Who's on the hot seat in all eight NFL divisions

This summer, NFL Nation reporters are answering the biggest questions for every team in divisional roundtables.

Monday's question: Who will be the best newcomer?

Tuesday's question: Who is the rising star in each division?

Wednesday's question: Who is on the hottest seat in the division?

AFC East | AFC North | AFC South | AFC West
NFC East | NFC North | NFC South | NFC West

AFC East

Mike Rodak, Buffalo Bills reporter: Rex Ryan's job security has been discussed a little bit this offseason. OK, it has been talked about a lot. And for good reason -- Ryan came to Buffalo with big promises about the playoffs and his defense, and the Bills were one of the NFL's bigger disappointments last season. Credit Ryan for trying to raise the bar around an organization that hasn't been in the postseason since 1999, but he still needs to get his group to deliver. If the Bills stumble again this season, Ryan could be the latest victim of the growing pressure created by the team's ongoing 16-year playoff drought.

James Walker, Miami Dolphins reporter: It's a close choice between Ryan and Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill in the AFC East. Both have plenty to prove in 2016, but I think Ryan gets more of a pass here because he is entering just his second season in Buffalo. But Tannehill is entering Year 5 and it's time to end the excuses. Yes, Tannehill is the most sacked quarterback (184) since 2012. Yes, Tannehill is on his third offensive coordinator in the past four seasons. But at some point the finger-pointing has to stop, and it's on Tannehill to take responsibility for the failure or success of Miami's offense. New Dolphins head coach Adam Gase is a bright offensive mind who knows how to get the most out of quarterbacks. Gase also is giving Tannehill the kind of freedom in the offense and audible ability that he's craved. Add in the fact Miami has four former first-round picks on the offensive line, including 2016 rookie Laremy Tunsil, and Tannehill is set up for success.

Rich Cimini, New York Jets reporter: Come on, this is a no-brainer -- Rex Ryan. It looks like it's playoffs or bust for the brash Bills coach, who has no excuses in Year 2. In most cases, a head coach gets more than two years to establish his program, but Ryan changed the dynamic by predicting big things for the moribund Bills. It's all or nothing, and he knows it. If he gets the Bills to the playoffs for the first time in 17 years, he'll be a Buffalo icon. If not, he might be working for ESPN next year. I'd put Tannehill a distant second on the hot-seat list.

Mike Reiss, New England Patriots reporter: When Pro Football Hall of Famer Jim Kelly says Rex Ryan is coaching for his job and must make the playoffs to stick, what else needs to be said? Kelly knows the Bills, and has his finger on the pulse of Western New York as much as anyone.

AFC North

Jeremy Fowler, Pittsburgh Steelers reporter: The answer is not -- wait for it -- a Browns coach. Hue Jackson is in Year 1 of a major rebuilding project and will get some time. That leaves three established AFC North coaches, none of whom has even a lukewarm seat. But while Cincinnati's Marvin Lewis has no playoff wins in 14 seasons, Pittsburgh's Mike Tomlin and Baltimore's John Harbaugh have a combined 16 playoff wins in 17 collective seasons. If anyone must be on the hot seat, it's Lewis, who just signed a one-year extension but needs a January breakthrough eventually. Those Pittsburgh fans who talked about firing Tomlin last year were delusional. Pittsburgh coaches have more job stability than George Clooney, and Tomlin has never had a losing season. Harbaugh's 23-25 record since 2013 isn't ideal, but he has earned enough clout to work his way out of the dark period.

Coley Harvey, Cincinnati Bengals reporter: For once, the hottest seat in the AFC North doesn't belong to a Browns coach. In only his first year on the job, Hue Jackson's seat isn't even lukewarm. When you scan the rest of the division, though, there's only one place where there could be cause for concern this year from a coaching standpoint: Baltimore. The Ravens went 5-11 last season and run the risk of missing the postseason for a second straight year, simply because of the Bengals' and Steelers' presence in the division. The addition of Eric Weddle and drafting of Ronnie Stanley (albeit, with some drama due to the Laremy Tunsil draft-night saga) should make the Ravens better. If Baltimore doesn't get it turned around this year and struggles to stay competitive with the Bengals and Steelers, the rumbles about the warmth of John Harbaugh's seat could begin in earnest. Marvin Lewis' seat could get red-hot in January if the coach fails to lead his uber-talented Bengals team to the playoffs for the first time in six years.

