April 27, 2012; Jacksonville FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Mike Mularkey (right) talks about first round draft pick Justin Blackmon (left) as owner Shad Khan (center) listens during a press conference at EverBank Field. Mandatory Credit: Phil Sears-US PRESSWIRE

Which First-Year Head Coach Will Be Most Successful?

There are a few new head coaches hitting the league in 2012.  As much as we all love him, Mike Mularkey may not be the cream of the crop according to pretty much everyone else outside of Jacksonville.

In fact, based on a poll by FOX Sports, the Jaguars’ Mike Mularkey will have the least success out of Tampa Bay’s Greg Schiano, Miami’s Joe Philbin, Indianapolis’ Chuck Pagano, and Oakland’s Dennis Allen.  Yes, you read that right.  Tampa Bay, Indianapolis, and Miami are all expected (based on almost 3,000 votes) to have more success than Mike Mularkey.

This is a man who will quietly make a splash in 2012. Source: US-Presswire

Despite fielding a top ten defense and returning almost every starter from the defense and the defensive coordinator, Mike Mularkey is only expected to have the most success out of the group by 10% of voters.  What does Indy have that gives them an edge at 11%?  Does Andrew Luck really turn an entire team into winners?  While the season will give us a true answer, I’m willing to say “no” for right now.

What about Miami?  They took third place in the voting with 22% (considerably higher than the two AFC South teams with new coaches).  Joe Philbin ran a good offense in Green Bay, but most of it is Mike McCarthy’s brain child.  Is Philbin going to be able to turn Ryan Tannehill into Aaron Rodgers?  Will he even end up looking like Matt Flynn?  Despite the questions about Miami’s coaching staff (and I like Joe Philbin, though question what he did and what McCarthy did in Green Bay), the strength of the roster is truly minimal.  We all know that Jacksonville is the 32nd most popular franchise, it’s pretty obvious Miami has some people still hoping for the next Dan Marino.

Dennis Allen in Oakland pulled in second place with 27% of the vote to be the most successful first-year head coach in 2012.  Of the coaches outside of Mike Mularkey (who I truly do think could be the most successful) I think that the situation in Oakland could translate into success.  Darren McFadden is good, really good; a resurgent Carson Palmer would be a great boon to the new coach; and no longer having Al Davis hanging over everyone like Johnny Raincloud will free up some open thinking and new approaches to the game.  Beyond that though, I don’t have a lot of hope for Allen.  While Davis won’t be around to fire him after his first five games, the culture in Oakland does not seem too far removed from him the Al Davis era.

Seriously, I don't even know if a guy can look any more solid than Schiano. Source: Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE

Why Greg Schiano of Tampa Bay is expected to be the most successful first-year head coach makes a bit more sense to me.  Apparently 30% of the people polled agree.  Of the coaches, I think that Schiano has the best attitude (sorry Mularkey).  I think he says the right things, has the right approach to the game, knows how to manage his team well, etc. But I don’t think he knows how to win on the NFL level.  The guy knows how to motivate and lead, but what about his schemes?  What about his coordinators?  What about his roster?  Coming into Tampa Bay, I think that Schiano’s roster is the best of the five head coaches.  I’m not a Josh Freeman fan, but the young talent on the team is bubbling up to the surface quickly.  The Bucs made some big splashes in free agency, and I think that Schiano is the right man to lead them.  However, until he starts winning I’m not willing to put all of my eggs in his basket.

While I’m a Mularkey fan and think that he has the best shot to make a move toward being the most successful (that Jaguars defense is tough to argue with), look for Schiano to share in some of that glory as well.  I fully expect Miami to be mediocre (yes, even with Chad Ochocino), the Colts to look like they are beginning to rebuild because they are, and the Raiders will probably continue to be the same Raiders we’ve seen since they lost the Super Bowl to the Bucs.

Expect a few more people to be jumping onto the Black and Teal bandwagon during the 2012 season.  And if another Florida franchise not from Miami does pretty well, don’t be shocked too much.

- Luke N. Sims

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Tags: Aaron Rodgers Andrew Luck Chad Ochocinco Chuck Pagano Dennis Allen Green Bay Packers Greg Schiano Indianpolis Colts Jacksonville Jaguars Joe Philbin Miami Dolphins Mike McCarthy Mike Mularkey Oakland Raiders Ryan Tannehill Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  • KeenanJ

    The people who voted on that poll, obviously aren’t all that familiar with each team’s roster, nor do I believe they keep up with the progress each team is making. That would be unreasonable of any voter on such a topic, but the point is, that you can’t really answer that question unless you at least know some details concerning each team involved. I have little to no insight on the Bucs, Raiders, Dolphins, or the Colts, so I’m not really in the best position to answer the question myself. Yet, I will still say that Mularkey has the best chance to have the most success. I could go into great detail as to why I believe that, but I’ll defer that option and say it’s just me being a homer.
    While I agree with most of what is said here, there is one statement that I believe to be far from the truth. And that is the bit about the Bucs having a better roster than we do. I do not believe that all. While I don’t know the ins and outs of their roster, I would assume they have a few holes on their roster somewhere and we don’t have any. We also have depth in our LB corps and our secondary. The only spots I would give them edge to is DE and QB. DE because they’ve spent early round draft picks on the position and QB because, as far as we know right now, Freeman is the better QB than Gabbert. Other than that, I don’t see how they could have the better talent base than us.

  • http://www.blackandteal.com/ LukeNSims

     @KeenanJ All fair points. I will elaborate on why I think the Bucs have the strongest roster of the five teams: With the Vincent Jackson acquisition I think that the receiving corps easily outstrips the Jaguars receiving corps (V-Jax and Mike Williams make a formidable duo – Williams has 1,700 yards over the past two seasons).  As you mentioned, the defensive ends are quite good.  I think that the true potential of the DEs is yet to be found though and they will find it in the next two years, maybe this year.  Ronde Barber can still play and the Mark Barron pick will pay dividends immediately (or at least I believe it will).  Eric Wright at corner is someone I find to be highly underrated as well.  Further, the running back stable in Tampa Bay leaves little to be desired.  Legarrette Blount (1,700 yards over the last two years) and Doug Martin (another good pick) help make Freeman look good.  As I said in the article, I am not a Freeman fan but he put up some good numbers a year ago (25 TDs to 6 picks).  While Carl Nicks has yet to gel with the rest of the offensive line, the unit has allowed 28 and 29 sacks the last two years and will only get better with him at guard.
    I see a lot of upside on their roster.  There is very little for me to argue against them.  You bring up a good point about linebacking, but outside of that and fullback I really don’t see the Jags with any real leads over the Bucs.  

  • KeenanJ

     Excuse me taking so long to reply. It usually sends me a notification when there is an update in the conversation, but not this time. But to the conversation. I would agree, they have the better offensive line unit, receiving corps (at least starter wise, but probably not depth wise), starting QB and as we both agreed on, starting DE unit. But what about the rest of the team? We agreed that we have the better stable of linebackers, so that’s that. I would give us the edge in the secondary. We have depth across the board and also a up and coming star in Cox. They have Talib, but his future with the team is up in the air, if it hasn’t already been decided internally for them yet. I’d say we still have the edge in RB with MJD (hopefully) and Jennings. Blount has been steady, as you’ve said, but MJD is clearly better and Jennings could still be considered the better pro between Martin (which bothers me because I really wanted us to draft him) and Jennings. More of because of NFL experience over pure talent. Then the TE position. We’re better there too. I would agree that we’re about even when it comes to starting units, but I’d say we’re better from a depth position, so I would say we have the better overall team.
    Honestly though, it could go either way.