NFL

The 2024 NFL Hiring Cycle: Who Replaces Brandon Staley and Which Other Coaches Get Fired?

By Scott Kacsmar

We are nearing that point of the year when NFL teams fire their head coach and conduct interviews to hire their next leader. Josh McDaniels was the first coach fired during the 2023 season by the Raiders, Frank Reich lasted 11 games in Carolina, and Brandon Staley is out in Los Angeles after that embarrassing 63-21 loss to the Raiders.

Staley’s deserved exile opens the door for some very interesting head coach movement this winter. The job should be highly coveted given the presence of quarterback Justin Herbert.

Are the Chargers the No. 1 job for a new coach in 2024, and is Carolina the worst landing spot? There are typically 5-to-8 coaching changes each year, so who else is getting fired in the coming weeks?

We assess the potential openings, the attractiveness of the job, and the candidates that could be the best fit.

Coach for Hire: Los Angeles Chargers (Brandon Staley)

The End of Brandon Staley

The Chargers fired Brandon Staley after a 24-24 record in his third year. He also lost his only playoff game after blowing a 27-point lead in Jacksonville last season, a game that made this move feel like only a matter of time.

Staley’s hope of fixing the defense for Justin Herbert never panned out, the team was seemingly stuck in one-score games every week, and his early fourth-down heroics quickly gave way to him becoming another run-of-the-mill, conservative coach who developed a bad attitude with the media.

In the first game without Herbert (fractured finger), the Chargers appeared to quit on their coach, allowing the Raiders to score 63 points just four days after they were shutout at home. That was the final straw for Staley, who was fired last Friday along with general manager Tom Telesco, who had that job since 2013.

Herbert Makes the Job Worthwhile

So many coaching hires fail due to the lack of a quality quarterback. The Chargers have that in place as Justin Herbert is only going on 26 years old, he has a new deal, and he is one of the few quarterbacks out there who can keep a team afloat on his talent alone.

But right now, he’s kind of late 1980s Dan Marino in Miami as he doesn’t have enough help around him, and the team is only flirting with .500 instead of the playoffs. The coach who takes this job is going to need to get the defense up to par, acknowledge the challenge of facing Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs twice a year, and they will have to overcome the “Chargering” curse that has seemingly followed this team for the whole 21st century. They just lose so many games excruciatingly.

But there are some real drawbacks to this job as several of your best players (Joey Bosa, Mike Williams, Derwin James) are often injured, and the Chargers are already $42 million over the cap in 2024. That number could come down should they release some of these often-injured veterans, but there is going to have to be some real roster tinkering to get things right.

But at least there is a gifted passer in town. He just needs a stabilizing force to bring out the best in him, almost similar to when Peyton Manning got Tony Dungy, a defensive mastermind, as his coach in Indianapolis in 2002. After a year together, Manning took his game to another level in 2003 and started his MVP run. Herbert needs someone who doesn’t make him feel like he has to win every game with 30 or 40 points.

Potential Hire: Bill Belichick, Patriots Head Coach

We’ll get into Bill Belichick more with the Patriots below, but Staley’s firing opens the door for what would be the most logical and interesting coaching move of 2024 if Belichick winds up in LA with Herbert.

Fittingly, Herbert’s last win for Staley was a 6-0 game in New England, a game that was practically a cry for help. Herbert needs a legitimate defensive coach to fix that side of the ball, and Belichick needs a legitimate quarterback if he wants to set the all-time wins record without coaching through multiple 4-13 seasons to get it.

Belichick can still coach defense. Even with lacking household names on that side of the ball, the Patriots rank No. 5 in points allowed since 2020 (the Chargers are 29th). The problems have been on offense where Belichick has struggled not only to find a quarterback, but the receivers aren’t any good either.

Belichick should embrace the change of scenery, and his attention to detail would hopefully pay off for the mistake-prone Chargers. The biggest issue for Belichick in LA would be if he would still handle dual roles with the general manager position, or if he would let someone do that job while focusing on the coaching side. He also hasn’t done the best job of hiring assistants in recent years, and it is a question mark if he would retain offensive coordinator Kellen Moore or bring back Josh McDaniels as his play caller, a job McDaniels is good at. Just don’t hire him to be a head coach.

