Who needs a new coach? By Rhys Knott

Who needs a new coach? By Rhys Knott
Reading Time: 5 minutes.

Who’s going to be looking for a new Head Coach in 2023?

Obviously the Colts and Panthers are in the market for new Head Coaches at the end of the season. But there are a few with worse records than them who probably can’t wait for the season to end and turn the page too.

Usually the teams who need a fresh start are ones with the worst record. However this year one of the teams with the joint worst record in football are the Bears. They are only just beginning a rebuild under Head Coach Matt Eberflus. Chicago looked to be turning their season around in week 7. Especially after they suprisingly beat a Patriots team with an above average Defence. However the following week they lost heavily on the road in Dallas. Which triggered a run of three losses by just one score. Those games should at least demonstrate to the front office that Eberflus is the right man for the job. He just needs some more tools for the team to progress.

Like the Bears the Texans have lost 10 games this season. But as a result of having their Bye in week 6 and tying the first game of the season with the Colts they have won two fewer games than the Bears. Lovie Smith has unearthed one of the best rookie running backs in Dameon Pierce though. And, given how turbulent the last few seasons have been since Bill O’Brien left Houston they could do with a period of stability. That doesn’t mean they won’t make a change though, it’s a very odd franchise.

Somehow the Rams haven’t been eliminated from the playoff picture yet. But at 3-9 they’ve got a steep hill to climb. Sean McVay and Les Snead were the darlings of the NFL press pack last season. That as they mortgaged the future to win an elusive Super Bowl. It worked but the consequences have been brutal. They didn’t have a 2022 Draft pick until the third round and they chose Logan Bruss 104th. He hasn’t played a regular season game yet though as he tore knee ligaments in preseason. They’ve also had to place Cooper Kupp and Matthew Stafford on Injured Reserve. While Aaron Donald missed the first games of his entire career with a high ankle sprain. So while McVay will be erasing this season from his memory the Rams definitely won’t be after a new Head Coach.

The Broncos have also won just three games this season. Their Defence has been outstanding under first year Coordinator Ejiro Evero (they’ve only allowed 17 touchdowns in 12 games). Unfortunately that’s only shone a brighter light on the abysmal Offence. Nathaniel Hackett arrived from Green Bay with the label of Aaron Rodgers favourite Offensive Coordinator. It couldn’t really have gone much worse. Russell Wilson arrived in a blockbuster trade and then signed a $245 million contract that made him the second highest paid Quarterback in the league.

Hence nobody was expecting them to produce the lowest scoring team in the league. But after almost three quarters of the season that’s what they’ve provided. If their struggles continue at the same rate they’ll end up scoring nine fewer touchdowns than Urban Meyer’s Jaguars did last season. That was with a rookie quarterback. The Broncos new ownership group (including Russell Wilson’s friend Sir Lewis Hamilton) won’t be happy with this season. With an estimated $200 billion in the bank the Walton family won’t think twice about paying Hackett’s contract up and driving him to the airport.

At the other end of the super rich spectrum is Arizona Cardinals owner Michael Bidwell. His estimated worth is $1.4 billion. Something needs to change in the desert though as the Head Coach Kliff Kingsbury and quarterback Kyler Murray seem to be perpetually at loggerheads. But they both signed new contracts in the off season. Murray signed a 5 year deal paying over $230 million. Kingsbury’s new 5 year contract pays $5.5 million for the next four years. So it’s cheaper (and easier) to fire the coach than it is to get a new quarterback and hope Kingsbury can work with them instead.

The odd part of the Cardinals season so far is that their Offence hasn’t been a major issue. They average 22 points per game and with a competent Defence they would be challenging for the NFC West title. They might still be given the recent Rams and 49ers injury apocolypse! Meanwhile the Cards have been allowing 27 points per game. Which is something the Head Coach should be paying attention to. Whether Kingsbury stays will be more of a financial issue than a results based one. But he doesn’t seem able to understand players or manage his coordinators as you’d want a Head Coach to.

Jacksonville are still recovering from the abusive relationship they embarked on with Urban Meyer in 2021. Nobody was expecting miracles from Doug Pederson, but still. The man who won a Super Bowl with Nick Foles at quarterback arrived with a big reputation as a sharp offensive mind. It’s not really turned out as anyone would have hoped. Trevor Lawrence has flashed excellence. But he’s also lost eight fumbles and thrown six interceptions. Half of which have come in the redzone. He’s also been Sacked 23 times so he’s on pace to take even more Sacks than he did last season.

The Jaguars are one of the few teams under-perfoming on Defence and Offence. So the answer might be to shake up the Coordinators. Then again Trent Baalke is still the GM. So whoever is coaching there is working with one hand behind their back. Shad Khan has demonstrated a dumbfounding level of loyalty to people who regularly display their own incompetence for all to see in the past. So it would not be a surprise if the Jaguars don’t make any changes to their front office. But that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t.

The Saints were rather hurried into making Dennis Allen their Head Coach when Sean Payton decided to “retire”. Then the Tom Brady tampering furore emerged and suddenly everyone knew why Payton had spontaneously retired. Allen’s previous experience at the helm of a franchise didn’t end well at the Raiders. After his start to this season with the Saints his combined Head Coach record was 15-45-0. The Saints have had more than their fair share of bad luck with injuries in 2022. But the decision to stay with Andy Dalton as the starting quarterback has not only frustrated fans. It has alsot has been the biggest error.

Retaining Dalton as a starter flies in the face of his QBR this season. His 2022 QBR of 53.1 is worse than Jimmy Garoppolo’s and Daniel Jones.’ And is 30.8 points worse than Taysom Hill’s 83.9. Hill has looked like the Saints biggest Offensive threat this season. Yet he’s only thrown 15 passes. And touched the ball fewer times than Mark Ingram (who has only started three games).

On Defence the Saints inability to win turnovers has been a major problem too. They have only made three interceptions in 2022 and their differential is –12. That’s an issue when you have a defensive minded Head Coach. Even if the Saints win all four of their remaining games (and they haven’t won consecutive games all season) they would end the season 8-9. Stretching for that shouldn’t be good enough for a team who finished second in the NFC South last season with a 9-8 record.

There has been some chatter around Los Angeles Chargers Head Coach Brandon Staley this season too. But he’s been working with a quarterback who battled a rib injury for about half the season, missing his best two Wide Receivers for numerous games and is now operating without his first choice Centre and an Offensive Tackle. The Chargers haven’t been as exciting as many were expecting. But they should still finish the season 9-8. And will probably be in the playoffs. So it would be harsh for Dean Spanos to make a judgement based on this injury riddled season.

If you enjoyed this article you can find more from Rhys Knott here.

Banner Image: Under fire Broncos coach Nathaniel Hackett. Image from: thepsun.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Back to top
%d bloggers like this: