NFL coaches on shaky ground entering 2024 season: Ranking eight hot-seat candidates to watch

Written by on June 20, 2024

Some NFL coaches have perpetual job security: Andy Reid, of the Kansas City Chiefs, for example; or even Mike Tomlin, who just landed a three-year extension from the Pittsburgh Steelers. Others aren’t so fortunate. Due to recent struggles, high ownership expectations or a combination of both, every season tends to put a slew of coaches on the hot seat. So which leading men find themselves on potentially shaky ground in 2024?

Here’s how we’d rank eight coaches who will be most scrutinized:

8. Sean McDermott (Bills)

Year: 8th | Record: 73-41 | Playoffs: 5-6

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Not only does McDermott come from the Andy Reid tree, but his head-coaching resume all but mirrors Reid’s early Philadelphia Eagles career, when year after year of regular-season success — and resilient locker-room culture — was overshadowed only by a failure to reach the big game. In that way, it’s hard to envision Buffalo truly eyeing a change up top. And yet McDermott’s teams have reached just one AFC title game in five seasons with MVP-level Josh Allen as the full-time quarterback. Now overseeing an overhauled roster, the coach’s long-term prospects are cloudier than usual.

7. Todd Bowles (Buccaneers)

Year: 3rd | Record: 17-17 | Playoffs: 1-2

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Bowles can coach a defense as well as anyone, and his group of 2023 underdogs — featuring the scrappy Baker Mayfield under center — nearly advanced to the NFC title game. But his clubs have also gone .500 over two seasons in arguably the weakest division in football, and his situational decision-making has drawn critique. With offensive coordinator Dave Canales gone, it’s fair to wonder if he can elevate a “run-it-back” roster.

6. Nick Sirianni (Eagles)

Year: 4th | Record: 34-17 | Playoffs: 2-3

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Kansas City Chiefs

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Sirianni’s record is sterling; his .667 win percentage ranks third among all coaches, he’s led three playoff runs in three years, and is just two years removed from a Super Bowl shootout with the Chiefs. Yet his Birds looked increasingly uninspired in a 1-6 stretch to close 2023, including a postseason flop, all while his staffing choices and boisterous personality backfired. Reloaded with new coordinators and an all-star lineup, Sirianni has a conceivable path back to glory, but the bar is set so high in Philly, it’s almost a surprise he’s back at all.

5. Mike McCarthy (Cowboys)

Year: 5th | Record: 42-25 | Playoffs: 1-3

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Like his NFC East counterpart Nick Sirianni, McCarthy has big numbers on his resume — lots of regular-season wins, even a past Super Bowl nod — but only conditional backing from ownership. Jerry Jones has actually proven more patient than expected in Dallas, but not even three straight 12-win seasons have translated to a legitimate playoff run for McCarthy’s Cowboys, lending to Jones also putting pressure on longtime quarterback Dak Prescott. The offense has always hummed fairly well here, but with Dan Quinn no longer overseeing the playmaking defense, all eyes will be on McCarthy, who’s logged a single playoff win in his last six years as a head man.

4. Matt Eberflus (Bears)

Year: 3rd | Record: 10-24 | Playoffs: N/A

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If Chicago wanted to start fresh, this offseason would’ve been the logical time to do it, before a reset at quarterback with No. 1 draft pick Caleb Williams. But Eberflus’ defense finally tightened up to make Chicago competitive late in 2023, and general manager Ryan Poles has finally outfitted him with a quality veteran-supported lineup. Even so, 10 wins in his first two seasons means there will be pressure to finally sniff the playoff race and/or properly shepherd Williams’ development, one year after his staff endured in-season turnover.

3. Dennis Allen (Saints)

Year: 3rd | Record: 16-18 | Playoffs: N/A

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Like Todd Bowles in the NFC South, Allen remains a respected defensive mind, forever capable of forcing a physical and/or low-scoring contest. Unlike Bowles, he’s yet to guide his own playoff bid, leaning conservative as a crunch-time decision-maker to barely keep New Orleans above water. In four and a half years as a head man dating back to his time with the Las Vegas Raiders, Allen’s gone just 24-46, even though his current squad has prioritized win-now pieces over long-term rebuilding. It’s probably playoffs or bust for both he and Derek Carr.

2. Brian Daboll (Giants)

Year: 3rd | Record: 15-18-1 | Playoffs: 1-1

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Few current coaches have seen their stock rise and fall in such a short period of time. Appropriately crowned Coach of the Year for rejuvenating Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley en route to a surprise playoff win in 2022, Daboll was far more mercurial as a leader and situational play-caller amid his roster’s rash of injuries in 2023. After exiling strong-willed defensive coordinator Wink Martindale, he’ll be charged with reviving Jones once more, and securing commitment from a club that hasn’t kept a coach for more than two years since Tom Coughlin.

1. Robert Saleh (Jets)

Year: 4th | Record: 18-33 | Playoffs: N/A

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Aaron Rodgers joked this offseason that if he doesn’t return to top form in 2024, “we’re all probably gonna be out of here.” And he’s probably right. Saleh’s first two years confirmed his talent as a defensive teacher, but they went to waste as the offense — both young quarterback Zach Wilson and Saleh’s handpicked staff — flailed repeatedly. Championship hopes rightfully surfaced once general manager Joe Douglas landed Rodgers from the Green Bay Packers ahead of 2023, but the grand plan evaporated after three regular-season snaps, thanks to the nearly 40-year-old quarterback going down behind a weak O-line. All the while, Saleh inexplicably returned to — and stayed with — Wilson as the Plan B, essentially guaranteeing a third straight losing season. If Rodgers and the big names stay healthy, perhaps the pendulum will finally swing. But both Saleh and Douglas have struggled to amend the narrative that Gang Green is more effective as a reality show than a formidable football program.

The post NFL coaches on shaky ground entering 2024 season: Ranking eight hot-seat candidates to watch first appeared on CBS Sports.


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