The one certainty any professional head coach has is that sooner or later, they will be fired. And unlike college coaches that can receive ridiculous buyouts from their school on the day they get canned, NFL coaches are not so lucky. With that said, an NFL coach will receive his full salary regardless of whether he is coaching, and there are worse things than getting paid to sit on your couch. Each year a handful of coaches will find themselves staring down the barrel of a gun, knowing that if their team does not perform, their time as head honcho will quickly come to an end. Below are seven NFL coaches that will be sitting on hot seats in 2020.
1. Doug Marrone – Jacksonville Jaguars
Doug Marrone failed as a head coach for the Buffalo Bills, and his tenure with the Jacksonville Jaguars has not gone much better. After a successful first full season as head coach in 2017 that saw Marrone’s Jaguars go 10-6 and nearly make it to the Super Bowl, Jacksonville has severely regressed. The following two seasons have seen the team go 11-21, and we have recently dubbed them as the worst team in the NFL. If they continue to be cellar dwellers in the AFC South, Marrone will be on his way out.
2. Dan Quinn – Atlanta Falcons
Quinn was nearly fired last year after a dismal 1-7 start to the season. But the Falcons flipped a switch in the second half of the season and finished with a disappointing but not disastrous 7-9 record. That makes it two straight seasons of 7-9 after two seasons of going to the playoffs, including an epic failure to hold a 25 point lead against the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl. If Quinn cannot get the Falcons to a winning record in 2020, it is likely that Atlanta will look for a new voice in the locker room.
3. Matt Patricia – Detroit Lions
Matt Patricia inherited a Detroit Lions team that went 9-7 in 2017 and has proceeded to go 9-22-1 in his two seasons as head coach. Former New England coaches to work under Bill Belichik have historically failed when they get their chance to run a team, and Patricia looks to be following suit. After two miserable seasons, Patricia will have to show significant improvement in 2020 if he wants to keep his job for 2021.
4. Anthony Lynn – Los Angeles Chargers
Anthony Lynn started off his career with the Los Angeles Chargers going 9-7 in 2017 and made a run in the playoffs after going 12-4 in 2018. But that early success made it all the more painful for the Chargers to experience a 5-11 season in 2019 despite the immense amount of talent on the roster. If Lynn’s Chargers perform similarly in 2020, Los Angeles could likely be looking for a new head coach at the start of 2021.
5. Adam Gase – New York Jets
Adam Gase was an odd choice as head coach of the New York Jets after going 23-25 as head coach of the Miami Dolphins. As an offensive-minded coach, New York likely thought he would be a good choice to groom quarterback and 2018 third overall pick Sam Darnold. However, Gase’s Jets scored just 17.3 points per game in 2019, while going 7-9 in the standings. It could have been much worse too, as the Jets started the season 1-7. While Gase has not been awful by any standard, his billing as an up-and-coming offensive mind is squarely in question. If the Jets do not improve on offense or approach a winning record in 2020, Gase’s seat will be especially hot in 2021.
6. Matt Nagy – Chicago Bears
While unlikely to be fired after the 2020 season unless the team looks like an absolute dumpster fire, Matt Nagy is under immense pressure. After his first season in 2018 that saw him go 12-4 and win coach of the year, the offensive-minded Nagy saw his offense plummet in potency a year later as the team went a disappointing 8-8. Another season like that or worse will put Nagy in a playoffs-or-bust mode in 2021.
7. Mike Zimmer – Minnesota Vikings
Mike Zimmer is well-regarded throughout NFL circles, so it is a little surprising to be listing his name among these other coaches on the hot seat. Similar to Matt Nagy, it is highly unlikely that Zimmer would be fired following the 2020 season. But if the Vikings fail to advance or even make the playoffs, Zimmer’s seat will start to get warmer and warmer as the 2021 season approaches.
While Zimmer has produced four winning seasons in six years, he has also produced just two playoff victories. For a roster stuffed full of talent, the Vikings have underperformed on the scoreboard. One more year of underperformance could be enough to have the Minnesota front office looking for a new head coach.