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Published: July 15, 2019 at 03:54 p.m.
Updated: July 15, 2019 at 04:11 p.m.

2019 NFL head coach power rankings: Who follows Bill Belichick?

Just about everyone agrees Bill Belichick is the premier head coach in pro football today. But who comes after him in the pecking order?

Overall record is usually the primary metric when judging these coaches. That's not always the case in the actual job interview, though (and it's not the only measuring stick in this exercise). We saw hires this offseason where, in some cases, the new front man's win-loss record was either poor or nonexistent (six of the eight teams that made a change this offseason hired men who had never been an NFL HC).

All of which makes ranking the non-Belichick's a strenuous exercise. Check out the parsing below for the 26 guys who have experience in the role, with my thoughts on the first-time NFL HCs below them (that group is listed in alphabetical order). Would love to hear your thoughts. @HarrisonNFL is the place.

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  • Not the most sneaky choice, eh? Interesting that when someone discusses Tom Brady's career, we often hear it mentioned that he has led the Patriots to eight straight AFC Championship Games. Well, that incredible streak is just as much the head coach's accomplishment as it is the quarterback's. There are those who will always look at Belichick with skepticism -- or outright disdain -- due to the team's videotaping scandal from the previous decade. Of course, it's more difficult for those folks to discount what he achieved <i>before</i> becoming the head coach in New England. Belichick won two Super Bowls as defensive coordinator for the Giants, which included crafting a game plan to defeat the high-octane Bills in Super Bowl XXV. He is also the only coach since 1990 to lead the Browns to a playoff victory. That should be good enough for a lifetime achievement award or something. Not sure how anyone can argue Belichick isn't the top head coach in the game today, if not in NFL history. 32

    Damian Strohmeyer/Associated Press

    1) Bill Belichick, New England Patriots

    Not the most sneaky choice, eh? Interesting that when someone discusses Tom Brady's career, we often hear it mentioned that he has led the Patriots to eight straight AFC Championship Games. Well, that incredible streak is just as much the head coach's accomplishment as it is the quarterback's. There are those who will always look at Belichick with skepticism -- or outright disdain -- due to the team's videotaping scandal from the previous decade. Of course, it's more difficult for those folks to discount what he achieved before becoming the head coach in New England. Belichick won two Super Bowls as defensive coordinator for the Giants, which included crafting a game plan to defeat the high-octane Bills in Super Bowl XXV. He is also the only coach since 1990 to lead the Browns to a playoff victory. That should be good enough for a lifetime achievement award or something. Not sure how anyone can argue Belichick isn't the top head coach in the game today, if not in NFL history.

  • Pete Carroll ranks second on this list, although not solely for winning at least one playoff game every year from 2012 to 2016 and the zenith of capturing a Super Bowl title, but also for the job he did in 2018. Few folks had the Seahawks making it to the postseason. Not only did they make the playoffs, but they gave the Cowboys quite a game in the Wild Card Round, too. While there was quite a bit of consternation in the Seattle bloggerverse centering around the Seahawks' play-calling in that contest, that ain't Carroll's area. The playoff loss also obscured what a fine season the Seahawks had sans the stars of recent vintage, and flying past the 6-10 season so many prognosticated for the team. The team's 2018 season was yet another testament to Carroll's ability to motivate, as well as manage in-game situations. Far more impressive is his energy in maintaining a positive atmosphere around a team that has enjoyed (endured?) its share of robust personalities over the years. 31

    Ben Margot/Associated Press

    2) Pete Carroll, Seattle Seahawks

    Pete Carroll ranks second on this list, although not solely for winning at least one playoff game every year from 2012 to 2016 and the zenith of capturing a Super Bowl title, but also for the job he did in 2018. Few folks had the Seahawks making it to the postseason. Not only did they make the playoffs, but they gave the Cowboys quite a game in the Wild Card Round, too. While there was quite a bit of consternation in the Seattle bloggerverse centering around the Seahawks' play-calling in that contest, that ain't Carroll's area. The playoff loss also obscured what a fine season the Seahawks had sans the stars of recent vintage, and flying past the 6-10 season so many prognosticated for the team. The team's 2018 season was yet another testament to Carroll's ability to motivate, as well as manage in-game situations. Far more impressive is his energy in maintaining a positive atmosphere around a team that has enjoyed (endured?) its share of robust personalities over the years.

  • Does Sean Payton deserve to be higher on this list? Quite possibly. He has been a central force in reinventing the Saints (again) by altering them into more of a run-the-ball-play-defense-and-don't-lean-on-your-HOF-quarterback-so-much team. Last year was the first time during Drew Brees' 13 seasons in New Orleans that he didn't reach the 4,000-yard barrier. The sea change with the Saints has come at a slow pace, and through the draft, over the last three years. The result, unfortunately, has been two tough losses in the postseason, each coming at least partially from ridiculous plays: one was a miracle touchdown pass from an unlikely passer, the other a non-call seen around the football world. Even with those playoff shortcomings, Payton is still above .500 in the postseason, owns a Super Bowl ring, and is 126-80 overall, including the playoffs. Saying he is Canton-worthy is not an overstatement. 30

    Aaron M. Sprecher/Associated Press

    3) Sean Payton, New Orleans Saints

    Does Sean Payton deserve to be higher on this list? Quite possibly. He has been a central force in reinventing the Saints (again) by altering them into more of a run-the-ball-play-defense-and-don't-lean-on-your-HOF-quarterback-so-much team. Last year was the first time during Drew Brees' 13 seasons in New Orleans that he didn't reach the 4,000-yard barrier. The sea change with the Saints has come at a slow pace, and through the draft, over the last three years. The result, unfortunately, has been two tough losses in the postseason, each coming at least partially from ridiculous plays: one was a miracle touchdown pass from an unlikely passer, the other a non-call seen around the football world. Even with those playoff shortcomings, Payton is still above .500 in the postseason, owns a Super Bowl ring, and is 126-80 overall, including the playoffs. Saying he is Canton-worthy is not an overstatement.