Jamison Hensley, Baltimore Ravens reporter: Browns quarterback Robert Griffin III. It does sound strange to put that label on someone who has yet to be named the starter for his current team, but this could be Griffin's last chance at being a full-time starter. He went from being one of the most dynamic quarterbacks in the NFL in 2012 to being a scout-team safety three years later. He didn't take a snap last season, which makes you wonder where his confidence sits. Griffin has reportedly looked shaky in the open offseason practices. Many of his passes were tipped, intercepted or should have been intercepted. If he continues to struggle, Griffin might not get the opportunity to become the Browns' 25th starting quarterback since they returned to the league in 1999.

Pat McManamon, Cleveland Browns reporter: The Bengals usually don't put people on hot seats, but if Marvin Lewis doesn't win a playoff game before the turn of the century, even Cincinnati may give in. The Bengals have made the playoffs five years in a row, and they lost their first game each time. That has happened all seven times Lewis has guided a team to the playoffs. The longtime coach deserves credit for getting the Bengals there. At some point, though, it would be nice to win one of those postseason games.

AFC South

Tania Ganguli, Houston Texans reporter: This year's draft was the fourth for the Jaguars team of general manager Dave Caldwell and head coach Gus Bradley. They have selected in the top five every year, and their past nine first-round selections have all been top-10 picks. There's no reason to believe the Jaguars' past three first-round selections -- Blake Bortles, Dante Fowler Jr. and Jalen Ramsey -- won't excel, but this is a pivotal year. Fowler is healthy. Bortles is entering his third season. Ramsey was arguably the most promising defensive player in the draft this year. This team hasn't had a winning record since 2007, and it's time they cross that threshold. There's talent here, and if Bradley can't create a winner out of it, there could be change in Jacksonville.

Paul Kuharsky, Tennessee Titans reporter: By traditional hot seat measures, it will be Gus Bradley and Dave Caldwell in Jacksonville. If the Jaguars can't make a significant gain in wins after all they've done, there will be external pressure for changes. Houston quarterback Brock Osweiler isn't on the hot seat -- no one will be looking to replace him if he has a bad season. But in terms of expectations and intense spotlight, he's the No. 1 guy in the division and one of the top guys in the NFL.

Michael DiRocco, Jacksonville Jaguars reporter: The answer is pretty easy: Jaguars coach Gus Bradley. Owner Shad Khan said in February that a winning record in 2016 is "everybody's reasonable expectation at this point." That was before the Jaguars signed defensive tackle Malik Jackson, running back Chris Ivory, free safety Tashaun Gipson and left tackle Kelvin Beachum in free agency and drafted cornerback Jalen Ramsey and linebacker Myles Jack. The Jaguars' offense made huge strides in 2015 and should be better in 2016, with a completely healthy Julius Thomas and a (supposedly) improved offensive line. The Jaguars upgraded their speed on defense significantly and added playmakers in Jackson, Gipson, Jack and Ramsey. End Dante Fowler Jr. also returns from a torn ACL. Plus, the division is weak, so there's no reason the Jaguars shouldn't be competing for the division title well into December. If not, Bradley might not be back in 2017.

Mike Wells, Indianapolis Colts reporter: Jacksonville's Gus Bradley. The front office has shown patience with Bradley, but now they're ready to take the next step in the division. That was evident by the moves they made this offseason in signing Ivory and Jackson and drafting cornerback Ramsey and Jack to go with returning players such as Bortles, Thomas and Allen Robinson. The Jaguars were one of the NFL's offseason champions. But games aren't won on paper. It's up to Bradley to make sure his team is prepared to take a significant leap from its five victories last season. If not, that seat will get even hotter for Bradley.

AFC West

Jeff Legwold, Denver Broncos reporter: Expectations are the fuel that heats the seats and quarterback Alex Smith, set to begin his fourth year in Kansas City under the $68 million contract he signed shortly after his arrival, carries those kinds of expectations. The Chargers have failed to make the postseason with Mike McCoy as coach, so things are getting steamy around the former Broncos offensive coordinator. But the hottest seat will belong to whichever quarterback wins the job for the Broncos. The team has won five consecutive division titles, made two Super Bowl trips in the last three seasons, won a title, has nine defensive starters set to return off the league's No. 1 defense and, oh, you're following Peyton Manning. Whether it turns out to be Mark Sanchez or Trevor Siemian, the winner of the QB competition will carry the most expectations because of the Broncos' success since the start of the 2011 season. The Broncos won't ask their quarterback to be Manning; the new guy will be cocooned in a refurbished run game that will feature plenty of two-back looks. But Super Bowl rings were handed out to the Broncos this offseason and the third Lombardi Trophy was put in a case in the lobby of the team's complex. That brings plenty of pressure.

