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NFL head coaches on the hot seat: Kliff Kingsbury’s shtick wearing thin

Vincent Frank
Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

We’re nine weeks into the season and the list of NFL head coaches who have been fired is now two. That included Carolina Panthers head man Matt Rhule getting his walking papers after Week 5 with former Indianapolis Colts head coach Frank Reich fired following an ugly Week 9 loss.

With that said, there’s other coaches who find themselves firmly on the hot seat now that we’re roughly half way through the regular season. Below, we look at several NFL head coaches who are on the hot seat and we’re they stand right now.

Related: Sportsnaut’s updated NFL power rankings

NFL head coaches with hot seats set afire

Kliff Kingsbury, Arizona Cardinals

nfl head coaches on the hot seat, kliff kingsbury
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Gross. That’s the best way to describe how Arizona has performed down the stretch during Kingsbury’s pedestrian tenure in the desert. The Cards are 7-15 in December and January under the head coach. Last season saw Arizona lose six of its final 10 games after starting the campaign with a 7-0 mark. It’s led to some rivals questioning Kingsbury as a head coach in the pros.

Even after defeating the New Orleans Saints in Week 7, there’s no guarantee that Kingsbury’s job is safe. We’re talking about a 3-6 squad that continues to invest heavily in its roster. The experiment with Kyler Murray and the head coach’s own relationship with his quarterback has now been placed under a microscope.

Now in the midst of a two-game losing streak, Arizona finds itself three games behind the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC West. It’s been a complete disaster in the desert. One now has to wonder whether Kingsbury will be one of the next NFL head coaches fired despite signing an extension this past offseason.

Related: Sportsnaut’s updated NFL Playoff and Super Bowl predictions

Josh McDaniels, Las Vegas Raiders

nfl head coaches on the hot seat: josh mcdaniels
Matt Pendleton-USA TODAY Sports

Just brutal. Las Vegas’ 24-0 shutout loss to the New Orleans Saints back in Week 8 pretty much had this team down and out. It then went into Jacksonville and took a 17-0 first-half lead against the Jaguars on Sunday before blowing the game. This represents the third time in 2022 that the Raiders have lost a game in which they led by 17-plus points. That’s on the coaching as much as it’s on the players.

With all of that said, Raiders owner Mark Davis has given McDaniels a vote of confidence as he struggles in his second stint as an NFL head coach.

“Josh McDaniels is our head coach and will be for years to come,” Raiders owner Mark Davis on McDaniels’ job status, via the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

That’s all fine and dandy. But things need to change here and in short order. More embarrassing performances could in fact have McDaniels be one and done in Sin City. After all, he’s now 4-13 as a head coach in his past 17 games dating back to his stint with the Denver Broncos. That’s not going to cut it.

NFL head coaches on the hot seat: Temperature turning up

Matt LaFleur, Green Bay Packers

nfl head coaches on the hot seat: matt lafleur
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Now in his fourth season as the Packers’ head coach, LaFleur is overseeing major regression. Following a brutal Week 9 defeat at the hands of the hapless Detroit Lions, Green Bay has lost five consecutive games for the first time since Aaron Rodgers first season as its starter back in 2008.

The Packers are also averaging a mere 17.1 points per game. This would be their lowest scoring output since the days of Lindy Infante back in 1991. That’s not company LaFleur wants to keep. And in reality, he could be on the hot seat should things continue to spiral out of control.

“Everybody’s very, very, very disappointed right now,” LaFleur after Week 9’s loss. “I saw us not taking advantage of certain opportunities and making way too many critical mistakes.”

At some point, LaFleur is going to have to take responsibility for Green Bay’s struggles. Regardless of the lack of skill-position talent, any offense led by Rodgers should not score nine points against a defense that headed into Week 9 giving up 32.1 points per game. It’s that simple, and it could lead to LaFleur being one of the surprising NFL head coaches fired following the season.

Nathaniel Hackett, Denver Broncos

NFL: International Series-Denver Broncos at Jacksonville Jaguars
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Teams don’t fire head coaches less than one full season into their tenures unless it is an unmitigated disaster. See, Urban Meyer last season. At this point, Hackett could be headed in that direction with the Broncos through just eight games. The team currently sits at 3-5 on the campaign. It ranks 31st in the NFL at just over two touchdowns per game. Did we mention that Hackett earned this job primarily because he was widely respected as an offensive mind?

From an in-game coaching perspective, we’ve seen Hackett make mistake after mistake. He has failed to elevate the play of the Broncos despite the addition of future Hall of Fame quarterback Russell Wilson, who is struggling unlike anything we’ve seen from him before.

It could very well become clear to Denver’s brass and new ownership group that Hackett is in over his head. It’s not dissimilar to former Broncos head coach Vic Fangio proving that he was better suited in the NFL as a coordinator. It might not be before Week 18, but Hackett could be one of the first NFL head coaches fired come Black Monday after the season.

NFL head coaches fired during 2022 season

Frank Reich, Indianapolis Colts

nfl head coaches on the hot seat: frank reich
Jenna Watson/IndyStar / USA TODAY NETWORK

Indianapolis’ latest loss to the New England Patriots by the score of 26-3 was simply humiliating. With Sam Ehlinger under center, the Colts put up 121 total yards of offense. This seemed to be the final straw for owner Jim Irsay.

Indianapolis had done everything to stay loyal to Reich. It simply had no other choice than to fire him following a disastrous 3-5-1 start to the season in which the Colts rank dead least in the NFL in scoring at under 15 points per game.

While Reich ends his Colts tenure with a winning 40-33-1 record, they’re a mere 12-13-1 since the start of the 2021 campaign. That’s the definition of average, something Irsay is not OK with. Whether Jeff Saturday (of all people) changes the dynamics as the interim coach remains to be seen.

Matt Rhule, Carolina Panthers

NFL: San Francisco 49ers at Carolina Panthers
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Matt Rhule was viewed as a lame-duck before the summer even began and he was among the favorites to be one of the first NFL coaches fired in 2022. Entering Week 5 with his job at stake, the Carolina Panthers lost 37-15 on Sunday and owner David Tepper fired him less than 24 hours later.

It’s not a surprise. Rhule went 1-27 when opponents scored at least 17 points, including 25 consecutive losses. One of the highest-paid coaches in the NFL never established his footing, going through multiple offensive coordinators and even more starting quarterbacks. While his time in the NFL is over, Rhule immediately becomes the most coveted coach in college football and should be among the leading coaching candidates for the Nebraska Cornhuskers and Wisconsin Badgers.

Bookmark this page for continued updates on NFL head coaches on the hot seat throughout the remainder of the season.