It might not be a wise choice for several NFL coaches to sit down this season. Their seats are going to be awfully hot.
Fox doesn't even have a contract after 2010, even though his Panthers come off an 8-8 season and he's taken them to one Super Bowl and two NFC championship games in his eight seasons in Carolina. Mangini can look over his shoulder and see Browns president Mike Holmgren, one of the best coaches of the last 20 years, running things in Cleveland. Cable works for the unpredictable Al Davis in Oakland.
Here's a six-pack of coaches feeling the heat.
— John Fox, Carolina: When the Panthers opted to let Fox coach out his contract, it became apparent the franchise is looking to make a move if 2010 is not a memorable year. Injuries have plagued the Panthers in recent seasons, and there is plenty of transition, particularly on defense. So Fox easily could be gone in January, but don't fret: Fox will get snapped up quickly.
— Jack Del Rio, Jacksonville: Three years ago, this was a team on the rise. Now, the Jaguars can't get people into the stadium, struggle late in games and appear to be far behind the other AFC South teams.
— Eric Mangini, Cleveland: The Browns won their final four games, long after they had become irrelevant in the AFC standings, then Mangini persuaded Holmgren to give him another chance. The roster doesn't look any stronger after a 5-11 season, and unless Mangini shows some versatility in demeanor and strategy, his stay in Cleveland could end with another firing.
— Tom Cable, Oakland: Longevity as Raiders coach is a myth if your name isn't Madden or Flores. At least Cable doesn't have any personal issues cluttering the headlines this year. But with Davis pegging new quarterback Jason Campbell as another Jim Plunkett, Cable needs a bunch of victories. The Raiders haven't won more than five games in a season since 2002.
— Raheem Morris, Tampa Bay: A team in flux on both sides of the ball, and Morris fired both his coordinators in 2009. The Bucs used a one-sentence statement to say he would return for a second season. If Tampa Bay finishes in the cellar again, the 34-year-old Morris likely won't get a third year.
— Lovie Smith, Chicago: The Bears have not made the playoffs since losing the Super Bowl after the 2006 season. Trading for QB Jay Cutler was supposed to juice the offense, but it didn't work. Smith's forte is defense, but the Bears allowed 375 points a year ago.