Adam Teicher, Kansas City Chiefs reporter: In the traditional sense it's San Diego's Mike McCoy. He's the one AFC West head coach who's coaching to keep his job. But the Raiders are the AFC West team that has to make a move this year. They have too much talent to have yet another non-winning season. So I'm looking here at Oakland quarterback Derek Carr. He's not going to be the one who loses his job if the Raiders don't make the playoffs or fail to get past .500 for the 15th straight season. But it's on him to lead the Raiders out of the muck.

Paul Gutierrez, Oakland Raiders reporter: The knee-jerk answer would be Denver Broncos quarterback Mark Sanchez, who is the likely replacement for a Hall of Famer in Peyton Manning. But Sanchez, who went to a pair of AFC title games with the New York Jets in his first two NFL seasons, is essentially playing with house money in the Mile High City thanks to the Broncos' otherworldly defense. Rather, let's look to Southern California and a coach who barely hung on to his job by a margin as thin as his quarterback's bolo ties. Mike McCoy, a former college quarterback at Long Beach State and Utah, is 22-26 in three years with one win in the AFC West the past two seasons and was given a contract extension to right the Bolts' ship ... sans the staff he brought with him initially. His new offensive coordinator is Ken Whisenhunt, who was McCoy's offensive coordinator his first year in San Diego, when the Chargers went from 31st to fifth in total offense, went 9-7 and won a playoff game. If the Chargers get off to a slow start, might McCoy's replacement already be on staff in Whisenhunt?

Eric Williams, San Diego Chargers reporter: After a disappointing 4-12 campaign in 2015, San Diego Chargers coach Mike McCoy received a reprieve when Chargers chairman Dean Spanos signed him to a one-year extension through 2017 rather than firing him. The Chargers closed out the season by losing 10 of their last 13 games and finished winless against the AFC West for the first time since 1984. However, with the franchise pushing for a new stadium in downtown San Diego, if the team starts slow again, Spanos could make a midseason change at head coach. The Chargers finished 3-9 in games decided by eight points or fewer in 2015, so McCoy has to be better at the end of games. There has been a renewed enthusiasm in offseason work, which bodes well for McCoy. But if San Diego continues to struggle on the field during the first half of the year, offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt could serve as interim coach should the team move on from McCoy in the middle of the season.

NFC East

Dan Graziano, New York Giants reporter: Sam Bradford's seat isn't just hot -- it has an actual expiration date. After the Eagles moved up in the draft and took Carson Wentz with the No. 2 pick, Bradford knew his days were numbered. No matter how he performs, he's ultimately going to lose the job to Wentz. That could be this year, could be next year, but the date is coming soon.

Todd Archer, Dallas Cowboys reporter: Since there are two new head coaches in Ben McAdoo and Doug Pederson, and Jay Gruden is coming off a division title, it comes down to three people: Cowboys coach Jason Garrett, Eagles quarterback Sam Bradford and Giants general manager Jerry Reese. New York ownership made their feelings clear that the departure of Tom Coughlin wasn't so much about the coach but about the lack of talent added to the roster in recent years. Reese is responsible for that, and you saw his reaction this offseason by going on a spending spree in free agency (Olivier Vernon, Janoris Jenkins, Damon Harrison). In the draft, Eli Apple was something of a curious pick but Sterling Shepard seems like a nice addition. Garrett is the longest-tenured coach in the division and has a .500 record over his five years with one playoff appearance. Jerry Jones is not known for patience but he has been patient with Garrett. He is in the second year of a five-year deal, so Jones might be willing to be more patient even if the fan base isn't. To me, Bradford is the answer. He signed a two-year deal and the Eagles drafted Carson Wentz in the first round. If you think Bradford will be booed in the first quarter of the first game of the season, take the under.

