NFL Coaching Hot Seat: Marvin Lewis, Todd Bowles Under Pressure After Week 13 Losses
On Sunday, we saw the Packers relieve Mike McCarthy of his head coaching position after a 30–27 loss to the Cardinals, and he joins Hue Jackson as guys who will be looking for jobs this offseason. Who else is on the hot seat after Week 13?
Warm: John Harbaugh
Others: Doug Marrone, Steve Wilks, Jason Garrett
During the Ravens’ Week 10 bye, Harbaugh belonged squarely on the hot seat. But since then the Ravens have rattled off three straight wins with Lamar Jackson under center and Joe Flacco on the bench, cooling the fire beneath Harbaugh. After a 26–16 win over the Falcons yesterday, the Ravens are 7–5 and currently own a wild card spot, with tough road games against the Chiefs and Chargers but winnable home games against the Bucs and Browns still on the schedule. Nine wins may get them into the playoffs, and getting back to the postseason might be enough for Harbaugh to earn his 12th year in Baltimore. He needs to demonstrate to future GM Eric DeCosta that he’s the guy who can properly coach Jackson into the future with the franchise. Like the other three coaches in this group (but especially Garrett's 7–5 Cowboys), it’s all about how the team finishes.
Heating Up: Marvin Lewis
Others: Dirk Koetter, Vance Joseph
The other two coaches on this tier won Sunday, so we’ll highlight the loser. The pressure is mounting on Marvin Lewis, the second-longest tenured head coach in the league, as Cincinnati is hurdling towards missing the playoffs for a third straight year. The Bengals were trending in this direction even before Andy Dalton went on season-ending IR with a thumb injury, as the team went from 4–1 atop the AFC North to 5–7 with a road trip to the Chargers next week. NFL Network reported Sunday morning that Lewis in fact signed a one-year contract with a team option for 2019 (and not the two-year deal that was reportedly at the beginning of ’18). We are well aware that Mike Brown doesn’t want to pay a coach to not coach, and it seems this would be his way of pulling the ripcord. It may be time for a complete overhaul in Cincinnati.
On Fire: Todd Bowles
Others: Gregg Williams*, Joe Philbin*
Mike McCarthy led this section before news broke Sunday night that he was out in Green Bay. The Packers were all but out of playoff contention and headed for consecutive losing seasons for the first time since Don Majkowski and Mike Tomcazk led the team in passing. Next up is Todd Bowles, who will almost definitely not have a job in New York in 2019. (*The interim coaches are on the hot seat here because it’s all but certain they won’t be retained as the permanent head coach, by the way.) Last month I wrote the Jets should fire Bowles after their embarrassing home loss to Buffalo with a quarterback the Bills had signed 12 days earlier. Though I understand the Jets will ride out this season with Bowles, the point still stands. The team has gotten worse since Bowles’s first season and it’s difficult to see rookie Sam Darnold working out the kinks with a defensive-minded coach at the helm. Then there was Sunday’s game against Tennessee where the Jets led 22–19 with less than two minutes remaining and had the Titans at their own 14-yard-line. A defensive hold offset an offensive holding, illegal use of hands killed a Marcus Mariota sack and a facemask added 15 yards to a long Mariota scramble. Those end-game issues are all about discipline, and that falls on the head coach.