This weekly look at NFL head coaches on the hot seat quickly turned into a "talk about bad teams while we guess how long it takes the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to fire Greg Schiano" watch. That's a bit too long to fit into a headline, but we're not denying that's how it's been ... and that's how it's going to remain.
We're going to talk about Schiano even more because, miraculously, the man has won some football games. Perhaps he's an avid reader of SB Nation and these articles gave him the kick in the rear he needed. Perhaps that last sentence was a poor attempt at humor. Perhaps the Buccaneers are just getting lucky.
Whatever the reason, the Buccaneers have won two consecutive games. Six more wins and they'll even make it to .500 on the season! Obviously, that's not going to happen, but we do have to pose the question: is there anything Schiano can do to save his job, or is it a foregone conclusion that he's out the door come the end of the season (or even sooner)?
My take is this: there has to be a strong emotional response from the team going forward. The response has to coincide with wins, and it has to be clear that Schiano actually has his guys on track and buying into his message. Given the troubles with Josh Freeman and the other issues in the locker room earlier in the season, that seems like a tall order.
Even if the Buccaneers win a few more games, if Schiano has any more issues on the locker room side, he's probably gone.
There's a lot to cover this week. For reference, here's last week's watch and the full list of coaches on said watch can be found below:
Tom Coughlin (New York Giants), Mike Tomlin (Pittsburgh Steelers), Rex Ryan (New York Jets), Jason Garrett (Dallas Cowboys), Dennis Allen (Oakland Raiders), Mike Munchak (Tennessee Titans), Greg Schiano (Tampa Bay Buccaneers), Leslie Frazier (Minnesota Vikings) and Ron Rivera (Carolina Panthers).
We've made it to Week 12 without any head coach firings just yet. In fact, we've seen one coach exit this list -- Jim Schwartz of the Detroit Lions. It's probably about time another team find their way off the list as well: the Carolina Panthers. Ron Rivera still has some issues on the offensive side of the ball, but his defense has come together, as evidenced by the six-game winning streak.
There were always a couple coaches on our list unlikely to get fired, such as Mike Tomlin in Pittsburgh or Tom Coughlin in New York. They've done too much and their falls sudden ... they've just been impressively bad this season. Still, a playoff appearance isn't needed to save either job.
Then there's a few coaches who might be on the chopping block who aren't yet on our list. That list includes Mike Shannahan of the Washington Redskins, Joe Philbin of the Miami Dolphins and Gary Kubiak of the Houston Texans.
Kubiak's Texans fell to the Oakland Raiders in Week 11, and are 2-8 on the season. Philbin might not be in too much danger, unless the front office decides to hit the big red button as a response to all of the issues in the locker room. They also might look to hire an HR department at some point to catch up with the rest of the NFL. Shannahan is leading the Redskins nowhere fast and it's clear the ownership believes in Robert Griffin III, and believes the team should be winning with him under center.
We're nearing a point where a narrowing of focus might be appropriate. We'll watch one more week, and then the hot seat watch will probably see many changes heading into Week 13.
After Week 11
Losers: Munchak, Ryan, Frazier
The Titans came close to downing the Indianapolis Colts on Thursday Night Football but ultimately collapsed in the second half, and fell short of a late comeback. Ryan and the Jets put up a very poor performance against the Buffalo Bills, losing 37-14. The Jets' ownership really wants the team to win those divisional games.
Minnesota had the toughest outing of the week against the Seattle Seahawks on the road. Frazier and the Vikings fell, as expected, 41-20. They're just a mess right now without any kind of starting quarterback. Frazier may be in the most danger outside of Schiano at this point.
Victorious: Tomlin, Schiano, Allen, Coughlin, Rivera
The most impressive win of the week came when the Panthers kept their streak going by besting the New England Patriots on Monday Night Football. Of course, there was a lot of controversy surrounding a late-game call, but a win is a win. As we discussed above, Rivera should be off this list soon. We also already talked about Schiano picking up his second consecutive win of the season.
Then, we also talked about the team Allen's Raiders beat, the Texans. Oakland might be a more dangerous team with Matt McGloin starting at quarterback. Giving opponents fewer turnovers than Pryor puts the Raiders in a much better position. Coughlin and Tomlin are close to saving their jobs after wins over the Packers and Lions, respectively, in Week 11. Neither coach, as noted above, needs a playoff appearance to save their job.
There are definitely some winnable matches for coaches on the list this week. Tomlin and the Steelers face the Cleveland Browns in what should be a hotly contested divisional matchup. Minnesota faces what is usually a tough matchup in the Green Bay Packers, but they're without Aaron Rodger this week.
The Panthers have a winnable game against the Miami Dolphins. Ryan and the Jets should be able to take down the Baltimore Ravens, who are slumping after winning the Super Bowl. Allen and the Raiders will take on Munchak and the Titans, while Coughlin and the Giants will take on Garrett and the Cowboys, who are coming back from a bye week.
Schiano and the Buccaneers may have the hardest time of those on the list this week, taking on the Detroit Lions. The Lions have been very good this season, and the Buccaneers have been ... the opposite of that.
Most in danger: Schiano (2-8)
In danger: Frazier (2-8), Ryan (5-5), Allen (4-6), Garrett (5-5)
Less danger: Tomlin (4-6), Coughlin (4-6), Munchak (4-6)
Least danger (practically off the list): Rivera (7-3)