January 07, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; Newly hired Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid (left) and chairman Clark Hunt pose for photos during the press conference at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

A Fan's Perspective On All New NFL Head Coaching Hires

Hello everybody! I am a new face to this fine blog, and I’ll make sure I produce only the finest material for all NFL fans to enjoy, now let’s save the sappy introductions, and get right to work. Now, I am sure there have been plenty of posts published by various writers from around the Internet just itching to tear into/blast/cheer/etc. about their respective team’s hiring in regards to their new Head Coach, but I’m not here to do that, rather, give a fair perspective, both good and bad, on each hire. In total, 8 new gentlemen have all been introduced as Head Coaches: Marc Trestman (“da” Chicago Bears), Mike McCoy (San Diego Chargers), Andy Reid (Kansas City Chiefs), Chip Kelly (Philadelphia Eagles), Doug Marrone (Buffalo Bills), Bruce Arians (Arizona Cardinals), Gus Bradley (Jacksonville Jaguars), and certainly not least Rob Chudzinski (Cleveland Browns). Now, let’s get right to it.

 

Marc Trestman, HC, Chicago Bears: Okay so I’m going to come clean, I’m a huge Chicago Bears fan, so I’ve done extensive research on this rather surprising hire. After spending a countless amount of hours looking into this situation, it’s not as weird or as “ballsy” of a hire as many would assume this to be. He’s been a Head Coaching candidate for several other teams in the past, as his extensive 17 year NFL career was perhaps the longest resume Bears GM Phil Emery had probably reviewed out of the 14 total candidates interviewed by the Chicago Bears. What really stands out with Marc Trestman, is the known fact not only has he been the Offensive Coordinator for top ranked offenses in the NFL, most notably the Oakland Raiders’ offense in 2002 which featured the League MVP Rich Gannon as his QB, but he’s also spent a great deal of work in developing QBs in the Collegiate as well as in NFL, with standouts such as said mentioned Rich Gannon, Steve Young, Jake Plummer, and Bernie Kosar. On top of all of that, he even worked one Jay Cutler out before Cutler got drafted by Denver in the 1st round way back in 2006. Let’s also not forget about the overall body of work his offenses have done while he was the OC in the NFL, he managed to get Jerry Rice to perform at his best in 1996 when he set all regular season receiving records (recently broken by one Calvin Johnson), and while being the Head Coach in Montreal, he took the worst pass protecting unit (66 sacks surrendered) and transformed it into the best in his first year (only 22 sacks). He’s already off to a great start in naming one of the better OL coaches in Aaron Kromer as his OC, who also worked with him back at Oakland, to help rebuild this OL and finally protect Jay Cutler. He also hired a rather respectable DC in Mel Tucker, who ran a similar scheme with far less talent in Jacksonville, given the circumstance that Rod Marienelli decided not to return as the DC after Marc Trestman offered him both the job, and an extension on top of that.

In saying all that, there is but one serious concern when talking about this hire. In a strange way, this could be a hire that’s “too good to be true”. There are 2 names that come off the top of my head in terms of great Head Coaches who got their first NFL Head Coaching job after coaching in the CFL for quite sometime: Bud Grant, and Mark Levy, both of whom are in the NFL Hall of Fame; however, there are plenty of coaches who started in the CFL, then completely flopped in the NFL. The CFL and NFL are dramatically different in terms of rules. What bodes well for Marc Trestman, is his ample amount of experience in the NFL, but, he’s also been away from the game for a few years now, the NFL has changed entirely since his last stint in Miami with the Dolphins back in 2004, which didn’t really pan out too well if you ask me.

Overall; I think this was a great hire by the Chicago Bears, one that features an incredibly high amount of upside, but, this hire also has a significant amount of risk. Will Marc Trestman be able to get Jay Cutler back to playing football like all Bears fans (including me) have been praying to see on a consistent basis? Only time will tell. But, he’s been able to produce within his first year as a coach in his various amounts of stops, and he’s the only coach hired that will be taking over for a team that finished above .500 (10-6), and it’s also about dadgum time the Bears hire a credible, in this case great offensive mind to run a legit NFL offense. If Jay Cutler can play at the same level he did in Denver, and their defense remains this good, then you’re looking at a legit Super Bowl contender, being as unbiased as I can be.

