By Steve Silverman
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Embarrassment is the least of the factors that should concern eight head coaches who are doing the worst jobs in the NFL.
Coaches have to lead and prepare their teams, and they must deliver victories for their owners and contend with questions and issues brought forth by the media and public.
It is the most difficult of jobs, and when an NFL coach fails to deliver, his position may be in jeopardy no matter how many years are left on his contract.
Here’s a look at the coaches who are having the worst years in 2017 (rookie head coaches not included):
8. John Harbaugh, Baltimore Ravens (4-5)
The Ravens won their first two games, but they have lost five of seven games since and do not look like a playoff team. Their offense has been abominable, and it’s fair to wonder what quarterback Joe Flacco has left at this point.
However, it’s not all on the QB, as the Ravens have not been to the playoffs since the 2014 season, and a third straight year without a postseason appearance may not be healthy for Harbaugh’s future employment in Baltimore.
He is a Super Bowl-winning coach, but the NFL is a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately business, and owner Steve Bisciotti and general manager Ozzie Newsome may have had enough if the Ravens continue to lose more than they win.
Prediction: Look for Harbaugh to get fired on Black Monday if the Ravens fail to make the playoffs.
7. Dan Quinn, Atlanta Falcons (4-4)
It was easy to predict an inconsistent season for the Falcons during the summer since they lost the Super Bowl and the dreaded hangover seemed likely. Quinn told anybody who would listen that he thought his players would use the Super Bowl LI loss to the Patriots as motivation and it would not have any other impact.
That has not been the case, as the Falcons have lost four of five games after a 3-0 start. Two of the losses were home games to the Bills and Dolphins, and three of the victories were nailbiters over the Bears, Lions and Jets.
It can be argued that the only good game the Falcons have played was a 34-23 win over the Green Bay Packers in Week 2.
Self-doubt has invaded the team, and that’s on Quinn.
Prediction: He will not get fired, even if the Falcons fail to make the playoffs.
6. Jim Caldwell, Detroit Lions (4-4)
The NFC North should be there for the taking because the Vikings have QB issues while the Packers lost Aaron Rodgers to injury.
The Lions got off to a 3-1 start and were inches away from 4-0, but an overturned touchdown call kept them from beating the Falcons in Week 3.
Detroit then lost three games in a row until they beat the Rodgers-less Packers on Monday night. The Lions don’t have a running game, and Caldwell has not been able to figure out this issue.
The schedule is fairly easy in the second half of the season. The Lions need to win games and stop looking clueless.
Prediction: Even if they don’t make the playoffs, Caldwell just received a contract extension. The Lions won’t fire him.
5. Hue Jackson, Cleveland Browns (0-8)
It’s just another disastrous season for the Browns, and there are problems up and down the organization.
The recent botching of a trade for Cincinnati backup QB A.J. McCarron is symptomatic of the lack of know-how throughout the organization. The winless Browns simply don’t have enough ability to play 60 minutes of good football, and after a 1-15 season in 2016, they may have a difficult time bettering that mark this year.
Jackson is not a good coach, but he couldn’t do it alone. Management is incompetent, and his players are generally awful, with few exceptions.
Prediction: Jackson will serve as the scapegoat and get fired at the end of the season.
4. Chuck Pagano, Indianapolis Colts (3-6)
The Colts are 3-6 after beating the Houston Texans (without Deshaun Watson) 20-14 on Sunday. Their other victories were three-point triumphs over the Browns and 49ers, the league’s two winless teams.
The Colts may have less talent than any team in the league, and they will not have Andrew Luck under center at any point in the season.
Pagano is a great guy and a wonderful salesman, and he has been able to hold onto his job in previous seasons when other head coaches would have been tossed. However, he can’t work magic with this limited team.
Prediction: Owner Jim Irsay will fire Pagano at the end of the season.
3. Marvin Lewis, Cincinnati Bengals (3-5)
Lewis was able to bring the Bengals back to respectability after he was hired in 2003, but the bottom line is that Cincinnati has never won a playoff game under his leadership.
The Bengals have a 3-5 record, and they are almost certainly going to miss the playoffs for a second straight year. The lack of discipline on the team has caused problems for years, and Lewis has never been able to make the proper adjustments in this area.
Prediction: The players don’t appear to be listening or getting better. In the last year of his contract, Lewis almost certainly will not return to the Bengals in 2018.
2. Dirk Koetter, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-6)
The Bucs were expected to be in contention for the NFC South title and make the playoffs this year.
Tampa Bay looked like one of the most talented offensive teams in the league with quarterback Jameis Winston, running back Doug Martin and wide receivers Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson, but the Buccaneers are lukewarm in that area. They rank third in passing yards per game, but that is not translating into points.
The defense has talent but is getting pushed around on a weekly basis. Koetter can come up with solutions, but none of the adjustments he makes have worked. The frustration is boiling over in games.
Prediction: Evans got suspended for sticking up for Winston in a fight the quarterback started Sunday against the Saints. That is not a good sign for the head coach, who will get fired at the end of the season.
1. Ben McAdoo, New York Giants (1-7)
It looks like McAdoo was the beneficiary of some tremendous football luck a year ago after he replaced Tom Coughlin. The Giants, who went 11-5 and reached the playoffs, saw tremendous improvement in their defense after signing three strong free agents, and strong safety Landon Collins became one of the best at his position in the league.
Additionally, the Giants learned how to finish games, something they could not do in 2015.
However, instead of building off that record and challenging the Eagles and Cowboys for the division title, the Giants have appeared disinterested most weeks after suffering key injury losses at wide receiver.
It was clear that McAdoo ran a much more relaxed team than Coughlin, and the lack of discipline is appalling.
Prediction: General manager Jerry Reese has not done a good job during his tenure with Big Blue and probably deserves to be fired. So does McAdoo, who has turned a playoff team into a weak-willed loser.
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