Jon Gruden became the first NFL coach fired in 2021. While it was less performance-based and had more to do with the fact that he is a horrible human, the “resignation” was a warning shot to other coaches who are on the hot seat. The Raiders were the first to pull the trigger but several other coaches have little to no job security at this point.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at the five coaches who should be heading to the unemployment offices after the season is over.
Urban Meyer, Jacksonville Jaguars
This should come as no surprise. The Jaguars thought that they had found the perfect coach to groom future star Trevor Lawrence into the Hall-of-Fame talent he was touted as. Despite having zero NFL experience, the Jags had eyes only for Meyer.
That decision has backfired in epic fashion so far, both on and off the field. As far as team-related issues go, the Jaguars are 1-5 on the season after beating the Dolphins for their first victory. They are one of the worst teams in the NFL in terms of points scored, as they average just 19.3 points per game through seven weeks.
While that alone might be enough for some coaches to start feeling the head, Meyer’s personal life has almost overshadowed the team’s performance. A video surfaced of the head coach getting very friendly with a woman who was most certainly not his wife while out for drinks one night. This has led to a loss of respect both in the public eye and in the locker room. If he manages to survive the season, I expect Meyer to be fired after the 2021 campaign is over.
Vic Fangio, Denver Broncos
Fangio’s seat is on fire after narrowly avoiding being fired this past offseason. To his credit, the Broncos did start the season 3-0 and had many of his doubters second-guessing themselves. After two seasons with a combined record of 12-20, it was a much-needed start to the year. The problem was that those wins came against the Jets, Giants, and Jaguars.
Once more suitable competition came to town, the Broncos promptly went on a four-game losing streak, losing twice at home and basically falling apart before our eyes.
The most concerning thing about Fangio’s team is their complete lack of defense. For a coach who is considered a “defensive specialist” the Broncos rank 25th in points allowed and 21st in yards surrendered.
With a tough schedule on the horizon, it will be hard to imagine a world where Fangio survives the next offseason.
Pete Carroll, Seattle Seahawks
Carroll is the most accomplished NFL head coach on this list, but his time to move on from Seattle may be incoming. Along with Russell Wilson, Pete Carroll led this team for the better part of the last decade to winning seasons since 2012. However, things this season have taken a turn.
The Seahawks are just 2-5 and Wilson has missed the last two games due to injury. The losses that Seattle has suffered without Wilson, who had never missed a game up until this year, have been brutal. Even Carroll admitted in a postgame interview that he would have not lasted this long in Seattle if Wilson was not his quarterback. This will likely be the first losing season in a decade for this franchise and feels like a natural place to move on from both Carroll and Wilson.
Joe Judge, New Your Giants
New York’s fascination with Bill Belichick and the Patriots continued when the Giants hired Joe Judge as the new head coach last season. Judge was coming off a stint as the Patriots special-teams coordinator and his first season was a disaster. Injuries did play a large part in that, but every team deals with them so it’s not a viable excuse.
Now, heading into Week 8, Judge has a head coaching record of 7-15 and has not made a single significant change to this team or his playcalling. The offense is stale and now that most of the weapons are injured, things are not going to get better soon. Judge was a questionable hire in the first place and should be shown the door once the Giants finish another season in the basement of the NFC.
Matt Nagy, Chicago Bears
Matt Nagy is another coach who was in real danger of losing his job this past offseason. A late-season win streak that got them into the playoffs likely saved his and GM Ryan Pace’s jobs. That decision, in hindsight, has not paid off for the team who is fourth in the NFC North with a 3-4 record.
Last week’s brutal 38-3 loss to the Buccaneers brings Nagy’s record over the last three seasons to an even .500 at 19 and 19. At this point, he needs to step aside and let somebody more capable take over the development of Justin Fields. The Bears need to build around their franchise quarterback and not Nagy. I realize he got stuck with Trubisky and Foles against his will, but the fact remains that a good coach should be able to win when talent is there. Even if it isn’t the talent he wanted.