Our NFC North writers weigh in on which coach, player or front-office exec is on the hottest seat in the division.
Rob Demovsky, Green Bay Packers reporter: Jim Caldwell. Although doesn’t it seem like the Lions coach has been on the hot seat for a while? That appeared to be the case after the 2015 season, when the Lions hired new general manager Bob Quinn. But Quinn kept Caldwell in place last season, and everything seemed to be clicking, until the Lions closed the regular season with three straight losses to finish 9-7 and then bowed out in the first round of the playoffs. If the Lions don’t go further this season, Quinn might finally make a move.
Jeff Dickerson, Chicago Bears reporter: John Fox. There’s not even a close second. Fox is 9-23 in Chicago. Chairman George McCaskey is not a patient man, and the Bears have missed the playoffs every year since McCaskey assumed his current role in 2011. I’m not saying the Bears have to reach the postseason to save Fox’s job -- winning nine or 10 games is probably unrealistic. But Fox needs to show serious improvement to stick around in 2018. Chicago general manager Ryan Pace also deserves to be on the hot seat, but he’s likely safer than Fox.
Ben Goessling, Minnesota Vikings reporter: Every coach in the division not named Mike McCarthy has some things to prove, but Fox might have the most at stake in 2017. Although the Bears are in the middle of a rebuilding plan after trading up to draft Mitchell Trubisky, neither their fans nor their owners are going to stand for many more years of double-digit losses. The Bears' complement of skill position players has been depleted during the past few years, and their quarterback situation is the most unsettled of any team in the division. But Fox isn't a new head coach; he has taken two teams to Super Bowls, and he'll be expected to show marked improvement in 2017.
Michael Rothstein, Detroit Lions reporter: Fox. Things have not gone well for Fox in Chicago. He’s 9-23 after two seasons, and he has finished last in the division both years. Now he’s got a veteran (Mike Glennon) and the No. 2 pick in the draft (Trubisky) at quarterback, so he has a couple of options beyond Jay Cutler. He has had time to help sculpt the roster he wants, so there shouldn’t be any excuses there, either. He doesn’t need to win the division, because Green Bay, Detroit and Minnesota should all be pretty good, but another season of six or fewer wins should put him in a perilous position.