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The report card for new coaches

The report card for new coaches

Less than a week after a Super Bowl between two coaches in their first position as head coach, the list of new coaches is finally finalized with the formalization of Kevin O’Connell’s arrival at the Vikings. Of the nine teams looking for a new coach, which ones have found their Sean McVay? It’s class council time.

Jacksonville Jaguars (Doug Pederson): 9/10

After the Urban Meyer fiasco, Doug Pederson is an excellent choice for the Jacksonville side. Winner of the Super Bowl just four years ago with the Eagles, renowned for his ability to develop quarterbacks, Pederson is also a coach who has a reputation for being loved by his players. After a chaotic year, Trevor Lawrence will have an environment allowing him to justify his status as number 1 in the draft last season.

Minnesota Vikings (Kevin O’Connell): 8/10

Mike Zimmer landed, it is a name a little less known which comes to replace him in the person of Kevin O’Connell. A disciple of Sean McVay in Washington and Los Angeles, where he was offensive coordinator last season, O’Connell surely hopes to follow in his master’s footsteps. And if this can reassure Minnesota fans, the ex-disciples of McVay had rather happy fortunes: Brandon Staley admirably developed Justin Herbert at the Chargers, Matt LaFleur won thirteen games three seasons in a row in Green Bay, and finally , Zac Taylor took the Bengals to the Super Bowl. The Vikings have weapons in attack, and if O’Connell manages to dust off the playbook, he could wreak havoc with Kirk Cousins, Justin Jefferson, Adam Thielen or even Dalvin Cook.

Las Vegas Raiders (Josh McDaniels): 7/10

Following a turbulent season, punctuated by the departure of coach Jon Gruden or the incarceration of star receiver Henry Ruggs, the Raiders could have exploded and ended up in the depths of the league. Nay, Las Vegas snatched its place in the playoffs. This team has character, symbolized by its pitcher Derek Carr. Coming from the Patriots school, McDaniels could be the man for the job to appease the Raiders boat. Admittedly, his last (and only) experience in this position at the Broncos ended in disaster (3 wins, 9 losses and fired during the season), but that was 12 years ago already. Better still, McDaniels removed doubts about his abilities by showing that even without Tom Brady, and with a rookie quarterback (Mac Jones), he managed to put together a decent attack.

New Orleans Saints (Denis Allen): 7/10

No upheaval on the Louisiana side. Sean Payton is gone, his defensive coordinator is promoted. A good inspiration from the side of the leaders of the Saints, as the coaching was impeccable last year. The team came within a whisker of the playoffs, being eliminated on the final day by San Francisco’s victory over the future champions Rams in overtime. However, orphans of Drew Brees, the Saints started by less than 4 quarterbacks during the season, for a limited offensive result. It is truly the iron defense coached by Denis Allen that has kept this team afloat. Highlights of the season, the victories against the Packers of Rodgers (3 points only conceded) and the Buccs of Brady (0 points conceded). The work of the offseason will be on the side of the players, and in particular the quarterback.

Chicago Bears (Matt Eberflus): 6/10

Chicago is finally delivered from Matt Nagy. Arriving with the label of offensive genius, Chicago’s performance has slowly but surely declined season after season. In 2021, Chicago’s offense was the worst in franchise history, and poor Justin Fields was not being exploited on his strengths. With Eberflus, former defensive coordinator of the Colts, Chicago is trying to return to the identity of the franchise: defense. Eberflus impressed in Indianapolis with the quality of their defense despite the absence of stars. In Chicago he will have a more enticing cast, symbolized by Khalil Mack. But the problem remains on the side of the attack, where Eberflus will be supported by his new offensive coordinator Luke Getsy, landed from the Packers. In this new generation NFL symbolized by young offensive coaches, the choice of Eberflus is a bit against the grain, especially when the priority is not to solidify the defense but to develop Fields.

New York Giants (Brian Daboll): 6/10

Since the Super Bowl won in 2011, the Giants can’t do it anymore. And it’s not Joe Judge who will say the opposite as the G-Men ended the season in freewheel. It was the coveted Brian Daboll who landed. Offensive coordinator of an often unstoppable Bills offense, Daboll mostly managed to polish an extremely raw Josh Allen upon his arrival in the NFL. In New York, it will be a different story. The team is in the red in terms of salary management and has almost no strengths. If Sean McDermott has admirably succeeded in raising the Buffalo franchise, does Daboll have all the keys to repeat this performance? Except for the last two seasons, he has not left a lasting memory in the previous franchises for which he has worked.

Denver Broncos (Nathaniel Hackett): 5/10

Was the problem really coaching in Denver? Vic Fangio had honorable results in three seasons, especially when the quarterback was named Joe Flacco, Drew Lock or Teddy Bridgewater. Therefore, the choice of Nathaniel Hackett, offensive coordinator of the Packers, can raise questions. It’s obviously easier to lead a team to victory when you have Aaron Rodgers than Teddy Bridgewater. Additionally, the Packers’ offensive system is primarily designed by head coach Matt LaFleur, not his coordinator Nathaniel Hackett. Without a quarterback, and with a head coach whose offensive prowess remains to be proven, the Broncos could once again see a long season looming.

Miami Dolphins (Mike McDaniel): 5/10

With amazement and a crash, Miami landed Brian Flores at the end of last season. Yet Flores was by far the most successful coach at the head of the Florida franchise for years. Mike McDaniel was chosen to replace him. As for the Broncos and Nathaniel Hackett, Mike McDaniel enjoys the reputation of an attack of which he was the offensive coordinator, that of the 49ers in this case. Yet this system is that of Kyle Shanahan. He is even the one who calls the games. The Dolphins therefore take a certain risk by hiring an offensive coach who has never had the responsibility of the playcall.

Houston Texans (Lovie Smith): 2/10

After just one season, David Culley was asked to pack up and leave the Texas franchise. However, the coach has done well with the Deshaun Watson imbroglio. With one of the weakest rosters in the league, and a rookie third-round quarterback at the helm, the final copy wasn’t all that dishonorable. Did the owners then want to clean up? No, since they decided to promote Lovie Smith, defensive coordinator of the team with the 31st defense of the league. His previous experience in the NFL, at the Buccaneers, is also a failure (8 wins, 24 losses), as is the university parenthesis in Illinois (17 wins for 39 losses). How can the Texans see in him the renewal of the franchise? And if they only wanted a “passing through” coach, why didn’t they keep Culley?

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