By Steve Silverman
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The NFL has been a win-now business for decades.
But it is written in bold type this year.
There’s a chance that as many as 14 NFL coaches could be in trouble as the second half of the season begins for some teams and the first half ends for others.
Here are the coaches that are in the most critical position at this point in the year.
Andy Reid, Philadelphia – It seems that five of the NFC’s postseason spots are already spoken for and the Eagles do not have one of them. If they are going to get the sixth, they are going to have to rebound from their turnover-laden start. The heat was on the Eagles and Reid before the start of the season. On paper, they should be the Giants’ biggest challenger in the NFC East. But when Michael Vick can’t hold on to the ball and it seems that the 2012 season has picked up where the 2011 season left off, it’s too much for owner Jeffrey Lurie to take. The Eagles will not only have to make the playoffs, they will have to win a game if Reid is going to hang on to his job.
Marvin Lewis, Cincinnati – The Bengals have loads of talent and should be good enough to challenge Pittsburgh and Baltimore in the AFC North. However, after getting off to a solid 3-1 start the Bengals have lost three in a row and confidence in the Cincinnati locker room is at a low point. Lewis has been around 10 years in Cincinnati and is neither imaginative nor inspiring. He doesn’t seem to have the ability to turn a sinking situation around.
Rex Ryan, N.Y. Jets – His players like him and play hard for him and owner Woody Johnson continues to support Ryan, but what happens if the Jets can’t take advantage of a favorable second-half schedule? It’s going to be hard to justify keeping him around if the Jets can’t play consistently nasty defense and at least get the offense to function at a workable level. They will be challenged by the Seahawks and Patriots in the coming weeks, but they should have a good chance to win the rest of their games. If they don’t, it can be quite warm for Ryan.
Norv Turner, San Diego – The sky is constantly falling in around Turner. When it comes to leadership, few in San Diego believe he is championship timber. If he doesn’t make the playoffs in a division that includes two weak teams like the Chiefs and Raiders, there’s no chance he will retain his job. He’s probably the first coach to get canned this year.
Ron Rivera, Carolina – A year ago, Rivera and the Panthers seemed to be climbing in the NFL. However, Cam Newton has taken a step or two backwards in his second year and Rivera can’t seem to get him back on track. While that’s the responsibility of offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski, Carolina owner Jerry Richardson is an impatient man who will put the blame on his head coach.
Jason Garrett, Dallas – When you work for Jerry Jones, the pressure is always going to be high. The Cowboys have been in most games this year and they still have a chance to rescue their season. However, it seems that the combination of Garrett and quarterback Tony Romo will not get the money when it is on the table. Whether it’s because of the finger of Dez Bryant landing on the end line as it did against the Giants in Week Eight or a much more egregious gaffe, something always goes wrong.
Chan Gailey, Buffalo – This seemed to be a long-shot at best when the Bills hired Gailey, but they looked like they could challenge for a playoff spot when they brought in Mario Williams to upgrade the pass rush. Unfortunately for Gailey and defensive coordinator Dave Wannstedt, it has not worked out. The Bills can’t stop anyone when it matters and Gailey is not the coach to turn this around.
Romeo Crennel, Kansas City – The Chiefs appear to be the most disorganized, poorly functioning team in the league. Kansas City made the mistake of thinking Crennel was the right man for the job because the Chiefs’ players picked up their intensity when Crennel became the interim coach at the end of last season. That has obviously meant little as the Chiefs have not had the lead in any game this season. Their one victory came as the game-winning field goal was kicked in overtime.
Sean Payton, New Orleans – Payton is not on the firing line as he sits out this season because of the Bountygate scandal. The Saints need him badly. However, he signed an extension at the end of last season and the NFL has ruled that the extension was not valid. That will make him a coaching free agent at the end of the season. If Jerry Jones comes calling, Payton may very well listen.
Jim Schwartz, Detroit – After making the playoffs last season, the Lions were expected to make a big push for the NFC North title. Schwartz’s team lacks discipline, and the Lions rarely play a complete game for 60 minutes. The lack of consistency is going to fall on his head and if Detroit does not rebound in the second half of the season, it’s going to be a struggle for him to keep his job.
Which NFL coach is most likely to get the boot? Sound off below…