We’ll see if it happens, but both Belichick and the Chargers would be nuts not to explore this possible union. Belichick becoming the first coach to win Super Bowls with multiple franchises would be a heck of a way to wrap up his legacy as he sets the record for wins.

Coach for Hire: Las Vegas Raiders (Josh McDaniels)

McDaniels Had to Go

There was an argument that the Raiders shouldn’t have brought McDaniels back for 2023 after his game mismanagement blew a league-high six leads in so many inexplicable fashions in 2022.

Replacing Derek Carr with Jimmy Garoppolo seemed like a smart move given their past work together, but it never worked out. Garoppolo was a turnover machine and the offense made scoring 20 points look impossible.

After a brutal 26-14 performance in Detroit on a Monday night, the Raiders fired McDaniels on Halloween. He was 9-16 (.360) with the team, and it was the second time he was fired during his second season as head coach of a team.

Difficult Job to Turn Around

The Raiders have not won a playoff game since the 2002 season, and anyone taking a job in the AFC West knows they’ll have to contend with Patrick Mahomes for many years to come.

The lack of a long-term quarterback also makes things extra difficult in an AFC overflowing with quarterback talent. Rookie Aidan O’Connell does not appear to be anything more than a stop-gap solution, so the Raiders may have to turn to the draft to find their next signal caller.

The Raiders should have over $50 million in cap space to work with, the benefit of not paying big money to a quarterback. But they also lack very few cornerstone players once you get past Davante Adams and Maxx Crosby.

Potential Hire: Antonio Pierce, Raiders Interim Coach

So far, interim coach Antonio Pierce is 3-3 with the Raiders. The former linebacker has only been coaching in the NFL since 2022 when he came to the Raiders to coach linebackers for McDaniels.

The players seem to respond to him, and he immediately helped the team to a season-high 30 points after McDaniels was fired. The Raiders also hung tough in Miami, holding that offense to 20 points, and they were up 14-0 on the Chiefs before getting blown out the rest of the game.

But it is hard to square a team that gets shut out 3-0 at home to the Vikings, only to score 63 points against the Chargers four days later. That game was filled with turnovers to fuel that score as it looked like the Chargers gave up on the season with the news that Herbert was done. But credit to Pierce for producing a stomping of a team, because we see some coaches that aren’t coming anywhere close to 63-21 wins in this league.

It should depend on how the season finishes out if Pierce gets the full-time job or not. The Raiders still have to go to the Chiefs, Colts, and then host Denver to end the season.

One thing possibly working in Pierce’s favor is that some feel the Raiders made a mistake in 2021 when interim coach Rich Bisaccia went 7-5 and helped the team make the playoffs after Jon Gruden was fired during the season. They didn’t make Bisaccia the head coach in 2022 and went with McDaniels instead. Owner Mark Davis may not want to repeat that one, but Pierce still has to show he deserves it.

The history of promoting a coach already on staff has been extremely poor in recent years.

Coach for Hire: Carolina Panthers (Frank Reich)

Reich Doesn’t Have It Anymore

The hiring of Frank Reich in Carolina made a lot of sense. He’s had some success in Indianapolis, but he needed a young quarterback instead of a vet on his last legs like the Colts kept finding him every year after Andrew Luck shockingly retired in 2019.

Pairing Reich with No. 1 pick Bryce Young made sense for them to grow together, but the season just never panned out for them. Young has struggled to make any improvements, the receivers outside of Adam Thielen have been bad, Miles Sanders has been a bust at running back from the Eagles, and the Panthers look a lot like Reich’s 2022 Colts in that they just can’t score any points.

After going 1-10, Reich was fired. He never had a single fourth-quarter lead this year as his only win came on a field goal with no time left. It was shocking to see a coach let go 11 games into his first season without any off-field scandal involved, but the lack of progress and poor play from the Panthers made it look like an inevitable one-and-done season, so they just got it done earlier.

