It’s hard to believe we are at the mid-point of the NFL season. As such, there were eight teams starting the year with brand new head coaches. Six of them are in their first head coaching position, while two have held the job before.
In the competition to see who made the best hiring decision, the clear – and only – winner at this point is the Green Bay Packers. Matt LeFleur has this team leading their division at 7-1. Now, perhaps it’s the Aaron Duo – quarterback Aaron Rodgers and running back Aaron Jones – who deserve some credit, but there are other teams in this group with talented players who are not even close to being .500. That means I’m giving the Packers an A on the hire. Trust me – other coaches might have found a way to screw up this team so I’ll give credit to LeFleur because he hasn’t.
Let’s take a look at the other seven teams to see how they are faring…
As we prepare for the new 2019 NFL season, 8 teams have new head coaches, with 6 of them being first-time head coaches.: Cardinals, Bengals, Browns, Packers, Dolphins, Broncos.
The Jets and Bucs have hired coaches with previous head coaching experience.
As we prepare for mini camps, voluntary and mandatory, the media is in full force with its cycle of praise and criticism, almost seemly setting some up for instant success or in other cases instance failure.
This leaves many fans questioning how their favorite teams could make such a questionable hire.
On an OurTurf podcast earlier this year, I spoke with my fellow reporters about what coaching job I felt would be a good situation to get into. Dayna and I agreed: Tampa Bay.
There are no sky-high expectations because they finished last in their division. They have a decent group of players that they can work with. Players such as two-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Mike Evans, linebacker Lavonte David, and a pretty solid defensive corps with players such as defensive ends Jason Pierre-Paul, Carl Nassib, and defensive tackle Gerald McCoy
There’s a lot of good groundwork that can be built upon, that new defensive coordinator Todd Bowles can take advantage of. Granted, McCoy could be leaving Tampa Bay, however, that would give them about $13 million in cap room, should they do that. That would also allow their 2018 1st round pick, DT Vita Vea a good chance to shine, even though last season he was hampered by injury.
The Arizona Cardinals are through the first five weeks of the NFL season, which seems as good a time as any to check in and see how the team is doing.
On paper, this team looked like a solid contender going into the 2017 season, with hopes heavily resting on star running back David Johnson, and a strong secondary. It was understood that success would depend heavily on a few key elements:
Offensive line must protect quarterback Carson Palmer
David Johnson must be fed frequently
Defense must increase interior pressure on opposing QBs and stop the run
Special Teams errors must be minimized on snaps and kick coverage, and kicking accuracy/output must be increased