NFL 2023 preview: 5 coaches on the hot seat, and that doesn't include Mike McCarthy

No, Mike McCarthy doesn't belong on hot seat lists. Not yet.

Every time the Dallas Cowboys lose, their fans want to fire the head coach. It's like following an SEC team. But team owner Jerry Jones hasn't shown any desire to make a change, McCarthy has a good 30-20 record with Dallas, the Cowboys are projected to be one of the best teams in the NFL again and there's no Sean Payton out there anymore to tempt Jones.

That doesn't mean other coaches aren't nervous coming into the season. The NFL has no patience anymore, so a couple of losing seasons could cost a coach his job. Here are five head coaches who enter the season with some hot seat pressure:

Brandon Staley, Los Angeles Chargers

Staley got some heat his first season, when he was too reckless at times going for it on fourth down. The Chargers lost some weird games (though that has been a problem for the franchise, no matter the coach). Then in Staley's second season, he seemed to be too indecisive in key moments. He should have gotten off the hot seat by making the playoffs, but then the Chargers blew a 27-0 lead in a wild-card game to the Jacksonville Jaguars. There was speculation Staley might be in trouble but he survived, though changes were made on his staff. The Chargers have a talented roster. They have not lived up to that talent for years. A bad season for the Chargers could lead to a change at head coach.

Los Angeles Chargers head coach Brandon Staley is 19-15 through two seasons. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Los Angeles Chargers head coach Brandon Staley is 19-15 through two seasons. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Todd Bowles, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Maybe the Bucs will be patient. They knew the season after Tom Brady retired would be rough. But the Buccaneers were bad in Brady's last season, which was Bowles' first as Tampa Bay's head coach. They were lucky to be in a bad division and make the playoffs at 8-9. They were lucky to get to 8-9, for that matter. The Buccaneers might not be good this season, with Baker Mayfield taking over the starting quarterback job after Brady left. It wouldn't be fair to judge Bowles on what happens in this transition season. But the NFL isn't a patient world.

Ron Rivera, Washington Commanders

Given the state of the Washington Commanders in 2020, particularly its ownership, they had no business hiring a head coach as good as Rivera. They were lucky Rivera was interested. Still, it hasn't worked out as well as anyone hoped. Rivera has been OK with Washington over his first three seasons as head coach, but still doesn't have a winning season. Washington has new ownership and maybe that group wants to bring in its own coach. A fourth straight non-winning season might be the impetus for that change.

Arthur Smith, Atlanta Falcons

Smith has gone 7-10 in each of his first two seasons with Atlanta. He is a smart offensive coach, but has also been oddly stubborn about getting his best players the ball more. The Falcons doubled down on his approach by taking running back Bijan Robinson with the eighth pick of the draft, and added some expensive free agents to get back to the playoffs. The NFC South is probably the worst division in football and if Smith has another season with double-digit losses, owner Arthur Blank might become impatient.

Kevin Stefanski, Cleveland Browns

Stefanski won 2020 NFL Coach of the Year. Since then, it hasn't gone smoothly. Last season was difficult because quarterback Deshaun Watson was suspended for the first 11 games. Watson is back now, and Stefanski is under some pressure. The Browns look talented enough to compete for a playoff spot. If they don't, Stefanski's slide — he has gone from 11 wins his first season to eight, then seven last season — will add up. Maybe Stefanski isn't under a playoffs-or-else mandate, but a third straight losing season might be tough to survive.