Need Someone with Vision

The Panthers are unlikely to be anyone’s first destination of choice in this hiring cycle. While the team should have $40 million in cap space, they traded so much to get Young with the No. 1 pick that they won’t have the No. 1 pick in the draft they would have likely earned from their poor play this season. There goes drafting Caleb Williams.

The cap space is also there as the team does not have many top-tier players. Edge rusher Brian Burns is probably their best asset. The person taking this job is going to have to spend to get more talent around Young, not to mention making sure he develops into a legitimate quarterback because his rookie season has been very poor. It looks even worse when you consider what C.J. Stroud has done in Houston, which used the No. 2 pick to take him.

The Panthers need an offensive-minded coach to come in with a vision for making things work for Young much like Sean McVay once did in 2017 with the Rams when he fixed Jared Goff after an atrocious rookie year for the No. 1 overall pick.

Potential Hire: Eric Bieniemy, Commanders Offensive Coordinator

For years people have expressed frustration that Eric Bieniemy has not landed a head coaching job in the NFL. He’s gone on many interviews over the years, but no one has picked him for the top job. Maybe some of that was due to off-field incidents in his past, maybe his interviews aren’t good, and maybe some are skeptical of what he did with Andy Reid running a show that had amazing talent like Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill, and Travis Kelce.

But Bieniemy got his shot with the Commanders to run their offense this year, and results have been mixed with things trending downward late in the season. Granted, he went into a season with one of the most unheralded Week 1 starters in recent history in Sam Howell, the 2022 fifth-round pick. Howell leads the NFL with 535 pass attempts and 59 sacks, so Bieniemy has called a very quarterback-heavy approach to offense with someone who wasn’t expected to be a franchise player.

Given some of the promise Howell has shown, there is some potential for Bieniemy to get a shot at a head coaching job again. We picked the Panthers here as this just feels like a job no one established is going to want to take, so they can hire someone hungry for a first-time head coaching job, and Bieniemy fits the bill for that.

Likely Opening: Washington Commanders (Ron Rivera)

You Only Get Four Years in Washington

Ron Rivera has always seemed like a nice guy, but the fact is he has only had a winning record in 3-of-13 seasons as a head coach with Carolina and Washington. Rivera is 26-37-1 (.414) in Washington since 2020, and he lost his only playoff game that first year when the NFC East was so awful that a 7-9 team won the division.

In a conference that is a lot more open than the AFC, Rivera’s results are just not good enough and he is likely going to be on his way out when this season ends. The team already fired defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio during the season, and the Commanders still rank dead last in points allowed.

We just discussed the offense with Eric Bieniemy in the Carolina section, and the constant sacks on Sam Howell early in the year make it a wonder he hasn’t been injured this season. It is unclear if Howell is really the long-term answer or not at quarterback for this team.

But there is no denying that Rivera has run his course here, and it is time for a change.

Cap Space But Problems Persist

Has the Washington job ever been attractive since Joe Gibbs first retired in 1993? Washington is the only team in the salary cap era (1994) to not have an 11-win season.

On the bright side, the Commanders figure to have over $81 million in cap space for 2024, the most in the league according to OvertheCap. There are some decent pieces on offense (Terry McLaurin and Brian Robinson) and the team has spent a ton of high draft picks on defense without good results. The Commanders also traded away Montez Sweat and Chase Young before the deadline, so they unloaded some of those young picks before they got new contracts.

Throw in the questionable quarterback situation and a division that has clearly better teams in Philadelphia and Dallas, and it’s not a great job right now. But the draft could be the answer to that quarterback problem.

Another good thing is that Daniel Snyder is no longer the owner, so we’ll see what direction the new ownership group goes when it comes to their first hiring of a head coach.

