Every NFL offseason is an exercise in change. Not only for players, but for coaching staffs across the league. This year, for example, five different teams -- roughly 15% of the NFL -- will have new head coaches, just a year after 10 (!) jobs changed hands.
The 2023 season will inevitably prompt more change on the sidelines. While many icons, like the Chiefs' Andy Reid and the Steelers' Mike Tomlin, are all but locked into their jobs for as long as they choose, a slew of others are wading into murkier waters.
Of course, in a team sport, head coaches don't solely deserve blame for whatever struggles might be muddying their future, but in a results-based business -- and in a league that prioritizes parity -- there's a price to be paid for a lack of success.
With that in mind, here's a look at head coaches standing on shakier ground entering 2023:
Brandon Staley, Chargers
Year: 3rd | Record: 19-15 | Playoffs: 0-1
Staley, 40, has kept Los Angeles competitive. But even with a lineup flush with all-stars, his teams have folded at the worst times, in dramatic fashion. His first year ended with quizzical time management in a Week 18 play-in defeat, and last year ended with a blown 27-0 playoff lead, the worst in team history. Without steady results from a talented defense, Staley's now betting on Kellen Moore, his third offensive coordinator in as many years, to take star quarterback Justin Herbert over the hump.
Kevin Stefanski, Browns
Year: 4th | Record: 26-24 | Playoffs: 1-1
One year in, the longtime Vikings assistant looked like the belle of the ball, steadying Baker Mayfield to guide an 11-5 debut that nearly included a playoff upset of the Chiefs. His teams have gotten progressively worse since, dropping to 8-9 in 2021 and then 7-10 last season. Now, whether he likes it or not, all his eggs are in the Deshaun Watson basket; after the embattled former Texans star flopped post-suspension in 2022, it's on Stefanski to quickly rejuvenate the QB in a tough AFC North.
Ron Rivera, Commanders
Year: 4th | Record: 22-27-1 | Playoffs: 0-1
You can't question Rivera's leadership, the way he's willingly embraced a polarizing franchise and at least kept Washington in the wild-card mix. His trademark defensive flourishes have also produced a perpetually stingy D-line. But like previous regimes, he's cycled through mid-tier QB rentals; it's the chief reason he's gone 51-58, with zero playoff wins, since his peak with the Panthers in 2015. Now, in a loaded division, he's asking 2022 fifth-rounder Sam Howell, or journeyman Jacoby Brissett, to carry the load.
Josh McDaniels, Raiders
Year: 2nd | Record: 6-11 | Playoffs: N/A
On one hand, McDaniels has the benefit of working under a familiar power structure, with general manager Dave Ziegler also hailing from the Patriots. He's clearly gotten the green light to remake the New England setup, importing Jimmy Garoppolo, Jakobi Meyers and others while exiling regulars like Derek Carr. Still, it feels as if their roster-building has them treading water, and he's now gone 17-28 as a head man in two places. The X-factor: Old partner Tom Brady is now part of Raiders ownership.
Mike McCarthy, Cowboys
Year: 4th | Record: 30-20 | Playoffs: 1-2
Team owner Jerry Jones apparently told McCarthy he wants him running the Cowboys as long as Tom Landry did, and there's no doubting his resume; he's now led 10 different double-digit winning seasons dating back to his days in Green Bay. He's also found just one playoff victory in Dallas, upending elite offensive weaponry with curious late-game calls in consecutive season-ending losses. With OC Kellen Moore discarded, it's all on him as a play-caller to secure the Cowboys' first title bid since the 1990s.
Todd Bowles, Buccaneers
Year: 2nd | Record: 8-9 | Playoffs: 0-1
He's earned his stripes as a defensive mind, but not even Tom Brady could salvage a predictable and conservative approach as the Bucs' head man. With Brady gone, he'll now face even more pressure to guide an elite "D." But will management want him in charge of the inevitable QB reset in 2024, especially since he's now 34-50 in his career as a head coach?
Dennis Allen, Saints
Year: 2nd | Record: 7-10 | Playoffs: N/A
Like Bowles, the guy knows how to run a real defense. And he'll always be respected in New Orleans, where Sean Payton endorsed him as his own successor. But if you're a defensive head coach in 2023, you'd better have an answer at QB, and while newcomer Derek Carr is solid, he's not exactly joining an all-star cast. Now 15-38 in his career as a head coach, Allen's also up against an improved NFC South, where the Falcons and Panthers should be more formidable.
Arthur Smith, Falcons
Year: 3rd | Record: 14-20 | Playoffs: N/A
Unlike the rest, Smith isn't widely regarded as a hot-seat candidate, considering how much Atlanta seemed to better its roster during a busy offseason. He also flirted with wild-card contention despite an abrupt exit from Matt Ryan in 2022. And yet, entering Year 3, with zero playoff appearances under his belt, he's asking unproven second-year QB Desmond Ridder to shepherd a young team to a multiple-win improvement. What if, for whatever reason, that doesn't happen?