Sizing up the coaching situations


After an offseason that featured eight new hires, odds favored a safer year for NFL head coaches.

As it's turning out, NFL owners could once again turn over 25 percent of the league's coaches. Gary Kubiak was the first to go, fired by Houston Texans owner Robert McNair after an 11-game losing streak. Although it's unlikely another coach will get fired before the end of the regular season, there could be at least seven more casualties in the offseason.

Some, like Mike Munchak of the Tennessee Titans, Rex Ryan of the New York Jets and Leslie Frazier of the Minnesota Vikings, entered the season with their seats warm. But the crazy twists and turns of 2013 put more coaches in jeopardy.

The hardest coach to handicap is Jason Garrett of the Dallas Cowboys. Under normal circumstances, Garrett would be on the hot seat for the Cowboys' inability to beat teams with winning records and their track record of finishing around .500. The Cowboys' situation isn't normal. Owner Jerry Jones gives his total support to Garrett, and as it turns out, some of Jones' decisions have worked against Garrett.

For example, Jones decided to let Rob Ryan go as defensive coordinator and switch to Monte Kiffin's Cover 2 defense. The move backfired as the Cowboys are putting up historically bad numbers on defense. Then the offensive play calling was taken away from Garrett and went to coordinator Bill Callahan.

Because those were Jones' decisions, it's hard to predict whether Garrett will lose his job.

Unfortunately for Munchak, Ryan and Frazier, 2013 hasn't worked out. Ryan deserves to come back because he's getting the most out of the 6-8 Jets and continues to run a solid defense, but there are no guarantees.

The Titans invested a lot of resources in fixing their offense, but at 5-9, Munchak is in big trouble. The Titans don't do a great job finishing close games. In Minnesota, the fall from a 10-6 wild-card team to a 4-9-1 afterthought likely seals Frazier's fate.

The Detroit Lions' recent slide -- they've lost four of five -- could end Jim Schwartz's tenure in Detroit. The NFC North was there for the Lions' taking, but they keep beating themselves. They've had at least three turnovers in each of the past five games and their defense is tied with St. Louis' for the most penalties committed.

If the Lions can't win the division when Aaron Rodgers and Jay Cutler both miss more than five games, when will they ever win the NFC North?

The expectation in Washington is Mike Shanahan will not get to complete his five-year contract. He's in Year 4. Robert Griffin III regressed. The Redskins are 3-11 and the horrible season won't yield its reward because the St. Louis Rams have the Redskins' 2014 first-round pick.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers had hopes of making the playoffs when they traded for cornerback Darrelle Revis and spent big money to bring Dashon Goldson in at safety. But a 4-10 record puts second-year coach Greg Schiano in a bad spot.

In Oakland, things are starting to look bleak for Dennis Allen. The defense has given up 124 points over the past three weeks. The Raiders have lost four in a row and a 4-12 season could cost him his job.

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