Potential Hire: Brian Flores, Vikings Defensive Coordinator

This feels like a spot for a coach to get a second chance, and Brian Flores was fired in Miami after going 24-25 in three seasons with winning records (but no playoffs) in his last two years. His teams showed improvement and solid discipline (few penalties), and he could have been one of the rare successful branches from the Bill Belichick tree.

But there was also controversy that resulted in Flores suing the Dolphins and the NFL for discrimination. That has not stopped him from working in the league as he was an assistant on Mike Tomlin’s staff in Pittsburgh in 2022 and he has taken over as the defensive coordinator with the Vikings this year.

Flores is definitely mixing things up for the Vikings, who had lost most of their defensive veterans from last year, and he is blitzing at a high rate while also mixing in a high rate of dropping eight defenders into coverage. The results have been mixed, but he did pitch a shutout against the Raiders in Week 14.

Flores has experience at the top job and could improve this Washington defense that has continuously fallen apart in the secondary with No. 1 receivers running wide-open for big plays all year. While someone like Snyder never would have hired him, this new ownership group, which includes Magic Johnson, may be open to giving Flores another chance.

Likely Opening: Atlanta Falcons (Arthur Smith)

Arthur Hated Fantasy Football and Real Football

In his third season in Atlanta, Arthur Smith has gone from a coach who jokingly hated fantasy football to apparently hating real scoring in games as his personnel decisions with his offense have been baffling all year long.

From not using first-round pick Bijan Robinson properly to rarely ever using tight end Kyle Pitts, we have no idea what the Atlanta offense is supposed to be other than what it is: lousy and in need of a quarterback.

Smith benched Desmond Ridder once again this week after Ridder’s abysmal interception cost the team a game in Carolina on Sunday. It may be too little too late as the Falcons (6-8) are third in the division and may very well finish with a losing record again.

Smith is just 20-28 (.417) in Atlanta and might be going for a third-straight 7-10 finish. That sounds like time to move on from the coach.

Let Someone Else Play with These Toys

While the quarterback position is a real problem, the Falcons have solid pieces to work with after high draft picks spent on Robinson, Pitts, and wide receiver Drake London. The Falcons are currently 26th in scoring offense despite all this young talent, and they are No. 8 in scoring defense with a unit that has been thrown together in free agency.

Get an offensive mind in here with the right system, and we could see the Falcons take off in what is still the worst division in the NFL. That makes this a fairly attractive job and certainly more enticing than the Commanders and Panthers in the NFC, which does not have many quality quarterbacks right now.

Potential Hire: Ben Johnson, Lions Offensive Coordinator

The trendy path to becoming a head coach these days is to be a successful offensive coordinator. It also helps to work under someone like Kyle Shanahan, Sean McVay, or Andy Reid. In Ben Johnson’s case, he’s been employed by Adam Gase (Dolphins) and Matt Patricia (Lions), so his ascension to being one of the game’s best play-callers is impressive when you consider that fact.

Johnson has been offensive coordinator of the Lions since 2022 and it has led to one of the best, most balanced offenses in the league with Jared Goff enjoying a career resurgence, Amon-Ra St. Brown breaking out as a star at wide receiver, and the Lions have done arguably the best job of using a dual backfield the last two years with different sets of backs. This year it is David Montgomery and Jahmyr Gibbs while last year it was D’Andre Swift and Jamaal Williams.

Tight end Sam LaPorta is also having one of the best rookie tight end seasons in NFL history under Johnson, so imagine what he could do for Kyle Pitts in Atlanta. London could also finally reach his potential a la St. Brown. Robinson and Tyler Allgeier would be in heaven in this offense.

Now, the Lions have built a strong line and Goff is better and more accurate than Ridder. But if the Falcons could hire Johnson and find a decent quarterback to enhance with the weapons they have available, this could really work out in a division that is still winnable for the foreseeable future.

Possible Opening: Chicago Bears (Matt Eberflus)

Lack of Progress in Chicago

It is not clear if the Bears will fire Matt Eberflus after this season, but there has clearly been a lack of progress here. The Bears were 6-11 in Matt Nagy’s final season in 2021, and Eberflus came in and did even worse with a 3-14 record despite the team looking to take a step forward with Justin Fields. They are 5-9 this year, but they continue to lose close games, blow leads, and Fields is still not producing as a passer at the level they need to compete.

