It’s Thanksgiving and a coach in the NFC East is on the hot seat.
That’s not a surprise. What is surprising is which coach is feeling the heat.
Chip Kelly got full personnel control in Philadelphia to try to build on the 10-win seasons he put together in each of his first two years in the league. But the Eagles are 4-6 and they are coming off of an ugly beat down at the hands of the Bucs. Many Philly fans hare having second thoughts about handing the keys to the franchise to Kelly after being in the league for just two years.
Adam Schefter speculated that Kelly could be gone when the season ends and now some anonymous sources are saying that the coach has lost the locker room. It would be an expensive split with Kelly due $7 million per year for the next two seasons but if things deteriorate further it certainly is a possibility.
Meanwhile, the coach in the division that was one of the Las Vegas betting favorites to be one of the first coaches fired this year, Jay Gruden, is also in charge of a 4-6 team. But he seems to be far from the hot seat. In fact, his job may be quite secure.
Earlier this week, Mike Silver of NFL Media tweeted out, “I have been told that no matter what happens, Jay is coming back in 2016.” That jibes with the feeling that those of us who cover the team regularly have had most of the season.
Here is a fact to consider—Dan Snyder, who has the ultimate authority when it comes to firing his team’s head coach, has never terminated a coach after the team’s record improved from one season to the next. If the Redskins win one more game, they will have improved on their 2014 record.
In fact, talk that Gruden might not return in 2016 has been mostly fan chatter or a topic for a slow day on talk radio. Early season speculation in the national media was based mostly on what was thought to be a sticky situation that Gruden created by benching quarterback Robert Griffin III and giving control of the offense to Kirk Cousins. But Cousins has been playing reasonably well and Griffin has not created any of the types of disruptions that some anticipated before the season started.
The only quibble I would have with what Silver tweeted is the part about “no matter what happens.” Six games is a long time and a lot can happen. Looking back just two years ago, Mike Shanahan seemed to be pretty safe with six games to go in the 2013 season. But things got ugly in a hurry and Shanahan was gone the day after the season ended.
But barring the unforeseen, Gruden will be back in charge in 2016. Meanwhile the future of that other 4-6 coach in the NFC East is very much in doubt.