  • Andy Reid helped the Chiefs get to their first conference championship game since 1993 (only their second since the AFL-NFL Merger in 1970), yet the quarterback received all of the credit. Somebody had to make the decision to go with Patrick Mahomes in the first place, right? Despite Mahomes' obvious talent, it took guts to start the sophomore quarterback and trade away Smith, who led the NFL in passer rating in 2017. The result was a top playoff seed for an ascending Kansas City team, which manhandled the Colts on its way to an overtime loss to the Patriots in the AFC title game. Speaking of, that was Reid's sixth trip to the penultimate game of the season, second among active coaches to <i>you know who</i>. 29

    David Richard/Associated Press

    4) Andy Reid, Kansas City Chiefs

    Andy Reid helped the Chiefs get to their first conference championship game since 1993 (only their second since the AFL-NFL Merger in 1970), yet the quarterback received all of the credit. Somebody had to make the decision to go with Patrick Mahomes in the first place, right? Despite Mahomes' obvious talent, it took guts to start the sophomore quarterback and trade away Smith, who led the NFL in passer rating in 2017. The result was a top playoff seed for an ascending Kansas City team, which manhandled the Colts on its way to an overtime loss to the Patriots in the AFC title game. Speaking of, that was Reid's sixth trip to the penultimate game of the season, second among active coaches to you know who.

  • Doug Pederson has earned his lofty perch on this list after taking the Eagles to the postseason for the second straight year without the services of his QB1 down the stretch. Not only that, but who knows? Maybe Philadelphia could have made it to another Super Bowl and had a rematch with the Patriots if Alshon Jeffery catches that pass late in the fourth quarter against the Saints in the Divisional Round. Sure, the Eagles would have had to face the Rams in the NFC Championship, out in L.A, if they had won. That's OK, because they handled the Rams there in December. Anyhow, much of the reason for the late-season success was Pederson's steady leadership, and playing to Nick Foles' strength. How many head coaches can win the Super Bowl with a QB2, then follow it up with a nine-win campaign and nice run in January with a QB2? Pederson is known for his offensive acumen, but to not tout his communication skills seems offensive. 28

    Mark Tenally/Associated Press

    5) Doug Pederson, Philadelphia Eagles

    Doug Pederson has earned his lofty perch on this list after taking the Eagles to the postseason for the second straight year without the services of his QB1 down the stretch. Not only that, but who knows? Maybe Philadelphia could have made it to another Super Bowl and had a rematch with the Patriots if Alshon Jeffery catches that pass late in the fourth quarter against the Saints in the Divisional Round. Sure, the Eagles would have had to face the Rams in the NFC Championship, out in L.A, if they had won. That's OK, because they handled the Rams there in December. Anyhow, much of the reason for the late-season success was Pederson's steady leadership, and playing to Nick Foles' strength. How many head coaches can win the Super Bowl with a QB2, then follow it up with a nine-win campaign and nice run in January with a QB2? Pederson is known for his offensive acumen, but to not tout his communication skills seems offensive.

  • Every owner wants a Sean McVay to coach his football team these days. McVay's two-year success story speaks to his immersion in the family business of football, as well as his ability to draw off an excellent football mind and mental filing system to have his team better prepared than their opponents week after week. McVay's memory, ability to reach his players, and considerable energy has pushed the Rams to the playoffs in both of his seasons as the organizational front man, including a Super Bowl berth. To McVay's credit, he knows his place, too. He let Wade Phillips run the defense, and got out of the way. It was the defense, not the offense, that really shined this past postseason. The touchstone of McVay's primary focus and background -- the offensive side of the ball -- has been the noteworthy development of quarterback Jared Goff, who has tossed 60 touchdowns over the last two years. That's a dude people were calling a bust the year before McVay arrived. 27

    Ben Liebenberg/NFL

    6) Sean McVay, Los Angeles Rams

    Every owner wants a Sean McVay to coach his football team these days. McVay's two-year success story speaks to his immersion in the family business of football, as well as his ability to draw off an excellent football mind and mental filing system to have his team better prepared than their opponents week after week. McVay's memory, ability to reach his players, and considerable energy has pushed the Rams to the playoffs in both of his seasons as the organizational front man, including a Super Bowl berth. To McVay's credit, he knows his place, too. He let Wade Phillips run the defense, and got out of the way. It was the defense, not the offense, that really shined this past postseason. The touchstone of McVay's primary focus and background -- the offensive side of the ball -- has been the noteworthy development of quarterback Jared Goff, who has tossed 60 touchdowns over the last two years. That's a dude people were calling a bust the year before McVay arrived.

  • The pundits have been keeping a steady pour of haterade on John Harbaugh over the last couple of seasons. Never mind that Harbaugh, like Andy Reid, made an extremely difficult decision at quarterback last year, switching from Joe Flacco to Lamar Jackson in a move that pushed the Ravens to the postseason for the seventh time in his 11 seasons in Baltimore. The Ravens have done plenty of damage once reaching the playoffs during the Harbaugh era, as well, going 10-6 with a Super Bowl win and two AFC Championship Game losses. Whether he can sustain such success will be dependent on the performance of Jackson, as well as how NFL defenses adjust to the dynamic quarterback the second time through the batting order, so to speak. Defensive coordinators adjust. So do players. 26

    Ryan Kang/NFL

    7) John Harbaugh, Baltimore Ravens

    The pundits have been keeping a steady pour of haterade on John Harbaugh over the last couple of seasons. Never mind that Harbaugh, like Andy Reid, made an extremely difficult decision at quarterback last year, switching from Joe Flacco to Lamar Jackson in a move that pushed the Ravens to the postseason for the seventh time in his 11 seasons in Baltimore. The Ravens have done plenty of damage once reaching the playoffs during the Harbaugh era, as well, going 10-6 with a Super Bowl win and two AFC Championship Game losses. Whether he can sustain such success will be dependent on the performance of Jackson, as well as how NFL defenses adjust to the dynamic quarterback the second time through the batting order, so to speak. Defensive coordinators adjust. So do players.

  • Anthony Lynn might pass John Harbaugh in these rankings before too long. Some might say that time should have already come, as Lynn's Chargers handled the Ravens last January. But one playoff win isn't enough for him to supplant Harbaugh on this list, as the Bolts' dream died an ugly death in New England the next week. However, the blowout loss to the eventual Super Bowl champs should not distract league observers from, well, observing the strides this organization has made in the last two years, thanks in large part to Lynn. The Chargers were one of the strongest teams in the league down the stretch in 2017, as early season special teams woes derailed playoff hopes. Still, in two years Lynn has gone 22-12 (including the postseason), while Sean McVay seems to receive all the credit among that 2017 crop of coaching hires. 25

    Carolyn Kaster/Associated Press

    8) Anthony Lynn, Los Angeles Chargers

    Anthony Lynn might pass John Harbaugh in these rankings before too long. Some might say that time should have already come, as Lynn's Chargers handled the Ravens last January. But one playoff win isn't enough for him to supplant Harbaugh on this list, as the Bolts' dream died an ugly death in New England the next week. However, the blowout loss to the eventual Super Bowl champs should not distract league observers from, well, observing the strides this organization has made in the last two years, thanks in large part to Lynn. The Chargers were one of the strongest teams in the league down the stretch in 2017, as early season special teams woes derailed playoff hopes. Still, in two years Lynn has gone 22-12 (including the postseason), while Sean McVay seems to receive all the credit among that 2017 crop of coaching hires.