At least the defense, Eberflus’ specialty, is no longer dead last in points allowed, but 22nd is nothing to write home about either. With another 10-loss season incoming, the Bears have some hard decisions to make on both Eberflus and Fields, but the way the draft is shaping up, a clean slate may be the right move.

Fresh Start

By keeping Fields and trading the No. 1 pick to Carolina, the Bears have a shot to land the No. 1 pick again (via Carolina) and another very high pick for their own finish this year. That could easily lead to a new era should they draft players like quarterback Caleb Williams and wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr.

The Bears already got a head start on free agency by trading for and signing Montez Sweat from Washington, and he has been solid so far for the team. D.J. Moore has worked out from Carolina, but they could still use another receiving weapon.

The Bears will have over $64 million in cap space to work with. The division does not look as daunting as it used to be when Aaron Rodgers was with Green Bay. This is a quality job opening should it be available as Eberflus does not look like the guy you want to handle this significant amount of draft capital.

Potential Hire; Jim Harbaugh, Michigan Head Coach

Why not bring Jim Harbaugh back to the NFL and the team he was drafted by in 1987? Maybe his Wolverines will win a national championship this year and he can get out of the NCAA before they come after him for more violations.

From a coaching perspective, Chicago is a great fit for Harbaugh, who ran physical, tough teams in San Francisco that were close to a Super Bowl. He helped Alex Smith develop into a decent quarterback. He got a dynamic play out of Colin Kaepernick. He’ll have a chance with this draft class and cap space to fill these roster holes and get this team back in contention.

It’d almost be like bringing Mike Ditka back to the Bears as their coach in the 1980s, except Harbaugh has a proven track record of coaching success. The NFL needs another good coach like that.

End of an Era: New England Patriots (Bill Belichick)

The Patriot Way Is Over

We touched on this two months ago for why it’s over for Bill Belichick and the Patriots as contenders together. That was before we saw the team slip to 3-11, the worst record in the AFC. That article details the yearly decline of the Patriots since their last Super Bowl win in the 2018 season.

Basically, Belichick built a two-decade dynasty, and 2018 was their version of the Last Dance a la Michael Jordan’s Bulls. It was never going to be the same after that year, and that’s why everyone like Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, and Julian Edelman started leaving.

But Belichick has stayed, and his dual responsibility as general manager is the part that has failed him the most. He can still coach defense with the best of them, but his lack of finding quality players to rebuild the team from almost scratch has gone terribly. In fact, the Patriots even have arguably the worst kicker in the NFL this year.

Belichick obviously has failed to replace Brady, but he must have been sold a bill of goods on Mac Jones from his buddy Nick Saban, who coached Jones at Alabama. That pick did not pan out, and hiring bad offensive coordinators to replace Josh McDaniels in 2022 only backfired and further ruined Jones’ development.

So, here we are with the Patriots at the bottom of the AFC and doing things like becoming the first team since 1938 to lose three straight games in which they did not allow more than 10 points.

All reports point to Belichick and owner Robert Kraft mutually parting ways after this season, ending Belichick’s tenure in New England after 24 seasons. Truly an end of an era for the NFL.

The Worst Job in the League?

We teased in the intro about Carolina being the worst job opening, but what about the Patriots? At least Carolina has the potential of fixing Bryce Young, and the NFC South is the worst division in the league.

If you go to coach New England, you don’t have a quarterback, you don’t have any good skill players, the offensive line is nothing to write home about, the defense lacks Pro Bowlers, and even the special teams have fallen off.

Oh yeah, you also have to play in an AFC where you arguably have the worst quarterback situation in the conference. Every year you are staring at seven playoff spots for a conference that has Patrick Mahomes, Lamar Jackson, Josh Allen, Joe Burrow, Tua Tagovailoa, Justin Herbert, Trevor Lawrence, Russell Wilson, and C.J. Stroud. That’s to say nothing of the potential of Anthony Richardson, Will Levis, and maybe the return of Aaron Rodgers for 2024.

