Washington Commanders head coach Ron Rivera and Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy meet on the field. Jan 8, 2023; Landover, Maryland, USA; Washington Commanders head coach Ron Rivera talks with Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy after the game at FedExField. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL season is over, but it’s not too early to start thinking about 2023. Here’s a look at five coaches who will be on the hot seat this fall:

5. Ron Rivera, Washington Commanders

Record with team: 22-27-1 in three seasons

Playoff appearances: One

By most accounts, Rivera is highly respected in the league. In February, he received the Salute to Service Award for his work with members of the U.S. military and their families. He has brought stability and dignity to an organization that has had a lot of trouble in recent years. That said, the franchise is for sale and should fetch a record purchase price. Usually, when a new owner moves in, that person wants to put their own people in charge. Rivera hasn’t done enough winning in what was the NFL’s most competitive division last season. At best, Washington looks like a third-place team behind the Philadelphia Eagles and the Dallas Cowboys. The Commanders hired Eric Bieniemy to fix the offense, but they might not have the talent to save Rivera.

4. Todd Bowles, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Record with team: 8-9 in one season

Playoff appearances: One

This probably isn’t fair. But there’s nothing fair about the NFL especially when it comes to Black head coaches. It wasn’t Todd Bowles’ fault that Tom Brady regressed and the offensive line was banged up right from the start. Now that Brady is gone, will Tampa Bay ownership give him time to revamp this team? A lot will depend on who the Buccaneers will have at quarterback. Derek Carr and Jimmy Garoppolo seem like decent options. Blaine Gabbert or Kyle Trask seem like terrible options. What might help Bowles’ chances is that Tampa Bay plays in a lousy division. Last year, the Buccaneers won with an 8-9 record, and nine victories might be enough next season. 


3. Mike McCarthy, Dallas Cowboys

Record with team: 30-20 in three seasons

Playoff appearances: Two

We expected big changes in Dallas, but not necessarily this. The Cowboys fired six assistants but kept the man in charge. In fact, McCarthy will now have an even larger influence. He has taken over as the primary play-caller for the ousted Kellen Moore. Say what you want about Moore, but his offense was fourth in scoring last season (26.8) and first in 2021 (30.4). And that was despite Dak Prescott missing five games in 2022 due to a fractured thumb. It’s hard to see McCarthy doing a better job. It’s fairly simple. McCarthy will remain on the hot seat until he gets Dallas to at least the NFC Championship Game. Owner Jerry Jones is 80 and his patience has to be running out. Since winning the Super Bowl after the 1995 season, the Cowboys have won five playoff games. 

2. Kevin Stefanski, Cleveland Browns

Record with team: 26-24 in three seasons

Playoff appearances: One

In 2020, Stefanski was the Coach of the Year, Cleveland toppled the Pittsburgh Steelers for a rare playoff victory, and it almost beat the Kansas City Chiefs. How quickly so much has changed. The Browns weren’t expected to do much last season due to Deshaun Watson’s 11-game suspension over sexual misconduct and assault allegations. When Watson returned he looked like one of the worst quarterbacks in the league. His passer rating was 79.1, which was below Matt Ryan (83.0) and Carson Wentz (80.2). Stefanski calls the plays. It’s his offense. Watson’s cap figure for 2023 will be an NFL-record $54 million. If he doesn’t play better, Stefanski will likely be the fall guy. The Browns have a new defensive coordinator in Jim Schwartz. What they really might need is a fresh offensive approach. 

1. Brandon Staley, L.A. Chargers

Record with team: 19-15 in two seasons

Playoff appearances: One

If Staley had gotten booted after the Chargers blew a 27-0 lead in an epic postseason collapse against the Jacksonville Jaguars, no one would have been surprised. Staley was supposed to be the latest Sean McVay disciple to turn around a franchise. So far, he hasn’t been that much better than his predecessor Anthony Lynn (33-32 in four seasons, 1-1 in the playoffs). You can’t have the best prolific young passer in the NFL in Justin Herbert and not have better results. Yes, the Chargers have been snakebitten with injuries. Yes, they play in the same division as the Kansas City Chiefs. But that doesn’t explain the playoff meltdown. L.A. made staff changes, including bringing in Kellen Moore as the new offensive coordinator. Staley doesn’t have anyone else to blame, and no coach will be under more pressure. 

About Michael Grant

Born in Jamaica. Grew up in New York City. Lives in Louisville, Ky. Sports writer. Not related to Ulysses S. Grant, Anthony Grant, Amy Grant or Hugh Grant.