NFL Coaching Changes: What Went Wrong, The Fix, Will The Fix Work?

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NFL Coaching Changes:  What Went Wrong, The Fix, Will The Fix Work?

It is almost like it should be its own season.  We know it is coming.  Like the changing of summer to fall, or fall to winter, it may come early for some, a little later for others but coaching changes happen every year.  Whatever season it is, its getting HOT!  I’m talking about the NFL coach hot seat.  Each year, the season ends, a coach gets fired and the team and its fans get some sort of renewed hope of a new season.  Here is to 6 new seasons for 6 teams…

Houston Texans:  Bill O’Brien

What Went Wrong?

Everything…8 games without starting QB Matt Schaub and All Pro RB Arian Foster hurt them a lot.  The only thing that didn’t go wrong for the Texans is they got the #1 pick.  The Texans went from a 12-4 Super Bowl contender to the 2-14 worst team in the NFL.

The Fix?

Known for being the coach to follow Joe Paterno at Penn State following the scandal there, he led the scholarship penalized program to two winning seasons and was 2012 Coach of the Year.  What you should know about him is he was an Offensive Assistant and Quarterbacks Coach with the New England Patriots from 2007-2010.   O’Brien was Offensive Coordinator for the 2011 AFC Champion.

Will The Fix Work?

Houston has under achieved for a long time.  A healthy team and how they use their #1 draft pick will be the key.  Houston has a top 10 defense with Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt leading the way.  A  healthy Arian Foster and a drafted quarterback that O’Brien can groom to go along with Andre Johnson will help get the offense going again in the right direction and put the team back on track.

 

Detroit Lions:  Jim Caldwell

What Went Wrong?

They went from 4-12 in 2012 to 7-9 in 2013.  Solid improvement most would say.  They were first in the division after Week 10 and injuries to division rival QB’s Aaron Rodgers and Jay Cutler had things looking good.  A Week 16 loss eliminated them from the playoffs and sealed Coach Jim Schwartz’s fate.

The Fix?

You can associate Jim Caldwell with Peyton Manning and Joe Flacco.  With those two players you can also associate him with 3 Super Bowl appearances and 2 Super Bowl Championships.  Whether it was as the Quarterbacks Coach, Assistant Head Coach or Head Coach, Jim Caldwell has proven to be a winner.  That’s one thing the Lions have not done much of.

Will The Fix Work?

It seems Caldwell was brought on because he spent a day with the Lions where he studied and revealed what things were wrong with Matthew Stafford and how he could fix him.

Lions Front Office:  You worked with Peyton Manning and Joe Flacco and led them to Super Bowls?

Caldwell:  Yes, with Peyton I…

Lions Front Office:  You’re hired!

Caldwell:  But don’t you want to hear about what I did with Manning and Flacco

Lions Front Office:  Call a press conference!

All the Lions care about is winning.  The city and the team have been losing for awhile.  The recent high draft picks seem to have put most of the right pieces in place and I think Jim Caldwell can be that last piece to first place.

 

Minnesota Vikings:  Mike Zimmer

What Went Wrong?

Leslie Frazier had AD, All Day, All World, All Pro, AP, Adrian Peterson on his team…and that’s about it.  He inherited a young high draft pick Quarterback in Christian Ponder and had a defense ranked near the bottom and Frazier could never get out from under that and get any momentum.

The Fix?

Hire a guy that had his defense in the top 10 in 4 of the past 6 years while Defensive Coordinator.  He also learned from a solid, long tenured head coach in Marvin Lewis at Cincinnati.  Mike Zimmer is proven

Will The Fix Work?

The Vikings need to solve their Quarterback problem, but went after the right guy in their very offensive minded division.  They will see Cutler, Rodgers and Stafford 6 times.  Win the majority of those games and you’ve just put your team in the position for a playoff spot

Washington Redskins:  Jay Gruden

What Went Wrong:

I think what went wrong starts with owner Daniel Snyder.  Over the years he has put some very strange pressure on his coaches and the team to win.  I think the Cinderella year of RG III’s rookie year raised everyone’s expectation bar and it starts with the top.  The whole preseason revolved around Griffin.  Then the whole season revolved around Griffin.  Nothing revolved around the team.

The Fix?

Jay Gruden is all offense.  A former college and pro quarterback, Gruden knows offense.  If the Redskins want to make RGIII the focus, then Gruden is your man.  In 3 years he somehow molded Andy Dalton and that offense into a top 10 offense.

Will The Fix Work?

In the 2 RGIII years, the Redskins ranked 22nd and 31st in points allowed defense.  For now, Jim Haslett is still sticking around as Defensive Coordinator.  That will need to be addressed.  I can’t see Gruden lifting the Redskins offense that much to make up for the defensive mistakes but things were clearly not good with Mike Shanahan.  This new season will be good for everyone in Washington.

Tennessee Titans:  Ken Whisenhunt

What Went Wrong:

Instability at Quarterback.  Common theme all throughout teams that fired their coaches.  Jake Locker could be the guy but he is yet to stay healthy enough to tell.  Ryan Fitzpatrick is definitely not the answer.  Just ask Buffalo.

The Fix?

Led Ben Roethlisberger to a Super Bowl Win as Offensive Coordinator, Led Kurt Warner to the Super Bowl as well as the Cardinals first playoff win in 60 years and led the resurgence of Phillip Rivers that we all just witnessed this year into the 2nd round of the playoffs.

Will The Fix Work?

The Titans look like they will lose CJWayLessThan2K so Whisenhunt will have some work to do with no established Quarterback, Running Back and even some questions at Wide Receiver plus questions on defense.  Whiz has work to do but if the Titans give him a few years in the leash, I think he has shown he’s sharp enough to make another successful head coaching run.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers:  Lovie Smith

What Went Wrong:

0-8 is never going to go well at the end of the season.  They finished 4-4 and showed some promise with rookie QB Mike Glennon but 0-8 gets ugly on the field, in the locker room and in the media and a head coach can’t recover from that.

The Fix?

A young team needs a guy with solid NFL Experience.  84-66 as a head coach with 3 division championships and one NFC Championship and a defensive swagger is what Lovie Smith brings to Tampa.

Will The Fix Work?

Tampa looks like they have a QB they can build with in Glennon and pair that with a healthy Doug Martin, Vincent Jackson and the structure is there.  Defensively Lavonte David, Gerald McCoy and Darrelle “The Island” Revis will be studs that Lovie can build with to get the Buccaneers back in the mix.

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