With the conclusion of the NFL season you can always expect change, and while this offseason has not been as active as last as far as the number of head coaches either getting fired or retiring, there has been some movement as of late. Monday two coaches became head coaches for the first time, as the Steelers in a shock gave Mike Tomlin the head position of the black and gold. Last evening in Oakland, USC assistant Lane Kiffin became the head coach of the Raiders. Below is a list of coaching changes as of Monday, and some comments on the decisions of each team.
Arizona Cardinals – Fired Dennis Green January 1st. Hired Ken Whisenhunt on January 14th. Whisenhunt was a coach in demand, and with his skills of running an offense, he should be able to turn the Cards around. He has been enhancing his play calling and skills in Pittsburgh the past few seasons, and this hire was a solid one for a Cardinals team that really needs to improve.
Atlanta Falcons – Fired Jim Mora Jr. January 1st. Hired Bobby Petrino on January 7th. A somewhat strange hiring of Petrino, a coach who was 12-1 this past year in Louisville with the 5th ranked team in the country. Despite that, not many thought he was ready for a head coaching position in the NFL, but he must have shown Falcons owner Arthur Blank that he has what it takes. His biggest priority will be to get Michael Vick to be a week in and week out solid NFL QB, and get the Falcons back to the form of three seasons ago when they played in the NFC Title game.
Dallas Cowboys – Bill Parcells retired January 22nd. Many are surprised at the decision of Parcells, who was in the office working hard on the teams offseason each day after their playoff loss to the Seahawks on January 5th. You really can’t blame Parcells for not wanting to put up with another season of the media circus that is Terrell Owens and day in and day out questions about the wacky wide out. Jerry Jones will make a name hire, and pull out the pocketbook to do it.
Miami Dolphins – Nick Saban resigned January 3rd. Hired Cam Cameron January 19th. The Chargers offensive coordinator takes the job in Miami to try and add some life to a team that each year seems to go through the motions and never really take any major steps forward. He is a worthy hire, and he will be counted on to figure out what to do with a Dolphins offense that was awful the first half of the season. He’ll find out quick the difference between LaDainian Tomlinson and Ronnie Brown.
Oakland Raiders – Fired Art Shell January 4th. Hired Lane Kiffin January 22nd. An odd hiring to say the least, but what did you expect from Al Davis? One USC offensive assistant turns down the position, so let’s offer it to another? The 31-year old Kiffin had better rent during the season in Oakland, because itchy trigger finger Davis has fired three coaches in the last four years – Bill Callahan, Norv Turner and Shell. Kiffin will be counted on to jumpstart an offense that was one of the worst in the league in many years last season in Oakland.
Pittsburgh Steelers – Bill Cowher resigned January 5th. Hired Mike Tomlin January 22nd. As one article stated, the Steelers hire coaches about as often as the Catholic Church changes Pope’s. That’s why seeing Tomlin on the sideline will be strange for the first half of 2007, no matter who good or bad the Steelers are. He was a longshot when he was interviewed, but then quickly gained the respect of the Rooney’s and director of football operations Kevin Colbert. Tomlin inherits a team that won the Super Bowl 11 months ago, and has already placed lofty goals upon himself and the Steelers in 2007. Will those goals be met? Only time will tell.