Through 14 weeks in the NFL we've seen three head coaches fired already -- Jack Del Rio with the Jacksonville Jaguars two weeks ago and Todd Haley with the Kansas City Chiefs this week as well as Tony Sparano with the Miami Dolphins.
The regular season ends on January 1, so by the 2nd we should be hearing of a few more teams firing their head coach. Here are five names we could hear on that day:
1. Norv Turner, San Diego Chargers: The Chargers are 6-7 right now and mathematically have a shot at the playoffs. Realistically, though, they're not headed to the postseason and Turner is almost assuredly going to be fired if they don't. The San Diego Union-Tribune has already reported that, if the Chargers don't go to the playoffs, Turner (and GM A.J. Smith) will be gone. So we'll wait this one out, but expect Turner to be jettisoned if/when the Chargers are eliminated from playoff contention.
2. Jim Caldwell, Indianapolis Colts: It doesn't appear the Colts will fire him before the end of the season but there's plenty of talk that he'll be on the chopping block after the final regular season game on January 1. In fact, even wholesale changes in Indy are an option assuming they finish winless. When you go 0-16, it's awfully hard to justify hanging onto the head coach. Caldwell's Colts have been miserable with no real identify and it's hard to figure out exactly what he does well, or why he earned the job (other than vaguely attributing it to "continuity", whatever that means). The smart money right now is on the Colts moving on from Caldwell at the end of the season.
3. Steve Spagnuolo, St. Louis Rams: What a strange season in St. Louis. The Rams have their quarterback and after going from one win in 2009 to seven wins in 2010, there were expectations placed on the Rams. Unfortunately for Spagnuolo, they've falled well short of those expectations. The Rams are one of the worst teams in the NFL and this is Spags' third year -- that's not a good combination. The third year of a new regime is when the team should be making strides forward, not backward. I would be very, very surprised if Spagnuolo survived after this year.
4. Raheem Morris, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: My how quickly things change in the NFL. At the beginning of this season, Morris and the Bucs were considered young, up-and-comers ready to take the next step. Now? They've lost seven in a row and Morris, a coach of the year candidate last year, is on the hot seat. Locally, there's already talk of Morris and the Bucs parting ways after the season. This is going to be one of the more interesting jobs to watch after the season because I can see the argument for and against Morris. It's hard to predict which way he'll go.
5. Pat Shurmur, Cleveland Browns: No, I don't think they're going to move away from him after one season. But he should be on the hot seat entering 2012. The Browns are 4-9 and don't seem to do anything particularly well so that's reason enough to eye Shurmur's status as the Browns head coach. Add in that Shurmur appeared to bungle the decision to send Colt McCoy back into the game with a concussion and the perception of Shurmur doesn't look great. Again, I think he's safe but his seat should be getting warm.