Thus far we've spent a great deal of time talking about Rex Ryan of the New York Jets and whether he's the most likely head coach to be out of a job either this season or at the end of the season. We've also discussed Jeff Fisher of the St. Louis Rams and whether he's entitled to a free pass this season due to Sam Bradford's injury.
The answers to those questions are "yes" and "no," respectively. Ryan is absolutely in the hottest seat among NFL head coaches, and many expected him to be gone a season ago. Then again, Ryan only has to look to Jason Garrett of the Dallas Cowboys, who was expected to be sacked a long time ago, for inspiration. Garrett's Cowboys are now doing well this season and are among the league's top teams.
Fisher should be questioned for sticking with Bradford in the first place. We've talked the most about Ryan and Fisher because, truthfully, those guys are the two most in danger and there are not a whole lot of coaches in danger of getting sacked this season. The past couple seasons, that number has been pretty high. Not so this year.
Let's take a look at the hot seat below:
The Hot Seat
Probably Safe, But Not Doing So Great
Gus Bradley, Jacksonville Jaguars (1-6)
Jason Garrett, Dallas Cowboys (6-1)
We've already talked about Ryan and Fisher to an extent, but we'll take a quick look at how they performed in Week 7. When we got around to posting our hot seat watch, the Jets had already wrapped up a close game against the New England Patriots on Thursday, but ultimately lost and fell to 1-6 on the season. Winning against the rival Patriots would have been huge but they fell short.
St. Louis actually came out of Week 7 with a win, and it was a big one. The Rams took down the Seattle Seahawks, 28-26, holding off a late comeback attempt by their NFC West rivals. St. Louis is a purpose-built team. They're built to take down the Seahawks and the San Francisco 49ers and though they failed to best the latter, beating the Seahawks is a big deal and will be considered by the ownership when they evaluate Fisher's job status.
Mike Smith of the Atlanta Falcons has repeatedly been in the "probably safe" column in these posts, but at this point, it's seeming more and more likely that he's not safe. The Falcons are simply bad, with a ton of talent on both sides of the ball, and somebody has to be accountable. Multiple winning seasons is great, but the Falcons have been laughably bad this season and last. The Baltimore Ravens easily took them down in Week 7, winning 29-7.
Doug Marrone and the Buffalo Bills are doing pretty well this season, and Marrone is in his first year as a head coach. But there's a new ownership group, so Marrone is definitely auditioning for his job. The new ownership can say that Marrone will get more time or what have you, but those are just words and the plan can quickly change. Fortunately, the Bills took down the Minnesota Vikings thanks to a last-second touchdown in Week 7.
We're also talking about Garrett and the Cowboys now. There were very, very few people who thought that Garrett had any chance to keep his job this past offseason, but he did and now it's paying off for Dallas. But at 6-1, there's still every opportunity for the Cowboys to lose enough games for Garrett to get sent packing. That doesn't seem likely, but the Cowboys absolutely can't collapse.
The Rams have a tough but winnable game against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday. Arrowhead is a tough place to play, but the Rams have looked like they're turning things around in recent weeks. Smith and the Falcons have a tough matchup with the 5-2 Detroit Lions in London. Detroit has been great this season, and all signs point to the Falcons falling short once again unless they can get the offense working.
Marrone and Ryan will face off as divisional rivals on Sunday. The Jets are the home team and Ryan obviously has a lot more urgency at this point, but the Bills are favored to win it. Gus Bradley and the Jacksonville Jaguars will likely get some more time to sort things out, and coming off their first win of the season, they've got a winnable matchup against the Miami Dolphins.
Then there's the Cowboys, who again are in great shape. Dallas will take on Washington in primetime on Monday Night Football. Washington is 2-5 and the Cowboys are expected to win the game.