Top 5 New NFL Coaches Prepared To Win Right Away
Eight new coaches are set to take over the reins of NFL teams next season. Which ones will have the most immediate impact?
As first-year head coaches, only Don McCafferty (Baltimore Colts, 1971), George Seifert (San Francisco 49ers, 1990) and Jon Gruden (Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 2003) led their teams to a Super Bowl title in their first year at the helm.
Three out of 47 is not exactly good odds for the new lot pegged to captain these NFL ships – most of which are already in the process of sinking.
Still, some of these would-be clipboard carriers are heading to better than average situations, where a single player or scheme change could be the difference between another top-five draft pick or a potential playoff push.
Here are the top five new head coaches who could have success right away in 2013.
5. Andy Reid, Kansas City Chiefs: I would have felt more confident in Andy Reid’s ability to turn this team around if 8-8 could still win you the AFC West, like in 2011. That being said, Reid could have ended up in worse situations – yes, I’m talking about you Cleveland.
After a two-win season, Kansas City Chiefs’ fans actually do have some things to be excited about heading into next season.
Jamaal Charles rebounded from a knee injury to rank fourth in the NFL in rushing with 1,509 yards, and their passing defense finished, a very respectable, 12th in the league. Being able to run the ball on offense and stop the pass on defense are two things every team wishes they could do well, so the Chiefs are already off to a running start.
The first problem Reid will have to face is the quarterback situation. Matt Cassel showed glimpses of brilliance in New England, but has just 16 touchdowns to 21 interceptions over his last two seasons in KC.
It is no secret Andy Reid is a pass-first, pass-second, alright let’s pepper in a run, type of head coach. Getting a reliable signal-caller is crucial if the Chiefs hope to master the one-year turnaround.
Lucky for them, they played just bad enough in 2012 to earn the No. 1 pick in this year’s NFL Draft. Unlucky for them, there is no Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III anywhere to be found.
Unless they manage to dump the pick for a veteran or two, KC will likely end up with Texas A&M offensive lineman, Luke Joeckel, as their consolation prize – a nice piece to help build an offense around, but still not the same as a franchise quarterback.
4. Chip Kelly, Philadelphia Eagles: Pro Bowl quarterback, Pro Bowl running back, corners, linemen…check, check, check and check. The Philadelphia Eagles built their “dream team” to compete for a title right away, yet this dog proved he wouldn’t hunt (sorry Michael Vick).
Ending 13 seasons ensconced as the head man in Philly, Andy Reid was unceremoniously shown the door when the Eagles finished 4-12. Sure he did make it to five NFC Championship games during his tenure, but to the fans who booed Santa Claus, that’s just a clever way of saying he never won the big one.
Never fear, Chip Kelly is here to save the day with his magical offensive playbook and a coaching resume that is most notably highlighted by the number of costume changes his Oregon Ducks made during his time in Eugene.
We’ve been promised a show with Kelly leading the charge to revolutionize the way offense is played in the NFL. Whether we’ll see steak, or just hear the sizzle is yet to be determined, but Kelly has plenty of powerful pieces to play with in 2013.
Michael Vick could be interesting in a Chip Kelly offense, but he could just as easily be out the door like Andy Reid. Either way, LeSean “Shady” McCoy is still in the backfield, and DeSean “Spike it at the one” Jackson still lines up on the outside.
For a team that finished 9th in offense and 15th in defense in 2012, a more equitable distribution of play-calling could be all they need to take them over the top – that and a defensive coordinator who, you know, is actually a defensive coordinator.