It's right about that time that we need to take a serious look at our hot seat watch and consider removing some names. We've stated multiple times that it's much harder to get out of the hot seat than it is to get in it, and some of our coaches are nearing that point where they're probably safe, barring some otherworldly collapse and/or locker room breakdown.
That said, removing coaches will be a slow process, and any of them could find their way back onto the list. It's just time to narrow our focus. With that said, there is one coach in particular who deserves to be removed: Jim Schwartz of the Detroit Lions.
Schwartz did a tremendous job inheriting an 0-16 team and turning them into a playoff contender, if only for a season. He took on a poor roster and the team has added talent year-in and year-out. But the team imploded in 2012 and they didn't get off to such a great start this season. The Lions want to win now, and the argument that put Schwartz on the hot seat was simple:
The Lions are too talented to lose this much.
But as it stands, they're 5-3 and in a three-way tie for first place in the NFC North. They've got a huge matchup against the rival Chicago Bears on Sunday, and if they manage to pull it off, it'd be easy to see them keeping it up and marching into the playoffs.
It's possible that the Lions go out and lose every game from here on and finish 5-11, but for now, we're going to shift focus away from Schwartz, who has done a commendable job thus far. There are a couple other coaches who could find themselves off the hot seat with a few more wins, namely Jason Garrett of the Dallas Cowboys, Mike Munchak of the Tennessee Titans and Ron Rivera of the Carolna Panthers.
There are others still who are unlikely to lose their jobs due to past success, such as Tom Coughlin of the New York Giants and Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburgh Steelers, but they remain on the list due to just how poor their teams have been. The full list of coaches on our watch is 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).
After Week 9
Losers: Frazier, Allen, Schiano, Tomlin
We had some of our coaches playing one another this past week. Frazier's Vikings fought gamely, but they fell to Garrett and the Cowboys. Minnesota kept it close throughout, but ultimately fell when they surrendered a touchdown to Dwayne Harris with 35 seconds remaining.
It's best we don't spend too much time talking about Allen and the Raiders. They allowed backup quarterback Nick Foles to become starting quarterback Nick Foles, given that he threw seven touchdowns. SEVEN TOUCHDOWNS! Yeah ... not a strong game from Allen and his Raiders.
Tomlin and the Steelers managed to put up 31 points, but they were never at a point where they were going to win the game as New England put up 55 points of their own. And lastly, Schiano and his Buccaneers remained winless on the season ... but they actually played well, for one half. They led the Seahawks 24-14 heading into halftime, but eventually lost, 27-24.
Victorious: Rivera, Garrett, Munchak, Ryan
We've already talked about Garrett's Cowboys besting the Vikings. The Titans were able to get back to .500 on the season with a 28-21 victory over the St. Louis Rams, who are now 3-6 on the season. The Panthers were able to take advantage of the struggling Atlanta Falcons, and are now 5-3 on the season.
Ryan and his Jets were the most impressive on the week. They managed to down the New Orleans Saints, 26-20. The Saints were 6-1 coming into the matchup, but it seems that Rex may know his brother Rob well enough to take advantage of his defensive schemes. It was a big win, and it put the Jets up to 5-4.
Bye Week: Coughlin
Frazer and the Vikings were on Thursday Night Football this week, so we need to briefly touch on that. Minnesota got a pair of touchdowns out of Adrian Peterson, and managed to stop Washington at the 4-yard line with just seconds remaining to hold on for a 34-27 victory. It's the second of Minnesota's season, so that win will be reflected in the status below.
Munchak and the Titans have the best shot at earning a win this week, as they play host to the Jacksonville Jaguars. Jacksonville is winless and coming off a bye week after playing in London against the San Francisco 49ers. Losing to the Jaguars would be bad for any coach on this list, at this point.
As far as the toughest matchup goes, it's a tossup between the Cowboys and Panthers. Carolina faces the 6-2 San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park, while Garret and the 'Boys will take on Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints (6-2) at the Superdome. The Cowboys probably have it tougher, as there's not many worse things to face than Brees in a dome.
Monday Night Football will feature one of the teams who have a coach on our list (in the Buccaneers) and a team that could soon be on it (in the Miami Dolphins. Joe Philbin is quickly losing his grip on his Dolphins, despite a couple solid wins here and there. They should be able to stay off it for another week though, as Schiano and the Bucs aren't likely to pick up their first win here.
Two of our teams will face off as Allen and the Raiders travel to take on the Giants. At this point, the Raiders might actually be favored, were it not for total annihilation at the hands of the aforementioned Eagles and Foles in Week 9. New York has the better team and should win this one but when you're talking a 3-5 team and a 2-6 team, who can really say for sure?
Lastly, the Steelers have a winnable matchup against the 3-6 Buffalo Bills. The Bills are hoping to have rookie quarterback E.J. Manuel back in the lineup, which would certainly make things interesting, but it's a game the Steelers would be expected to win either way. Of course, they've lost at least three such games this season already.
Bye Week: Ryan
Most In Danger: Schiano (0-8)
In Danger: Frazier (2-7), Allen (3-5), Tomlin (2-6)
Less Danger: Coughlin (2-6), Garrett (5-4), Ryan (5-4), Munchak (4-4)
Least Danger: Rivera (5-3)