Over the past few weeks we have seen general managers and head coaches fired and replaced. Whether it was the Kansas City Chiefs going big or the Cleveland Browns going a little less familiar, eight teams saw changes at head coach. The Jacksonville Jaguars were a slight blip on the radar in a sea of turnover. So, who ended up where? We’ll tackle it by order of hire.
1. Andy Reid, Kansas City Chiefs (1/4)
- Reid has been a major factor in the NFL for decades. His coaching tree has grown beyond his own waistline, and that’s saying something. Along with longevity, Reid has gotten results. During his 14 seasons as head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles he has amassed 120-93-1 record with nine playoff seasons, 10 playoff wins, and one Super Bowl appearance. Reid, like John Fox in Denver, could benefit from a change of scenery. He has been given a large amount of control over the rest of the front office. As a result, his football acumen will define the Chiefs for good or for ill over the span of his tenure.
2. Doug Marrone, Buffalo Bills (1/6)
- In contrast to the Chiefs, the Bills opted to go with a coach who is slightly less familiar to football fans. Syracuse’s Marrone does not have the greatest record as a head coach (26-26 at Syracuse) but he was a part in creating the high-flying New Orleans Saints offense. How much of a part remains to be seen. The Bills are hoping that Marrone was a big part in shaping the Saints and if he was able to convince them that he was then who are we to say otherwise? Marrone’s hiring came a couple of days later than Reid’s and if you are scratching your head wondering why you didn’t here about it, then you (like the rest of us) generally don’t pay attention to the Buffalo Bills.
3. Rob Chudzinski, Cleveland Browns (1/10)
- The Browns’ selection for head coach has been pegged as underwhelming by many. Unlike the Bills’ hire, the Brown had the misfortune of no longer being in the shadow of Reid’s hiring. Chudzinski is the former offensive coordinator for the Browns (’04, ’07-’08) and, more recently, the Carolina Panthers (’11-’12). Chudzinski should be applauded for making Derek Anderson into a pro bowl quarterback – if only for one season – but nobody thought his work warranted a return to Cleveland, much less as a head coach. If he can capitalize on Trent Richardson’s abilities and can turn Brandon Weeden’s big arm into a more accurate cannon, then maybe Chudzinski will be worth every penny at his new position.
4. Mike McCoy, San Diego Chargers (1/15)
- McCoy may be the sexiest head coach hired this offseason. His ability to adapt as an offensive coordinator from Kyle Orton to Tim Tebow to Peyton Manning makes him a popular choice. By ousting the stale Norv Turner in favor of McCoy, the Chargers are sending a signal that they are willing to make changes and put successful coaches in to rejuvenate the team. The Chargers faltered late in Turner’s tenure as head coach and McCoy has shown a tenacity to win as a coordinator that should translate well as a head coach. The humility to tailor one’s game plan to the personnel is exactly what San Diego needs to quickly turn around Philip Rivers and the offense.
5. Marc Trestman, Chicago Bears (1/16)
- Perhaps the most intriguing head coaching hire of the offseason, Trestman comes to Chicago from the CFL. While the Grey Cup isn’t exactly the Super Bowl, Trestman easily has the most prestigious resume of anybody hired. Trestman has won the Grey Cup twice during his five year tenure as the head coach for the Montreal Alouettes. A native of Minnesota (played at the University of Minnesota), a jump back to the NFL seems natural for such an experienced CFL coach. He has spent time as a coordinator, quarterback coach, and assistant head coach in the NFL and college ranks before moving to the CFL. His overall record as a head coach is 59-31.
6. Chip Kelly, Philadelphia Eagles (1/16)
- A lot of people think that the Eagles landed the big one with Kelly. Kelly had snubbed the NFL for the second season in a row until the Eagles somehow made the miraculous happen and landed Kelly. Kelly comes from the University of Oregon, where he is widely recognized as an offensive innovator. The Ducks have managed to grow tremendously under his tutelage and he tends to capitalize on a players potential early on. The Eagles – a very talented team on paper – desperately need someone who can bring out the potential on their roster. In Kelly, they have found their man. Oregon was 46-7 during Kelly’s tenure.
7. Gus Bradley, Jacksonville Jaguars (1/17)
- Bradley’s passion is what the Jaguars desperately need to avoid mediocrity. Jacksonville has been searching for a charismatic and successful coach to fit a void at the position. Bradley fit the bill. The Eagles had every opportunity to pick Bradley but went to Kelly when they knew they could get him. The Jaguars have happily picked up what the Eagles left behind. Bradley is a gifted “players coach” coordinator who managed to turn the Seattle Seahawks defense into the best at limited offenses from scoring. Everyone raves about Bradley’s coaching abilities, but will he be able to do it at the next level? That’s the big question mark that hangs over Jacksonville despite all of the excitement.
8. Bruce Arians, Arizona Cardinals (1/17)
- The last head coach to be hired is Arians. He may be the most deserving of the available coaches. After stepping in for the ill Chuck Pagano midway through the Indianapolis Colts’ season, Arians led the Colts to the playoffs one year after posting the most abysmal record in the NFL. Arians rightly won coordinator and head coach of the year awards and was a natural fit for offense-starved Arizona. The Cardinals need someone like Arians who brings a good coaching method as well as a winning mindset. Arians will be hungry to return to the playoffs soon. He was 9-3 as interim head coach of the Colts.
– Luke N. Sims
You can also find me on Twitter @LukeNSims