Hue Jackson’s position on an NFL coaching hot seat is no surprise. Nothing was expected of the Cleveland Browns anyway.

Ben McAdoo’s spot on a similarly burning seat is stunning because plenty was projected for the New York Giants.

Those are the two most prominent cases of a coach in trouble as the NFL heads toward its stretch drive.

Jackson and McAdoo are not the only ones without job security. Add in Chuck Pagano in Indianapolis, John Fox in Chicago, Marvin Lewis in Cincinnati and Dirk Koetter in Tampa Bay.

And Jim Caldwell in Detroit and Todd Bowles with the Jets aren’t completely safe.

Several betting outlets even have odds on which coach will go first.

As all of them would say – and some of them have – “it’s our job to coach, not to worry about those things.”

That, of course, doesn’t mean they aren’t somewhat nervous.


This one is most obvious, but Jackson doesn’t seem to have lost his players’ faith. Upper management is another story.

Jackson appears at odds with Cleveland’s analytics-reliant front office. He can only coach the talent he’s given, and the skill level might not win the Big Ten.

Give him credit for this: Except for John McKay, who went 0-25 with a ragtag bunch of expansion Buccaneers in the 1970s, Jackson has the worst 25-game span in NFL history at 1-24, but he consistently takes the blame for what goes wrong.


This one is confounding.

New York didn’t make the playoffs in each of the four seasons Tom Coughlin coached after winning his second NFL title by beating the Patriots in the 2012 Super Bowl. When Coughlin was forced out, the Giants elevated offensive coordinator McAdoo, who was coveted by other clubs.

He guided the Giants to an 11-5 record and playoff berth in 2016 with a big-play defense.

That defense has crumbled, the offense has been inept – it’s fair to blame injuries to three key receivers, including Odell Beckham Jr., for some deficiencies – and the locker room is a mess. McAdoo suspended both starting cornerbacks for a game for breaking team rules, and what some characterize as rumblings feel like earthquakes.


When you lose your outstanding quarterback to a lengthy injury, as Pagano has with Andrew Luck, you probably are doomed. That Luck’s surgery was at the start of 2017 and he never got onto the field this season is beyond Pagano’s control, but the coach’s Plan B has been a bust.

The Colts haven’t been the same since losing the AFC title game in the 2014 season. Yeah, the “Deflategate” game.


Like Jackson and Pagano, Lewis is a nice man who spent lots of time working his way through the ranks. He’s also the best coach Cincinnati has had since founder and Hall of Famer Paul Brown from 1968-75.

But the time perhaps has come for the second-longest tenured NFL coach to move on.

The Bengals have gone to the playoffs seven times under Lewis. They’ve left the postseason after one game all seven times.

Their offense is as abysmal as the front office, which allowed top linemen Andrew Whitworth and Kevin Zeitler to walk in free agency. Quarterback Andy Dalton has regressed. Perhaps most damning: The Bengals are downright dull.


Fox guided the Panthers and Broncos to Super Bowl appearances (and losses). The Bears are about as close to a Super Bowl as Chicago is to Mars.

Fans are ticked that Adam Gase departed for Miami before last season, ending any hopes he would take over for Fox at some juncture. The Bears haven’t been relevant since Lovie Smith was in charge, and he got fired in 2012 with an 84-66 record and two NFC title-game appearances.

The main reason Fox isn’t higher on this list is these Bears have a foundation. The running game with Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen is outstanding. They believe they have their franchise quarterback in second overall draft choice Mitchell Trubisky. The defense has some young playmakers.

None of which means Fox will be around in 2018.


Tampa Bay rivals the Giants in some ways as a flop. The NFC South was supposed to be a powerhouse, with the Bucs in the mix. It has been the league’s best division, but with the Bucs mired at the bottom.

History is not on Koetter’s side. The past two coaches (Greg Schiano and Lovie Smith) only got two years. The coach before that (Raheem Morris) got three. The Bucs haven’t made the playoffs since 2007 and haven’t won a postseason game since the 2002 team won the Super Bowl.