  • Tomlin is one of the more difficult coaches to rate. He won a title, lost a Super Bowl in a close game, and has led his team to the playoffs far more often than not. Last year was a "not" for Tomlin's group, as it seemed internal feuding distracted the Steelers just enough to have them in the unusual position of sitting at home in January. It's not hard to understand how the late-season implosion took place, given the considerable ego of Antonio Brown, as well as the personality of the team's QB1. Then again, each are great players, and in previous years, Tomlin handled both en route to a Super Bowl appearance and multiple postseason entries. Maybe some fans would like to see Tomlin be more of a strict disciplinarian or an X's-and-O's wonk. Although, no one associated the latter with either Chuck Noll or Bill Cowher. Tomlin has reached two Super Bowls, like his predecessor, and while he hasn't approached Noll's success, it's not like the legendary coach didn't endure his down seasons. 24

    Greg Trott/Associated Press

    9) Mike Tomlin, Pittsburgh Steelers

    Tomlin is one of the more difficult coaches to rate. He won a title, lost a Super Bowl in a close game, and has led his team to the playoffs far more often than not. Last year was a "not" for Tomlin's group, as it seemed internal feuding distracted the Steelers just enough to have them in the unusual position of sitting at home in January. It's not hard to understand how the late-season implosion took place, given the considerable ego of Antonio Brown, as well as the personality of the team's QB1. Then again, each are great players, and in previous years, Tomlin handled both en route to a Super Bowl appearance and multiple postseason entries. Maybe some fans would like to see Tomlin be more of a strict disciplinarian or an X's-and-O's wonk. Although, no one associated the latter with either Chuck Noll or Bill Cowher. Tomlin has reached two Super Bowls, like his predecessor, and while he hasn't approached Noll's success, it's not like the legendary coach didn't endure his down seasons.

  • Zimmer lands in the top 10, despite the Vikings' failure to make the postseason one year after reaching the NFC Championship Game. Several factors contributed to Minnesota's "failed" 2018 campaign, including poor play-calling, inconsistent quarterbacking down the stretch, and a defense that wasn't as sturdy as the year prior. That is Zimmer's side of the ball, at least in the sense that running top-notch defenses over the years is what got him hired with the Vikings in the first place. Yet, finishing ninth in points allowed isn't exactly a failed season. Neither is finishing with a winning record, as Minnesota did last season. The key to getting back to the championship round will be the performance of the offensive line -- a huge problem area in 2018 -- and developing a consistent run game to take a little pressure off the much-maligned Kirk Cousins. Zimmer should have his players motivated, as a hallmark of his career has been how hard his players compete for him. 23

    Ryan Kang/NFL

    10) Mike Zimmer, Minnesota Vikings

    Zimmer lands in the top 10, despite the Vikings' failure to make the postseason one year after reaching the NFC Championship Game. Several factors contributed to Minnesota's "failed" 2018 campaign, including poor play-calling, inconsistent quarterbacking down the stretch, and a defense that wasn't as sturdy as the year prior. That is Zimmer's side of the ball, at least in the sense that running top-notch defenses over the years is what got him hired with the Vikings in the first place. Yet, finishing ninth in points allowed isn't exactly a failed season. Neither is finishing with a winning record, as Minnesota did last season. The key to getting back to the championship round will be the performance of the offensive line -- a huge problem area in 2018 -- and developing a consistent run game to take a little pressure off the much-maligned Kirk Cousins. Zimmer should have his players motivated, as a hallmark of his career has been how hard his players compete for him.

  • The Falcons struggled to their worst season under Dan Quinn, finishing second in the NFC South at 7-9. Which should tell you much about Quinn's run in Atlanta. In four seasons, after inheriting what had been a floundering football team, the former Seahawks defensive coordinator pushed them to two postseason appearances and a narrow Super Bowl loss. Last season seemed to go up in smoke from Week 1, when Atlanta lost Deion Jones and Keanu Neal to injury right away. Devonta Freeman played in just two games, and the secondary was never right. Yet, in the end, Quinn was able to keep the team from fading from respectability. Still, 36-28 is a healthy regular season record for one of the youngish head coaches in the league. 22

    John Amis/Associated Press

    11) Dan Quinn, Atlanta Falcons

    The Falcons struggled to their worst season under Dan Quinn, finishing second in the NFC South at 7-9. Which should tell you much about Quinn's run in Atlanta. In four seasons, after inheriting what had been a floundering football team, the former Seahawks defensive coordinator pushed them to two postseason appearances and a narrow Super Bowl loss. Last season seemed to go up in smoke from Week 1, when Atlanta lost Deion Jones and Keanu Neal to injury right away. Devonta Freeman played in just two games, and the secondary was never right. Yet, in the end, Quinn was able to keep the team from fading from respectability. Still, 36-28 is a healthy regular season record for one of the youngish head coaches in the league.

  • This might be a wee bit high for Reich, considering he's been a head coach for one season. Yet, what Reich was able to accomplish last year, transforming the Colts from a rudderless team to a stout 10-6 outfit, was nothing short of remarkable. Remember, Andrew Luck hadn't thrown a meaningful pass in more than a year and a half prior to last season. You might also recall that Reich wasn't even the team's first choice for the job, and there was no way the organization could dance around that. That's because they had already <i>hired</i> Josh McDaniels, who quickly reneged. It was in that complex stew that Reich waded, then stirred enough to push his team from a 1-5 start to the playoffs. By the end of the year, Indy was playing as well as anyone in pro football. The Colts manhandled the Cowboys in December, then won a win-and-in match in Nashville before dismantling the Texans in the Wild Card Round. In other words, this spot is deserved. 21

    AJ Mast/Associated Press

    12) Frank Reich, Indianapolis Colts

    This might be a wee bit high for Reich, considering he's been a head coach for one season. Yet, what Reich was able to accomplish last year, transforming the Colts from a rudderless team to a stout 10-6 outfit, was nothing short of remarkable. Remember, Andrew Luck hadn't thrown a meaningful pass in more than a year and a half prior to last season. You might also recall that Reich wasn't even the team's first choice for the job, and there was no way the organization could dance around that. That's because they had already hired Josh McDaniels, who quickly reneged. It was in that complex stew that Reich waded, then stirred enough to push his team from a 1-5 start to the playoffs. By the end of the year, Indy was playing as well as anyone in pro football. The Colts manhandled the Cowboys in December, then won a win-and-in match in Nashville before dismantling the Texans in the Wild Card Round. In other words, this spot is deserved.

