We are getting to the point of the season where we have the harsh reality of NFL coaching changes coming. We have eight winless teams entering week four of the NFL season and several seats are entering the atomic wing level of hot.
I think five of those eight are entering the point of no return in terms of getting immediate results before they end up being a special teams coach for someone or worse – unemployed.
The Houston Texans, Denver Broncos, Atlanta Falcons, Minnesota Vikings, and New York Jets all have coaching staffs who may get the overturn, some sooner than others. Previous seasons and ill-advised moves have left bad tastes in those teams mouths both from a fan and, more importantly, an ownership perspective.
The bright side to these teams is they all have highly talented players, several of whom are being held back by their coaching staffs. Players like Adam Thielen, Calvin Ridley, and Courtland Sutton have been able to produce despite these obstacles created by coaches and front offices.
On the other side of this though, players like Le’Veon Bell, Sam Darnold, and Deshaun Watson have seen dramatic drop-offs in production and growth. New coaching staffs may do these players some good and not to mention fantasy players also would benefit.
Let’s take a look at these potential NFL coaching changes from a fantasy football perspective.
Houston is in the most unique situation of the five due in part that Bill O’Brien doubles as the head coach and general manager of the team. This means ownership would have to come down on him to make a change but it’s not impossible. Given the move O’Brien made this offseason in trading away star receiver DeAndre Hopkins and previously trading away this and last year’s first-round picks for Laremy Tunsil, who has been so-so, just doesn’t seem to be sitting well.
The talent is there with Deshaun Watson, Will Fuller, David Johnson, and Brandin Cooks – but this offense just seems to be a mess this year and needs a polish.
Ideal Replacement: Eric Bieniemy, OC, Kansas City Chiefs
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Head coach Vic Fangio is the second-oldest coach to make his head coaching debut only behind legendary coordinator Dick LeBeau. Like LeBeau, Fangio is a defensive-minded coach and has designed a pretty fun defense in the Mile High City when Von Miller is available. After the 2020 NFL Draft, the offense was thought to match that this year. Obviously, an injury to Drew Lock has hampered things but even before he was hurt the offense looked lackluster against Tennessee and Pittsburgh. John Elway invested heavily in the depth of this offense at every position over the last couple drafts but alas, here we are.
Fangio may be the one on the coldest hot seat in this piece but still, this offense is loaded at every position and for it to be this dull is nothing short of disappointing.
Ideal Replacement: Byron Leftwich, OC, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Falcons have been in a downward spiral since blowing the 28-3 lead against New England in the Super Bowl. Last week they blew another big lead and since then Dan Quinn’s seat has gone from warm to boiling. Matt Ryan has been a man on the run the last two years to boot, a far cry from his MVP-self, and this team needs an offensive overhaul. They have squeezed out what they can from Todd Gurley, Julio Jones can’t find the endzone, and they are wasting the talent they have in Calvin Ridley and Hayden Hurst.
This offense on paper should be top-five, but between the coaching, offensive line, and defense it just isn’t possible.
Ideal Replacement: Josh McDaniels, OC, New England Patriots
These last two potential NFL coaching changes need to happen the most in my opinion. In Minnesota, Mike Zimmer has entered the angry old man stage of his career. As Kirk Cousins’ arm is deteriorating quicker than cotton candy in a swimming pool, they will need to game plan around him to make he and this offense efficient. His contract makes him almost immovable and with their twisted cap situation, they will be having him around.
Meanwhile, Adam Thielen and Dalvin Cook both have survived becoming fantasy irrelevant in this offense but going forward it is losing a lot of potential.
Ideal Replacement: Mike LaFleur, Passing Game Coordinator, San Francisco 49ers
New York Jets
Another week, another loss for the New York Jets and Adam Gase. Even with that happening, according to The Athletic Adam Gase will retain his job for the remainder of the season. By the end of the season, however, I think they will finally split. I wrote previously how since leaving Peyton Manning, Adam Gase has been a monster in terms of ruining NFL offenses and getting any sort of fantasy production out of players. Of all the NFL coaching changes, this one must happen.
Sam Darnold may be past the point of no return from seeing ghosts, but if they grab someone like Trevor Lawrence or Trey Lance, they may still have a chance at some fantasy relevance.
Ideal Replacement: Greg Roman, Offensive Coordinator, Baltimore Ravens