Here are five NFL head coaches who could get the ax mid-season if everything hits the fan in 2020.
Some times, NFL organizations opt to cut bait before the end of the season. They know they’ve got to make wholesale changes in the offseason because the product on the field isn’t any good. Since they can’t fire the entire team, parting ways with the head coach is the easiest temporary solution to ease the pain of continually getting embarrassed fall Sunday after fall Sunday.
Usually, teams will do the honorable thing and relieve their head coach of his duties on “Black Monday”, right after Week 17 is in the books. However, some franchises can’t wait to get a jumpstart on their head-coaching search. They may also want to see if a top assistant coach on the staff has what it takes to be his former boss’ eventual successor.
Last year saw the Washington Redskins fire Jay Gruden and the Carolina Panthers fire Ron Rivera before the end of the season. Gruden got the ax in October, while Rivera had to wait until the weather changed. It usually comes as a shock to the entire NFL world when it happens, but it’s happened often enough to where we should prepare for the inevitable in 2020.
Here are the five NFL head coaches most likely to get fired mid-season if everything falls apart.
NFL Hot Seat 2020
Head Coach Minnesota Vikings
Mike Zimmer of the Minnesota Vikings edges out Anthony Lynn of the Los Angeles Chargers for No. 5 on this list for a handful of reasons. Let’s chalk them up to overall expectations, the quarterbacking situation, a suitable internal replacement and potential friction in the front office. Lynn could get whacked too, but he has a leg up on Zimmer on all four of these areas in 2020.
Minnesota must make the NFC playoffs. Anything short of it would be a catastrophic disappointment. The Chargers can push for a Wild Card berth, but if they come up short, it wouldn’t be the end of the world. Missing out on the postseason would be a terrible look for the Vikings. As for the quarterback situation, the Chargers’ is more fluid than what the Vikings have.
Because the Vikings extended Kirk Cousins, he’s their guy this year and for the next few years. The Chargers could go with Tyrod Taylor, as he’s Lynn’s guy. However, if they draft a franchise quarterback, the Chargers won’t give the poor kid the Ryan Leaf treatment by axing his head coach before the end of the year. If Cousins stinks, it may mean the end of Zimmer in Minneapolis.
As for an internal replacement, the Vikings have a Super Bowl-winning coach in Gary Kubiak in the building. Will the Chargers want to give Gus Bradley the keys to go out and wreck another car? While Lynn and Chargers general manager Tom Telesco seem to have a fine working relationship, the friction between Zimmer and Vikings general manager Rick Spielman is starting to intensify.