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Friday, 17 October 2014

Top 5 NFL Coaches Most Likely To Be Fired

5.  Jeff Fisher - St. Louis Rams

St. Louis is currently a team heading for another top five pick in the first round of the NFL Draft.  Unlike last season, their pick next year will result from losses during the regular season, rather than lucking out on a trade with Washington.

Fisher played a big part in the Rams opting to pass up on the top names at quarterback in the 2014 NFL Draft, and while Austin Davis has played well, they will need more from him if the Rams are to get back into competing for the NFC West title, which at this point is a long shot.

St. Louis has also struggled on defense this season, which is a big concern considering they field one of the more premier defensive units in the league.  They are playing at a high level in run support, but their game drops off against the pass.  Robert Quinn hasn't recorded a single sack in their five games played thus far, and Chris Long was lost for most of this season following ankle surgery.

There were high expectations for the Rams this season, and they are currently on pace to finish with one of the worst records in the league.  Jeff Fisher was given an opportunity to turn the Rams misfortunes around, but after what should be his third losing season in a row in St. Louis, it's time the Rams start considering a new head coach for next season.

4.  Mike Tomlin - Pittsburgh Steelers

Pittsburgh has gone from Super Bowl appearances in 2005, 2008, and 2010, to a team that hasn't finished better than .500 since 2011.  The team appears to be heading for a major rebuilding process, and it could very well start with Tomlin's termination at some point during or after this season.

Pittsburgh's stuggles on both sides of the ball can be attrubuted to questionable roster moves over the past few seasons.  Allowing receiver Mike Wallace to walk wasn't a good decision, as coupling him with Antonio Brown would have given the Steelers a very dangerous due to defend.

Another area of concern is this offensive line, which has already given up 17 sacks over four games this season.  Last season, Ben Roethlisberger was sacked 42 times, and had very little time to check down his available targets.  One of the key areas the Steelers had to fix this season was protecting Roethlisberger, but the team failed to add any difference making depth to the offensive line during the off-season.

Pittsburgh's defense needed an injection of youth two seasons ago, but Tomlin decided to stick with aged defenders, which has resulted in slower play against the younger and more quicker offense in the league.  The Steelers were just blown out by the Cleveland Browns last week, which perfectly displays how the Steelers aren't improving as a team.

There is one fact that Tomlin may find reassuring:  The Steelers, historically speaking, tend to stick with their coaches for the long haul, with Tomlin being only their third head coach since 1969.  But the NFL of today is more about immediate results versus long term commitments, and the Steelers are in last place in the AFC North.

3.  Mike Smith - Atlanta Falcons

Altlanta entered the 2014 NFL Draft only one year removed from the NFC Championship game they lost to the San Francisco 49ers.  Expectiations were very high entering this season, with the understanding that anything short of a playoff appearance would be considered a failure by their front office.

Atlanta's offense continues to struggle with production from their run game.  Veteran Steven Jackson is a shadow of how he played during his prime, and even quarterback Matt Ryan is struggling with consistency, having already thrown seven interceptions over six games.  The addition of rookie offensive tackle Jake Matthews hasn't improved pass protection, nor created bigger gaps for the running game to find daylight.

On defense, the Falcons continue to have trouble pressuring opposing pass games, averaging only  one sack per game this season.  But their defense is also hurtin is in run support.  They have given up 841 yards rushing this season over six games, and the defense has only forced two turnovers in pass coverage.

The Falcons will have to play a top notch game for the remainder of this season to save Mike Smith's job, and at this point, they are on pace to win only five or six games.

2.  Tom Coughlin - New York Giants

Tom Coughlin took over as head coach for the Giants in 2004, after Jim Fassel was fired for leading the team to a 4-12 record, only three seasons after appearing in a Super Bowl.  Under Coughlin, the Giants won two Super Bowl Championships in 2007 and 2011, both over the New England Patriots.  Unfortunately for coach Coughlin, he has failed to produce a .500 team since the Giants last Super Bowl appearance in 2011.

The expectations were high within the Giants front office this season.  Eli Manning isn't his brother Peyton, and his career as a starter at this level has already begun counting down, so anything less than a wild card finish this season is unacceptable.  The NFC East is playing at a much higher level this season with both the Cowboys and Eagles currently leading the division at 5-1.  Philadelphia blew out the Giants 27-0 at home last week, and the Giants travel this week to play the Cowboys in Dallas.

New York is on pace to once again finish under .500 this season, and with a good selection of younger coaches at the collegiate level, along with younger coordinators deserving a shot to head coach at this level, the pressure is on Tom Coughlin to turn the Giants misfortunes around and save his job.  Losing All-Pro receiver Victor Cruz for the season certainly doesn't help.

1.  Rex Ryan - New York Jets

This move is long overdue!  The Jets failed to field a Super Bowl contender during Ryan's tenure as head coach.  In fact, Ryan's best finish as head coach (11-5) was back in 2010.  Ryan has also struggled piecing together a winning chemistry on offense, drafting both Mark Sanchez and Geno Smith as "franchise" quarterbacks, while also adding Tim Tebow as another failed experiment.

Ryan has been behind many of the questionable roster decisions for the Jets.  Last season saw the Jets receiving core struggling throughout the season, with their top receiver Jeremy Kerley only catching 43 passes last season for 523 yards.  The team added Eric Decker during the off-season, but failed to add any of the top receivers available in the draft.  While the Jets receiving numbers have improved, so every the opposing defenses within the AFC East.  Geno Smith has gotten off to a horrible start this season, and Michael Vick hasn't added any improvement in his back up role.  Sound familiar?

The Jets normally have one of the better defense in the league, but this season their defense has only forced two turnovers in six games played.  They have forced 19.0 sacks this season, but the offense has also givin up 15.0 sacks in comparison.  Also, the defense has given up 15 touchdowns in the air, while only forcing one interception.

The numbers speak for themselves.  If the Jets intend on getting back to the Super Bowl for the first time since 1968, a new head coach is required, because it wont happen as long as Rex Ryan is calling the shots.


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