There is a lot that goes into figuring out if an NFL coach is truly on the proverbial hot seat, but it usually comes down to wins and losses. And when you look at the NFL standings, there are only four teams with one or fewer wins through the first five weeks of the season. Those teams are the winless Detroit Lions and Jacksonville Jaguars and the one-win New York Jets and New York Giants.
Of those four teams, only two head coaches are likely feeling some heat, Urban Meyer and Joe Judge. All besides Judge are first-year coaches with their teams, which gives Robert Saleh and Dan Campbell good cover, but Judge is in his second season and Meyer, well, he’s made multiple bad decisions that have put him and his team behind the eight-ball.
Urban Meyer, Jacksonville
Where do you start with Meyer? We won’t go into his last few seasons as a college coach, but we know those weren’t the best of times. His first big decisions in the NFL were at the NFL Draft. Trevor Lawrence was a given at No. 1, but they were blessed with another No. 1 pick which he used on running back Travis Etienne when they already had a more than capable back in James Robinson. The NFL has mostly learned that investing first-round capital in a running back is the wrong decision and then Etienne suffered a season-ending injury.
Next on the docket was giving Tim Tebow a shot over capable players. Everyone and their dog knew that Tebow had no business playing tight end in the NFL and it was easily proven once pthe preseason started and he made a fool of himself. Meyer should have saved him that embarrassment and given a player with a chance and a dream a shot.
Then, he was fined $100k and the team $200k for practice violations. Next, Jacksonville gets swamped by the Houston Texans in Week 1 and NFL reporter Mike Silver reports that Meyer has lost the locker room. Meyer then tells Broncos coach Vic Fangio that “every week it’s like playing Alabama in the NFL.”
in Week 4, the Jaguars are truly in a game and competing and Trevor Lawrence looks good on a Thursday night loss to the Bengals. But after the game, Meyer doesn’t return to Jacksonville with the team and later a video surfaces of him partying in an Ohio bar with a young woman who isn’t his wife. Does that matter to how he coaches? No. Should he have returned with his team and got started on game prep instead? Yes.
And Week 5 brings another loss, as the Jaguars are easily beaten by the Titans, who haven’t looked all that great this season. Yes, Meyer is a rookie head coach and he has every move he makes under the magnifying glass. But, he’s hurt himself more often than not and with a franchise quarterback under his wing, he’s got to make the right calls for Lawrence and the team’s development. Right now, he hasn’t been doing that. Nobody thought they’d win a bunch of games, but they aren’t tanking for the No. 1 draft pick anymore and winning is the only thing that will set this ship right.
Dan Campbell, Detroit Lions
Campbell is a hard-nosed tight end turned coach and it’s easy to dismiss him as walking football cliche, but he has his team playing hard and staying in games despite their record. They’ve lost two of their last three games 19-17 in heart breaking fashion. They don’t have the talent up and down the roster of the teams they’ve competed with, but they still are making it tough on them. It sure looks like he’ll help his team pull out some of those close wins this season. Plus, they signed Jared Goff as a placeholder and they need to lose games this year to have good draft picks.
Joe Judge, New York Giants
Judge is still just in his second season and his team has suffered plenty of injuries, both last year and this year. We’ve seen Daniel Jones play better than he has in the recent past and that’s a good sign. Is Judge the guy that will turn this team around? Probably not, but his seat is just warming at the moment.