6 NFL teams are without a head coach.
The Giants pulled the plug on the ill-fated Ben McAdoo era during the season, Bruce Arians retired, and the dismissals of Jack Del Rio, Jim Caldwell, John Fox, and Chuck Pagano were all finalized on Black Monday.
Here’s how I feel this year’s coaching carousel will turn out:
ARIZONA CARDINALS – Former Arizona Cardinals Offensive Coordinator and current Pittsburgh Steelers Offensive Coordinator Todd Haley.
The Cardinals are yet another team with a championship caliber defense that suffers from a beaten up, inadequate, and floundering offense. Enter Todd Haley.
The quarterback situation remains unsettled with the retirement of Carson Palmer and with just under $30 million in cap space, I don’t see them diving into the free agent market for one. The draft will be vital for them this year.
However, David Johnson will be back. Larry Fitzgerald is still elite at age 34. You have 2 stopgap options in Drew Stanton and Blaine Gabbert. All is far from lost in the Desert.
CHICAGO BEARS – Kansas City Chiefs Offensive Coordinator Matt Nagy.
The 39-year-old ex-Arena league star QB and current Kansas City Chiefs offensive guru just helped Alex Smith achieve the best statistical season of his 13-year pro career with 4,042 yards, 26 TD’s (only 5 INT’s) and completed nearly 68% of his passes.
Head Coach Andy Reid has worked diligently with him since his days in Philadelphia where Nagy was both a coaches’ assistant and the offensive quality control coach from 2009-12 before making the move with Reid to K. C. He’s been supportive and very acknowledging of his young assistant and his rise up the ranks.
I definitely believe if Bears general manager Ryan Pace wants to get the best out of his young quarterback, this is obviously the way to go. For example, the Los Angeles Rams with Sean McVay and Jared Goff. Sign him up.
DETROIT LIONS – New England Patriots Defensive Coordinator Matt Patricia.
Plain and simple. There is no one in the NFL as intelligent, as universal, and as similar to Bill Belichick as Matt Patricia is. Truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
The 43-year-old former graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (huh?) is an absolute genius and has done everything you can think of since joining the Patriots in 2004. Take a look at this:
’04 – Offensive Assistant
’05 – Assistant Offensive Line Coach
’06-10 – Linebackers coach
’11 – Safeties coach
’12-Present – Defensive coordinator
It is worth noting that Bob Quinn, the new GM in Motown has familiarity with both Josh McDaniels and Matt Patricia, but with the success, Matt Stafford has had with offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter, there is no reason to have two offense only guys on the sideline.
Patricia will have that defense playing at the highest level imaginable. With studs like Darius Slay, Glover Quin, Ezekial Anzah, and Jarrad Davis on hand, Patricia would be an absolute hand and glove fit.
INDIANAPOLIS COLTS – New England Patriots Offensive Coordinator Josh McDaniels.
The best quarterback situation of all teams without a head coach resides in Indianapolis, Indiana.
While I am still wary of McDaniels’ ability to be a head coach due to his finish in Denver (5-17 after a 6-0 start in 2009) he has a BONAFIDE franchise quarterback returning from injury to work within Andrew Luck.
However, protecting No. 12 will have to be at the top of his priority list. They still have issues along the offensive line, surrendering 56 sacks as Jacoby Brissett often took a beating.
However, if McDaniels and Luck can get and stay on the same page with the offense, beautiful music will be made.
NEW YORK GIANTS – Carolina Panthers Defensive Coordinator Steve Wilks.
This team horribly lacks discipline. The Giants had more suspended players (3) than victories (2) this season and that is NOT…the New York Giants’ way of business.
Enter Carolina Panthers defensive coordinator, Steve Wilks.
The Carolina Panthers boast the league’s 7th best total defense. They’re 11th in the league in points allowed (20.4/game), 7th in total yards (5,074), and finished 3rd in rushing yards allowed per game (88.8).
This is a guy that demands respect and 120% from all of his players. He’ll waste no time in rebuilding the culture of winning in New York as well as getting rid of unnecessary baggage on the team.
Not to mention, ex Carolina Panthers GM Dave Gettleman is now the new GM for the Giants.
Perfect match? Of course, it is. Get it done.
OAKLAND RAIDERS – Former Oakland Raiders & Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Jon Gruden.
While this is a solid move, we all know why this is happening. Mark Davis is moving his Raiders to Las Vegas and obviously wants as much excitement surrounding this team as possible.
Being one year removed from a 12-4 finish and with studs like Derek Carr, Khalil Mack, Donald Penn, & Marshawn Lynch under contract, I expect the Raiders to be back in the playoff race in 2018 after a small setback in 2017.
It will be interesting to see how Jon Gruden performs in his 1st year back in coaching since 2009. Hopefully, he has gained some wisdom and newfound energy to be a head coach. Should be a fun ride.