NFL Black Monday: As Redskins, Raiders and Colts Mull Firings, Is Any Head Coach Safe?

The first Monday after the end of the NFL regular season will flash this year like every other as a warning light for any head coach not involved in the playoffs.

"Black Monday" is approaching and many NFL teams will once again decide en masse whether they want to stick or twist with a new coach for the new season.

This year there seem to be an unusually large number of head coaches on the hotseat. Here are the men most at risk of being fired this Monday.

Hue Jackson - Cleveland Browns

Jackson said a year ago he’d jump in Lake Erie if the Browns went 1-15 this season. Heading into the last game of the season against the Steelers, the Browns are 0-15. Jackson may be saved a leap into the water because the Browns are that damn bad. He’s on his way out of Cleveland, so someone else can ruin Sam Darnold.

Jack del Rio - Oakland Raiders

Somehow, despite a stud quarterback and the reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year on the roster, the Raiders are going to finish below .500 in the eminently winnable AFC West. Del Rio only got a contract extension at the start of this season and he’s probably done enough to hang around for another year in the Bay Area, but he won’t survive another year misusing Derek Carr and Khalil Mack.

Chuck Pagano - Indianapolis Colts

“It's no state secret that Chuck Pagano's future with the Colts rests on dangerously thin ice,” Marc Sessler wrote on NFL.com on Wednesday. The Colts’ season has been painfully bad, from the 12 losses so far to the mystery around Andrew Luck to the general sense of mismanagement around a competent backup quarterback. Pagano seems likely to go but don’t expect his successor to turn things around quickly.

Marvin Lewis - Cincinnati Bengals

According to Mike Sando of ESPN, the Bengals could move Lewis out of the head coaching role he’s occupied since 2003 and into the front office. They would then bring back former HC Jackson from the Browns. The future in Cincy looks… mediocre.

Vance Joseph - Denver Broncos

“It’s the uncompetitive nature of so many Broncos losses that has likely disturbed general manager John Elway and team president Joe Ellis,” Colorado-based site 9News.com wrote on Tuesday. Denver still has a great defense but it’s going nowhere if it cannot sign, or draft, a better quarterback than Trevor Siemian or Paxton Lynch. Kirk Cousins hurling passes through the thin air sounds like fun. Will Joseph be around to coach him, though?

Bruce Arians - Arizona Cardinals

Arians denied a report this week by the website Pro Football Weekly that he was planning on retiring. The Cardinals’ season has been disappointing but it has only been two years since Arians led the franchise into that NFC Championship Game blowout against the Carolina Panthers. He should be back for another go, although a roster shakeup is surely imminent in the desert.

Jay Gruden - Washington Redskins

“Gruden’s offense has been terrific. He’s likable and respected and has navigated Washington’s turbulence as well as anyone,” Dan Steinberg wrote in The Washington Post on Dec. 11. “You can’t ignore the plague of injuries, even if they’re not an excuse. And until the past two weeks, this was a competitive and resilient team playing pretty dang well against the league’s gnarliest schedule.” So why does it still feel like both Kirk Cousins and Gruden may be gone by the start of the 2018 season?

Jim Caldwell - Detroit Lions

"I think my job when I came here was not playoff talk," Caldwell told the Detroit Free Press on Thursday. "My job when I came here was to win it all. That’s what every coach is in it to do. And anything short of that is unacceptable, plain and simple."

Maybe Caldwell is a victim of his own success in raising Detroit’s expectations off the floor during his four seasons as head coach. The Lions aren’t bad, anymore, just maddeningly frustrating. They still rely too heavily on Matthew Stafford to get them out of tight situations. They still seem to lack an edge when their season is on the line. All of that may cost Caldwell his position.