Just four weeks into the NFL season, we’ve already had a coach get fired. The Houston Texans fired coach and general manager Bill O’Brien after an 0-4 start on Monday. It is the team’s worst start since 2008, but O’Brien is also the most successful coach in franchise history.
O’Brien’s regular season (52-48) success hasn’t translated to the playoffs. He's just 2-4 in his playoff career with the Texans.
But beyond the team’s slow start on the field, O’Brien’s personnel decisions have also been heavily scrutinized. He traded All-Pro receiver DeAndre Hopkins to the Cardinals in the offseason for an underwhelming return.
The Texans trail the 3-0 Titans in the AFC South, but still have a chance to get back into it. Once fans in Houston started calling for his ousting, O’Brien stood little chance of finishing the season.
But O’Brien is just the first coach to get fired. Expect others to join him as the season unfolds. Here’s a look at three other coaches under pressure.
Matt Patricia, Lions
When Patricia talked to reporters after a loss to New Orleans (and a blown 14-point lead) dropped the Lions to 1-3, he made sure to point out that there was “a lot of work to do” when he took over as coach of the Lions. Except … the coach who preceded him had a significantly better record, as no shortage of Twitter users pointed out after Patricia’s comments were published. After keeping Patricia in the offseason, his fate his likely tied to general manager Bob Quinn’s. Whether the Lions make an in-season change or prefer to clean house after the season remains to be seen, but Patricia’s fate as Lions head coach seems pretty close to sealed.
Adam Gase, Jets
The Jets are 0-4, the team’s lack of discipline has been attributed to coaching, and young quarterback Sam Darnold’s numbers have regressed through four games this season after he showed promise in his second year last season. Gase led the Jets to a 7-9 record last season, but that performance increased expectations. New York has a notoriously short leash for coaches, so if the team continues to flounder, Gase could be gone.
Mike Zimmer, Vikings
The Vikings finally got a win this week to improve to 1-3, but they’re already in danger of being out of a NFC North race led by the 3-0 Packers and 3-1 Bears. Zimmer has coached the Vikings for seven years and had some success in that stretch, but the team has had some disappointing finishes. High-priced quarterback Kirk Cousins hasn’t propelled them to championship contention, and a once-great defense has become pedestrian with defections in recent seasons.