 

Mike McCoy, HC, San Diego Chargers: Now this was probably the safest hire any of these 8 teams made, as not only has McCoy proven to be an exceptional offensive minded coach while in Denver, but he’s gotten the most out of every QB he’s worked with in the NFL, managing to transform Jake Delhomme into a Pro Bowler with the Carolina Panthers, getting Kyle Orton to play at a respectable level while “Captain Neckbeard” lasted in Denver, helping Peyton Manning return to greatness as he came off of an intensive amount of rehab after missing the entire 2011 season with his neck injury, he even got an offense led by Tim Tebow, to help play good enough to win a division championship! And, it’s not just QBs Mike McCoy has worked his magic on, as once upon a time he was the receivers coach in Carolina, where he developed Steve Smith into the dynamic mighty mouse of all NFL WRs, and, his running games have never been too shabby at any point in his career (#1 in 2011). What I really like most about this hire, is how he managed to keep the defense the same, keeping John Pagano as his DC, where the Chargers ranked 9th overall on Defense. There’s not much to be pessimistic about in this hire.

What I am pessimistic about, though, is the QB he was brought in to help: Philip Rivers. In no way, shape, or form am I calling Phillip Rivers a bad QB; however, his overall play has been on the decline the past few seasons. As Antonio Gates continues to age, and his top target in Vincent Jackson left for the big bucks in Tampa Bay, Philip Rivers has just not been playing at the same level he once played at in 2010. His interceptions to touchdowns has decreased, going from 30/13 in 2010, to 27/20 in 2011, and 26/15 in 2012. Something has to be done for his career to be salvaged, as we’ve all seen far too many QBs start to decline in their 30′s, and continue to get worse. In addition, there’s plenty of work to be done on offense, which was next to last in 31st overall, and we’ve seen a ton of great coordinators, turn into bad Head Coaches, with a prime example in one Norv Turner, his predecessor.

Overall; All Chargers fans should be very excited about this hire, as this presents an extremely high ceiling compared to a rather low amount of risk. If he can get Philip Rivers to perform as great as he once did, and this defense can be consistent, watch out.

 

Andy Reid, HC, Kansas City Chiefs: We never thought we’d see the day when Andy Reid changes the logo on his hat, but that day has indeed come. After being fired by the Eagles, he rebounded quite quickly and landed in Kansas City, where he will take over for the worst team in the NFL. Don’t sleep on this hire, because not only has Andy Reid shown to get the most out of his talent, he’s coached some pretty good QBs in Donovan McNabb as well as getting the most out of Michael Vick, and he’s inheriting a team that has more Pro-Bowlers than wins (4). I’m not going to dive into this one too much, because a lot of us have seen just how good Andy Reid’s teams can be, where he’s by far the most accomplished new face in the NFL. Will he turn the Chiefs around like he did with the Eagles? Well…

He was fired for a reason, his team simply didn’t perform to the expectations a season after the supposed “Dream Team” was built in Free Agency back in 2011. His defense last season, which featured a collection of well known names from around the NFL, such as Nnamdi Asomugha, DeMeco Ryans, Trent Cole, and a partridge in a pear tree, was absolutely terrible when compared to the amount of talent gathered by the upper management in Philly. His career has also been filled with controversy, starting with taking the QB nobody in Philly wanted back in 1999 (great pick, but…), then benching his controversial pick several times for Kevin Kolb, THEN he completely replaced Donovan McNabb with Michael Vick, and finally he named his offensive line coach in Juan Castillo, his DC. His moves did pay off rather well at times, but if Chiefs fans were looking for a seamless and smooth transition into the next era, then they might want to buy earmuffs. Oh, and about his running game….what running game? He’s been a very pass happy coach on offense recently, completely neglecting LeSean “Shady” McCoy at times, and I’m not sure if that will bode well for a team featuring a serious question mark at QB, and a magnificent RB in Jamaal Charles.

Overall; Very long and accomplished career which still earns a ton of respect, yet his controversial decisions will always remain with him. This is probably going to be the most interesting hire made, as we have no clue what Andy Reid will do with a team needing a good QB, but if he can push the right buttons, the Chiefs did win the AFC West back in 2010.

 

Rob Chudzinski, HC, Cleveland Browns: If the Browns have had anything to be excited about in recent memory ever since their fabled original franchise moved to Baltimore, it would be this hire. Rob Chudzinski is returning to the same team he coached on offense that actually managed to win games, where he was the OC back in 2008. And what did he do exactly in that 2008 season? He coordinated the 8th ranked offense in the NFL, sending 4 players to the Pro Bowl including Derek Anderson. But in a rather strange change of luck, he was replaced by Brian Daboll after Eric Mangini was named the Head Coach, a move that resulted in turning the Cleveland Browns, into the Cleveland Browns. Meanwhile, he was busy coaching up Cam Newton into becoming Rookie of the Year in 2011, where in turn he revived the career of Steve Smith, and designed an offense that was both innovative and flat out awesome to watch.

In his second year in Carolina, though, Cam Newton regressed in the inevitable “sophomore slump”, and his offense overall was a rather disappointing unit. He’s also inheriting a team that has a noticeable shortage in experience, particularly on offense. He’s going to be coaching Brandon Weeden, who’s already older than a lot of other QBs in the NFL, with a receiving corps that lacks explosiveness. There isn’t anyone close to the level of Steve Smith on this roster, that’s an area he must focus on with his new boss in Jim Haslam.