  • It was a down year in Carolina, marked by a seven-game losing streak that crushed any hopes for another postseason appearance. Prior to last season's collapse, the Panthers had reached the postseason in four of the last five seasons. Ron Rivera was named The Associated Press Coach of the Year twice during that span. Some will say he rides the Cam Newton wave -- when the quarterback is right and performs optimally, Rivera's group soars. Last year a bum shoulder harnessed Newton's vertical range, making it harder to mitigate an average defense. Thus, a 6-2 start full of promise ended in 7-9 disappointment. The guess here is that Carolina will rebound under Rivera's strong leadership. 20

    Mike McCarn/Associated Press

    13) Ron Rivera, Carolina Panthers

    It was a down year in Carolina, marked by a seven-game losing streak that crushed any hopes for another postseason appearance. Prior to last season's collapse, the Panthers had reached the postseason in four of the last five seasons. Ron Rivera was named The Associated Press Coach of the Year twice during that span. Some will say he rides the Cam Newton wave -- when the quarterback is right and performs optimally, Rivera's group soars. Last year a bum shoulder harnessed Newton's vertical range, making it harder to mitigate an average defense. Thus, a 6-2 start full of promise ended in 7-9 disappointment. The guess here is that Carolina will rebound under Rivera's strong leadership.

  • Matt Nagy more than delivered in his first year as the Bears' head coach, taking Chicago to the postseason for the first time since the 2010 season. What's interesting about Nagy is that his side of the ball is offense, and prior to getting hired by the Bears, he was known for his work with quarterbacks in Kansas City. Yet, it was Vic Fangio's defense that did most of the heavy lifting to get Chicago to the playoffs. A head coach does much more than run one side of the ball, though. In fact, some of them don't do that at all. They run the office, in some respects. Nagy clearly set a tone in the building, so to speak, which should not be taken lightly. Nor should Nagy's work with Mitch Trubisky, who showed improvement from Year 1 to Year 2. Why is Reich ahead of Rivera but not Nagy? Well, Nagy has yet to achieve postseason success and had stronger personnel than Reich did in 2018. 19

    Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

    14) Matt Nagy, Chicago Bears

    Matt Nagy more than delivered in his first year as the Bears' head coach, taking Chicago to the postseason for the first time since the 2010 season. What's interesting about Nagy is that his side of the ball is offense, and prior to getting hired by the Bears, he was known for his work with quarterbacks in Kansas City. Yet, it was Vic Fangio's defense that did most of the heavy lifting to get Chicago to the playoffs. A head coach does much more than run one side of the ball, though. In fact, some of them don't do that at all. They run the office, in some respects. Nagy clearly set a tone in the building, so to speak, which should not be taken lightly. Nor should Nagy's work with Mitch Trubisky, who showed improvement from Year 1 to Year 2. Why is Reich ahead of Rivera but not Nagy? Well, Nagy has yet to achieve postseason success and had stronger personnel than Reich did in 2018.

  • Gruden presents a problem, at least when it comes to comparing him to his peers. He's one of only seven head coaches in the game today who have led a team to a Super Bowl win. Besides hoisting a Lombardi Trophy while in Tampa Bay, Gruden also took the Raiders to the brink in 2000 (and some would say he got a raw deal in 2001 thanks to a terrible rule). Yet, before last season, he hadn't coached since '08. His run with the Bucs post-Super Bowl was mediocre. As he shipped out star players and cut ties with front office execs he didn't want in Oakland last year, the Raiders managed just four wins. That's why '19 should be the tell on what kind of coach he is going forward. New GM Mike Mayock helped Gruden begin to rebuild the roster after stockpiling picks, providing an infusion of talent that should at least make this team more competitive. Given the strength of the division-rival Chargers and Chiefs, simply leading Oakland to the playoffs should be a ringing endorsement for the coach. 18

    Gary Landers/Associated Press

    15) Jon Gruden, Oakland Raiders

    Gruden presents a problem, at least when it comes to comparing him to his peers. He's one of only seven head coaches in the game today who have led a team to a Super Bowl win. Besides hoisting a Lombardi Trophy while in Tampa Bay, Gruden also took the Raiders to the brink in 2000 (and some would say he got a raw deal in 2001 thanks to a terrible rule). Yet, before last season, he hadn't coached since '08. His run with the Bucs post-Super Bowl was mediocre. As he shipped out star players and cut ties with front office execs he didn't want in Oakland last year, the Raiders managed just four wins. That's why '19 should be the tell on what kind of coach he is going forward. New GM Mike Mayock helped Gruden begin to rebuild the roster after stockpiling picks, providing an infusion of talent that should at least make this team more competitive. Given the strength of the division-rival Chargers and Chiefs, simply leading Oakland to the playoffs should be a ringing endorsement for the coach.

  • Bruce Arians took a year off from coaching last year, although he stayed in the business, calling games for CBS. The season away from the sideline doesn't help his case here. I'm not going to vault him over some of the young coaches who have had nothing but success in the NFL thus far. While Arians has never reached the heights of a Super Bowl as a head coach, he has won Coach of the Year twice, with two different teams. Moreover, he lifted the Cardinals from division doormat to a formidable football team. Counting his work in Indianapolis in 2012, Arians won 50 games in six seasons as a head coach, despite not being the head coach for the full season in '12. He was a huge factor in elevating Ben Roethlisberger, Andrew Luck, and Carson Palmer as quarterbacks. Which is why so many folks are excited to see what he can do to augment Jameis Winston's game. 17

    Chris O'Meara/Associated Press

    16) Bruce Arians, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

    Bruce Arians took a year off from coaching last year, although he stayed in the business, calling games for CBS. The season away from the sideline doesn't help his case here. I'm not going to vault him over some of the young coaches who have had nothing but success in the NFL thus far. While Arians has never reached the heights of a Super Bowl as a head coach, he has won Coach of the Year twice, with two different teams. Moreover, he lifted the Cardinals from division doormat to a formidable football team. Counting his work in Indianapolis in 2012, Arians won 50 games in six seasons as a head coach, despite not being the head coach for the full season in '12. He was a huge factor in elevating Ben Roethlisberger, Andrew Luck, and Carson Palmer as quarterbacks. Which is why so many folks are excited to see what he can do to augment Jameis Winston's game.

