New NFL Coaches: Which Teams Are Right & Which Ones Missed the Mark


New NFL Coaches: Which Teams Are Right & Which Ones Missed the Mark

by Amy Lignor

There have been many terms bandied about when it comes to NFL coach hires; the most colorful being the “never-ending coaching carousel.” While some choices seem extremely thought out, others make it seem like certain teams want to stay on the bottom rungs of the ladder.


With the Indianapolis Colts hiring Frank Reich (less than a week) after Josh McDaniels decided not to accept the job, the ‘carousel’ finally stopped. The Colts definitely stand behind the hiring of Reich and say that McDaniels was simply a legal issue, but they didn’t seem overly pleased with the outcome. Let’s face it: Josh McDaniels stayed with the Patriots because the number one coach of all time promised to teach him the ropes. Now, this has been stated before and has never come true. But being the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach of the New England Patriots, McDaniels has been a huge part of all five Super Bowl wins. This means he has street-cred and losing him would not have been good for the Patriots’ future. (Disaster averted.)


One Patriots coach who did say so long to New England was Matt Patricia, the Patriots defensive coordinator. He will replace Jim Caldwell (fired after four seasons) as the Detroit Lions head coach.


The Arizona Cardinals named Panthers defensive coordinator Steve Wilks, replacing Bruce Arians who has retired. Under Wilks, the running game will be the biggest part of the offense and they will “actively and aggressively” be searching for a QB. The Cardinals put time in on this one, and they’re hoping their patience will pay off in the end. Wilks certainly thinks so, considering he laid out his ‘plan’ for Arizona’s future Super Bowl win during his very first news conference.


The Chicago Bears named Chiefs offensive coordinator Matt Nagy as their new head coach. John Fox was fired (no real surprise there). Nagy has a wealth of experience, spending his entire coaching career under Andy Reid. An aggressive play-caller, Nagy is placing a lot on the shoulders of extremely talented QB, Mitchell Trubisky.


The New York Giants rid themselves of Ben McAdoo who became one of the worst coaches in the history of the team. He was fired after this depressing 3-13 season and has been replaced by Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur.


One of the most popular coach hires came from the Oakland Raiders who officially brought back Jon Gruden. Gruden coached Oakland from 1998 to 2001, and is coming out of retirement to replace Jack Del Rio. Gruden never wanted to leave the team in the first place, and Oakland fans believe that he can revive the Raiders and bring them back to greatness.


The Tennessee Titans hired Mike Vrabel who spent the past season as the defensive coordinator in Houston. He has vowed to restore Marcus Mariota’s confidence.


The teams that completely missed the mark when it came to hiring were those who decided to keep the men who have yet to prove they can do the job.


The Cincinnati Bengals reported early on that Marvin Lewis planned to leave after 15 years with the team. But on January 2nd, they announced Lewis had signed yet another 2-year contract with them.


Cleveland, apparently, likes losing. They decided to keep Jackson as head coach even after posting a 0-16 season. Well…they definitely have nowhere to go but up.


One decision many are still not happy about is the Dallas Cowboys retaining Jason Garrett for an eighth season as head coach…and giving no reason as to why.


In Denver, Vance Joseph returns for a second season as the Broncos head coach. Even though they earned a 5-11 record and finished last in the AFC West, it was his first season as an NFL head coach. Perhaps team president Elway believes in learning curves.


The Houston Texans re-signed head coach Bill O’Brien and a new GM to matching five-year contracts. This was the Texans first losing season under O’Brien, so it’s not an “out there” possibility he can turn it all around.


Despite a dismal 5-10 record, the N.Y. Jets re-signed head coach Todd Bowles and GM Mike Maccagnan to contract extensions. The players state they like the stability that this brings to the team.


Dirk Koetter is staying with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. With no plan to give up play-calling or change staff in any way, it seems the Bucs opted for stability and not improvement.


The one hire made during the season is the one experts are looking at as being the best choice. The San Francisco 49ers were very fortunate to hire Kyle Shanahan. Once he took over last season, the ‘sad’ team began to look like the championship teams of old. There are many who believe the 49ers will reinvent themselves under Shanahan and become NFC West Champions once again.


We shall see. The only true fact is that September can’t come quickly enough for NFL fans.





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