It's preseason predictions time. The Around The League crew has been rolling through our division previews, and now it's time to break out some awards. We already picked our MVP, Rookies of the Year, and Defensive Player of the Year candidates -- and discussed our choices for the latter on Friday's edition of the "Around The League Podcast." Next up: Coach of the Year.
Gregg Rosenthal's pick: Chip Kelly, Philadelphia Eagles
The Coach of the Year pick has to line up with our record predictions. Mike Tomlin, Bill Belichick, Pete Carroll and Mike McCarthy would all make strong candidates after I predicted their teams would earn bye weeks in the playoffs, but voters often choose the better story. That leaves Kelly and former Eagles coach Andy Reid as the best candidates for leading their teams to surprise playoff berths.
Kelly is the pick because he's in the spotlight and his offensive ideas are eye-opening. If Kelly can lead an intriguing, but uneven Eagles roster back to the playoffs, he'll earn this award.
Dan Hanzus' pick: Rob Chudzinski, Cleveland Browns
Well, I've backed myself into a corner on this one.
A couple weeks back on the "Around The League Podcast," I bravely predicted the Browns would go 9-7 and earn the No. 6 seed in the AFC playoffs. This was after a particularly impressive preseason performance by Brandon Weeden & Co., and it's possible my judgment was temporarily altered.
No matter, I have little choice but to finish what I started. And if the Browns win nine games this year before suffering a heartbreaking January defeat to (yep) the Denver Broncos, how could Chud not be the NFL's Coach of the Year?
I don't feel even remotely good about this.
Marc Sessler's pick: Marc Trestman, Chicago Bears
Yes, he spells his first name the right -- and noble -- way. But that had nothing to do with my pick. Trestman has dug his claws deep into the Bears, especially Jay Cutler. The quarterback's drops are crisper and his footwork is improved, and Cutler has bought in.
Trestman was the NFL's most unique offseason coaching hire, and he wowed Bears general manager Phil Emery with his organizational abilities and vision for a team that desperately needed a spark. Trestman inherited a Bears roster flush with talent. Matt Forte is set to explode, and receivers Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery promise to be a productive duo in the passing game. And Chicago finally addressed the offensive line.
Kevin Patra's pick: Andy Reid, Kansas City Chiefs
The history of the Coach of the Year Award suggests it should be subtitled: Your team wasn't very good last year, but you made vast improvements.
With that in mind, I'm taking Andy Reid. The Chiefs are coming off a 2-14 season and have the best chance to go from league-worst to the playoffs. Reid hasn't all of a sudden forgotten how to coach, and with an underrated roster, he will get the most out of his players. In a weak division, Reid will lead the Chiefs to a playoff berth, take home his second Coach of the Year Award and get the love he rarely received in Philadelphia.
Chris Wesseling's pick: Mike Tomlin, Pittsburgh Steelers
The Around The League crew will follow Mike Tomlin anywhere, including into the voting booth. The Steelers have an aging defense, are paper-thin in the backfield and at tight end and lack a receiving weapon to draw double teams now that Mike Wallace is in Miami. No matter. Tomlin's troops will ascend to their rightful throne in the AFC North.