Overall; He’s inheriting a team with very little experience and chemistry, where you have Brandon Weeden, Trent Richardson, and Josh Gordon being your leading QB, RB, and WR, which is both good and bad. If he can somehow put all of that young talent together, that happens to be anchored by a fairly underrated unit on the offensive line, then great things could happen with the Browns. Then again, these are your Cleveland Browns.

 

Chip Kelly, HC, Philadelphia Eagles: Originally, he was given the job by the Browns, only for him to turn them down. Then, the Eagles made an offer to Chip Kelly where he would also turn them down initially, but in a sudden change of heart, decided to forgo his decision to remain in Oregon, and accepted the job with the Eagles. This is the same team that stole all the headlines during the 2011 off-season, where they signed virtually every single known Pro-Bowler available on the open market. Surprisingly enough, most of that talent is still on the team, albeit in a rather bad state of mind. What this team needed was a fresh start, and the mad offensive genius known as Chip Kelly is just that person to give this team a fresh new look. He’s going to bring his gimmicky offense into the NFL, an offense that blew peoples, and DCs minds around the NCAA. His emphasis was on speed, the Eagles have a ton of speed on both offense and defense. This could be a match made in Heaven, especially for Michael Vick, who could post ridiculous numbers in this style of offense.

Which brings me to my 1st concern, Michael Vick. He went from writing an epic comeback story in 2010 and 2011, to writing a rather sad tragedy in 2012. He went from finally turning into a complete beast at QB, into the same ‘ole Michael Vick, someone who runs in circles before launching a ball down-field into the hands of an eager DB. There is no way to sugar coat it, he was bad, very bad. And, if Andy Reid couldn’t keep Michael Vick on the right path, what’s there to say about a coach with absolutely no NFL experience coming in to help this team be competitive again? And that, ladies and gents, is my second concern. He has zip, zilch, zero experience in the NFL. He posted insane numbers, in the Pac 10 conference. Need I remind you that this is the NFL, and not the Pac 10? He’s going to be coaching against teams with more physical talent than he ever saw in the Pac 10. You’re not going to see a lot of players out of position on defense in the NFL, unlike what you would see when Oregon would play another Pac 10 team. And that brings me to my final concern, his offense. His offense was designed to use speed as a tool to put defenses in disarray, where players would take extremely bad angles and therefore be out of position to make a play, losing all gap integrity as well as discipline in coverage. Yea, good luck trying to run a scheme where you expect defensive players to block themselves. In the NFL, you actually need to put blockers on bodies in order to make a crack big enough to run through. Oh, and it only complicates things even further when your Offensive Line isn’t exactly the best unit in football.

Overall; This move screams High Risk/Reward, as he’s definitely a credible genius who could design a scheme to maximize his talents on offense, most notably Michael Vick, LeSean McCoy, and DeSean Jackson, but until that defense gets a solid game-plan behind it, and Chip Kelly learns the ins-and-outs of the NFL, this could make for a road filled with speed bumps. Plenty of potential for success, and plenty of potential for disaster.

 

Doug Marrone, HC, Buffalo Bills: Man, whatever happened to those Bills that went to 4 straight Super Bowls? That’s probably what every Bills fan that I have met asked themselves before they go to sleep every night. Oh, how the days of Mark Levy seem to be ancient history nowadays, definitely history before my time on this Earth began. Now, all joking aside, this has a good amount of potential to help turn things around in Buffalo. The Bills have a pretty talented group on Defense, especially the DL, and their secondary has shown flashes of potential from time to time. Their offense has an athletic freak in C.J. Spiller, who had quite a respectable year shouldering the load for an injured Fred Jackson, and let’s not forget about Steve Johnson, who is a damn good WR that can blow the top off of coverages. Doug Marrone himself heralds from a pretty solid 7 year career in the NFL, where he helped to lay the foundation for the 2009 New Orleans Saints on offense, filling the role of OC and OL coach from 2006-2008. Sadly, he was hired by Syracuse to be their HC before he was able to see his hard work win a Super Bowl. Prior to his services in New Orleans, he was the Jets’ OL coach from 2002-2005, a unit that was one of the best in the NFL at that time. One thing you know for sure about this guy, he knows how to protect his QBs.

Now, is he the guy that will either make Ryan Fitzpatrick a consistent and dependable QB to lead his team, or find another QB who could become that guy? I have my doubts. Sean Payton deserves a lion’s share of the credit for all the success the Saints ever had, as he’s always been the man calling plays when not suspended or injured, never Doug Marrone. Another thing that stands out in my mind, is how relatively mediocre ‘Cuse was while he was the HC. Yes, they won 2 Pinstripe Bowls under him, but a 25-25 mark as the HC, at the collegiate level? How was he necessarily better than any of the other coaches they interviewed?