  • This spot will be too high for the Cowboys fans who don't believe in Garrett. It might be hard for them to believe that he is only three wins shy of Jimmy Johnson's career total, which spanned nine seasons, as Garrett's has to this point (Garrett has also coached in eight fewer regular season games since he took over at midseason in 2010). Yet, the gulf between Garrett and his former coach is easily discernible. Johnson won, and won big, in the playoffs, taking back-to-back titles. Garrett's Cowboys have won two playoff games in nine seasons (Johnson matched that total in his Dolphins tenure alone). My point here is that the current Dallas head coach has won a lot more games than people realize. However, every Cowboys team is measured against those '90s squads, much like Johnson's legacy was going to be matched against the high-water marks of the Tom Landry era. Garrett's going to need to advance this team further in the playoffs for people to feel more confident in his stewardship. 16

    Greg Trott/Associated Press

    17) Jason Garrett, Dallas Cowboys

    This spot will be too high for the Cowboys fans who don't believe in Garrett. It might be hard for them to believe that he is only three wins shy of Jimmy Johnson's career total, which spanned nine seasons, as Garrett's has to this point (Garrett has also coached in eight fewer regular season games since he took over at midseason in 2010). Yet, the gulf between Garrett and his former coach is easily discernible. Johnson won, and won big, in the playoffs, taking back-to-back titles. Garrett's Cowboys have won two playoff games in nine seasons (Johnson matched that total in his Dolphins tenure alone). My point here is that the current Dallas head coach has won a lot more games than people realize. However, every Cowboys team is measured against those '90s squads, much like Johnson's legacy was going to be matched against the high-water marks of the Tom Landry era. Garrett's going to need to advance this team further in the playoffs for people to feel more confident in his stewardship.

  • The Jags were as bad in 2018 as they were good in 2017. But with a new quarterback in Nick Foles, and Marrone's no-nonsense approach -- not to mention what remains a strong nucleus of talent -- Jacksonville could be speeding into the playoffs come January. Marrone deserves a ton of credit for making the Jags viable in the first place, and there is some leeway for the dropoff last season, considering how subpar Blake Bortles was. He wasn't Marrone's guy to begin with, although Marrone's staff could have squeezed more effective play from the former third overall pick. The discipline issues with Leonard Fournette and T.J. Yeldon late in the year did come under Marrone's purview, one reason the stain of the poor season cannot be completely wiped away. Meanwhile, competent QB play can be the great elixir for a football team and its head coach. Don't forget that Marrone has led this franchise as far as anyone ever has, including Jaguars executive VP Tom Coughlin. 15

    Logan Bowles/NFL

    18) Doug Marrone, Jacksonville Jaguars

    The Jags were as bad in 2018 as they were good in 2017. But with a new quarterback in Nick Foles, and Marrone's no-nonsense approach -- not to mention what remains a strong nucleus of talent -- Jacksonville could be speeding into the playoffs come January. Marrone deserves a ton of credit for making the Jags viable in the first place, and there is some leeway for the dropoff last season, considering how subpar Blake Bortles was. He wasn't Marrone's guy to begin with, although Marrone's staff could have squeezed more effective play from the former third overall pick. The discipline issues with Leonard Fournette and T.J. Yeldon late in the year did come under Marrone's purview, one reason the stain of the poor season cannot be completely wiped away. Meanwhile, competent QB play can be the great elixir for a football team and its head coach. Don't forget that Marrone has led this franchise as far as anyone ever has, including Jaguars executive VP Tom Coughlin.

  • Bill O'Brien is a good coach. How good of a coach is he? Well, his detractors will say he's good enough to get ya beat in the playoffs. Then again, O'Brien has helped the Texans post a winning season in four out of his five years with the team. That's after taking over a squad that went 2-14 the year before he got there. The complaints about O'Brien often center around an inconsistent offense and his in-game management. Of course, much of a head coach's job performance centers around things fans don't see. That includes the culture around the team from Monday through Saturday, communication with the players, and the ability to keep a team focused. Without the latter, there is no way Houston wins over 40 games in five years. The struggle for O'Brien this season will be to squeeze better play out of the offensive line, as well as get Deshaun Watson to avoid creating his own pressure by holding the ball for too long. 14

    Eric Christian Smith/Associated Press

    19) Bill O'Brien, Houston Texans

    Bill O'Brien is a good coach. How good of a coach is he? Well, his detractors will say he's good enough to get ya beat in the playoffs. Then again, O'Brien has helped the Texans post a winning season in four out of his five years with the team. That's after taking over a squad that went 2-14 the year before he got there. The complaints about O'Brien often center around an inconsistent offense and his in-game management. Of course, much of a head coach's job performance centers around things fans don't see. That includes the culture around the team from Monday through Saturday, communication with the players, and the ability to keep a team focused. Without the latter, there is no way Houston wins over 40 games in five years. The struggle for O'Brien this season will be to squeeze better play out of the offensive line, as well as get Deshaun Watson to avoid creating his own pressure by holding the ball for too long.

  • Vrabel put in a nice freshmen year as Titans head coach, getting them <i>thisclose</i> to the postseason. Having to start Blaine Gabbert the final week of the season didn't help, but the main reason for Tennessee's failure to make the playoffs was a tougher-than-expected AFC South. No one thought J.J. Watt would return to his all-world self, ensuring the Texans were more than viable. No one saw the Colts coming. The Jags, while coming in last place, lost several close games and still own the core of a playoff-ready team. Vrabel's squad displayed its coach's head-strong resilience, often seen during his days with the Patriots. Take, for example, the win over the Eagles in Week 4, when the offense converted three fourth downs on the final drive to win the game in overtime. Vrabel will move up this list if he can coax more from Marcus Mariota, and move this team into double-digit-win territory. 13

    James Kenney/Associated Press

    20) Mike Vrabel, Tennessee Titans

    Vrabel put in a nice freshmen year as Titans head coach, getting them thisclose to the postseason. Having to start Blaine Gabbert the final week of the season didn't help, but the main reason for Tennessee's failure to make the playoffs was a tougher-than-expected AFC South. No one thought J.J. Watt would return to his all-world self, ensuring the Texans were more than viable. No one saw the Colts coming. The Jags, while coming in last place, lost several close games and still own the core of a playoff-ready team. Vrabel's squad displayed its coach's head-strong resilience, often seen during his days with the Patriots. Take, for example, the win over the Eagles in Week 4, when the offense converted three fourth downs on the final drive to win the game in overtime. Vrabel will move up this list if he can coax more from Marcus Mariota, and move this team into double-digit-win territory.

