The NFL season may be several months away, but the somewhat useless predictions season is just starting to hit it’s stride. From Super Bowls, to wins, to overall records. It’s all getting covered and then some. One of the less frequently speculated upon topics though is: which coaches will the bell toll for this season? I guess most people like to save that kind of heartless and cruel guessing for the season, but me, I’m not so patient. As such, I’ve a list of the five coaches who are perched upon the warmest of seats heading into this season. Known in some circles as the Coughlin seat.
1. Rex Ryan, New York Jets: Does this one really need any explaining? The Jets have failed to make the post-season in consecutive years and become an embarrassment in the process. Everything about this club is sponsored by Barnum and Baileys, at the behest of Ryan. Records and unfulfilled guarantees aside, what makes this situation as tenuous as it is has to be the hiring of new GM John Idzik. He has no loyalty to Ryan, and if Ryan can’t turn things around in quick order don’t expect him to get more time to do so.
2. Jim Schwartz, Detroit Lions: How a team with Calvin Johnson, Matt Stafford and Ndamukong Suh can miss the playoffs is beyond me. Yet, somehow they did. And it wasn’t even close either. The team posted a 4-12 record and looked miserable in the process. There’s been varying degrees of dysfunctionality with this club for as long as Schwartz has been at it’s head, and for him to keep his job that’s going to need to change. Even in the absurdly competitive NFC North, anything short of the playoffs could spell the end of Schwartz’s time in Detroit.
3. Jason Garrett, Dallas Cowboys: What was I saying about dysfunctionality? Yeah, there’s no short supply of that where Garrett’s concerned. Jerry Jones has finally neutered Garrett, by forcing him to surrender his play calling responsibilities to Bill Callahan, despite his constantly denying such a thing was happening. In his time with the Cowboys the club has gone just 21-19, which isn’t horrible, but nothing to write home about either. It’s playoffs or bust in Dallas, and for no person is this more true than Garrett.
4. Ron Rivera, Carolina Panthers: Few seats are higher than Rivera’s - in any league. Expectations were maybe a little over the top in Carolina last year and as such Rivera failed to deliver. The club went 7-9 and failed to make the playoffs, again. If the Panther’s didn’t finish last season on a 5-1 run, I can’t even imagine him having his job as we speak. But since they did, here we are. Can’t imagine anything less than 9-7 will save Rivera’s job with the Panthers.
5. Dennis Allen, Oakland Raiders: Allen doesn’t have a lot to work with, which almost makes his shaky job security a little unfair. But such is the life of an Oakland Raiders coach of the last decade-ish. They play in a very competitive division, and should the Raiders manage to find some way to stay at their 4-12 mark of 2012 I’ll consider it a successful season. Not sure ownership will feel that way though.
You can follow J.D. Burke: @JDBurkeOV