The 2019 NFL season is rapidly approaching. While teams around the league have aspirations of holding up the Lombardi Trophy, it’s a proven fact that some teams will simply flat out struggle all season long. Patience runs thin among NFL owners, and the coaching churn is constant.
Here is a list of the top five NFL head coaches that are on the hot seat heading into the 2019 season.
5. Mike Zimmer – Minnesota Vikings
The Minnesota Vikings’ Mike Zimmer will enter the 2019 campaign in the final year of his contract. After reaching the NFC championship game in 2017, many speculated that the team has already reached its peak. In 2018, Minnesota finished 8-7-1 and failed to reach the playoffs. The ingredients are certainly there for a bounce-back season with some fresh blood on the coaching staff and enough tweaks likely on the way to the roster to shake things up and create a sense of urgency after a disappointing season. Zimmer’s future in Minnesota could all hinge on the play of Kirk Cousins. The NFC North is up for grabs, and if Minnesota can’t capitalize again, a coaching move could be looming for 2020.
4. Dan Quinn – Atlanta Falcons
Everything was going in the right direction for Quinn’s Falcons, right up until the second half of the Super Bowl game his team played in not long ago. Since that Super Bowl meltdown, nothing has gone right for the Falcons. The defensive-minded coach has produced bottom-10 defenses in two of the last three seasons. An underwhelming season last year was a combination of injuries and poor play, but a repeat of 2018 could see Arthur Blank moving of on his head man.
3. Doug Marrone – Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jaguars were expected to be a Super Bowl contender last season. Unfortunately, they took the biggest step back last season. Marrone has a talented group in Jacksonville, and with the signing of former Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles, there is no excuse if this team underperforms. This team needs to make the playoffs if Marrone wants to keep his job in 2020. Ownership is keeping Marrone on a short leash. The offensive-minded head coach has play-makers all on the offensive side for the first time since he arrived in Jacksonville. Another 5-11 season will not be tolerated.
2. Mike Tomlin – Pittsburgh Steelers
This season will be critical for Mike Tomlin moving forward. He needs to prove he’s more than just a spectator after losing his top two offensive weapons in Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown. Pittsburgh slipped to 9-6-1 last season and didn’t make the playoffs after four straight appearances. One down season isn’t enough to shake the organization’s faith in Tomlin, but continued dysfunction could be a catalyst for change. The Steelers haven’t played in a Super Bowl for over 10 years. In Steelers standards, that’s unexceptionable and if this season makes 11 years, a new voice may be needed in the Steel City.
1. Jason Garrett – Dallas Cowboys
Another year and another opportunity for Jason Garrett to get himself off the hot seat. The Cowboys won the NFC East last year, and there were still whispers of Garrett losing his job in the offseason. The Cowboys haven’t won a Super Bowl since 1996. Adding to the drought, for the first time in a while, there are real expectations for the Cowboys. Elliot is still one of the best back in the league. Dak will have a full training camp to build with Armani Cooper. The defense is still one of the best in the league. The Cowboys will have to build off last season’s record and at least win another playoff game to keep Jerry Jones happy and at bay.
Garrett is walking into a contract year, and while he could possibly parlay that into a John Harbaugh-Esque turnaround in terms of perception, this could also be a fork in the road where Dallas decides to go in a different direction.