Since I haven’t been able to figure out how to sticky posts for easy reference, I started a new thread in which everyone can talk about the new head coach hirings.
Also, it’s an excuse for me to talk about them in a little more detail.
* Miami – Adam Gase: Good to see Gase get his first head coaching opportunity, although I’m not certain that Miami was the best place to go. I’m not a fan of the way Mike Tannenbaum manages a roster and when you hear reports about Stephen Ross getting too involved in team affairs, I’m concerned Gase won’t really get the chance to succeed. (One rumor is that Ross pushed the front office to sign Ndamukong Suh when the Dolphins were tight on cap space this past offseason.) I think Gase can help Ryan Tannehill improve, but only time will tell if he can overcome other issues to get the Dolphins to the playoffs.
* Cleveland – Hue Jackson: A fair assessment of Jackson’s tenure with the Raiders is that he can do good things as a head coach but that you don’t want to jump the instant he says you need to make this personnel move (then again, the trade for Carson Palmer probably had as much to do with Al Davis as it did with Jackson). But as with Gase, I’m not sold that Jackson is walking into the best situation, because you have an owner who gets too involved in team affairs. We’ll see if he actually learned his lesson, though. I think the “Moneyball” approach is the right idea (and, honestly, other NFL teams have been taking such an approach), but the question is whether the owner will allow the process to work. If not, Jackson will have a tough time overcoming it.
* New York Giants – Ben McAdoo: It’s hard for me to get a read on what is going on with the Giants. I did suspect that Tom Coughlin might be ready to retire, but if it’s true he got forced out, that’s unfortunate. Coughlin did have some issues, but I don’t think you could lay all the blame for the Giants’ struggles at his feet. I do think the idea of promoting from within is OK, but I’m not convinced that McAdoo is the right person for the job. The offense regressed this season, from 15th in DVOA last year to 19th this year, although perhaps you could blame that on the offensive line’s struggles. Still, I’m skeptical about the McAdoo hiring, because I don’t see the evidence that he’s responsible for turning around the offense.
* Philadelphia – Doug Pederson: I’m surprised somebody leaked this out already. Sure, there have been instances in which it was known that a team had its eyes on one candidate whose team was still in the playoffs (Dan Quinn to the Falcons being the perfect example) but this is the first time I can recall news being leaked that “yes, the rumor is true.” Regardless, I think Pederson is in a good situation, as long as the Eagles go in with the understanding that they need to rebuild. It’s not just quarterback that’s an issue; the Eagles also need to improve the offensive line and a few areas on defense.
* San Francisco – Chip Kelly: First, I do believe Kelly has done good things as a head coach; you just don’t want him running team operations. With that said, this strikes me as odd. Jim Harbaugh left because of his clashes with Trent Baalke and Jed York, and now they turn around and bring in an opinionated coach who is almost certain to have those same clashes. I can’t imagine this relationship ending well, even if the Niners get playoff trips out of it.
* Tampa Bay – Dirk Koetter: I have never understood the idea of firing a head coach just to make sure you don’t lose a coordinator you like. When Smith took over the Bucs, they needed rebuilding all around. They spent two seasons getting the offense in a better position, and supposedly were going to focus on defense this coming offseason. Then they turn around and make a change anyway. I don’t think Smith is a tactical genius, but I’m not certain why the Bucs are convinced that Koetter will be better as the head coach. The Glazer boys have been stumbling around ever since Jon Gruden left town (and I’m not the biggest Gruden supporter) and can’t figure out what they really want. Also, the “offense improved” mantra is best described as “to an extent,” because it was 32nd last year in DVOA and 18th this year, so it was strictly average in 2015 (although they certainly had a better QB situation this year). In defense, though, they held even (18th in 2014 and 2015) despite not having the best talent. I just fail to see the evidence that Koetter will be a better coach than Smith.
* Tennesse – to be determined.