NFL Coaching Changes Heading Into The 2016 Season
By Loot, NFL Handicapper, Lootmeister.com
In today's era, head coaches are not given that long of a leash, as the front offices of teams are far quicker to pull the trigger on a coaching change than in days past. It can make it more difficult for the casual fan to stay on top of all the action, especially ones who remember the time when coaches were around forever with the same team. It's not like that anymore, as fans have to keep track of all the changes, in addition to the differing approaches and styles that entails.
We saw the power of coaching changes last year, as the Super Bowl champion was led by a first-year head coach, as the Broncos hit paydirt with Gary Kubiak at the helm. And sometimes a new coach can tweak things slightly and get the team headed in the right direction. Other times, the team's issues run so deep that it almost doesn't matter who is at the helm. Naturally, a team looking for a coaching change is unhappy with the direction of the team. With this season's coaching changes, however, we see some teams that have been struggling, but other than the Browns and the Niners, we see three teams who aren't all that far away from being good. Let's look at the coaching changes headed into 2016 and see if we can't make sense of it all.
Hue Jackson, Cleveland Browns: The 50-year old Jackson gets his second NFL head coaching gig after spending one season with the Oakland Raiders in 2011, starting off 7-4, but ending up 8-8 in his only season at the helm. Jackson's resume is deep, with assistant coaching gigs dating back to the 80's and stretching over a handful of different college and pro teams. Jackson spent the past two seasons as the Cincinnati Bengals' offensive coordinator and now looks to get a long-wayward Cleveland franchise on the right track—something that won't be too easy. Of all the coaches on this list, Jackson faces the toughest job, though his expectations might be lower than other first-year coaches this season.
Adam Gase, Miami Dolphins: The Ypsilanti, Michigan native is one of the younger coaches at 37, yet still has an assistant coaching resume that stretches back over a dozen years. His career saw a big upswing following a successful run as the Denver Broncos' offensive coordinator from 2013-14. In 2015, he was the Bears' offensive coordinator and is looked at as one of the brightest young offensive minds in the sport. He comes into a lot of talent with an upstart Miami team that hasn't really gotten the most out of themselves in recent years. Look for Gase to at least get the offense headed in the right direction, as he tries to get Miami back to its former status.
Ben McAdoo, New York Giants: The Giants decided to go internal after parting ways with longtime former 2-time Super Bowl-winning coach Tom Coughlin. McAdoo, only 38, spent the past two seasons as the offensive coordinator of the Giants. Prior to that, McAdoo worked as a positions coach with a handful of different pro teams. With all the losses incurred with the Giants' offensive personnel in the past few seasons, McAdoo is credited with keeping the New York offense and Eli Manning's production at a pretty high level. It will be interesting to see what he can do with a Giants' team that might be as far from doing big things as some people think.
Chip Kelly, San Francisco 49ers: After a 26-21 record in Philadelphia in three seasons, Kelly landed on his feet with with a San Francisco team that is light years removed from their former status, despite it only being a few seasons ago where they were highly successful. Kelly, 52, had his moments in Philly, but last season was an unmitigated disaster. Kelly was given reigns over personnel and his moves simply didn't work out for the Eagles. And the team often times looked uninspired. He may not be such a bad fit with a non-contender like the 49ers who surely can use an injection of something different. There are both things to like and not like about this hire, but the 2016 season should offer some answers as to whether this was a good move for the Niners.
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Dirk Koetter, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The 57-year old Koetter takes over for Lovie Smith, who was surprisingly canned despite making some measurable gains in 2015. Koetter takes over a good Tampa team who has a rising star in Jameis Winston, who also made some progress in his rookie season. Just like every coach on this list, Koetter has an offensive background, having served as a coordinator for five college teams and three NFL teams. A coach for over 30 years, he gets his first NFL head coaching job at 57. He was previously the head coach for Boise State from 1998-2000 and Arizona State from 2001-2006. He is familiar with the Bucs, having served as their offensive coordinator last season. Should be interesting.