The Monday following NFL Week 17 has become known as “Black Monday” because so many NFL head coaches are given a pink slip on that day. These 10 head coaches are the most likely to be given their walking papers immediately following the regular season.
Bill Callahan, Washington Redskins
Callahan was named interim head coach after the firing of Jay Gruden earlier this season, and it’s unlikely he’s done enough to earn the job permanently. The former Raiders head coach has been at the helm for all three of Washington’s wins this season, but owner Daniel Snyder has made it a pattern of making big-splash hires, so the chances of Callahan keeping the job are slim.
Vic Fangio, Denver Broncos
Broncos general manager John Elway gave Fangio, a longtime NFL assistant, his first head coaching job at age 61. His first season hasn’t gone as hoped, with the Broncos at 5-8 and showing defensive regression despite Fangio’s expertise on that side of the ball. If Denver doesn’t finish the season strong, it’s possible that Fangio could be one-and-done.
Jason Garrett, Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys still control their own destiny in the NFC East, but that says more about the division than the team. Dallas has one of the most talented rosters in the NFL but has clearly underachieved at 6-7. Owner Jerry Jones has long given Garrett the benefit of the doubt, but his leash will likely be cut unless the team makes a miraculous playoff run.
Adam Gase, New York Jets
Gase was fired from the Dolphins following last season, but the offensive guru moved to the division rival Jets to catapult their offense led by second-year quarterback Sam Darnold. While the team has shown flashes, the performance and development of Darnold have been disappointing overall — the Jets are only at 5-8 after making several big-money free agent signings in the offseason. Firing Gase following one season would indicate just what the Jets have been over the last several years: an organization without a real plan.
Freddie Kitchens, Cleveland Browns
Kitchens did an impressive job leading the Browns offense last year after offensive coordinator Todd Haley was fired. His reward was another promotion, to head coach this year. But the Browns have arguably been the league’s most disappointing team at 6-7. More worrisome has been second-year quarterback Baker Mayfield’s regression compared to his rookie season despite the addition of Odell Beckham Jr. at wideout. Cleveland has been an undisciplined squad at times this year, and it could come back to Kitchens’ inexperience.
Anthony Lynn, Los Angeles Chargers
Lynn had a successful first two seasons in L.A., finishing 9-7 in 2017 and 12-4 last year. Unfortunately, the team has done a complete 180 this season with a disappointing 5-8 record. Injuries have certainly played a role — most notable safety Derwin James — but there’s far too much talent on the Chargers roster for these results. Lynn already made a change at offensive coordinator, but he could be the next scapegoat as the team has gone all in with an aging Philip Rivers.
Doug Marrone, Jacksonville Jaguars
Promoted to full-time head coach with the Jags in 2017, Marrone led the team to the AFC championship in his first season. That performance seems like a miracle in retrospect, as the franchise has been in a free fall since then. The Jags went 5-11 last year but figured they’d turn their fortunes around by signing Nick Foles in the offseason. He got hurt in Week 1, and even though rookie Gardner Minshew has been a surprise performer, the team isn’t close to expectations at 4-9, as the defense has also regressed. It could be time for Marrone to head out the door, with executive VP Tom Coughlin right behind him.
Dan Quinn, Atlanta Falcons
It looked like the Falcons could move on from Quinn during the bye, but Falcons owner Arthur Blank opted to give him one more chance down the stretch. Atlanta has gone in the wrong direction since giving up a 28-3 lead to the Patriots in the Super Bowl three seasons ago, and have sealed their second consecutive losing season. Quinn already fired all three of his coordinators in the offseason, but the team will still likely lose more games than it did in 2018, at just 4-9. With as much talent as the team has on offense, giving Quinn another shot would be surprising.
Pat Shurmur, New York Giants
Shurmur is in only his second season with the Giants, and the team lost significant talent during the offseason after going 5-11 last year. Even so, Shurmur looks like he could be on the chopping block after co-owner Steve Tisch declined to give him a vote of confidence in early December. Rookie quarterback Daniel Jones has had an up-and-down first season and is now injured, and the Giants have gone in the cellar after a 2-2 start to the season.
Zac Taylor, Cincinnati Bengals
Previous Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis led the team for 16 seasons, but would Cincinnati fire Taylor after only one year? With the team in position to get the No. 1 pick in next year’s draft, we shouldn’t rule it out. Taylor has been in over his head this season, with the Bengals winning their first game in Week 13 and showing nothing on offense, his specialty. The Bengals will almost certainly draft a quarterback in the first round but might opt to find another head coach to lead him.