  • McDermott received plenty of props for leading the Bills to their first postseason appearance of the century in 2017. It was a heckuva debut season. Last year's 6-10 showing was a disappointment, although you could make the argument that Buffalo wasn't that much worse than the year before, especially considering they started a rookie QB in Josh Allen. Some analysts thought Allen would be more of a redshirt freshman than an immediate starter when he was drafted seventh overall. The Bills' playoff hopes in 2019 will go the way of the redshirt guys in "Star Trek" if Allen doesn't take a big step forward in Year 2. The defense last season finished 18th in points allowed, just like the previous year. One big disparity, though, is that the scoring offense went from kinda bad (22nd) to cruddy (30th). With a little progress from Allen, and more consistency up front, Buffalo can move up the standings again. You know a McDermott-coached team will be opportunistic on defense. 12

    Jeffrey T. Barnes/Associated Press

    21) Sean McDermott, Buffalo Bills

    McDermott received plenty of props for leading the Bills to their first postseason appearance of the century in 2017. It was a heckuva debut season. Last year's 6-10 showing was a disappointment, although you could make the argument that Buffalo wasn't that much worse than the year before, especially considering they started a rookie QB in Josh Allen. Some analysts thought Allen would be more of a redshirt freshman than an immediate starter when he was drafted seventh overall. The Bills' playoff hopes in 2019 will go the way of the redshirt guys in "Star Trek" if Allen doesn't take a big step forward in Year 2. The defense last season finished 18th in points allowed, just like the previous year. One big disparity, though, is that the scoring offense went from kinda bad (22nd) to cruddy (30th). With a little progress from Allen, and more consistency up front, Buffalo can move up the standings again. You know a McDermott-coached team will be opportunistic on defense.

  • Harsh ranking for Jay Gruden, who has watched each of the last two seasons get ruined by injuries, particularly on the offensive line. That makes it arduous for an offensive-minded coach to implement his scheme, much less put points on the board. Then again, even when health was not an issue early last season, the Redskins' "attack" was more of a mild skirmish. With Alex Smith under center, the offense generated less than 20 points per game. In that sense, Adrian Peterson's reemergence saved the day. Gruden does deserve much credit for keeping his team in the race late in the season after losing Smith and backup Colt McCoy, hanging in there at 7-7 while giving the Titans all they could handle in a tough Week 16 road contest. The issue for Gruden is twofold: he's now endured three straight seasons without a playoff berth after a breakthrough campaign in 2015, and he's starting over at QB again, potentially with a rookie in Dwayne Haskins. 11

    Gail Burton/Associated Press

    22) Jay Gruden, Washington Redskins

    Harsh ranking for Jay Gruden, who has watched each of the last two seasons get ruined by injuries, particularly on the offensive line. That makes it arduous for an offensive-minded coach to implement his scheme, much less put points on the board. Then again, even when health was not an issue early last season, the Redskins' "attack" was more of a mild skirmish. With Alex Smith under center, the offense generated less than 20 points per game. In that sense, Adrian Peterson's reemergence saved the day. Gruden does deserve much credit for keeping his team in the race late in the season after losing Smith and backup Colt McCoy, hanging in there at 7-7 while giving the Titans all they could handle in a tough Week 16 road contest. The issue for Gruden is twofold: he's now endured three straight seasons without a playoff berth after a breakthrough campaign in 2015, and he's starting over at QB again, potentially with a rookie in Dwayne Haskins.

  • This might not be a fair ranking for a guy who kept the 49ers competitive in the second half of the season while having to play musical chairs at quarterback. The problem here is that Shanahan hasn't really accomplished anything yet as a head coach, which makes the criteria for evaluating his performance somewhat narrow. Shanahan did a fantastic job as offensive coordinator with the Falcons. He played a big role in Atlanta making it to the Super Bowl, and Matt Ryan winning MVP, in 2016. In two years in San Francisco, he's gone 10-22. That record isn't masked by the obvious upside of the roster, or the potential many see in Shanahan. From the outside looking in, it sure seems he is the right man to develop Jimmy Garoppolo, who is coming back from the ACL tear that cost him all but three games last season. Shanahan seems to be a good communicator, and is both confident and comfortable with himself. Whether that will translate into contention in the NFC West remains to be seen. 10

    Josie Lepe/Associated Press

    23) Kyle Shanahan, San Francisco 49ers

    This might not be a fair ranking for a guy who kept the 49ers competitive in the second half of the season while having to play musical chairs at quarterback. The problem here is that Shanahan hasn't really accomplished anything yet as a head coach, which makes the criteria for evaluating his performance somewhat narrow. Shanahan did a fantastic job as offensive coordinator with the Falcons. He played a big role in Atlanta making it to the Super Bowl, and Matt Ryan winning MVP, in 2016. In two years in San Francisco, he's gone 10-22. That record isn't masked by the obvious upside of the roster, or the potential many see in Shanahan. From the outside looking in, it sure seems he is the right man to develop Jimmy Garoppolo, who is coming back from the ACL tear that cost him all but three games last season. Shanahan seems to be a good communicator, and is both confident and comfortable with himself. Whether that will translate into contention in the NFC West remains to be seen.

