NFL Hot Seat: Brian Flores’, Vic Fangio’s Week 7 losses give coaches a short leash

The NFL hot seat gets hotter as coaches' teams continue to underperform. How short is the leash for coaches like Brian Flores and Vic Fangio?

Week 7 was a gut punch to the career prospects of a number of NFL head coaches. Brian Flores (Miami Dolphins) and Vic Fangio (Denver Broncos) really needed wins and didn’t get them. And as the season unfolds, coaches we all assumed would make it to the 2022 season with their jobs intact have played their way onto the hot seat, or at least the warm seat. In our view, there are eight coaches who at least have a reason for concern — if not all-out panic — about what comes next.

NFL coaches on the hot seat | Week 8

The following coaches are in significant danger of losing their jobs during the 2021 season or immediately after it.

Brian Flores, Miami Dolphins

Flores lost his sixth straight game Sunday but might have already lost something more important — the locker room.

CBSSports.com shed some additional light on what we’ve long heard is a toxic situation in Miami. Flores’ unapproachability and inflexibility with his players have really taken a toll during this long skid. He’s in danger of losing his grip on the team — if he hasn’t already.

The quarterback drama of the past 18 months — particularly how Flores has treated Tua Tagovailoa, unfairly in the view of some — has eroded trust. And up next? A showdown with the Buffalo Bills, who have won six straight over the Dolphins by an average of 20 points per game.

Vic Fangio, Denver Broncos

Four consecutive losses — the most recent to an injury-wrecked Cleveland Browns club on national television — should have Fangio on high alert. And it seems as though he is.

After getting run all over by third-string Browns running back D’Ernest Johnson, Fangio’s demeanor with the media has changed. Defiant isn’t exactly the right word, but it’s not far off. He’s sticking by offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur despite valid calls for a change.

“What’s most concerning is our fundamentals were lacking in that game, particularly on the defensive side of the ball,” Fangio said Friday. “When that’s lacking, that’s poor coaching on our part, and that’s starts with me. We have to do a better job of getting the fundamental things taught and executed.”

Urban Meyer, Jacksonville Jaguars

What a difference a win, a week off, and a still-unfolding NFL scandal has done to take the focus off Urban Meyer, who has wisely laid low since his dumb night out in Columbus nearly a month ago.

Meyer seems to have gotten the message since owner Shad Khan put him on blast over Meyer’s flirty bar crawl. And despite a long list of coaching mistakes, the Jaguars are playing better than they did to start the season. They’ve had a legitimate chance to win three of their last four games and finally broke through and got that first W against the Dolphins in Week 6.

Unfortunately for Meyer, there aren’t many soft spots left on Jacksonville’s schedule. The Jags play the Texans and Jets in Weeks 15 and 16, so 1-5 could still easily become 3-14, which might seal Meyer’s fate.

Joe Judge, New York Giants

Joe Judge got the win he very much needed in Week 7, smoking the nosediving Carolina Panthers 25-3 for New York’s second victory of the year.

But much, much more will be needed to get him out of the danger zone. And that’s not out of the realm of possibility, particularly if the offense ever gets healthy. New York’s remaining schedule is the 13th-easiest in football, with winnable games against the Dolphins, Eagles (twice), Washington Football Team, Bears, and Chiefs still to come.

NFL coaches with work to do

Just because you’re not at imminent risk of getting fired doesn’t mean you’re in the clear, either. There are shades of grey regarding job security, and these coaches land somewhere in that range.

Robert Saleh, New York Jets

The Jets are a horrible team and their quarterback, Zach Wilson, wasn’t good even before suffering a knee injury that’s expected to cost him games. He’s still the club’s future (despite a dreadful QBR of 24.6 on the year). Nonetheless, the present is Mike White, who will get the start next week against the streaking Bengals.

Ron Rivera, Washington Football Team

Nothing has gone as planned for Ron Rivera in Year 2. He lost starting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick in the opener. Additionally, the defense, which was supposed to be elite, has been a mess. Rivera probably isn’t in any real danger — it would be the height of lunacy to can the guy brought in to clean up a diseased franchise at the very moment that franchise has come under federal inquiry — but with Dan Snyder, nothing can be ruled out.

Kyle Shanahan, San Francisco 49ers

The 49ers have lost four straight, Kyle Shananan’s QB vision has been a flop with injuries to both Jimmy Garoppolo and Trey Lance, and San Fran is already 4.5 games out of first in the NFC West. Is the bloom off the rose for Shanahan, who’s had just one winning season since he took over in 2017?

Dan Campbell, Detroit Lions

Would it be fair to fire Dan Campbell even if the Lions go 0-17? The Lions play hard each week despite a steep talent deficit. Lions owner Sheila Ford Hamp seems to understand the dynamic. She told the Detroit Free Press: “Everyone knew this was going to be a hard year. A rebuild, no one wanted to say that exactly, but we all kind of knew it was going to be.”

Adam Beasley is the National NFL Analyst and Insider for Pro Football Network. You can read all of Adam’s work here and give him a follow on Twitter @AdamHBeasley.


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