NFL GMs on the Hot Seat Heading Into 2014
NFL GMs on the Hot Seat Heading Into 2014
It's always interesting to see if a head coach's hot seat will also set his general manager ablaze. Whether fair or not, sometimes the fire means all new furniture.
Some NFL GMs efficiently cut cap in a lost year and prepare their organization for the future, before losing their job and watching the new man in charge reap the rewards. In a way it's hard not to empathize with execs on the hot seat in diving for the big splash in free agency or via trade, even when it does mortgage the future and make their dismissal more inevitable.
There are of course the cases where the owner has soured on the cook but not the one buying the groceries. Gary Kubiak has been booted from Houston and Leslie Frazier appears involuntarily headed for a new job, yet Houston Texans GM Rick Smith and Minnesota Vikings GM Rick Spielman ostensibly remain on solid ground. Hitting on draft picks and free agent, along with sound politics, can go a long way to surviving an overhaul.
Nightmare seasons don't always destroy everyone in a management position sharing the same shade of blue or purple. Some will be spared from the following list and that will also be the case come "Black Monday" (and the excruciating week-long stretch on either side).
Read through for the top five NFL GMs on the hot seat heading into 2014.
Jeff Ireland, Miami Dolphins
"Fireland" talk died down a bit as Miami rallied to 8-6 heading into Buffalo this week, before offensive line and receiver issues showed just how far away this team remains from legitimate AFC title contention. The Dolphins still hold a shot at the playoffs yet the injury to Ryan Tannehill and last week's performance make this a bleak prospect, along with Ireland's future in South Florida. The desperation in Ireland's big offseason was clear to everyone and enough of his big swings missed (See: Linebacker).
Martin Mayhew, Detroit Lions
File this one under the "unfair" category. While Mayhew's six years as Lions GM has only produced one playoff berth and zero postseason wins, you could also attribute a fair amount of that to Jim Schwartz's inability to keep a discplined team. And how could you look at your coach the same after "The "Handshake"? Or this? Schwartz is destined for the chopping block and this may very well drag Mayhew with him. But consider the incredible amount of talent Mayhew has accrued since taking over for a regime that posted an 0-16 season. Young mid-round picks in LB DeAndre Levy and rookie G Larry Warford are already among the best at their position, undrafted rookie free agent LaAdrian Waddle has become a quality right tackle, and we all know how stocked the defensive line has been for years.
Mark Dominik, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Dominik's reign started on a thoroughly disastrous note by taking Josh Freeman with Tampa's top pick. Maybe Greg Schiano holds that against Dominik and maybe he doesn't, but it's possible Dominik's tenure could end without a playoff berth as Schiano gets one more shot under a new GM.
Reggie McKenzie, Oakland Raiders
Mark Davis hired McKenzie after the passing of Al Davis and this may engender some loyalty, but you can never tell who's going to get canned with the Raiders. McKenzie's done a great job of pulling Oakland out of a salary-cap hole for this coming offseason and Coach Dennis Allen kept the 4-11 Raiders competitive in way more games than most expected, yet the seat is always hot when Oakland is losing.
Ruston Webster, Tennessee Titans
Webster took the reins as GM after the Jake Locker draft and Mike Munchak hiring. However, the continuing post-Jeff Fisher failings could bring him down as well, especially with a new owner taking over. It's interesting to imagine how many jobs could've been saved if Locker stayed healthy, maintained his early-season form and Tennessee grabbed the second AFC wild-card spot.
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