Ranking all 32 head coaches in the NFL, plus looking at coaches on the hot seat heading into 2021

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If you know any NFL head coaches, this is the day you’re going to want to forward the newsletter to them and that’s because we’re going all coaches today. 

OK, so we’re not going all coaches, it’s more like 80% coaches, but I can promise you this, we will have more coaching stuff today than we’ve ever had in a newsletter. Not only are we ranking all 32 coaches, but we’re also going to take a look at the eight coaches who are on the hot seat. Plus, we’re going to take a look at the 10 best coaching matchups on the 2021 schedule. 

I can hear Bill Belichick in my head saying, “Do your job,” so I’m going to do my job and get to the rundown. As always, here’s your weekly reminder to tell all your friends to sign up for the newsletter. To sign up, all you have to do is click here and then share the link. 

1. Today’s show: Ranking the top 10 defensive linemen in the NFL


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If you read this newsletter every day, you’ve probably noticed that we’ve been ranking every position group in the NFL over the past few weeks. The man in charge of ranking the top 10 defensive linemen in the NFL was Jared Dubin and he joined the Pick Six Podcast on Tuesday to discuss his list with Will Brinson. 

According to Dubin, the top three defensive ends/EDGE rushers in the NFL heading into the 2021 season are: 

1. Myles Garrett, Browns
2. T.J. Watt, Steelers
3. Nick Bosa, 49ers

Dubin also ranked the top 10 interior defensive linemen going into 2021 and if you want to hear him walk through both of those lists, then you’re definitely going to want to listen. Also, if you want to hear him explain how Nick Bosa cracked the top three, even though he’s missed 43.75% of his career games due to injury, then you’re definitely going to want to listen. Bosa definitely has plenty of talent, but there’s a chance he could take a small step back in 2021 since he’s coming off a torn ACL last season that cost him 14 games. 

To listen to today’s episode — and to follow the podcast — be sure to click here. You can also check out Jared’s entire top 10 list by clicking here. 

2. 2021 NFL head coach rankings 

As you may or may not have noticed, we love to rank things here at CBSSports.com and because of that, we thought we would spend the next few weeks ranking every position group heading into the 2021 season. However, we are throwing the position groups out the window today and that’s because we’re going to rank coaches. 

For most of the past 20 years, Bill Belichick has been the undisputed top coach in the NFL, but that’s not the case this year, at least according to Cody Benjamin, who compiled our rankings here. Cody has Belichick in the No. 2 slot behind Andy Reid. 

If this ranking was a career award, Belichick would definitely be at the top, but it’s not; it’s a basically a ranking of who the best coach is heading into 2021 and it’s hard to argue with Reid, who’s been to three straight AFC title games and two straight Super Bowls (Also, since taking over the Chiefs job in 2013, Reid actually has a 4-3 record against Belichick). 

With that in mind, let’s get to the rankings:

Top 16 coaches

1. Andy Reid, Chiefs
2. Bill Belichick, Patriots
3. John Harbaugh, Ravens
4. Sean Payton, Saints
5. Sean McDermott, Bills
6. Sean McVay, Rams
7. Pete Carroll, Seahawks
8. Bruce Arians, Buccaneers
9. Matt LaFleur, Packers
10. Mike Tomlin, Steelers
11. Kyle Shanahan, 49ers
12. Frank Reich, Colts
13. Kevin Stefanski, Browns
14. Mike Vrabel, Titans
15. Mike Zimmer (Vikings)
16. Brian Flores (Dolphins)

This is just the top half of the rankings. If you want to see the rest, be sure to click here so you can check out Cody’s story. If you’re a Patriots fan who wants to argue with Cody about the fact that Belichick isn’t ranked at the top, you can do that on Twitter by clicking here, but please be nice because he has to write the newsletter tomorrow and we don’t want a sad Cody writing the newsletter. 

3. NFL coaches on the hot seat heading into 2021


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The unfortunate thing about coaching in the NFL is that there’s a 95% chance that you’re going to get fired at some point. I mean, just look at the top two guys on our ranking of every single NFL head coach. Belichick and Reid have each been fired.  

