There have been many coaching changes to start the offseason and with that comes the speculation of who will fill those vacancies. There are many good candidates for these spots that could have the perfect opportunity to get their first chance at becoming a head coach. Who will end up where is something that is still to be predicted. Here is my analysis of who I think should go where.
Chicago Bears: Brian Daboll
Starting off the coaching predictions is the Chicago Bears. Brian Daboll makes sense for the Bears. If you look at Josh Allen in Buffalo, his success has to do with Daboll’s coaching and quarterback development skills. Allen, in his rookie season, had a 52.8% completion percentage, 10 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions. Over the last two seasons, Allen has now had a 66.2% completion percentage average, 73 touchdowns, and only 25 interceptions. Allen struggled with consistency and now has improved to one of the top consistent quarterbacks due to Daboll’s coaching. The situation Allen was in should sound familiar to Bears fans as Justin Fields had a 58.9% completion percentage and had seven touchdowns to 10 interceptions last season. Fields, like Allen, also has the rushing upside so Daboll should be able to come over and work with Fields the same way he did Allen. During Matt Nagy’s time as the head coach, the Bears never ended the season with their offensive yards per game getting out of being ranked in the 20’s. That is another selling point for a guy like Daboll to come in and help the offense play complimentary football with the defense.
Denver Broncos: Nathaniel Hackett
The Broncos have gone with two defensive-minded head coaches back-to-back and it hasn’t quite worked out for them. This time around they go with hiring the Green Bay Packers offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett. In a year with a less talked about quarterback draft class, Hackett could bring along someone to help the Broncos solve their quarterback issues. That person happens to be Jordan Love. The Green Bay Packers seem to be getting Aaron Rodgers back for another year so what better time to possibly trade Love. With Hackett being hired he would already know Love and what would work on offense, and offensive production is something the Broncos need to get back to establishing. In addition, the Broncos have Jerry Jeudy, Courtland Sutton, and Tim Patrick at receiver, and Hackett’s offensive scheme does a great job of creating open receivers to make life easier for the offense. What Hackett has done in Green Bay as well as in Jacksonville with Blake Bortals shows he would be able to put together an offense to keep up with the AFC West offenses.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Byron Leftwich
The Jaguars are at a low point right now. They thought they had something in Urban Meyer but he didn’t work out. So the Jaguars are back to square one and need someone to come in and give this team a boost and who better than Byron Leftwich? The Jaguars quarterback from 2003-2006 would be the prime candidate to rejuvenate the fan base and develop Trevor Lawrence. When Byron Leftwich was first hired by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2019 his offense led by Jameis Winston was first in passing yards per game (302.8), fourth in points per game (28.6), and had a red-zone conversion rate of 64.8% which was the third-highest. Those stats were all while Winston dealt with interception issues throwing 30 that season, and still the offense finished third overall in the NFL. Looking at Lawrence’s rookie season he led the league in interceptions with 17 and the offense finished being ranked at 27. While Lawrence didn’t have a great season the talent is still there and the coach to bring that out of him would be Leftwich.
Minnesota Vikings: Matt Eberflus
The Vikings have a solid offensive unit with Kirk Cousins, Dalvin Cook, Adam Theilen, and Justin Jefferson but no matter how much they scored it didn’t matter with their defensive unit giving up the third-most yards in the NFL(6,522). If you go back and look at the Indianapolis Colts defense in 2017 they gave up the third-most yards in the NFL before Matt Eberflus became their defensive coordinator. The season after in 2018, the Colts defense became a top ten unit, and the unit has been consistent since then. Eberflus has also been able to develop players like Darius Leonard, Anthony Hitchens, and Julian Blackmon and should be able to do the same for the Vikings making him a top candidate.
Miami Dolphins: Doug Pederson
The Dolphins are a very young team that needs a coach with established success in the NFL to come in day one and instantly take over. That coach is the former Philadelphia Eagles Super Bowl-winning head coach Doug Pederson. Other than his final season with the Eagles, Pederson had done a good job of leading the team to success. Pederson has experience with developing young quarterbacks and that would be a major part of the hire with Tua Tagovailoa entering his third season with the team, the Dolphins need to see what they have in him. While Pederson was with the Eagles he ran an RPO scheme which would heavily suit Tagovailoa’s playstyle. The offensive line for the Dolphins isn’t great either, and Pederson has experience as well with developing offensive linemen. Like the Jaguars with Leftwich, Pederson has familiarity with the Dolphins having played for them from 1992 through 1995.
New York Giants: Eric Bieniemy
The New York Giants offensive line isn’t fantastic and the Giants need some type of Improvement on offense this year to see what they have in Daniel Jones. Eric Bieniemy has had experience having to work with a young offensive line while also still developing Patrick Mahomes into being one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL. During Bieniemy’s time as the offensive coordinator, the Kansas City Chiefs have never scored less than 451 points per season. The Giants, on the other hand, since 2018 haven’t scored more than 368 points in a season. You look at the Kansas City Chiefs offense and they get creative with their offensive plays, this is the creativity the Giants need with bringing Bieniemy in especially with wide receivers like Kadarius Toney and Kenny Golladay. Bieniemy also in 2006-2010 was the running backs coach for the Vikings, and started off on the Chiefs staff in 2013 as their running backs coach. With how Saquon Barkley played this season he barely found any success on the ground after his injury, Bieniemy would also be the perfect coach to bring in and try to get Barkley back to performing at a high level.
Houston Texans: Brian Flores
Brain Flores proved through the last three years with the Miami Dolphins that he can take a rebuilding team and turn it around quickly and establish a culture. This Texans team doesn’t “look good” on paper but neither did the Dolphins team when Flores took over. With that, he still established a 24-25 overall record and led the Dolphins to their first consecutive winning seasons since 2003. Flores has a connection already established with the Texans general manager Nick Caserio and executive Jack Easterby from when they were all on the New England Patriots staff. If the legal issues clear up, quarterback Deshaun Watson has already said Flores is the coach he wants to play for, and even if Watson isn’t the starter they have promise in Davis Mills. The Texans also had the second-worst defense in the NFL and bringing in a creative defensive mind like Flores just makes too much sense.
Las Vegas Raiders: Rich Bisaccia
When it comes to football an essential part of being a head coach is being able to build a bond with the players and lead them through adversity. Rich Bisaccia did just that with the Raiders this year as he led them through the firing of Jon Gruden, off-field incidents with players, the passing away of John Madden, and injuries to have a 7-6 record while he was the interim coach. This put the Raiders in the playoffs for the first time since 2016. The players support Bisaccia, wide receiver Hunter Renfrow even said “I think he can lead us if given the opportunity” so with having that trust factor already established it would just make sense to bring Bisaccia back to see what he can accomplish with the staff he wants.
The coaching cycle has just begun and there is still some time between now and the time these teams start hiring. For the teams above these are the guys they should be heavily trying to hire if they want to turn their team around and see an instant improvement in 2022 and beyond.
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