On the flip side, the Patriots will have about $75 million in cap space and a chance to land the No. 1 pick in the draft. The reward for this terrible season should be the chance to draft a quarterback like Caleb Williams (USC) or Drake Maye (North Carolina).

But the Patriots are going to need multiple seasons to fix this, and Belichick is too old for that kind of rebuild. Kraft is 82 and running out of time to see a return to glory. But this is the price you often pay for such an extended window of success.

Potential Hire: Jerod Mayo, Patriots Linebackers Coach

So much for the idea of Belichick’s son Stephen or Josh McDaniels succeeding Belichick in this job. Actually, you should never count out cronyism and nepotism for NFL coaching hires, since they are the primary ways to get a job in this league. But the Patriots are likely going to go in a different direction than that.

However, they may not stray too far from the past to hire their next coach. Jerod Mayo was a first-round pick by the team in 2008, played eight years as a linebacker, then started coaching the linebackers for Belichick in 2019, a position he still holds today.

It would be a big step up from coaching inside linebackers to replacing an all-time head coach, but the Patriots could go low-key and cheap on this move with the thought it may take some time to truly get this thing back at a high level.

But if you had a chance to give McDaniels a third head coaching job or allow Mayo an opportunity for his first, why wouldn’t you go with the unknown over the proven loser?

Curtain Closed: Pittsburgh Steelers (Mike Tomlin)

When the Standard Drops to Chasing 9-8 Records

Finally, our eighth coach opening is sure to be the most controversial, but we already detailed some of this two weeks ago before Mike Tomlin lost to Belichick’s 2-10 Patriots.

We have to acknowledge the possibility that the Steelers go from a shaky 7-4 start to losing out to finish 7-10, giving Tomlin his first losing season. It would give him a seventh-straight season without a playoff win, and the only coaches to enter Year 8 with a team with a playoff win drought are Jim Mora (Saints), Marvin Lewis (Bengals), and Don Shula (Dolphins before he got Dan Marino).

I live in Pittsburgh and can never remember a time when more people were calling for Tomlin’s job than now after back-to-back home losses to 2-win teams, and then a blown 13-point lead in Indianapolis. Tomlin’s decision to punt when trailing by 11 points indoors with a top kicker was poorly received, including visible frustration on Chris Boswell’s face. It was only the second time in franchise history that the Steelers had a 13-point lead and lost the game by at least 13 points.

The product has been bad in Pittsburgh all year, Tomlin’s message has never felt staler, and if they do miss the playoffs after a 6-3 start, it would be the fourth time he’s done that in his career – the most by any coach since 1990.

Years of too much loyalty to his assistant coaches and cheap hiring have hurt this team. Yet, you could argue Pittsburgh’s offense has been worse in the 16 quarters since Matt Canada was fired. They have somehow averaged even fewer points since then.

Yes, the Steelers have lacked a quality quarterback since Ben Roethlisberger retired. But in a season like this one, that gets a little tougher to hear when you see the Browns and Bengals still winning games and ahead of the Steelers in the division with Jake Browning and Joe Flacco as their starters. Flacco is Kevin Stefanski’s fourth starting quarterback this year and the Browns are still 9-5. Cleveland has not finished ahead of Pittsburgh in the division since the 1989 season, but that looks like another streak that is about to end for the Steelers.

Maybe it is time to end the run of only having three coaches since 1969 too.

Good Job Security But…

With the Steelers, you can at least count on job security, so there would be plenty of interested candidates in coaching a team with a great tradition of winning.

As for the roster, it has seen better days, and moves will have to be made to get under the cap for 2024. But there are building blocks on both sides of the ball, which further frustrates when you see this team perform so poorly. Most people agree the receivers are good even if they have maturity issues. The running backs have looked better this year, though Jaylen Warren is more impressive than Najee Harris. Pat Freiermuth should be a bigger weapon at tight end. The offensive line needs upgrades in pass protection.

