Wednesday, November 22, 2017
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

NFL Quarterly Report: Coach of the year and those on the hot seat

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The NFL season is a quarter of the way complete and nothing is as it might have seemed. The Vikings and Eagles are up, the Cardinals and Panthers are down. The Broncos and Patriots have been just fine, even without Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. With Brady set to return from a four-game suspension, the Times' Bucs/NFL coverage team looks at the biggest surprises and disappointments so far this season.

Coach of the year

Rick Stroud, @NFLStroud

Bill Belichick. Went 3-1 without Tom Brady using two other QBs.

Tom Jones, @tomwjones

Mike Zimmer, Vikings. Holding this team together in the face of so much adversity is impressive.

Read more:

NFL Quarterly Report: Biggest surprise and disappointment

NFL Quarterly Report: Players, teams to buy and sell

NFL Quarterly Report: MVP and Super Bowl picks

Greg Auman, @gregauman

The easy pick is Eagles coach Doug Pederson with such early success as a rookie head coach. Instead we'll go with Mike Zimmer, who has overcome ridiculous adversity on the eve of the season to keep his team atop a tough division.

Thomas Bassinger, @tometrics

Bill Belichick, Patriots. It's an obvious pick, but it's also the right one. Belichick just went 3-1 with two quarterbacks who had never started an NFL game. The Patriots didn't just get by with Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett, either. The duo completed 67 percent of their passes, threw four touchdowns and no interceptions, averaged 7.9 yards per attempt and posted a 102.1 quarterback rating.

Ernest Hooper, @hoop4you

Mike Zimmer, Minnesota Vikings

Martin Fennelly, @mjfennelly

Belichick. Yeah, even after the loss to Buffalo. Patriots are 3-1 and Brady hasn't taken a snap yet. Belichick. Could make case for Jeff Fisher with 3-1 Rams and Jack Del Rio with 3-1 Raiders. But: Belichick. Drat.

Coach on the hot seat

Stroud

Gus Bradley. Held the hounds at bay with a win in London over the Colts.

Jones

Gus Bradley, Jags. I was tempted to put Dirk Koetter here, but not sure Koetter has the horses to say he's underperforming.

Auman

Sean Payton. Barely avoiding an 0-4 start, how many years can we talk about the Saints having a bad enough defense to offset Drew Brees and a prolific offense? If they finish last in a bad NFC South, you have to wonder how much time Payton has left to find success as Brees' years run out.

Bassinger

Mike McCoy, Chargers. San Diego's actually not as bad as its 1-3 record indicates. But the Chargers, in their fourth season under McCoy, are finding ways to lose. Sound familiar? In each of its losses, San Diego has led in the fourth quarter.

Hooper

Jim Caldwell, Detroit Lions

Fennelly

Make it coaches, plural. Rex Ryan (2-2 Bills) is off it, but there's a mad scramble between Chuck Pagano (1-3 Colts), Mike McCoy (1-3 Chargers), Gus Bradley (1-3 Jaguars), Mike Mularkey (1-3 Titans). And, with nine or 10 more badly-placed losses, Dirk Koetter (1-3 Bucs).

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