The dominoes are starting to fall a bit early, although one always does this time of year. Jack Del Rio is no longer the head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars, a strong statement given that he’s been in the position for nine seasons. Few coaches have enjoyed that length of tenure with the lack of success he’s had over time (one playoff win to speak of). Yet as Del Rio is now replaced with Mel Tucker as interim head coach, it begs the question of who else is on the hot seat around the NFL.
Surprisingly, Don Banks of Sports Illustrated doesn’t place Kansas City Chiefs head coach Todd Haley on his list of six coaches on the hot seat. Norv Turner is appropriately listed for the Chargers, as are Tom Coughlin (Giants), Steve Spagnuolo (Rams), Andy Reid (Eagles), Jim Caldwell (Colts) and Tony Sparano (Dolphins). Many of those are easy to predict, especially Turner, Sparano and Caldwell. But it’s interesting to see names like Reid and Spagnuolo on the list without also placing Haley alongside them.
The reason is that just one month ago, we were wondering ourselves if Haley was going to be gone soon. Mike Silver predicted that Josh McDaniels would take over in Kansas City. Peter King also addressed the tension, saying that it was general manager Scott Pioli who was safe and not Haley. In short, there was a lot of talk about Haley leaving KC one way or another.
Now there’s no word of it when other coaches are getting fired, despite the Chiefs current four game losing streak. They’re mired in the basement of the AFC West with the San Diego Chargers and the offense, Haley’s signature area, is the worst part of the team. In fact, the Chiefs have scored one offensive touchdown in the last 16 quarters (a one yard TD pass from Matt Cassel to Le’Ron McClain). That warrants another mention: one offensive touchdown in four full games.
I’m certainly not advocating that Haley should be fired. Rather, it’s just very interesting that the hot subject in Kansas City only one month ago has now disappeared despite the team sinking straight to the bottom of the division after holding a share of the lead. Did the tension go away? Is it boiling under the surface? Has Haley earned a shot to come back since the team is clearly playing motivated football despite the losing streak? Those are all important questions.
Perhaps Haley is still playing for his own security and a win on Sunday against the Bears can help still any rough waters from churning at this point.