NFL teams are just starting to report to training, but it’s never too early to speculate on which head coach will be let go first. It’s not every year that an NFL head coach fails to make it through a season, but Urban Meyer did just that last year when he got the axe after a disastrous start in Jacksonville. The Jags and seven other franchises – Bears, Dolphins, Giants, Raiders, Texans, Saints, and Vikings – will have new coaches this season.
One would think that the first-year guys are safe, but in today’s ‘win now or else’ era anything is possible. If you are looking for job stability, don’t become an NFL head coach. It’s pretty much a given that at least one of 32 will be fired in 2022. Which one will be first?
MATT RHULE – CAROLINA (+300)
Rhule’s first two teams in Carolina have yet to win more than five games – 5-11 in 2020 and 5-12 last season. If star RB Christian McCaffrey could stay healthy, Rhule might not even be in this discussion. The Panthers went out and acquired QB Baker Mayfield to compete with Sam Darnold for the starting job. That should help the offense.
McCaffrey needs to stay healthy though. His absence killed the Panthers’ offense. Last year, Carolina averaged 17.9 points a game which was 29th in the NFL. Carolina’s defense is one of the better units in the NFL. If Rhule is going to stick around, the offense has to improve.
MIKE MCCARTHY – DALLAS (+500)
Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones hasn’t enjoyed the taste of a Super Bowl in quite a while. He was hopeful that former Green Bay head coach Mike McCarthy could get Dallas back to the big game. After struggling through a 6-10 first season, McCarthy’s team went 12-5 and won the NFC East.
The problem is the Cowboys lost to San Francisco in the NFC wild-card game. McCarthy, who went 125-77-2 with the Packers and won Super Bowl XLV, might need to go deeper in the postseason this year. Dallas lost some key contributors like WR Amari Cooper. If McCarthy can’t get it done in 2022, Jones is likely to make a change.
PETE CARROLL – SEATTLE (+600)
It’s hard to believe, but Carroll makes the list as the Seahawks appear to be fading. There is no doubt Carroll has been one of the all-time great NFL head coaches. His records of 119-73-1 in Seattle and 152-104-1 overall speak for themselves.
But, what has Carroll done lately? The Seahawks went 7-10 last season and failed to make the postseason for just the second time in a decade. Then, Seattle traded away its best player, QB Russell Wilson. Seattle was a mediocre offense with Wilson averaging 23.2 points a game last season. It’s doubtful Drew Lock or Geno Smith can do much better.
In his NFL career thus far, Carroll has never had consecutive seasons in which his teams missed the playoffs. How Seattle has success without Wilson at quarterback is hard to fathom. A second straight losing season might be the writing on the wall for Carroll and his career.
FRANK REICH – INDIANAPOLIS (+700)
Reich has gone 37-28 as the Colts head man, but his teams have only made the playoffs twice and they have never won a division title. Last year, Reich brought in his former Philadelphia quarterback, Carson Wentz. It was a disaster.
The Colts ended up 9-8 and out of the playoffs again. Wentz was shipped to Washington and now Reich will work with former Atlanta star Matt Ryan. Reich did sign a contract extension that runs through the 2026 season, but he is going to need to produce in 2022 or he could be out the door.