As NFL training camps get rolling and preseason games start, regular season games are just a month away. All 32 teams start with hope, some more than others, of a championship season. But the reality is, about a quarter of the league will have a new head coach at this time next year.
Ten NFL teams have different head coaches in 2022 than they had in 2021. Two teams made in-season changes last year, both involving off-the-field issues as Urban Meyer was fired in Jacksonville in December and Jon Gruden resigned in Las Vegas in October.
In the off-season, the Chicago Bears, Denver Broncos, Houston Texans, Miami Dolphins, Minnesota Vikings, New Orleans Saints, New York Giants, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers all made changes for one reason or another.
So who are the most likely teams to fire their coaches this season? Here are the odds and a look at three in more detail.
- Matt Rhule, Carolina +300
- Mike McCarthy, Dallas +500
- Pete Carroll, Seattle +600
- Frank Reich, Indianapolis +700
- Ron Rivera, Washington +800
- Kevin Stefanski, Cleveland and Dan Campbell, Detroit +1000
Rhule Most Likely to Be Fired
It is never fun landing on a “most likely to be fired” list and even less fun to be at the top of said list. But that is where Matt Rhule of Carolina finds himself after two seasons with a 10-23 record.
He has faced awful luck with star running back Christian McCaffrey, unable to stay healthy but has also employed underwhelming quarterbacks in Teddy Bridgewater and Sam Darnold.
This summer Rhule and the Panthers added embattled Baker Mayfield to the quarterback battle. Mayfield and Darnold are both former top picks, and Rhule will need one of them to pan out quickly to save his job. Carolina has started each of the last two seasons at 3-2 but have finished 1-7 over the last eight in both years.
Owner David Tepper took over in the 2018 season and fired Ron Rivera after 28 games. He also fired his first-year MLS coach this May after just 14 games, so patience is not a virtue that Rhule can count on.
Last Chance for McCarthy
Speaking of owners without patience, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones enters the third season with Mike McCarthy at the helm. After a horrible 2020 season that saw quarterback Dak Prescott injured, Dallas bounced back to win the NFC East last year. However, they lost the first playoff game at home to San Francisco.
McCarthy is 18-16, including the playoff loss, and the Cowboys will be without departed wideout Amari Cooper and defensive star Randy Gregory this season. They have also seen the Philadelphia Eagles get better through trades, a strong draft, and free agency.
Dallas is the favorite to win the NFC East, but just winning the division isn’t enough for Jones. Ask Jason Garrett, who was fired after making the playoffs in three of six seasons and going 85-67.
A 2-3 playoff record ended Garrett’s run, and anything less than an NFC Championship season may do in McCarthy in 2022.
Commanders in Disarray
What a wild summer for the Washington Commanders. An owner in trouble with the league and the government, one defensive coach making disparaging comments on social media, and another fired in August, and on the field, a new quarterback.
None of that is easy to navigate, especially with Ron Rivera already posting a 14-19 record in two seasons. Yes, he made the playoffs in the bizarre 2021 season and had Tampa Bay on the ropes, but remember, Washington was 7-9 that season. They were 7-10 in 2021, and another losing record may cost Rivera his job.
Carson Wentz is the new quarterback, but he struggled down the stretch as Indianapolis missed the playoffs last year. He or Taylor Heinicke will play behind a subpar offensive line with Antonio Gibson as running back.
Chase Young is working his way back from injury, and the Commanders defense ranked in the bottom five in passing defense last year.
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Barry Devoe can regularly be found rocking the sticks on League of Legends, Rocket League, and CS:GO, but he loves his traditional sports as well. Barry is a Chicago sports fan through and through, but his knowledge of the game is second-to-none. When he's not watching or playing, he works as a baseball umpire and football referee.