1-Man’s Opinion on Sports-Tuesday “NFL Coaching Hires-Grade Them”
“THE NFL COACHING CAROUSEL’
The five NFL head coaching openings have been filled.
The big name went off the board early. The hot names, who were coordinators, have been hired. A couple of misfit franchises have new young leadership.
And now we start NFL free agency soon, to be followed by the April NFL draft.
A look at what happened and how I grade each hire:
DENVER…Sean Payton came in like a hurricane to take over the Broncos. Virtually the entire coaching staff has exited too. The biggest issue is what Payton does with what he inherited, and he gets to work with a veteran proven QB and alot of young players. Payton’s impact on Russell Wilson will be huge. Wilson had just 16-TD passes last year, got sacked alot, turned it over alot. An overwhelmed Nathaniel Hackett did a pitiful job calling plays, inserting new formations. Payton brings his Saints-proven X-and-O offense. He gets power running back Javante Williams, coming off knee surgery. He has to figure out why there were so many injuries to his wide out group, but Jerry Jeudy and Courtland Sutton have loads of talent. He gets his injured LT tackle, Grant Bolles, back. And that is a highly regarded defense he works with. Bet they change the landscape of the AFC-West immediately. GRADE (A)
CAROLINA…Frank Reich takes on a challenge with virtually none of the things Payton has to deal with in Denver. He has no QB. Cam Newton was years ago. Sam Darnold did little to make you believe he could be a difference maker. Baker Mayfield regressed and soon was gone. There is no Christian McCaffrey at running back. The wide out group is thin. Defense? What Defense? Quite a rebuilding job, but Reich has creative credentials, and a box full of draft picks to use and cap space too. Snatching Broncos Def Coord-Ejiro Evero was brilliant addition. Will take awhile, but this is a proven head coach with an owner not afraid to spend. GRADE (B)
COLTS…Shane Steichen was on a fast track to become a head coach, based on what he learned and accomplished in Philadelphia with Jalen Hurts. What Indianapolis needs is ‘return to health’. And they need a quarterback. Losing star OG-Quentin Nelson for much of the year created a mess upfront, especially since LT-Anthony Constanzo walked away from the game. They need RB-Jonahton Taylor to be completely healthy post ankle surgery. . They must keep the cadre of young WRs on the field . And star LB-Shaq Leonard has to come back healthy after back and nerve surgery. And then there is the quarterback quardry. Since Andrew Luck walked away from football, they have gone thru Jacoby Brissett…Philip Rivers..Carson Wentz and Matt Ryan, with little success except for Rivers playoff led season. Do they trade up? Do they find a gem in the draft? Steichen’s resume includes designing offenses to fit Philip Rivers and Justin Herbert and the polishing of Jalen Hurts. How did all that work out?This may take time. And is Steichen ready to be the guy, this early in his career? GRADE (C)
HOUSTON..DeMeco Ryans comes from the 49ers with quite a defensive resume. He inherits a good young defense. But there must be an upgrade everywhere on offense, after an anemic couple of years in the aftermath of the trade of Deshaun Watson to Cleveland. They do have 2-first round picks, and the chance to get the QB of their choice and that is a starting point. But do they have running backs, receivers and offensive line help. They need to be patient because they are missing half a team right now. GRADE (D)
ARIZONA…Johnathon Gannon comes off a spectacular year with the Eagles. His resume is defense, but he inherits a horrible defense. His team has 38-free agents too. He has question marks about QB-Kyler Murray’s dedication to become a leader and an educated signal caller. They have age and free agent defections from the receiver group. They need established running backs. He may be a good hire but it’s like he walks into an empty garage. They don’t have much talent. If offensive guru Kliff Kingsbury couldn’t make Murray a complete QB, will a defensive personality coach be able to fix the most important position player on the roster? Will need a veteran group of assistants to help fix all this. It’s a mess in Phoenix. GRADE (D)