  • There's not much catalog to judge Patricia on right now, but a 6-10 debut season didn't inspire a lot of hope. The Lions roared coming out of their Week 6 bye, making a freshwater dive into the running game against the Dolphins, not to mention a big win over the Patriots a month prior. Then they petered out with a 3-7 finish. Trading Golden Tate away at midseason sure as heck didn't help Patricia's cause. Nor did the annual disappearance of balance on offense. That's the challenge for Patricia: Develop a running attack that can help the defense on a consistent basis. That said, defensive acumen is what landed him the job in Detroit in the first place. He spearheaded a top-ranked D that helped Bill Belichick's team make it to the Super Bowl, then stopped the bleeding in the second half of the big game itself to close out the 2016 season. Patricia now owns some new parts on D, including a player he coached with the Patriots in Trey Flowers, so improvement should be expected. 9

    Paul Sancya/Associated Press

    24) Matt Patricia, Detroit Lions

    There's not much catalog to judge Patricia on right now, but a 6-10 debut season didn't inspire a lot of hope. The Lions roared coming out of their Week 6 bye, making a freshwater dive into the running game against the Dolphins, not to mention a big win over the Patriots a month prior. Then they petered out with a 3-7 finish. Trading Golden Tate away at midseason sure as heck didn't help Patricia's cause. Nor did the annual disappearance of balance on offense. That's the challenge for Patricia: Develop a running attack that can help the defense on a consistent basis. That said, defensive acumen is what landed him the job in Detroit in the first place. He spearheaded a top-ranked D that helped Bill Belichick's team make it to the Super Bowl, then stopped the bleeding in the second half of the big game itself to close out the 2016 season. Patricia now owns some new parts on D, including a player he coached with the Patriots in Trey Flowers, so improvement should be expected.

  • The wonderful news for Adam Gase is that he doesn't inherit an inherent question mark at quarterback. <i>To Tannehill or not to Tannehill</i> was always the query during his time in Miami; in New York, the Jets will be riding the Sam Darnold wave, which, from the optics of last season, isn't such a bad deal. Darnold flashed more than a handful of times as a rookie, and seems to possess the right mindset to succeed at this level. Skeptics don't harbor the same confidence in Gase, whose Dolphins were uninspiring the last two seasons. His offenses finished 31st (2018) and 25th (2017) in the last two seasons. Even Miami's 2016 playoff team ranked 24th in offense. New York's brass is banking on the fact that Gase has a superior operating system in Darnold than he managed in Tannehill, Matt Moore, Brock Osweiler and Jay Cutler. He better be a decisive upgrade, because Gang Green's defense has been long on potential and short on results in recent years. 8

    Seth Wenig/Associated Press

    25) Adam Gase, New York Jets

    The wonderful news for Adam Gase is that he doesn't inherit an inherent question mark at quarterback. To Tannehill or not to Tannehill was always the query during his time in Miami; in New York, the Jets will be riding the Sam Darnold wave, which, from the optics of last season, isn't such a bad deal. Darnold flashed more than a handful of times as a rookie, and seems to possess the right mindset to succeed at this level. Skeptics don't harbor the same confidence in Gase, whose Dolphins were uninspiring the last two seasons. His offenses finished 31st (2018) and 25th (2017) in the last two seasons. Even Miami's 2016 playoff team ranked 24th in offense. New York's brass is banking on the fact that Gase has a superior operating system in Darnold than he managed in Tannehill, Matt Moore, Brock Osweiler and Jay Cutler. He better be a decisive upgrade, because Gang Green's defense has been long on potential and short on results in recent years.

  • Shurmur led the Giants to a 5-11 record and last-place finish in the NFC East in his first year on the job, and the Giants' offense faltered more often than not. That was an area Shurmur was supposed to shore up. Even the ridiculous all-purpose production of first-year phenom Saquon Barkley couldn't solve Big Blue's woes, so much so that the rush offense finished 24th in the league. This, with a running back who racked up over 2,000 yards from scrimmage. Were the Giants awful on offense? No. They were inconsistent, couldn't survive health woes at receiver, and were far from strong enough to make up for a bottom-10 defensive unit. Shurmur has much work to do in 2019, from replacing Odell Beckham Jr., to successfully managing the Eli Manning/Daniel Jones situation, to trying to stay feisty in the NFC East. The reason he's behind Gase on this list? Gase has led a team to the playoffs, and Shurmur has yet to have success as a head coach. 7

    Bill Kostroun/Associated Press

    26) Pat Shurmur, New York Giants

    Shurmur led the Giants to a 5-11 record and last-place finish in the NFC East in his first year on the job, and the Giants' offense faltered more often than not. That was an area Shurmur was supposed to shore up. Even the ridiculous all-purpose production of first-year phenom Saquon Barkley couldn't solve Big Blue's woes, so much so that the rush offense finished 24th in the league. This, with a running back who racked up over 2,000 yards from scrimmage. Were the Giants awful on offense? No. They were inconsistent, couldn't survive health woes at receiver, and were far from strong enough to make up for a bottom-10 defensive unit. Shurmur has much work to do in 2019, from replacing Odell Beckham Jr., to successfully managing the Eli Manning/Daniel Jones situation, to trying to stay feisty in the NFC East. The reason he's behind Gase on this list? Gase has led a team to the playoffs, and Shurmur has yet to have success as a head coach.

  • You want to talk about a guy who has earned the opportunity to be a HC? Fangio has been in pro football since 1984 (with the exception of one season). He followed Jim Mora from the USFL to New Orleans, where he coached the Saints' linebackers. That group -- Rickey Jackson, Pat Swilling, Vaughan Johnson, and Sam Mills -- is arguably the greatest linebacker unit in the <i>history of the NFL.</i> He was part of a Ravens staff that made the playoffs three times in four years under Brian Billick and John Harbaugh, then joined the latter's brother at Stanford for the '10 season. From there, Fangio coached the 49ers defense that fueled three straight NFC title game appearances. He led the NFL's stingiest defense with the Bears last season. Now Fangio inherits a fantastic pair of pass rushers in Von Miller and Bradley Chubb, a young stud at RB in Phillip Lindsay, and a future WR1 in Courtland Sutton. What his staff can coax out of Joe Flacco will be the key to the head coach's success in '19. 6

    David Zalubowski/Associated Press

    Vic Fangio, Denver Broncos

    You want to talk about a guy who has earned the opportunity to be a HC? Fangio has been in pro football since 1984 (with the exception of one season). He followed Jim Mora from the USFL to New Orleans, where he coached the Saints' linebackers. That group -- Rickey Jackson, Pat Swilling, Vaughan Johnson, and Sam Mills -- is arguably the greatest linebacker unit in the history of the NFL. He was part of a Ravens staff that made the playoffs three times in four years under Brian Billick and John Harbaugh, then joined the latter's brother at Stanford for the '10 season. From there, Fangio coached the 49ers defense that fueled three straight NFC title game appearances. He led the NFL's stingiest defense with the Bears last season. Now Fangio inherits a fantastic pair of pass rushers in Von Miller and Bradley Chubb, a young stud at RB in Phillip Lindsay, and a future WR1 in Courtland Sutton. What his staff can coax out of Joe Flacco will be the key to the head coach's success in '19.

