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Grading the NFL Head Coaching Hires

Evaluating all of the new NFL Head Coaching hires for the upcoming 2022 season. So who got an A and who should maybe revaluate their decision.

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Grading the NFL Head Coaching Hires

Estimated Reading Time: 6 Minutes

We are all set on NFL head coaches for the 2022 season, barring some Urban Meyer/Jon Gruden type shit. We often hear sentiments like the most liked guy in town is the back up QB or the new head coach. Those same sentiments tend to be fickle and short lived; as back up QBs rarely live up to the guy they took over for, and head coaches often lose in the beginning of our their tenure and… no one likes to lose.

This coaching hire has been quite the carousel. Most of us did not expect to have so many open head coaching positions. The Raiders first fired Jon Gruden early in the season and the Jags followed wuit with their fire of Urban Meyer. We expected the Jags, Raiders, Bears, Broncos and Vikings to be organizations likely to make a move on head coach position, which in itself is a lot for one year. The surprises were Sean Payton stepping down in New Orleans and the terminations of Brian Flores in Miami and David Culley in Houston. Miami’s decision to let go Brian Flores has sparked controversy throughout the league concerning the Rooney Rule and the lack of diversity with in coaching and front offices. As well as a class action lawsuit filed by Brian Flores. That is a topic for another discussion. For now, let us focus on the coaches who were hired and not fired.

Chicago Bears-Matt Eberflus: B

I think coming into this, not many had Matt Eberflus as a top candidate for their teams. Eberflus interviewed with Chicago and Jacksonville, becoming finalist for both. Chicago jumped on him before Jacksonville could and he accepted the gig. Chicago was so sure of Eberflus they offered him a job before having a General Manager in place. That is not typical. Look for Matt Eberflus to turn around the Bears and become a household NFL. Cudos to Chicago for getting their guy.

Denver Broncos-Nathaniel Hackett: C

I am excited for Nate Hackett to get a shot at the head job, but I’ve got two reasons why he’s not ranked higher: 1. Aaron Rodgers and 2. Blake Bortles. In my opinion, Aaron Rodgers makes anyone look good and anyone other than Aaron Rodgers looks bad. Him inheriting a QB from Denver will be a challenge to say the least. When you look at Hackett’s time with Blake Bortles he was a few plays away from the super bowl and it was all downhill for Hackett after that, getting fired that following season mid season. Is that a result of Hackett or just Bortles not being a natural thrower of the ball?

New York Giants-Brian Daboll: A

Home run! Just look at his work with Josh Allen and you will see that Daboll will be a great coach for Malik Willis/Kenny Pickett…. ooop… did I say that?

Las Vegas Raiders-Josh McDaniels: B

I like this hire, mostly because I think McDaniels is a much different coach than his time he spent in Denver. Seems to be more mature and aged a bit. After leaving Indianapolis at the altar, many thought that McDaniels may never get another head coaching opportunity. Best case for immediate success is with the Raiders. They seem to be a ready-made team.

Minnesota Vikings-Kevin O’Connell: C

I like this hire but due to inexperience at play calling I am a little hesitant to hire a first year head coach with only preseason play calling experience. Will he give his new OC the play calling duties or will he call the plays himeself? Either way you have a head coach with no play calling experience outside of preseason. I like the upside though and all the tools he has to work with.

Jacksonville Jaguars-Doug Pederson: A

Jacksonville gets an A…. Not because of the spectacular coaching search they conducted but because they stumbled into the best coach in the process. In fact, the Jags had to basically hit the reset button on the interview process. Doug Pederson was the Jags first interview, taking place on December 30th. His second interview happened on February 1st. That time in between, Jags fans were pulling their hair out with reports of candidates not willing to work with current GM Trent Baalke. Jags fans were also teased by the almost hire of former first round pick and young mind Byron Leftwich. That didn’t work out because of the Baalke, then a big miss on Nathaniel Hackett and a big miss on Kevin O’Connell as they failed to logistically qualify for an interview with the super bowl coordinator. Needless to say this search was a mess for the Jaguars. The owner, Shad Khan has missed on so many hires, he’s due for one… The fans deserve it.

Miami Dolphins-Mike McDaniels: F

You fired a winning minority coach. You bribed Flores to lose even though you had the perfect loser before you had him in Adam Gase… and Gase was losing for free. The owner, Stephen Ross can’t even pick a loser so why should I believe he can choose a winner. McDaniels has been very underwhelming under the radar, and no one really thought anything would come from him. While I’m not crazy about Mike McDaniels, the final seal of the F grading is that I don’t trust any hire under Stephen Ross.

Houston Texans-Lovie Smith: D

Lovie Smith gets his 3rd opportunity to be a HC in the NFL. Something no other black coach can say. Especially David Culley who was the Head Coach over Lovie Smith when he was a defensive coordinator. I give this a D because the Texans fired first-year minority coach David Culley to only hire one of his staff members. Most analysts viewed Culley’s first season as a success. Despite having a 4-13 record, Culley had a challenging roster, had to deal with the whole Desaun Watson situation, and had Bill O’Brien trading away their best assets. This feels like a real sideways situation and I bet Lovie gets the same lack of patience as Houston gave David Culley. They only get a D because Lovie is a good coach when given a fair opportunity.

New Orleans Saints-Dennis Allen: D

Losing a legend like Sean Payton is probably the biggest sting of all vacancies. I’m not sure anyone can step in and have the success that Payton has. Especially given the state of the franchise’s Salary Cap. New Orleans is about $70 million dollars over the cap and will most likely have to make some unfortunate releases and/or trades. Good luck.

Baltimore made me. Duval raised me. New York saved me. I'm a Jags fan for life and don't ever disrespect it. I'm Duval Til' We Die #DTWD. Florida Gators over everybody. Dodgers to win it all. Since moving to NYC I have become a Brooklyn Nets fan and am still trying to pick a hockey team. Those are my main rooting interest. I'm the head NFL Writer for the Turf. You can also catch me on Amplified Network where I co-host a podcast called "60 minute suspension" highlighting all off field activity covering all sports. I'm also a very big hip hop fan. You may find some rhymes from my favorite songs in my writing.

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