Stop me if you have heard this before: the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys is the favorite on Sportsbook.com NFL odds to be the first coach fired in the 2014 NFL season. It goes with the territory of that high-profile gig under owner/GM Jerry Jones.
Get Your Resume Ready, Mr. Garrett
Garrett, Cowboys (+400 on NFL odds)
I don't have a rooting interest for or against Dallas, but I am heavily rooting for the team to finish 8-8 this season for a fourth straight year. No club has done that in NFL history. Really, how is it that Garrett still has a job? Jones had to demote both of last season's coordinators yet Garrett still has work? He is 29-27 in his three-plus seasons in Dallas, losing three straight winner-take-all NFC East games in Week 17. Just for comparison, Garrett's predecessor Wade Phillips was 34-22 with Dallas and he got the team into three playoff games.
Mike Smith, Falcons (+1000)
It's amazing what a difference one season will make. Smith probably was as secure as any coach in the NFL entering 2013. His team had never finished with a losing record since Smith took over in 2008 -- when the Falcons drafted Matt Ryan -- and the Falcons had played in the NFC Championship Game in the 2012 season. However, Atlanta stumbled for a 4-12 mark last year. Another season like that and Smith might get the gate as this team has too much talent to win just four games. It would help if star receiver Julio Jones stays healthy in 2014.
Tom Coughlin, Giants (+1200)
At this point I doubt Coughlin, the NFL's oldest coach, gets fired more than he simply steps away. Coughlin of course has won two Super Bowls with Big Blue, but the Giants were 7-9 last year for their first losing season since Coughlin's first with New York in 2004. Coughlin was set to be a lame-duck coach this year, but he got a one-year extension through 2015. If Eli Manning keeps regressing, Coughlin won't be back next year.
Ron Rivera, Panthers (+1500)
Rivera looked like he might get fired early last season after Carolina started 1-3. If the Panthers had lost their Week 6 game in Minnesota to drop to 1-4, Rivera probably was going to be fired. However, they routed the Vikings and would lose only once more in the regular season on the way to the NFC South title. The team gave Rivera an extension through 2017 so it's hard to imagine he'd be fired even though most believe the Panthers will slip back into mediocrity this year.
Jeff Fisher, Rams (+2000)
The Rams have won seven games in each of Fisher's first two seasons. Something will change if St. Louis doesn't win more this season, but it's more likely to be the team cutting loose quarterback and former No. 1 overall pick Sam Bradford than giving the highly respected Fisher his walking papers. This Rams do appear on the rise if they can get solid QB play.
Mike Zimmer, Vikings (+5000)
Unless the Vikings go winless and embarrass themselves, they aren't going to fire Zimmer after hiring him this winter. He replaced Leslie Frazier after Minnesota went 5-10-1 in 2013. I could see Zimmer being a goner after the 2015 campaign if the team struggles because ownership wants a positive buzz entering 2016 when the Vikings move into their new stadium.
Jim Caldwell, Lions (+5000)
Caldwell was about the Lions' fourth choice, but a recommendation from Tony Dungy carried a lot of weight for the team (Detroit asked Dungy if he'd coach but he said no). Caldwell did lead the Colts to the Super Bowl in the 2009 season, a loss to the Saints, and back to the playoffs in 2010 but was let go after Indy plummeted to 2-14 in 2011, the season Peyton Manning sat out. Caldwell spent last season as the offensive coordinator for Baltimore, and he might have been fired from that job because the Ravens' offense was terrible.
Marc Trestman, Bears (+5000)
Trestman is very safe. Bears fans love that he has finally brought an actual NFL offense to the city. It's usually run, run, short pass, punt and count on the defense with the Bears. Trestman will have to fire defensive coordinator Mel Tucker after this year if the Chicago defense is as wretched as it was in 2013.
Jay Gruden, Redskins (+6000)
Let's be clear here: Gruden isn't really the coach of the Redskins, franchise QB Robert Griffin III is. By all accounts, Griffin is thrilled with Gruden after not being on the same page at all with former coach Mike Shanahan. Gruden was formerly the Bengals' offensive coordinator. He'll get at least two seasons to show what he can do in D.C.
Lovie Smith, Buccaneers (+6000)
The Bucs lacked professionalism in many ways under their past two coaches, Greg Schiano and Raheem Morris. Smith brings that as well as a winning pedigree. His Bears were always competitive, they just tended to fade late in the season in Smith's final few years. Smith is essentially the GM in Tampa as well so he's as safe as about anyone.
NFL free picks: Hate to go the easy way out and pick chalk, but Garrett should be a heavy favorite. It Dallas starts slow -- a very real possibility as an underdog on NFL odds Week 1 vs. San Francisco and then games at Tennessee, at St. Louis and vs. New Orleans -- then Garrett could be gone before the calendar turns to October.