Coaches on the Hot Seat
Mike Zimmer Vikings
Everybody loves "coach Zim". He's a great guy, a great coach, but he hasn't taken the Vikings to the promise land in the seven years that he's been there. Year in and year out, the Vikings are just a tad bit better than mediocrity. If the Vikings don't make the playoffs this year, something will need to change. The pieces are there, but either Kirk Cousins will have to be replaced or Coach Zimmer will need to get the boot. Every owner needs to ask themselves if they want their team to be either playoff contenders or super bowl contenders. While the Vikings may always be in contention for the playoffs, that means they'll be ending every year with a loss. If Coach Zimmer can't make it to at least the second round of the playoffs this year, I would be expecting a big change in the Vikings coaching staff.
Jon Gruden Raiders
While Jon Gruden may be an offensive genius, he hasn't been able to get a handle on his defense since signing his 10-year, 100 million dollar contract back in 2018. In the three years since he's been the Raiders coach, his defensive rating has been 32nd, 24th, and 30th. While he might not be a defensive coach, it is still part of his responsibility. This year, there are no excuses. With the additions of: Yannick Ngakoue, Trevon Moehrig, Solomon Thomas, Quinton Jefferson, and Nick Kwiatkowski, the Raiders can't have the same defensive endeavors. While I think Derek Carr is an underrated signal caller, he has only taken his team to the playoffs once since being drafted in 2014. This is a make or break year for both Carr and Gruden.
Zac Taylor Bengals
While I might be overthinking this a little bit, I believe the Bengals owner, Mike Brown, has been scheming something ever since he draft Joe Burrow first overall in 2020. The Bengals also drafted Ja'Marr Chase fifth overall this year and signed tight end Thaddeus Moss. You know what all these players have in common? They were all apart of LSU's 2019 national championship team coached by offensive coordinator Joe Brady. Brady is now a top NFL coaching candidate and has the perfect opportunity to take over the Bengals team in 2022 if Zac Taylor doesn't deliver this year. Taylor is a good coach, not a great one, but Joe Brady has that greatness in him. If the Bengals don't have a winning record this year, he could be on his way out.
Matt Nagy Bears
Matt Nagy is a great offensive signal caller who has taken the Bears to the playoffs twice in the past three season. With that being said, they've gone home on first round exits both times and there is a certain toxicity in the Bears locker room. No one likes losing, but when the Bears lose games, it seems like there is always a problem in the locker room. I think Nagy is a really good coach, but if he doesn't click with Justin Fields or limits him as a quarterback, Nagy could be gone in the middle of the season. I'm hoping the Bears utilize Fields to the best of his ability and he opens Nagy's playbook up. With Andy Dalton and Nick Foles in the quarterback room, Fields has an amazing opportunity to learn from experienced veterans. If Fields comes out slinging it, this could be just the start of Nagy's reign in Chicago, if not he could be on his way out.
Vic Fangio Broncos
The past three years, the Broncos have been the biggest "what if" team in the NFL. There is so much talent on Denver's roster, but it's always "what if so and so was their quarterback" or "what if so and so stayed healthy". With Courtland Sutton returning, Jerry Jeudy entering his second year, a top notch running back duo, Von Miller coming back, and a swarming defense, there are zero excuses for the Broncos. Vic Fangio also hasn't been able to figure out the quarterback situation since he's been there. With the Chargers on the up and up and the Chiefs being the Chiefs, the Broncos can't be the laughing stock of the AFC West. In today's NFL, I feel like defensive coaches have shorter leashes, but the Broncos have had back to back losing seasons, and if they have a third straight year under .500, then Fangio won't be their head coach in 2022.