We are now three days into NFL Free Agency and have seen a ton of moves so far. But there is always that one question: which coaches should be concerned for their job? In this article, I will give my opinions on which coaches I feel are in the hot seat in the AFC.
1. Zac Taylor – Cincinnati Bengals
Last year was a rocky start to Zac Taylor’s head coaching career to put it lightly, finishing last in the AFC North Division with an abysmal 2-14 record. Taylor has plenty of room for improvement this upcoming season with the orange and black. With many experts expecting the Bengals to pick QB Joe Burrow with the first overall draft pick this year, we will be looking to see if he can develop this young QB talent. Many credit Taylor with developing a young Ryan Tannehill in Miami. In all honesty, I don’t think anybody is expecting a major turnaround in this case with a Bengals playoff berth this season seemingly out of the picture. However, we will need to see some improvement very similar to the Arizona Cardinals last year with Kyler Murray and Kliff Kingsbury. Taylor, before being hired by the Bengals, was looked at as a rising star in the coaching ranks with a young offensive mind. The Bengals ended last year with the 30th-ranked scoring offense and were 26th in yards per game. With these stats in mind and the world watching your new franchise QB, all eyes will be on Zac Taylor this season.
2. Adam Gase – New York Jets
Many were surprised that Gase got the New York Jets’ head coaching job in the first place after going 23-25 through three seasons with the Dolphins. Gase was not the hottest coaching candidate on the market at the time. Regardless of that, he did get the job and last season the Jets went 7-9, which is an improvement from the prior three seasons. In my opinion, it was still a disappointment having signed Le’Veon Bell in the offseason and having Sam Darnold in his second year as your franchise QB, I expected more. With Darnold coming back mono-free this season, I think it’s fair to say we need him to take the next step very similar to Josh Allen in the same division he did last year. Even with him being an offensive coach for several teams so far under Gase, the Jets had the worst offence in yards per game and were 31st in scoring. With last year being his first year, and add a lack of receiving talent and an injured QB into the mix, I think he gets a pass for how bad that offence looked to a point. I can only imagine though that the exception is a playoff berth this season, or Adam Gase may be on the way out.
3. Bill O’Brien – Houston Texans
Bill O’Brien is probably the most criticized coach/GM in the league right now after the fallout of the lopsided DeAndre Hopkins trade. He is the most tenured coach on this list and has been to the playoffs four of his six seasons, but only posted a record of 2-4 in those games. O’Brien is now in the category of coaches who are unable to win the big game and to make deep playoff runs. With DeShaun Watson still on his rookie contract, much like Patrick Mahomes in Kansas City, their window to win a championship is closing fast. And now that O’Brien has taken over the role of coach and general manager, I think he holds the most responsibility to make sure the Houston Texans take that next step. Now, I do not think that he will lose his job after this season, however I do think he’s under the most pressure to win in this division.
4. Anthony Lynn – Los Angeles Chargers
It’s been an up-and-down three years for Lynn and the Chargers. While showing promise with a playoff run in 2018, it turned into a disaster last season, going 5-11 and ending up in last place in the AFC West. Now with Phillip Rivers going to the Colts, Lynn has some tough decisions ahead, such as who is going to be the team’s starting quarterback and what to do with an often injured Melvin Gordon. On the bright side, they do have a high draft pick, offensive weapons to surround a young QB with, plus this team is just a year removed from an AFC Championship appearance. Unfortunately, he has the defending Super Bowl Champions in the same division. I don’t think it’s time for a full rebuild for the Chargers, but I do think Lynn will be on the way out with another five-win season.
Featured photo courtesy of David Kohl, USA Today Sports
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