How 'New' NFL Head Coaches will fare.
By The 'A' Plays Chip Chirimbes
Every season there are a plethora of 'new' coaches that are starting with a new team or have a head coaching job for the first time in the NFL. How the fare during the regular season and preseason can have a dramatic difference. There are a number of factors and scenarios that will play out and I will try and help you take advantage of of their strengths or weaknesses. I will list them and give you the reasons they will or will not make 'us' money during these meaningless 'exhibition' (not called exhibition games as the owners still receive full price for season ticket holders) games. Some coaches will feel a need to impress either the fan base or owners early on...lets see who does!
New York Giants- Ben McAdoo
Plenty of attention will be paid to McAdoo who replaced two-time Super Bowl winning coach Tom Coughlin and just being in New York will put added pressure on him to succeed. Not that all NFL aren't under pressure but the Big Apple media is like none other. McAdoo was promoted from offensive co-ordinator and many wonder why him after realizing the Giants were 6-10 in both of his two seasons leading the offense. I look for New York to start fast in the preseason as the entire offense won't have to spend time learning a new system and they have a veteran quarterback in Eli Manning who knows how to make the offense work on the fly. The Giants back-up Ryan Nassib will see plenty of preseason action and already understands the offense and during this time of the year it is a major advantage. The defense will be run by Steve Spagnuolo who returned last season and they were dead last in total defense last season. He did not fare well in his first stint with the Giants in 2006 and 2007. Look for the offense to play well early until the 'others' catch-up to the Giants as the preseason moves forward. Take New York early to get the money!
Miami Dolphins- Adam Gase
Gase come from the Chicago Bears and there are questions as to how he will fare coming from a team full of dissension and a spotty offense that never reached its potential. Gase comes to a club even more dysfunctional than the Bears as Miami's offense has had no running game to speak of and their offensive line has allowed quarterback Ryan Tannehill little time to develop as he was sacked more times than any other QB in the league the past two seasons. Add that the Dolphins have had a number of defections on both sides of the ball and Gase will virtually have to start from stretch. This is his first head coaching job and he will get plenty of on-the job-training. There is just too much to do in such a short period of time before the opening preseason contest and Gase will still be evaluating talent when the regular season begins.
Tennessee Titans- Mike Mularkey
Mularkey doesn't actually qualify as a 'new' head coach as he was the Titans interim coach last season taking over just before the mid-point of the season and Tennessee was just 2-7 with him in the lead. One of the first things he did upon being named head coach was revamp his staff hiring experience in Dick LeBeau, Terry Robiskie, Russ Grimm, Bobby April, Sylvester Croom and Bob Bratkowski. That may all help but the question really is does Mike Mularkey have what it takes to be a winning NFL head coach. He has had three and a half seasons as a head coach in the NFL and he is a dismal 18-39 as a leader. The best thing he has going for himself is that the Titans have a young and talented quarterback in Marcus Mariota and the newly acquired running backs Demarco Murray and Heisman Trophy winner Derrick Henry. Look for Henry to get plenty of work early and Tennessee who does play smash mouth defense to impress early on as the defense that will dominate during the preseason.
Philadelphia Eagles- Doug Peterson
On the surface Philadelphia appears to be in disarray as the lost their head coach and have a new quarterback and new running back. Former Chiefs offensive coordinator Doug Peterson has taken over the reins and although he was coaching high school football eight years ago he NFL experience. As a former NFL quarterback as a back-up for 11 years Peterson will enjoy working with the trio of San Bradford, Chase Daniel and No. 2 overall draft pick Carson Wentz who is not expected to compete for a starting job this season. This should be a transition year for the Eagles and their will be little pressure on Peterson as not much is expected of this years Eagles. But, remember that Philly fans are not the kindest of supporters. Peterson brought in defensive wiz Jim Schwartz to handle that that side of the ball so that he can concentrate on his offense. It should be slowing going early but they have no where to go but up.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Dirk Koetter
Lovie Smith is gone and one of the reasons is that he just could not instill discipline on a club that committed an NFL high 143 penalties. New head coach Dirk Koetter worked well with the development of Jamis Winston which had the No. 5 offense in the NFL last season. So it is not the offense that he has to worry about, it is a pass defense that had opponents quarterbacks play to a 102.5 rating and a 70% completion rate. The Buccaneers play their first two preseason games on the road the first of which is at Philadelphia where they embarrassed the Eagles 45-17 last November so be careful in that one. Tampa Bay has finished in the division basement five straight seasons and can improve but not enough to contend with Carolina because defense wins...see Broncos.
San Francisco 49ers- Chip Kelly
If you remember when Chip Kelly started with Philadelphia he came out gunning in the preseason and had everybody swooning over his no-huddle offense that put up a large number of points in these meaningless games. The pressure is even greater now that he has moved back to the West Coast and he has two quarterbacks that will be dueling for a starting spot. San Francisco posted only five wins last season as quarterback Colin Kaepernick was a bust and Blaine Gabbert emerged as the starter before seasons end. Chip Kelly will bring a fresh attitude for the offense and the open at home as the lone game on a Monday night. He will look to impress the fan base and have his troupe excited to start anew. Take the 49ers in their preseason opener!
Cleveland Browns- Hue Jackson
An entirely new coaching staff in Cleveland will join head Coach Hue jackson and 'new' quarterback Robert Griffin III will at least help the attitude of a franchise that has never even appeared in the Super Bowl after 50 years of competition. The Browns have had two winning seasons in 15 years and are off a 3-13 year their worst since 2000 but Jackson will bring positive energy to the franchise. He is a quarterback guru and the sideshow of Jonny Manziel is a thing of that past and with the return of wide receiver Josh Gordon they should should huge improvement, especially early in the year. This team has the most room for improvement and you will see it right away. Josh McCown who started most of last season will see plenty of action along with USC standout quarterback Cody Kessler and they will provide a strong offensive showing during the preseason. Competition is good and the Browns will be better.