As time speeds towards the end of 2017, the jobs of some NFL coaches are in jeopardy.
To find out which coaches could be next, let's check in with NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport, who ran through a list Sunday on NFL GameDay Morning:
1. Denver Broncos: Vance Joseph
Directly from Rapoport: "No firm word on his status yet. [General manager] John Elway and the Broncos want very badly to make this work. They know the quarterback situation is terrible. They know what they handed Vance Joseph offensively. They are very well aware of that. He has a very strong relationship with Elway and with [team president] Joe Ellis."
The Broncos are in the midst of an eight-game losing streak, their second-longest in franchise history (1967). If Denver loses out, it might be difficult for Elway to bring back Joseph and his staff, even if the Hall of Fame QB wants to give the first-time head coach more than one year. Sticking with Joseph would be a tacit acknowledgment from Elway that the front office has bungled the quarterback situation and still hasn't fixed the offensive line issues.
2. Chicago Bears: John Fox
Rapoport reported several assistants on Fox's staff believe it will not end well this season. NFL Network's Mike Garafolo added that based on what Fox has been saying, and the tone of his comments, it sounds like he has accepted his fate, according to several people who have talked to the coach.
The Bears are 12-32 (.273 win percent) since Fox became head coach in 2015. Only Cleveland and San Francisco have fewer wins over that span. With a loss on Sunday, Chicago will have 10-plus losses in three consecutive seasons under Fox. The Bears believe they've found a franchise quarterback in Mitchell Trubisky. Now they must find him a coach better suited to nurture that talent.
3. Indianapolis Colts: Chuck Pagano
New general manager Chris Ballard wanted to give Pagano a year to try and turn around the operation, per Rapoport. It hasn't worked out.
The Colts have cratered, entering Sunday's tilt versus the Buffalo Bills with a 3-9 record. It will be Pagano's first season under 8-8. Indy reached the playoffs the first three seasons under Pagano, but have been .500 or worse the past three years. The Colts have had one of the worst defenses in the NFL under Pagano's reign.
Indy's defensive rankings under Pagano:Points per game allowed: 2017: 32nd; 2016: 22nd; 2015: 25th; 2014: 19th; 2013: 9th; 2012: 21st
Yards per game allowed: 2017: 29th; 2016: 30th; 2015: 26th; 2014: 11th; 2013: 20th; 2012: 26th
4. Detroit Lions: Jim Caldwell
Rapoport reported that the "multi-year extension" Caldwell signed earlier in the year was just for 2018, with options for future seasons. The contract would not preclude the Lions from moving on from the coach.
If the Lions fail to make the playoffs, Caldwell could take the fall, with GM Bob Quinn bringing in his own staff. We've seen coaches get canned after signing contract extensions in the past (Jeff Fisher last year; Rex Ryan in 2014).