There have been quite a bit of new coaches being hired in the NFL this year, and although the Cleveland Browns head coaching vacancy is still open, I want to see what coach the fans are behind to get to the playoffs?
Last year Chip Kelly and Mike McCoy came in and both led their teams to the playoffs. This year you have quite a few new names, but what coaches have the pieces in place to get to the playoffs?
Here is my list of guys I feel will get the most of their team and will have the best chance to get to the playoffs in 2014.
I feel that the Detroit Lions have a very good shot at getting to the playoffs with Jim Caldwell. Caldwell has worked with two great quarterbacks and understands what needs to be fixed in a player. Caldwell assisted with Peyton Manning’s growth when he was in Indy and also helped Joe Flacco get a major pay day. Caldwell will have work to do with Stafford who had an abysmal final few games in 2013, but I have a feel he can get it turned around. With a good defensive coordinator and another good draft, the Lions will contend for a playoff spot.
Tampa Bay hiring Lovie Smith was a very smart move as well. I love Lovie Smith and thought he should have been coaching a team last year. He walks into a lovely situation with some studs on both sides of the ball. I think Tampa can make a huge impact early next season. Lovie Smith is a great coach, and the Bucs team has some awesome players to build around.
RG3 and the Washington Redskins are going to prosper from Jay Gruden. Some people are going to think Jay Gruden will not be able to get it done, but in his first year with RG3, he will shine. Gruden is an offensive innovator and he is going to be able to put RG3 in so many different looks that teams will not know how to stop it. RG3 is a bright player, but had a bad season. Expect that to turn cheek in 2014.
Minnesota Vikings hired a very solid defensive coach in Mike Zimmer, but they have so many holes, it is going to be hard. Zimmer is a strong willed individual, but that team needs everything. They have players, but they might not be the answer at their positions. For example, they need a quarterback, will Zimmer sit there and wait on a new QB? Most head coaches will want their guy, and I expect Zimmer to go find that person. I still think they will need help to make it to the playoffs.
Houston Texans have an awesome team, but they need a quarterback. I feel that Bill O’Brien was the wrong hire, unless he pulls a trade off with the Patriots for Ryan Mallett, I will keep him near the bottom. I feel that the Texans have weapons, but if they have to wait on a new quarterback and his growing pains, they could be hit.
The Tennessee Titans have holes everywhere, they are worse off than the Vikings. They have a question mark at almost every position on their offense, and they are far from being good on defense. I feel bad for Ken Whisenhunt, I feel he was looking for a pay day and not really assessing the situation. He might have bitten off more than he can chew. I feel they will be worse than any other team that hired a coach, even Cleveland, and I don’t know who they plan on hiring.