ignored the explosive running back, instead relying on the ineffective Rob Kelley and rookie Samaje Perine.
Additionally, Gruden has failed to develop his young receivers. There’s just no real consistency with anything he does calling the offense, either, and he’s been below average when throwing the red challenge flag.
The bottom line here is that Gruden is just not getting the job done. Whether that’s because of the perpetual dysfunction that permeates the air in Washington or because he’s better suited to being an offensive coordinator remains to be seen. But it’s time to move on. Period.
Hue Jackson, Cleveland Browns
This is a tricky one. We know the Browns haven’t exactly been bursting at the seams with elite talent the past two years.
But Cleveland has won just one single game out of 26 since Hue Jackson arrived on the scene. Furthermore, if the Browns lose their next three games, they’ll become the first team in NFL history to start consecutive seasons with a record of 0-13.
That, in and of itself, is a bright red flag.
Then there’s the way Jackson has handled his quarterback situation this year. Benching rookie DeShone Kizer three times after Jackson declared he’d stick with him all year was just a really bad look.
Now there’s talk that Jackson wants more power in Cleveland. That might not end well. Not at all. Is Jackson a bright offensive mind in the NFL? Certainly. But has he done a single thing that leads us to believe he’s head coach material? Not really.
Mike McCarthy, Green Bay Packers
McCarthy is undoubtedly the worst head coach to win a Super Bowl. All of his success as a head coach can be summed up by the simple fact he’s had Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers as his quarterbacks.
As a decision-maker in games, McCarthy is continually one of the worst the NFL has to offer. He and Rodgers have clashed multiple times as well, and now that Rodgers is injured McCarthy’s ability to craft a winning game plan is even more in focus.
Will the Packers fire Mike McCarthy? No. That’s not happening. But should they? Yes. Yes, they should.