Every NFL team now has a head coach entering the 2023 offseason.
Sean Payton (Denver Broncos), DeMeco Ryans (Houston Texans), Frank Reich (Carolina Panthers), Jonathan Gannon (Arizona Cardinals) and Shane Steichen (Indianapolis Colts) have filled in the vacancies and are hoping for a bright future ahead after inking long-term contracts.
But that won’t be the case for others around the league.
Let’s take an early look at five NFL head coaches who could be on the hot seat in 2023:
Brandon Staley, Los Angeles Chargers
It’s been two straight years of Brandon Staley’s miscues costing the Chargers in crucial games.
Against the Las Vegas Raiders in the 2021 regular-season finale with a playoff berth within reach, Staley infamously called a controversial timeout late in the game. A tie – which looked highly possible – would’ve seen both teams clinch a playoff spot, whereas the winner would grab a postseason spot and the loser would be eliminated. The Raiders seemingly appeared content to let it be a tie in overtime, but Staley’s timeout looked to have broken Las Vegas’ trust, thus ending in a Chargers’ loss on a last-second field goal and regular-season elimination.
Then in the 2023 wild card road game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Los Angeles blew a 27-0 first-half lead and lost on another last-second field goal, making it one of the largest playoff comebacks in NFL history.
With Justin Herbert starring at quarterback and new offensive coordinator Kellen Moore now entering the fold, Staley needs to bounce back in his third season as Los Angeles’ main man, otherwise the pressure of failing yet again could cost him the role.
Dennis Allen, New Orleans Saints
The Saints are in quite a precarious situation. Their financial standing is not exactly propitious, they have glaring holes at quarterback and various skill positions and they just suffered their first losing season since 2016.
Now that doesn’t all fall on Allen’s shoulders considering it was his first year in charge and injuries to key players – such as Jameis Winston, Michael Thomas and Jarvis Landry, to name a few – derailed any possible in-season growth. But he also didn’t do himself any favors regarding game management, play calling and other factors that separate the elite coaches with potential to right the ship from those who can’t.
There was already speculation after New Orleans' season ended that Allen may be on the way out, but he said the front office had given him the indication he’d be staying on board. With the NFC South wide open, another poor showing for the Saints could see Allen’s seat warm up. And that could be the case sooner rather than later depending on how they construct the roster in the coming months.
Mike McCarthy, Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys hired Mike McCarthy from the Green Bay Packers in 2020, but it hasn’t exactly been a solid catch just yet. They finished 6-10 in his first season, then went 12-5 the following two campaigns that resulted in consecutive playoff eliminations at the hands of the San Francisco 49ers.
Dallas has been good enough to compete and collect wins in the regular season, but its demise repeatedly strikes in the postseason – the team just can’t overcome the hump. Dak Prescott has his clear limitations – and that surely plays a part – but, similar to Allen, McCarthy hasn’t been touted as a coaching genius, either.
Another frustrating ending to the season for the Cowboys in 2023 could see Jerry Jones turn the page and retool.
Josh McDaniels, Las Vegas Raiders
Let’s spice it up a bit. The Raiders only just hired Josh McDaniels last offseason, but the failed season despite opulent additions in Davante Adams and Chandler Jones, among others, could see McDaniels’ seat get hotter if things don’t improve in 2023.
First things first is how McDaniels and Co. replace Derek Carr, who was released on Tuesday, at quarterback. Do they make a splash for a big-name QB with Adams, Hunter Renfrow, Josh Jacobs and Darren Waller as the marquee skill players? Or do they take a step back and retool instead of challenging the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs for the throne in the AFC West?
There’s a reason McDaniels has looked better as an offensive coordinator rather than manning the whole ship dating back to his Broncos’ head-coaching stint. His head coaching resume hasn’t been too kind, but when he’s tasked with just focusing on offense, the results are healthier. What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, but that might not be the case with McDaniels.
Todd Bowles, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Buccaneers are also in a predicament. They definitely underperformed in 2022 despite the wealth of notable stars across the squad, but the Tom Brady-led group squeaked into the postseason with a feeble 8-9 record.
Todd Bowles may have been thrown a lifeline for not botching a weak NFC South with Brady at the helm, but now that the 45-year-old filed his retirement paperwork, it’s looking like a new QB is headed to Tampa Bay.
Exactly who that is is unclear, but Bowles said after the Bucs’ playoff elimination that they would not look to rebuild, only reload. Saying that publicly means expectations will be on them to try to solidify themselves as a contender in a wide-open division despite losing a generational signal caller. If they struggle to do so, Bowles may be flushed away for another head coach.
Honorable mention: Kevin Stefanski, Cleveland Browns
Cleveland has steadily gone downhill in each of Stefanski’s three seasons: 11-5 in 2020, 8-9 in 2021 then 7-10 in 2022. If the Browns can’t push for a playoff spot in 2023, owner Jimmy Haslam could look for a change with the amount of talent on the roster.