Overall; Kind of a head-scratching move, but he’s had a good amount of success in the NFL as an assistant coach. Fans must be patient with this hire, as this is a move I see needing several seasons before this team can make a run at the playoffs.

 

Bruce Arians, HC, Arizona Cardinals: Now here is a guy that absolutely deserved to be hired as a Head Coach in the NFL. His work with this year’s Colts, will forever be known as a valiant and historic turn-around type job, with a team that featured the 1st overall pick at QB, and went from a team that went 2-14 to 9-3 while he took over for Chuck Pagano while he was recovering from leukemia. To be thrown into a position from being named the OC, to the interim HC, while your boss is ill, and to take a rookie led team into the playoffs, in your first ever year of being a HC, is nothing short of extraordinary. And, he wasn’t just a good coach with the Colts, he was also the OC back with the Pittsburgh Steelers for a few seasons. He’s coached great QBs, from Peyton Manning, to Ben Roethlisberger, and even Andrew Luck played exceptionally well under Bruce Arians’s guidance. But, is he a miracle maker?

That’s the question I have: Is he a miracle maker? Can he take Kevin Kolb, John Skelton, or any other QB the Cardinals elect to choose, and provide Larry Fitzgerald with a QB he deserves not named Kurt Warner? Optimistically, yes, but it’s not like Ken Whisenhunt was a bad evaluator of QBs, either. They’ve got to figure out their QB position, if this team ever wants to have a chance in a shockingly stacked NFC West, headlined by your NFC representatives in the Super Bowl, the 49ers, and the surprising as well as dangerous Seattle Seahawks. This “offensive” line of their’s, is by far the worst unit in the NFL. It’s a wonder how none of their QBs got sent to the hospital yet after taking so many serious shots by freed defensive linemen. So not only do they need to find their QB, they need to protect their QB. He’s also not making anyone feel comfortable about their defense, either. He went from having Ray Horton as his DC, to Todd Bowles, who was the interim DC of the underachieving and fairly talented “Dream Team” defense described above. That move is one I still seriously question to this day. Why would you ever want to go from Ray Horton, who’s helped to build a good defense over his career in Arizona, to someone who couldn’t save an extremely talented and stacked unit in Philly?

Overall; He deserves NFL Coach of the Year for what he did with the Indianapolis Colts, by a long shot. He also gives a new sense of energy to a team that desperately needs it. But, he’s already made a questionable decision in regards to how he wants things ran on defense, yet I’ll also save judgment until the games are actually played.

 

Gus Bradely, HC, Jacksonville Jaguars: The lone Defensive Minded HC hired by any NFL team this year, he has been a brilliant coach for the Seattle Seahawks, helping to build one of the top 10 defenses in the NFL while working with Pete Carroll to transform a team into a potential NFC powerhouse, for years to come. This new regime has made one thing clear, they want to be a tough, hard-nosed team that will not simply “go with the flow” in the NFL offense. With Gus Bradely coming on board, this will be a Defense-first team, which is a good thing considering all the severe problems their offense has in scoring points. Naturally, the easiest way to help a weak offense, is to build a strong defense.

However, their defense is no where near as bad as their offense is. Yet another team having QB issues, will he commit to former 1st round pick Blaine Gabbert, or will he resort to other options to bring stability to the QB position which has been a problem since David Garrard was sent packing? Out of all these coaches listed, Gus Bradly has by far the most challenging task ahead of him. He’s being asked to take a rather talent-less team, and turn it into a team that will actually sell tickets to a fan-base that’s not exactly showing up to the home team’s games. To make matters worse, their best player, Maurice Jones-Drew, will be asking to get PAID in the off-season, and this team needs all the cap space they can afford in order to re-build this team. Will Gus Bradely be able to respond to the challenge?

Overall; I already respect Gus Bradely for taking on such a huge challenge, where their fans have longed for the creation of a great football team not named the Florida Gators to be built-up. What he has on his side, ironically, is time, as Shahid Khan seems to be an owner dedicated to improving his newly purchased franchise. This fan-base wants winners, will Gus Bradely be able to perform?

 

Well, that will be all folks, I would first like to thank each and every one of you for reading this entire post. And secondly, I’d like to thank the staff on this great site for allowing me to have this opportunity. I am very open to ideas, as well as helpful advice in order to write even better articles. Enjoy!

 

 

Tags: Arizona Cardinals Buffalo Bills Chicago Bears Cleveland Browns Jacksonville Jaguars Kansas City Chiefs NFL Philadelphia Eagles San Diego Chargers

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