The 2013 NFL season is right around the corner. While many fans are excited, a lot of head coaches are nervous — they could soon find themselves unemployed.
Five coaches in particular are feeling the heat before kickoff. A number of them will need the NFL’s big wheel of parity to spin in their favor, or they’ll be looking for new work.
1. Rex Ryan, New York Jets
Rex Ryan already looks like a defeated man. There’s a new front office that doesn’t owe him anything, there’s distrust in his locker room and he’s already had a press conference that will be filed with the bizarre classics of Jim Mora and Dennis Green. By the way, it’s not even Week 1.
But Ryan’s pink slip seems inevitable simply because he doesn’t have a quality team to coach. He’ll either have a rookie quarterback under center in Geno Smith, who doesn’t look ready, or veteran Mark Sanchez, who has lost the confidence of the team. The running game is nonexistent, and it’s unclear who will be catching passes this year — assuming the quarterbacks throw to the right team.
Sure, there’s the defense, but it doesn’t look like the signature defenses that Ryan started out with. He’ll need a miracle.
Regular Season Win Total: 6.5
2. Joe Philbin, Miami Dolphins
The Dolphins spent nearly $250 million on personnel this offseason (signing free agents and re-signing their own players), which means ownership is going to want to see some results. Yes, it’s only Joe Philbin’s second season on the job, but it’s time for him to deliver. If the Dolphins prove to be a middling team in the AFC and don’t secure a playoff spot — or even contend for one — Philbin could be axed.
The online sportsbook, Bovada, has the Dolphins’ regular-season win total set at eight, which accurately assesses the general perception of this team. The problem for Philbin is that a .500 finish could very well cost him his job.
Regular Season Win Total: 8
3. Mike Munchak, Tennessee Titans
Mike Munchak is skating on thin ice in Tennessee, and he’s likely going to need a winning season to survive. His hopes are directly tied to young passer Jake Locker, who has been erratic in his two years quarterbacking in the NFL. He’ll also need the defense to step up, as the Titans’ stoppage unit was pretty leaky last season. The D allowed 30 or more points in half of the Titans’ games.
The good news is Tennessee has the 10th-easiest strength of schedule, which includes a pair of meetings with the feeble Jacksonville Jaguars.
Regular Season Win Total: 6.5
4. Jason Garrett, Dallas Cowboys
Jason Garrett has produced back-to-back 8-8 seasons in Dallas, and while that’s not awful, the problem is that the Cowboys’ talent suggests they’re capable of far more. On top of that, their losses tend to be fairly stinging in the sense that they blow leads, take silly penalties and give away turnovers.
Garrett barely hung onto his job last season, and he likely needs a visit to the playoffs to be manning the Dallas sidelines beyond 2013.
Regular Season Win Total: 8.5
5. Dennis Allen, Oakland Raiders
Everyone understands the Oakland Raiders are a mess, and eventually, that burden of failure will land on the shoulders of head coach Dennis Allen. When he was hired, he was described as a young guru, but he only produced four wins in his first season. Bovada has the Raiders’ regular-season win total set at 5.5, and most expect this team to go under, which means Allen might only have about eight or nine wins in 32 games as a head coach.
The problem is Oakland has no franchise quarterback, a shaky offensive line and no quality receivers. It could be a fairly calamitous team. Coaches of calamitous teams don’t last in the NFL. The Silver and Black better show some serious progress, or Allen could be a goner.
Regular Season Win Total: 5.5
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