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NFL Hot Seat: Coaches With Most to Prove in Week 11

The second half of the NFL season is underway, and while some teams have their sights set on jockeying for postseason positioning, several ownership groups across the league are growing impatient with their head coach.

As Week 11 begins, here's a look at the coaches who are on the hottest of hot seats down the stretch this season — and could be coaching for their jobs over the final two months of the 2023 regular season:

1. Frank Reich, Carolina Panthers

As the Carolina Panthers continues to search for some semblance of an offensive identity more than 10 weeks into the season — as juxtaposed with C.J. Stroud's success at the helm of the surging Houston Texans — it is impossible not to lay some of the blame for the selection of Bryce Young at head coach Frank Reich's feet.

Multiple sources across the NFL, including a rival offensive coach, believe that Reich could be fired at year's end. Some have questioned how Reich and the Panthers could have chosen Young over Stroud, based on film evaluation and measurables. Others question whether Reich's offensive staff had the requisite experience to develop a rookie quarterback to get the most out of Young. Panthers owner David Tepper isn't the league's most patient; so if the Panthers continue to flounder, the end for Reich could come much sooner than expected.

2. Brandon Staley, Los Angeles Chargers

Few coaches entered the 2023 season with more pressure than Brandon Staley, and the Chargers haven't exactly taken the steps likely needed to preserve his job into the 2024 campaign.

For Staley, the fact that the Chargers are underachieving as dramatically as they are this season — despite a franchise quarterback in Justin Herbert, some dynamic young wide receivers and a talented defense — makes it difficult to expect ownership to continue accepting mediocrity in Los Angeles. Their late-game collapse against the Lions, by the defense that Staley helps oversee, is the kind of loss that rocks a franchise because of how much further it pushes the Chargers out of the playoff conversation. The Chargers have scored 30 or more points four times this season and won just one of those contests. That futility could be enough for Staley's ticket out of town to be punched, especially if it continues.

3. Ron Rivera, Washington Commanders

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - NOVEMBER 12: Head coach Ron Rivera of the Washington Commanders looks on during the second quarter against the Seattle Seahawks at Lumen Field on November 12, 2023 in Seattle, Washington.

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Ron Rivera has been sitting on the hot seat since before this season began. And the biggest question about his future might be whether quarterback Sam Howell has shown enough in recent weeks to buy him any more time beyond the end of the 2023 season.

To Rivera's credit, the Commanders have actually been more competitive than most could have reasonably expected after Washington traded away both of its top edge rushers — Montez Sweat and Chase Young — at the NFL trade deadline. The Commanders have the chance to plant some optimism in the minds of its new ownership group on Sunday against the lowly New York Giants. Still, it might take a strong finish to this season for Rivera to keep his job beyond Black Monday.

4. Bill Belichick, New England Patriots

The worst season of Bill Belichick's career could very likely be the final of his tenure leading the New England Patriots.

That was an unfathomable sentence to consider just four months ago, but here we are. The Patriots have fallen woefully behind the division rival Miami Dolphins, the Buffalo Bills and even the New York Jets, and New England simply isn't competitive right now on either side of the football. Given Belichick's outsized influence over personnel, New England's failures in recent seasons are as much on his shoulders — and maybe even more so — as his responsibility for the six Lombardi trophies adorning Patriots Place. The biggest question facing the 2-8 Patriots right now — especially after falling to the Indianapolis Colts 10-6, with Mac Jones being benched for the final drive — is whether Robert Kraft will pull the plug on Belichick's "Patriot Way" before the season is over. The most likely outcome here would seem to be Belichick and the Patriots mutually parting ways at season's end, as it is clear that this is a franchise desperately in need of new direction and a new influence.

5. Dennis Allen, New Orleans Saints

New Orleans' big bet on Derek Carr elevating the offense, and the franchise, to new heights has been a big bust.

Even the fact that the Saints boast the league's No. 10-ranked defense — with New Orleans currently holding opponents to just 19.8 points per game — hasn't been enough for this team to capitalize on playing in arguably the most wide-open division in all of football. There is simply too much talent, especially on offense, for this team to only be .500 after 10 weeks — atop the division or not. Allen can change the conversation by leading New Orleans to the playoffs for the first time in his tenure.

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