Phil Sheridan, Philadelphia Eagles reporter: I'd have to go with Jay Gruden here, if only because his boss is Daniel Snyder. If that team takes a significant step backward in 2016, I have to think Snyder will look at Gruden first. GM Scot McCloughan still has the security of being the most recent major hire. Half the division has first-year head coaches, and it seems as if Jason Garrett has some cover because Jerry Jones blames himself as GM for the Cowboys' woes. As far as players, Eli Manning's seat is warming up now that a new head coach is in place. I just think Manning will do well playing for Ben McAdoo.

John Keim, Washington Redskins reporter: I know Jason Garrett is often the go-to guy for this honor (or whomever is coaching the Redskins), but it has to be, and should be, Giants general manager Jerry Reese. The Giants have missed the postseason four straight seasons (and six of the past seven), just hired a new coach and embarked on a spending spree this offseason, trying to bolster a roster that hasn't been helped enough by Reese's drafts. If new head coach Ben McAdoo works out, then Reese will have bought himself a lot more time. Entering last season, the thought was that Reese had excellent security -- and the Giants have a history of being loyal to their GMs. But to me, the offseason spending suggested a guy who's desperate to rebuild a roster, someone who should sense what could happen if he doesn't.

NFC North

Rob Demovsky, Green Bay Packers reporter: Teddy Bridgewater: The Vikings have just about everything a Super Bowl-contending team needs: Playmakers on all three levels of their defense, a seemingly unstoppable running back and a master tactician as a head coach. But do they have the quarterback? Entering his third season, Bridgewater has yet to answer that question in the affirmative. His career numbers -- 28 touchdowns, 21 interceptions and a 7.2-yard average per attempt -- suggest he might never be anything more than a game-manager. The Vikings might need more from him than that.

Jeff Dickerson, Chicago Bears reporter: Jim Caldwell. Honestly, I'm surprised Caldwell is still the Lions' coach after owner Martha Ford fired team president Tom Lewand and general manager Martin Mayhew. New Detroit general manager, Bob Quinn, wants to hire his own guy, and that likely isn't Caldwell. From a record perspective, Caldwell is 18-15 in two seasons in Detroit. That is commendable. But the life expectancy for head coaches when the team changes general managers is a short one. Just ask Lovie Smith. The third-most successful coach in Bears' franchise history, Smith was fired one year into Phil Emery's tenure as Chicago's general manager, despite Smith's team finishing 10-6 in 2013. Be careful, Jim. There could be another Marc Trestman lurking around the corner in Detroit.

Ben Goessling, Minnesota Vikings reporter: Caldwell. The Lions might have saved their coach's job by winning six of their last eight games last season, but after an awful start that forced the team to change offensive coordinators in the middle of the season, Caldwell will have to put a steadier product on the field this year. He'll have to do it without Calvin Johnson, and he'll go on the road three times in the first four weeks with a team that lost its first four away from Ford Field last season. He has to impress a new GM this season, not to mention an ownership group that's hungry for a winner. There is little doubt it's a make-or-break year for him.

Michael Rothstein, Detroit Lions reporter: I'd be a little stunned if this isn't the across-the-board answer with my colleagues, but it has to be Caldwell. Quinn spent a week after he was hired in January evaluating Caldwell before choosing to keep him. So it has to be win-or-else for Caldwell in 2016, considering Caldwell was not the guy Quinn hired and this is a team transitioning out of the Calvin Johnson era, with quarterback Matthew Stafford likely due a big extension before the 2017 season. If Caldwell wins and Stafford progresses, Caldwell will likely be in good shape. But if he doesn't win this season, the Lions could go a different coaching direction in 2017.

NFC South

Jenna Laine, Tampa Bay Buccaneers reporter: Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff, who already has seen a shift in his job responsibilities with the arrival of assistant GM Scott Pioli, even admitted to being on the hot seat. Dan Quinn did a tremendous job his first season, finishing 8-8, even though things fell off after that 5-0 start. But look at some of the recent drafts. How much depth do they truly have? They got better with the six picks they had this year. I like where the defense is going. But if you go back to the 2012 draft class, none of those players are still with the team. Sure, they didn't have a first-round pick that year, but they're 18-30 since 2013. They have sat out the postseason the past three years. Mike Smith might have gotten the axe after 2014, but you don't see general managers surviving long after coaches leave if things don't improve.

