#7 – Rex Ryan – N.Y. Jets (not really hot)
It’ll be discussed because it’s New York and because Rex’s mouth and bravado invite it, but two straight trips to the AFC title game should absolutely buy Rex and most of the Jets a mulligan. Quarterback Mark Sanchez and Offensive Coordinator Brian Schottenheimer will likely not get the same deference and will be held to varying degrees of accountability, but Rex’s resume makes him a cliff notes version of Andy Reid and surely due a couple of more runs at his all but self-ordained Super Bowl.
#6 – Jason Garrett – Dallas (not as hot as it should be)
Garrett gets some credit for the turnaround the Cowboys had under him last season, but it’s looking more and more like the talented Cowboys simply took former coach Wade Phillips’ departure as an opportunity to turn a page of their own, and leave him with most of the blame for their having quit on their season. This year Garrett’s Cowboys have been adept at getting leads and awful at keeping them. Alas that prolific collection of receiving talent is too much for the offensive genius to overlook even when looking to salt away late leads. As a result the Cowboys have been more disappointing than exciting and Garrett’s football acumen in general is in question. For now though it appears that owner Jerry Jones enjoys having a coach that he can bully around a bit and that alone should buy Garrett at least another half season in Dallas.
#5 – Mike Shanahan – Washington (never sure with the Redskins)
If this one isn’t being discussed it should be. The chip that Shanahan was once thought to have had on his shoulder in wanting to prove he could win a Super Bowl sans John Elway has likely doubled in size since former offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak took all of Shanahan’s once legendary plug and play running mojo to Houston while Shanahan toils in vain in DC. Washington has never been an easy place to win with their revolving door of talent, but with Shanahan they’re going backwards (which didn’t seem possible).