Top Ten NFL Off-Season Coaching Moves
Find Out Which NFL Coaches Should Help Their New Teams Most Next Season
2014 NFL Off-Season
With 41 days until the draft and 88 days since Black Monday, this seems like as good a time as any to look at the best coaching moves of this NFL off-season. After all, these are the guys who will be at the helm for all of our teams come draft day. Be hoping you see your club on this list and not Monday’s…
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1. Lovie Smith’s move to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is my favorite so far this off-season. Smith, who benched himself, so to speak, for a year in 2013, is set to return with a bang. Smith is a defensive wizard, is beloved by his former players, has a Super Bowl appearance, and is respected around the league. Furthermore, Smith and his family consider Tampa Bay home, making this the ideal fit for them as a whole. I expect that Smith will right the ship for the struggling Bucs and turn them into true competitors in short order.
2. The Texans’ hiring of Bill O’Brien gets a solid “A” in my book. O’Brien managed to take a reeling Penn State team to a 15-9 record, so I trust that he can get the job done with the significantly more stable Texans. This squad has a good core and has the ability to draft a top-notch QB with their No. 1 overall pick. The Texans have been trying to prove that they’re legitimate contenders since their inception. O’Brien (unfortunately for my Colts and the rest of the AFC South) might be just the man to finally take them to that level.
3. Mike Zimmer taking over the reigns in Minnesota makes a whole heck of a lot of sense if you ask me. Zimmer has an excellent defensive mind and worked minor miracles during his time as Cincinnati’s defensive coordinator. The Vikes allowed more points than any other club in the league in 2013, so clearly Zimmer’s defensive expertise is just what the doctor ordered.
4. Gregg Williams, as you know unless you’ve been residing under a rock, went through hell and back after his maiming-for-money scandal at New Orleans. However, Williams is still one of the league’s most aggressive, cutting-edge defensive minds and I like him as Jeff Fisher’s defensive coordinator in St. Louis.
5. I actually really like the Dolphins’ hire of Bill Lazor as offensive coordinator. Lazor is largely credited with the successful emergence of QB Nick Foles at Philadelphia in 2013 and also worked under legendary names like Joe Gibbs and Mike Holmgren. Hopefully, Lazor will be able to tap into QB Ryan Tannehill’s potential and ramp-up his numbers, which were spiraling downward (in keeping with the rest of the Dolphins organization) as last year came to a close.
6. While the Giants tend to be a safe, conventional team from a coaching standpoint, I think Ben McAdoo is the perfect choice to add some fresh, relatively young blood to the club’s staff. McAdoo has experience as Green Bay’s quarterbacks coach and is endorsed by their starter Aaron Rodgers. Hopefully McAdoo’s prior success with QBs will help him make some headway reviving Eli Manning’s career as he takes over as the Giants’ offensive coordinator.
7. As far as Dallas’s defensive coordinator position is concerned, Rod Marinelli is certainly a step-up from the debacle that was Monte Kiffin. When Marinelli was in Chicago from 2010-2012, his defenses had a league-high 13 TDs and a league-high 59 forced fumbles. Hopefully Marinelli can bring some of this mojo to Dallas’s D, which just lost star player DE DeMarcus Ware. Clearly, they’re in need of a little somethin’ before September.
8. Ray Horton, who worked with Ken Whisenhunt at Arizona in 2011 and 2012, should be a good fit at Tennessee under Whisenhunt once again. Horton is a solid defensive coordinator who tends to be liked by players (that’s half the battle, folks). Heck, Horton even managed to to elevate Cleveland’s Factory of Sadness from 23rd in the league in yards allowed to 9th in the league. As the old adage says, if one can make strides in Cleveland, one ought to be able to make strides anywhere.
9. I want to like Ken Whisenhunt going to the Titans, I really do. I think Whisenhunt is a good guy, a “player’s coach,” if you will. My only concern is that his prior successes were, possibly, due to the talent (read: Roethlisberger, Warner) that he had available to him. However, Whisenhunt did do a bang-up job redefining San Diego’s offense in 2013. That, combined with the fact that I trust him to either fix Titans QB Jake Locker or replace him, helped Whisenhunt earn a spot on this list.
10. I do not envy Jay Gruden’s position as the new head coach of the Redskins. “More drama than a congressional session” would be the phrase that best sums up the squad’s 2013. However, I included Gruden here because I think if anyone can repair their offense, it’s probably him. The system that Gruden ran with Bengals QB Andy Dalton is not dissimilar to what the ‘Skins have been attempting (operative word) to run with RGIII, so if Gruden can solidify a good relationship with the young QB, I think this could all work out.