If we have an NFL season in 2011, the following coaches need to bring their “A” game this fall. The expectations and the pressure to win will be at an all time high for the following coaches this fall.
5: Jack Del Rio, Jacksonville: Del Rio has a, less than stellar, regular season coaching record of 65-63. His postseason record is 1-2. In eight seasons the Jaguars have made the postseason only two times. Jacksonville hasn’t had a winning season since the 2007 season. In 2010 the Jaguars came into the month of December with an 8-5 record, only to lose three straight games and fail to make the playoffs. Similar results occurred in 2009 when the Jags came into the month of December with a 7-5 record and lost four straight games to close out the season.
Outlook: If Del Rio wants to keep his job the Jaguars need to get back into the playoffs. Another December meltdown will be the final year in Del Rio’s head coaching tenure at Jacksonville. According to Jaguars owner Wayne Weaver in a January interview on ESPN, “If we’re not in the playoffs, it’s pretty apparent we’ll have a different coach,” Weaver said.
4: Tony Sparano, Miami: Sparano did a great job bringing the Dolphins back to the playoffs in 2008. However, two straight 7-9 seasons and a 1-7 home record in 2010 did not sit well with Dolphins owner Stephen Ross. Ross looked for Sparano’s replacement after last season, but failed to sign top level coaches such as Jim Harbaugh or Bill Cowher. Ross decided to give Sparano a two year contract extension in January of 2011, most likely because he felt guilty about trying to find his replacement while Sparano was still the Dolphins head coach.
Outlook: Sparano needs to get the Phins into the playoffs in 2011. If not, expect Ross and Dolphin General Manager Jeff Ireland to look for another coach in Miami.
3: Tom Coughlin, New York Giants: Tom Coughlin has had great success as the head coach of the New York Giants. Coughlin, however, is facing a lot of criticism from the New York media and fan base. Other than the four postseason wins during the Giants 2007 Super Bowl Season, Coughlin has failed to win a playoff game while with the Giants. The last two seasons have been inconsistent as the Giants have missed the playoffs in both seasons.
Outlook: A playoff win is needed for Tom Coughlin to keep his job in New York. The recent success of the New York Jets puts even more pressure on Coughlin to take the Giants deep into the postseason.
2: Norv Turner, San Diego: The pressure for Norv Turner to win in San Diego will be at an all time high this fall. The Chargers need to win and win big. The Chargers have not won a playoff game since 2008 and following a 13-3 season in 2009, the Chargers lost in the Divisional Round against the New York Jets after allowing 14 fourth quarter points. In 2010 the Chargers struggled starting the season 2-5 while finishing the season 9-7 and missing the playoffs for the first time since 2005.
Outlook: The Chargers need to win the AFC West and win at least one playoff game for Turner to be retained. However, it wouldn’t surprise me if the Chargers had to win at least two playoff games.
1: Gary Kubiak, Houston: Kubiak will be going into his sixth season as Texan coach. In five seasons Kubiak has only one winning season and has failed to make the playoffs. His overall record is 37-43 and the Texans have failed to live up to expectations in recent years. In 2010 the Texans started the season 4-2 and had big victories over the playoff bound Colts and Chiefs. Following the Week seven off week the Texans went 2-8 to close out the 2010 season. Texans fans and media speculated that Kubiak would be fired following the season, but Texans management decided to keep Kubiak.
Outlook: The Texans need to make the playoffs in 2011. Another mediocre to below average season will result in the firing of Gary Kubiak. According to ESPN the players seem to be concerned about Kubiak. “We’re at a point that a lot of people didn’t think we would get to,” said safety Bernard Pollard, who is a free agent. “Now, they’re questioning, ‘OK, can this coaching staff get it done? Can this coordinator get it done? Can this head coach be the man?’ We’re at that point.”