The defense has one of the most impactful and valuable players in the game in T.J. Watt. They still have key veterans like Cameron Heyward and safety Minkah Fitzpatrick. Boswell is a very good kicker.

Quarterback is a big question mark as Kenny Pickett has not really looked like the guy, but his durability may be the No. 1 issue right now as he has left 5-of-25 games injured to start his career. He has delivered in the clutch several times already to the point where you think there may be something there if the coaching staff can get it out of him earlier in games. But keeping Matt Canada for 2023 was a big mistake.

But given the tradition of the Steelers, they will be an attractive landing spot for any coach looking for a second chance or their first shot in this league. Chuck Noll, Bill Cowher, and Tomlin were all first-time coaches when they were hired. Given how relatively unknown they were at the time, that should squash any argument that you can’t find anyone better to replace Tomlin.

You never know until you try.

Potential Hire: Bobby Slowik, Texans Offensive Coordinator

It would be remarkably different hiring for a Pittsburgh franchise that prides itself on defense, but it would also be a sign that the team is ready to get with the times and bring about real change on the field. Hire an offensive coach like Bobby Slowik, an understudy of Kyle Shanahan, and see if he can bring out the best in Pickett.

Slowik has already earned praise for getting better results than anyone expected out of C.J. Stroud and an unheralded receiving corps in Houston this year. Stroud was clearly a better prospect than Pickett, but no one thought he’d play this well so quickly in Houston, a team that hired defensive-minded DeMeco Ryans as its coach, but all the praise has gone to Slowik’s offense so far.

Getting Slowik out of Houston also could help weaken another AFC contender that the Steelers will have to deal with for likely years to come. The Texans already crushed the Steelers 30-6 earlier this year with Slowik making Tomlin’s defense look silly.

That was one of three games this year that Tomlin lost by at least 14 points to a rookie coach, also losing 24-10 to Jonathan Gannon’s Cardinals and 30-13 to Shane Steichen’s Colts. Do you know how many 14-point wins Tomlin has in his last 56 games? One.

Fans won’t mind having an offensive coach if the team gets back to winning games and playing well in the process. Under Tomlin these days, you either watch the Steelers pull off an ugly win or get embarrassed in an ugly loss.

Blame it on a 7-year itch without a playoff win, but don’t blame fans for having a wandering eye for someone new.

Other Potential Hot Seats

In closing, we wanted to throw out a few other teams to watch for that could potentially move on from their coach should these final weeks go poorly.

Sean McDermott, Buffalo Bills: Things were looking dicey at 6-6, the offensive coordinator fell on the sword for the turnovers, the team was blowing a league-high four leads in the fourth quarter, and the media was attacking McDermott over an old story about his use of 9/11 in a 2019 team meeting. But after big wins over the Chiefs and Cowboys, things seem to be stabilizing and McDermott’s job is likely safe should the Bills return to the playoffs.

Robert Saleh, New York Jets: He will probably get a pass and another year for Aaron Rodgers lasting 4 snaps before he tore his Achilles, but Saleh is going to have to start winning games or it’s a wrap in New York for him. He is 16-32 (.333) as he nears the end of his third season, and the playoff drought has officially reached 13 seasons for the Jets.

Dennis Allen, New Orleans Saints: It was never an inspiring hire in the first place in 2022, but Dennis Allen is 14-17 (.452) as coach of the Saints and is in danger of missing the playoffs again in the league’s worst division. The Saints are 7-7 and currently the No. 9 seed, but they will be road underdogs against the Rams and Buccaneers the next two weeks, and a failure to win those games could keep them home for the playoffs. Derek Carr has not worked out well, and despite one of the easiest schedules in the league, the Saints have yet to put together a 3-game winning streak this year.

Most coaches are let go following the end of the regular season, and the hires usually start rolling in around the Super Bowl in February, so stay tuned to see who is going to make up the 2024 coaching class.

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