The 2016-17 NFL season has been anything but predictable.
With the first overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft before the start of the season, the Los Angeles Rams selected quarterback Jared Goff out of the University of California Berkeley; a player projected to be the team’s starter right out of the gates. He has been, for lack of a better term, subpar. Just this past Monday, the Rams subsequently fired head coach Jeff Fisher after a 4-9 start to their season, kicking off a frenzy of projections as to who will be the next head coach to lose his job in what has been an abysmal season so far for many teams.
Chip Kelly, San Francisco 49ers
After beginning his NFL coaching career with the Philadelphia Eagles, head coach Chip Kelly went on to record a record of 20-12 in his first two seasons. This statistic alone showed promise for the new coach’s success, but a 6-9 start to his third season had fans scratching their heads. Kelly was fired after Week 16, following a loss to division rivals the Washington Redskins. Not long after, the San Francisco 49ers hired Kelly, expecting much more promise.
Their confidence as an organization may have been unfairly enhanced with the team winning its first game of the season by a score of 28-0 over the Rams, as they would then go on to lose their next 12 games. While it isn’t usually wise to judge a coach by his first year, it’s hard to ignore how far the 49ers’ success has fallen in their last three seasons, and under Coach Kelly, they are on track to become the worst 49ers team in franchise history.
Gus Bradley, Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jaguars have had their fair share of poor seasons, and this year is no exception. Now sitting at 2-11, Jacksonville is currently amidst an 8-game losing streak, with starting quarterback Blake Bortles showing serious signs of regression. However, a team’s success is never defined by one player. Head coach Gus Bradley, now in his fourth year, has an overall record of 14-47 with the team; a .230 win percentage. The Jaguars are the first team in league history to lose at least 11 games in six straight years, and though Bradley has only been at the helm for four of those, it’s remarkable that he’s held his title as Head Coach for this long.
Chuck Pagano, Indianapolis Colts
Quarterback Andrew Luck came straight out of college as an NFL phenom, throwing for over 4,000 yards with 23 touchdowns as a rookie, providing hope for the future of the Indianapolis Colts. However, since drafting the Stanford alumnus, the team has become increasingly worse, and in one of the worst divisions in the NFL no less. Currently in third place in the AFC South, the Colts need to make a change. Head coach Chuck Pagano doesn’t have much to brag about other than winning the division in 2013, and Luck’s regression has fans pointing fingers. Add that to an inadequate defense, and a change at head coach seems more and more plausible. A franchise quarterback can only do so much, and with the skill Luck has shown, it’s obvious a new mind to work with could revive his rookie success.
Todd Bowles, New York Jets
Just last season, under head coach Rex Ryan, the Jets finished with an impressive record of 10-6 given the fact that they were led by a horribly inconsistent quarterback by the name of Ryan Fitzpatrick. Their success led to the organization offering Fitzpatrick a contract extension, assuming he’d be able to continue the few accomplishments he achieved previously. Now with head coach Todd Bowles holding the reigns, the Jets are currently 4-9. Who some would’ve argued was a defensive genius, Bowles lack of success is due largely in part to the team’s defense collapsing late in games. Fitzpatrick has been as unimpressive as many predicted, but the team’s lack of guidance seems to be the glaring issue. If Bowles is able to end the season on a high note, his position as head coach may be safe. If the season does happen to end negatively, the Jets’ front office should seriously consider a change in staff given the talent they have in their defensive players.