Vaughn McClure, Atlanta Falcons reporter: Matt Ryan. Forget about all the talk about being among the elite and being a $100 million quarterback. Ryan, with a 1-4 postseason record, simply has to help the Falcons win games. He contributed to a share of losses last season with poor decision-making and costly turnovers. Sure, you can point to receivers not getting open, offensive linemen not blocking, and the play-calling not catering to his strengths, but a guy as touted as Ryan should be able to overcome such obstacles unless hampered by an injury. Ryan had four interceptions in the red zone last season, including two inside the 10-yard line. The additions of center Alex Mack, wide receiver Mohamed Sanu and tight end Austin Hooper should make life easier for Ryan. In other words, no excuses. And he knows it.

David Newton, Carolina Panthers reporter: Saints coach Sean Payton. You can't justify him being one of the highest-paid coaches in the NFL at $8 million a year if he follows up consecutive 7-9 seasons with another losing record. As beloved as he became after guiding the Saints to the Super Bowl title after the 2009 season, New Orleans is 2-3 in the playoffs since with three losing seasons in the past four. And that's with Drew Brees, one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. OK, Payton was on the bench in 2012 for "BountyGate," but he has to be held accountable for that as well. With Brees in the twilight of his career with a huge salary-cap number and a defense that has been one of the worst in the NFL the past three years, it might be time for the Saints to make a change if they fall short of the playoffs again.

Mike Triplett, New Orleans Saints reporter: Dimitroff. I'll defer to the Falcons GM himself on this one, since he recently acknowledged, "Of course I'm on the hot seat." To be fair, Dimitroff has often said he approaches his job that way every year. But his seat has grown increasingly warmer with Atlanta missing the playoffs for three straight years. The Falcons can't afford to keep wasting the prime years of a $20 million quarterback like Ryan and a superstar receiver like Julio Jones. They went all-in to try to fix one of their most glaring weaknesses by signing Mack to a mega-deal in free agency. But much like the Saints, the Falcons won't go anywhere if they don't fix their porous defense. Dimitroff is counting on second-year coach Quinn to make that happen -- otherwise Quinn will be on a hot seat of his own.

NFC West

Josh Weinfuss, Arizona Cardinals reporter: Rams coach Jeff Fisher has to be on the hot seat, right? He's 27-36 in four seasons with the Rams. He's not even "always 8-8," as Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said after beating the Rams two seasons ago; Fisher has never reached eight wins in a season with the Rams. Since 2012, 13 of the 25 teams who have a better record than the Rams during that span have replaced their coach. But not the Rams, despite less-than-mediocre performances year in and year out. I was surprised the Rams kept Fisher when they moved to Los Angeles. Some expected a massive housecleaning. But how long will Los Angeles fans put up with 6-10 and 7-9 records? If the Rams don't have a winning season this year, I don't know how they can keep Fisher and expect to earn a piece of a very saturated, very successful sports market.

Nick Wagoner, Los Angeles Rams reporter: I'm going to go with Fisher. There was never much of a chance the Rams were going to move on from Fisher after last season, because they were planning a move to Los Angeles and viewed him as the right person to lead them through the move. It's pretty hard to justify bringing a coach back for a fifth season after four straight losing years, but the Rams are doing just that with Fisher this year. That means the heat has to be turned up in 2016. It's the fifth and final year of Fisher's contract with the Rams, and with or without a possible contract extension, the Rams are out of excuses when it comes to on-field performance. That's not to say anything short of the playoffs would mean a change, but the time to get to a winning record and tangible progress has come.

Michael Wagaman, San Francisco 49ers reporter: It might be a shock to some, but 49ers general manager Trent Baalke can't feel too comfortable about his job security. The team has gone backward in each of the past two seasons, and if things continue to go bad in 2016, owner Jed York is going to need a fall guy. Baalke's track record with player personnel has taken a bit of a hit in recent years, and his inability to make things work with former head coach Jim Harbaugh still resonates as one of the biggest mistakes of the GM's tenure. A .500 season or better would certainly ease some of the pressure, but that might be tough with the group Baalke has assembled.

Sheil Kapadia, Seattle Seahawks reporter: This should be an easy answer: Fisher. However, given the way the Rams operate, an 8-8 record in 2016 could earn him a 15-year contract extension. Since Fisher took over in 2012, the Rams have won a total of 27 games. Only six franchises have produced fewer victories during that span. Fisher's teams have failed to produce a winning record in his last six seasons as a head coach. And they've won more than eight games twice in his last 11 seasons as a head coach. The Jared Goff selection buys Fisher time, but at some point, doesn't the result with the Rams need to be something other than mediocrity?