Ranking The Coaching Hires
1. Chuck Pagano, Colts. I’m not sure how well Bruce Arians and Greg Manusky will do as coordinators, but I know the team will be motivated and disciplined. Pagano has all the fire of Rex Ryan, his mentor, and none of his arrogance. In the violent games of football and hockey, you need a bit of a drill sergeant. Conversely, you need a leader who loves you like a brother and wants to be out there fighting with you. Additionally, Pagano’s schemes did really well despite losing Ray Lewis for a three-game stretch, and getting back a less than 100% Lewis until the postseason. The Ravens defense went an entire playoff game flag-free. All in all, Pagano will be a stabilizing force in turbulent times and may even inspire Robert Mathis to stay.
2. Joe Philbin, Dolphins. Philbin’s offensive prowess is just what the Dolphins need (they haven’t been in the top 10 in points scored since they finished 8th under current Bills defensive coordinator Dave Wannstedt in 2001). He’s an expert of adjustments and you can tell from listening to Aaron Rodgers how much Philbin meant to the Packers offense from Rodgers’ second year through 2012. Mike Sherman and Kevin Coyle are intelligent high-stakes performers at coordinator.
3. Romeo Crennel, Chiefs. You could already see the influence of Crennel when they took out the 13-0 Packers towards the end of last season. Brian Daboll is an intriguing offensive coordinator choice, but I think the Chiefs will be a team that takes on the identity of Crennel and play physical. Neither Edwards nor Haley did a good job of communicating to young players.
4. Greg Schiano, Buccaneers. What they needed was discipline and toughness, and Schiano comes with the Belichick recommendation.
5. Mike Mularkey, Jaguars. The offense in Atlanta was limited, but it will be interesting to see what Mularkey does with a more mobile quarterback. I wasn’t impressed with the choice of Bratkowski for OC, as the Bengals moved out vets Palmer, Owens and Ochocinco – in a division with two other postseason teams and a formidable Browns defense – and played rookies but still scored more points in Jay Gruden’s first year than Bratkowski’s last.
6. Jeff Fisher, Rams. Fisher is well-respected, but the Brian Schottenheimer offensive coordinator hire probably doesn’t inspire. I really thought they needed an offensive head coach to take advantage of the talent there and bring in new pieces.
7. Dennis Allen, Raiders. With just one year as a defensive coordinator, he is the least experienced of all the new head coaches.
There really weren’t any bad hires, as there is little difference between #1 and #7.
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