Analysis: NFL Coaching Carousel 2016 plays tune of consistency


Photo by Josh Hallett, distributed by CC-BY 2.0 license, via Wikimedia Commons.

Paul Capoccia, Asst. Sports Editor

While the sports media world prepares for the Super Bowl, the staffs of the other 30 teams in the National Football League are already looking forward to next season, starting with some new coaches and April’s draft boards.

Most of the recently named head coaches are new to the position, but some have risen from assistants to being in charge in an apparent attempt by teams to keep some sort of status quo. Here are my thoughts on the moves for each man in charge.

1. San Francisco 49ers – Chip Kelly

Chip Kelly was unceremoniously released by the Philadelphia Eagles following Week 16 of this past season. His back-to-back 10-6 seasons couldn’t stop the onslaught of harsh criticism he faced after a train wreck of a 6-9 season filled with duds like Sam Bradford, a superstar in DeMarco Murray who didn’t fit his scheme, and his assortment of banged up, sub-par receivers and linebackers. Kelly will turn the page in San Francisco with questions at quarterback again. Though many saw Colin Kaepernick as mutually agreeable for both team and coach, Kelly’s initial press conference comments about Blaine Gabbert make for a whole new controversy. Kelly inherits a team that was once star-studded but is now filled with few household names and some veterans likely on the way out. With Seattle and Arizona in the NFC West mix, early success is unlikely, but the intrigue will come from how Kelly corrects the flaws he showed in Philadelphia.

2. Cleveland Browns – Hue Jackson

Hue Jackson spent the last few years working on the offensive staff in Cincinnati before becoming the team’s offensive coordinator in 2014-2015. With a brief stint as head coach in Oakland and with years of coaching experience on his resume, Jackson was the most sought-after coach to be hired this offseason. His success, unfortunately, will be less in his own hands than in the hands of owner Jimmy Haslam, who will have to provide Jackson with what and who Jackson wants. According to ESPN reporter Pat McManamon, Johnny Manziel will not be a part of those plans as he is to be released in March. This leaves a gray area at QB for Jackson going forward. The odds are stacked against Jackson in a loaded AFC North, but his veteran leadership may finally give Cleveland a puncher’s chance.

3. New York Giants – Ben McAdoo

Ben McAdoo spent the last two years as offensive coordinator under Tom Coughlin. This was another move to keep continuity with his quarterback and offensive scheme. McAdoo found success with Eli Manning and Odell Beckham Jr., albeit after a bumpy break-in period. However, he and the rest of his staff, which includes both holdovers and new faces, have to rebuild a defense consistently decimated by injuries and hampered by poor play, particularly from the linebackers. If McAdoo can adjust to his new role and keep Eli’s turnovers under control, the Giants can rise above the mediocrity that is the NFC East. And, with ample cap room ahead, McAdoo should be able to buy some help.

4. Philadelphia Eagles – Doug Pederson

Doug Pederson spent the past two seasons with Andy Reid in Kansas City as offensive coordinator. Pederson, who played for the Eagles, comes back to Philadelphia to renew team trust after Chip Kelly reportedly struggled to bond with players, staff, and ownership alike. However, if Jeff Laurie, owner of the Eagles, is hoping to strike gold again with Reid’s philosophy, he may be disappointed. Pederson’s offense only ranked 27th this year. He now inherits an Eagles’ offense in disarray, full of tons of talent at running back, debatable young talent at receiver and a big question mark at quarterback. Loyalty and trust early will be key, and he has a lot of bridges to mend in the City of Brotherly Love.

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Dirk Koetter

Koetter served on last year’s staff as an offensive coordinator, and he was the Atlanta Falcons’ offensive coordinator from 2012-2014. Koetter’s job is to maintain stability and consistency with rookie phenom Jameis Winston, who threw for over 4,000 yards last year. Though the team itself did not entirely like the removal of head coach Lovie Smith, Koetter will be doing his best to get his team back on track. If Tampa Bay can hold onto Doug Martin this off-season, they can make a splash in the turbulent NFC South.

6. Miami Dolphins – Adam Gase

Adam Gase spent last season as the offensive coordinator in Chicago. A proclaimed “quarterback whisperer” who worked with Jay Cutler and Peyton Manning, Gase starts his head coaching career as the league’s youngest at 37, hoping to connect with Ryan Tannehill. Miami has had its issues over the last couple of years, from bullying on the offensive line to Tannehill’s attitude, so if Gase hopes to find success, he’ll have to calm the waters early.

7. Tennessee Titans – Mike Mularkey

Mularkey was last year’s assistant head coach and tight ends coach. He now commands a team with the number one overall pick and last year’s number two overall pick Marcus Mariota, who had a decent rookie season mixed with glimpses of brilliance along with some injuries. However, if Mularkey wants to raise the Titans from bottom-feeders, he will need to have a successful offseason upgrading everything on the offense.

All statistics and rankings are from ESPN.

Contact the writer: [email protected]