5 NFL coaches in hot seat as 2023 regular season nears end

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As the 2023 NFL season nears the end of the regular season, three teams have already moved on from their head coaches with hopes of either salvaging the remainder of the season or getting a head start on the year ahead. 

But several other jobs could open up.

With three games remaining, here’s a look at which NFL coaches could be facing a similar fate.

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Robert Saleh, New York Jets

Robert Saleh on the sideline

Head coach Robert Saleh of the New York Jets watches from the sidelines during the third quarter against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium on Sept. 11, 2023, in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Elsa/Getty Images)

Robert Saleh got his first head coaching job when he was hired by the New York Jets in 2021 to replace Adam Gase after just two years with the organization. But just three seasons in, Saleh is feeling the same kind of pressure.

The Jets were eliminated from playoff contention with a blowout loss to the Miami Dolphins on Sunday. During his postgame press conference, Saleh was asked if he felt like he was “coaching for your job” with the remaining schedule.

“I’m just coaching to try to beat Washington,” he said before being pressed further.

“Two types of coaches: Those who have been fired and those who are about to get fired, my man. We coach in the moment. We coach to win a football game.”

Saleh signed a five-year contract with the Jets after serving as the San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator from 2017 to 2020. He is 5-9 this season and holds a 16-32 overall record with the Jets.

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Matt Eberflus, Chicago Bears

Matt Eberflus looks on from the sideline

Head coach Matt Eberflus of the Chicago Bears looks on during the second quarter against the Browns at Cleveland Browns Stadium on Dec. 17, 2023. (Jason Miller/Getty Images)

Matt Eberflus’ first season in the NFL didn’t turn out the way anyone in the Chicago Bears organization had hoped for. After firing Matt Nagy following a 6-11 finish, Eberflus took over in 2022 and led the franchise to a 3-14 finish for a franchise record of 14 losses, which included a 10-game losing streak.

This season, there’s been a slight improvement (5-9 through Week 15), but questions surrounding Eberflus’ job security have picked up and the significance of the losses play into those conversations.

On Sunday, the Bears blew a double-digit lead to the Cleveland Browns. It was the third time this season that Chicago lost after building a double-digit fourth-quarter lead. They were outscored 47-6 in those games.

Mike Tomlin, Pittsburgh Steelers

Mike Tomlin on the sidelines

Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin looks on during the first half against the New England Patriots at Acrisure Stadium, Dec. 7, 2023, in Pittsburgh. (Joe Sargent/Getty Images)

The Pittsburgh Steelers are fighting for their spot in the playoffs, and some believe that longtime NFL coach Mike Tomlin might be doing the same for his job.

The Steelers have lost four of their last five during the final stretch of the season, which most recently included a loss to the Indianapolis Colts and backup quarterback Gardner Minshew. It prompted Tomlin to change things up, announcing that third-string quarterback Mason Rudolph would start in place of Mitch Trubisky, who took over following Kenny Pickett’s injury. 

Despite the Steelers struggles, Pittsburgh holds a 170-100 record under Tomlin since he took over in 2007, and the playoffs are still within reach (with a win out).

Sources recently told the Washington Post that there was “no way” the organization would move on from Tomlin.

“I would be shocked, shocked, if they were even thinking about it,” another added. “Mike Tomlin isn’t getting fired.”

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Ron Rivera, Washington Commanders

Ron Rivera looks on from the sidelines

Head coach Ron Rivera of the Washington Commanders looks on during the second half of the game against the Miami Dolphins at FedExField, Dec. 3, 2023, in Landover, Maryland. (Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

In 2019, Ron Rivera was fired after nine years as the head coach of the Carolina Panthers. But in his fourth season with the Washington Commanders, he’s struggled to turn things around.

Rivera finished first in the NFC East in his first year in Washington but did so with a losing record (7-9), eventually losing to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the wild-card round of the playoffs. The Commanders, eliminated from playoff contention this season, are on pace to finish at the bottom of their division for the second year in a row, which would mark Rivera’s sixth straight losing record.

“I think it’s about getting the opportunity to go out and play more than anything else,” Rivera told reporters Monday when asked about how he keeps the team positive as they battle through a five-game losing streak.

Bill Belichick, New England Patriots 

Bill Belichick vs Chiefs

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick is shown during the game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Gillette Stadium on Dec. 17, 2023, in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

The New England Patriots adopted a new identity after the departure of future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady. Unfortunately, that new identity wasn’t one that included much success.

Belichick suffered his first losing season since his rookie year as head coach in 2020, which also marked the first season the Patriots had missed the playoffs since 2002.

The following year, rookie quarterback Mac Jones helped the team back into the playoffs with a 10-7 record, but New England is on pace to finish below .500 for a second consecutive season.

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Recent reports have speculated that owner Robert Kraft has already made his decision to move on from Belichick.

Belichick has won six Super Bowls as head coach and boasts a 264-117 record in the regular season and a 30-12 record in the playoffs.

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