Although those two have nothing to worry about this year, there are plenty of coaches in the NFL who will be going into 2021 on the hot seat, which means if they don’t start winning games right away, they could get canned. 

There are some seats that are hotter than others, so CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora decided to put together a list of the coaches who are sitting in the hottest seat this year. The NFC North is basically a five-alarm fire right now with all the hot seats in that division as JLC has three out of the four coaches on the hot seat heading into 2021.  

Let’s take a look at the list: 

Matt Nagy (Bears): “Seems like a long time ago he was getting accolades and winning trophies in Chicago. The QB guru has yet another QB mess on his hands. This seat has been hot for a while now, and the burner continues to be cranked up.”

Matt LaFleur (Packers): “This guy absolutely should not be on here in any way shape or form with all the games he’s won in just a couple of years … But this franchise also shouldn’t be at war with one of its greatest players ever. And the reality is that the dudes who work around de facto owners Mark Murphy have been there forever and LaFleur is an outsider. If this season goes entirely sideways and Jordan Love isn’t ready to play and Rodgers withholds his services, well, heads will roll in some capacity. And owners don’t tend to fire themselves or those closest to them when there are others you can scapegoat.”

Mike Zimmer (Vikings): “The constant churn of offensive coordinators and staff on that side of the ball has not gone unnoticed. His defense has slipped badly in recent years, and this certainly looks like a defining year for Zimmer and his QB, Kirk Cousins.”

Other coaches on the hot seat:

Mike McCarthy (Cowboys)
Zac Taylor (Bengals)
Kliff Kingsbury (Cardinals)
David Culley (Texans)
Vic Fangio (Broncos)
Brian Flores (Dolphins)

If you want a full explanation for why La Canfora has each of these coaches on the hot seat, be sure to click here. 

4. Ranking the top 10 coaching matchups on the 2021 schedule

When the 2021 NFL schedule was released back in May, I was pretty sure that we covered every angle here at CBSSports.com, but apparently we forgot one: Best coaching matchups. 

If I’ve learned one thing from watching the NFL over the years, it’s that the chess match that goes on between two coaches can be just as fascinating as the action on the field and because of that, I decided to rank the top 10 coaching matchups on the 2021 schedule. 

My criteria for this ranking was simple: There is no criteria. I simply ranked the 10 matchups that I think will be the most fascinating and/or entertaining. Also, this list only has one rule and that rule is that I decided not to include any divisional coaching matchups. Am I excited to see Mike Tomlin vs. John Harbaugh? Yes, but that game happens twice a year and if you play a team twice a year, you can’t be on this list. 

Top 10 coaching matchups on the 2021 schedule

1. Bill Belichick vs. Sean Payton (Week 3: Saints at Patriots)
2. Andy Reid vs. John Harbaugh (Week 2: Chiefs at Ravens)
3. Sean McVay vs. Matt LaFleur (Week 12: Rams at Packers)
4. Kyle Shanahan vs. Frank Reich (Week 7: Colts at 49ers)
5. Bill Belichick vs. Mike Vrabel (Week 12: Titans at Patriots)
6. Andy Reid vs. Sean McDermott (Week 5: Bills at Chiefs)
7. Bruce Arians vs. Ron Rivera (Week 10: Buccaneers at Washington)
8. Mike Tomlin vs. Sean McDermott (Week 1: Steelers at Bills)
9. Kevin Stefanski vs. Mike Zimmer (Week 4: Browns at Vikings)
10. Urban Meyer vs. Pete Carroll (Week 8: Jaguars at Seahawks)

With that last spot on the list, the Seahawks might smoke the Jaguars, but I have to admit, I’m excited to see two of the best college coaches of the past 20 years go head to head in the NFL since they never faced each other in college. 

If you want a full breakdown of why each of these matchups made the list, be sure to click here so you can check out my full story. 

5. Predicting every game on the Panthers’ 2021 schedule


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Now that the month of June is nearly over, that means the dead part of the NFL offseason is upon us and although things can get kind of boring during that period, we’re going to keep things spicy around here by going through and predicting every game on each team’s 2021 schedule. 

