The Big LeadThe Big Lead

4 NFL Head Coaches on the Hot Seat

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - SEPTEMBER 29:  Head coach  Mike Zimmer of the Minnesota Vikings watches the video board during the second half against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on September 29, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)
Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images

The NFL's first quarter is over, but it's still getting late early for several of the league's head coaches. October is on the horizon and things are getting particularly spooky for this struggling quartet.

LANDOVER, MD - SEPTEMBER 23: Head coach Jay Gruden of the Washington Redskins reacts against the Chicago Bears during the second half at FedExField on September 23, 2019 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

Jay Gruden, Washington
Head coaches in Landover are usually in and out faster than one of Joe Gibbs' NASCAR drivers. Gruden has lasted an eternity by Redskins standards at six seasons. Such a stretch is the longest since Norv Turner went seven seasons at the turn of the century. But with the Redskins' offense sputtering, it would appear that the supposed offensive guru's schtick is wearing thin. The fact that it took so long for Gruden to turn the reins over from one-season-wonder Case Keenum to Dwayne Haskins. Gruden's patience, as well as Washington's 0-4 start, could chop his surname's representation in half before the season's end.

CARSON, CA - SEPTEMBER 22: Head coach Anthony Lynn of the Los Angeles Chargers on the sidelines in the second half of the game against the Houston Texans at Dignity Health Sports Park on September 22, 2019 in Carson, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

Anthony Lynn, LA Chargers
Many expected the Chargers to compete with Kansas City for Western supremacy, but they've failed to keep pace with the Mahomes empire. They're sitting at an even 2-2 and could easily be 1-3 if not for some overtime heroics on opening weekend against Indianapolis. It's possible that Lynn's redemption could come in the form of Melvin Gordon's return. The rusher partook in Sunday's win over Miami (a 30-10 triumph that might've been closer than many Chargers fans would like to admit) on a limited basis, but the unit could find its mojo again as Gordon gets re-acclimated. It might be the thing that saves Lynn, saddled with big expectations after a 12-win sophomore campaign, moving forward.

ATLANTA, GEORGIA - SEPTEMBER 29:   Head coach Dan Quinn of the Atlanta Falcons walks off the field after their 24-10 loss to the Tennessee Titans at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on September 29, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Dan Quinn, Atlanta
Wasting the primes of elite athletes and players seems to be a troubling tradition in Atlanta. Sure, Chipper Jones, Angel McCoughtry, Ilya Kovalchuk, Greg Maddux, Roddy White, etc. have been made immortal in The Big Peach, but a single championship, won over two decades ago in the 1995 World Series, has followed. With the modern Falcons (consisting of Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, and other strong talents) sitting at 1-3, they seem well on their way to continuing that futility. With so much talent at his disposal, Quinn could be held accountable sooner or later, especially with Ryan on the cusp of his late 30s.

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - SEPTEMBER 29:  Head coach  Mike Zimmer of the Minnesota Vikings watches the video board during the second half against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on September 29, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)
Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images

Mike Zimmer, Minnesota
It feels like ages since the Vikings were in the NFC title game, right? It hasn't been two full seasons and the team is reeling, saddled with a expensive investment in quarterback Kirk Cousins. Comments from Adam Thielen suggest choppy seas could on its way, the first plumes of steam from a Minnesota volcano. With so much money invested into Cousins ($28 million this season alone), it's only natural for Minnesota to start pointing fingers at potential scapegoat. The primary target would be none other than the head coach, whose conference finalist posting is starting to look like an outlier.