There are 32 teams and we’ll be doing one team per day until we make it through every team. Today, we’re going to continue our run through the NFC South by predicting the Panthers’ final record. 

Our Patrik Walker went through the Panthers’ entire schedule and picked out all the games they’re going to win and all the games they’re going to lose. After only winning five games last season, Walker has them taking a small leap forward in 2021 with Sam Darnold at quarterback and a healthy Christian McCaffrey.   

Here’s a look at how Walker sees the Panthers doing in three key games, along with the final record he sees them ending up with: 

  • Week 1: Jets at Panthers. “Sam Darnold gets his revenge against the team that stalled his progression before shipping him out of town for Zach Wilson.” Prediction: Carolina 24-10 over New York.  
  • Week 4: Panthers at Cowboys. “If the Cowboys defense is improved and can match serve with an overpowered offense led by a healthy Dak Prescott along with his two healthy starting tackles, this could be too much for the Panthers to overcome on the road. It is true Sam Darnold gouged the Cowboys in the eye in New York while with the Jets, but he’s going to Arlington now and Prescott has a point to prove.” Prediction: Dallas 35-14 over Carolina. 
  • Week 12: Panthers at Dolphins. “Tua Tagovailoa has a lot of potential and a defense that can carry games, so this should be an entertaining one in South Florida. The Panthers have a more experienced QB, though, although Byron Jones and Xavien Howard are awaiting him. This might be a close one that goes to the wire, with Darnold doing just enough — with the help of McCaffrey — to land a win.” Prediction: Carolina 28-27 over Miami.

Overall, Walker is predicting that the Panthers are going to finish the season 8-9. Although that would put them under .500, it would be a three-game improvement over 2020 and show that Matt Rhule’s process is working. #TrustTheProcess

If you want to see Walker’s prediction for each game, click here to check out his entire story. Over the next two days, we’ll be finishing our run through the NFC South by predicting the final record for the Saints and the Falcons.     

6. Rapid-fire roundup

It’s been a busy 24 hours in the NFL and since it’s nearly impossible to keep track of everything that has happened, I went ahead and put together a roundup for you. 

  • Derek Carr says Davante Adams is the best receiver in the NFL. It’s not often you hear a QB call a a receiver from another team the best in the NFL, but that’s exactly what happened here. Of course, Carr’s teammates probably won’t be too offended and that’s for two reasons: Adams is arguably the best receiver in the NFL and Carr is tight with the Packers receiver (They went to college together at Fresno State).   
  • Ex-Super Bowl winner is looking to make an NFL comeback and he says three teams are interested. After seeing what Tim Tebow was doing, former Giants running back Brandon Jacobs decided he wanted to return to the NFL at a different position and apparently, he’s serious. The 39-year-old wants to play defensive end and he recently told a local paper that three teams have reached out to him. Unfortunately for us, he didn’t name those three teams. 
  • Paxton Lynch signs with a football team. After fizzling out of the NFL, it looked like Lynch’s football career might be over, but it seems that’s not the case just yet. Lynch is taking his talents to the CFL after signing with the Saskatchewan Roughriders on Monday…. and yes, I had to Google Saskatchewan to make sure I spelled it correctly. 
  • Tanya Snyder named co-CEO of the Washington Football Team. For the past 20 years, there hasn’t really been anyone in Washington’s front office who could question team owner Dan Snyder, but that’s soon going to be changing and that’s because his wife, Tanya, is now going to be working with the team. Tanya was named the co-CEO on Thursday and one of her biggest jobs out of the gate will be helping the Football Team find a new name and brand with the expectation that an announcement will be made at some point in 2022.
  • 2021 supplemental draft gets canceled. For the second straight year, the NFL won’t be holding a supplemental draft. The supplemental draft is open to players who didn’t enter the regular draft and it runs for seven rounds. If a team makes a pick in the supplemental draft, then they lose a pick in the corresponding round the following year. Terrelle Pryor and Josh Gordon are two past players who were taken in the supplemental draft, but no one will be added to that list this year since the draft has now been canceled. 



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