  • Comparing first-year head coaches who have yet to go to training camp, manage a game situation in their new role, or so much as throw a challenge flag is slightly absurd, which is why we're not ranking them here. What people do have to go on with Brian Flores versus Zac Taylor or Kliff Kingsbury or any other rookie HC is the experience (and success) they bring into a job, as well as the roster at their disposal. Is the talent a fit for their expertise? Are they walking into a situation that is conducive to them succeeding? On those points, Flores faces an arduous task. The Dolphins might have the worst overall roster in the league. On the other hand, Flores achieved greatness while in New England, as he was a part of four Super Bowl winners during his 15 seasons with the club. Flores called defensive plays last year, which is notable considering that the Patriots finished seventh in points allowed. Whether he can work wonders with the woeful Miami defense is another matter. 5

    Brynn Anderson/Associated Press

    Brian Flores, Miami Dolphins

    Comparing first-year head coaches who have yet to go to training camp, manage a game situation in their new role, or so much as throw a challenge flag is slightly absurd, which is why we're not ranking them here. What people do have to go on with Brian Flores versus Zac Taylor or Kliff Kingsbury or any other rookie HC is the experience (and success) they bring into a job, as well as the roster at their disposal. Is the talent a fit for their expertise? Are they walking into a situation that is conducive to them succeeding? On those points, Flores faces an arduous task. The Dolphins might have the worst overall roster in the league. On the other hand, Flores achieved greatness while in New England, as he was a part of four Super Bowl winners during his 15 seasons with the club. Flores called defensive plays last year, which is notable considering that the Patriots finished seventh in points allowed. Whether he can work wonders with the woeful Miami defense is another matter.

  • Kingsbury has never coached at the NFL level, and is coming off three consecutive losing seasons as head coach at Texas Tech. Does this mean that the former Red Raiders quarterback will fail miserably? Of course not. It merely reflects that fans don't have much to hang their hat on when it comes to the Cardinals' head coach. And that's OK. Kingsbury was able to develop some great QB talent at the college level, starting with Case Keenum at Houston and continuing with a guy named Patrick Mahomes at Texas Tech. People forget how prolific Keenum was for the Cougars. Now Arizona has handed the keys to the franchise, including this year's No. 1 overall draft pick, to Kingsbury. So much will depend on how Kyler Murray fares at the next level. 4

    Rick Scuteri/Associated Press

    Kliff Kingsbury, Arizona Cardinals

    Kingsbury has never coached at the NFL level, and is coming off three consecutive losing seasons as head coach at Texas Tech. Does this mean that the former Red Raiders quarterback will fail miserably? Of course not. It merely reflects that fans don't have much to hang their hat on when it comes to the Cardinals' head coach. And that's OK. Kingsbury was able to develop some great QB talent at the college level, starting with Case Keenum at Houston and continuing with a guy named Patrick Mahomes at Texas Tech. People forget how prolific Keenum was for the Cougars. Now Arizona has handed the keys to the franchise, including this year's No. 1 overall draft pick, to Kingsbury. So much will depend on how Kyler Murray fares at the next level.

  • Perhaps no rookie head coach is in better position to succeed in Year 1 than Freddie Kitchens. The RB coach turned offensive coordinator turned head coach is the only 2019 appointee to be hired from within, meaning that he is already well-versed, and part of, the culture that helped pushed Cleveland to its best season in more than a decade. While former interim head coach Gregg Williams deserves plenty of credit for the team's 5-2 finish, it's worth noting that the offense averaged 24 points per game during that stretch under Kitchens' leadership. That's when Baker Mayfield came into his own. Kitchens developed balance with Nick Chubb on the ground. Now the Browns are adding Odell Beckham Jr. to that mix. With a team ready to compete now, Kitchens should thrive. 3

    Ron Schwane/Associated Press

    Freddie Kitchens, Cleveland Browns

    Perhaps no rookie head coach is in better position to succeed in Year 1 than Freddie Kitchens. The RB coach turned offensive coordinator turned head coach is the only 2019 appointee to be hired from within, meaning that he is already well-versed, and part of, the culture that helped pushed Cleveland to its best season in more than a decade. While former interim head coach Gregg Williams deserves plenty of credit for the team's 5-2 finish, it's worth noting that the offense averaged 24 points per game during that stretch under Kitchens' leadership. That's when Baker Mayfield came into his own. Kitchens developed balance with Nick Chubb on the ground. Now the Browns are adding Odell Beckham Jr. to that mix. With a team ready to compete now, Kitchens should thrive.

  • Like Freddie Kitchens, Matt LaFleur inherits a pretty decent situation in his first stint as a head coach. LaFleur will be coaching Aaron Rodgers, which ties nicely into LaFleur's background as a quarterbacks coach. That's where LaFleur earned both future employment and much buzz around the league. As QBs coach under then-OC Kyle Shanahan with the Redskins, LaFleur developed a relationship strong enough to help him land the OC spot for the Rams when Sean McVay -- who served with LaFleur on that Washington staff -- got his head-coaching opportunity. As Matt Ryan's position coach in Atlanta, LaFleur helped him win the MVP award in 2016. While LaFleur didn't rewrite "Vince Lombardi on Football" and liven up the football world during his lone season as OC in Tennessee, the current find-me-another-Sean-McVay climate in the NFL helped him land a choice spot in Green Bay. Can LaFleur help fix a so-so defense? We'll see. 2

    Morry Gash/Associated Press

    Matt LaFleur, Green Bay Packers

    Like Freddie Kitchens, Matt LaFleur inherits a pretty decent situation in his first stint as a head coach. LaFleur will be coaching Aaron Rodgers, which ties nicely into LaFleur's background as a quarterbacks coach. That's where LaFleur earned both future employment and much buzz around the league. As QBs coach under then-OC Kyle Shanahan with the Redskins, LaFleur developed a relationship strong enough to help him land the OC spot for the Rams when Sean McVay -- who served with LaFleur on that Washington staff -- got his head-coaching opportunity. As Matt Ryan's position coach in Atlanta, LaFleur helped him win the MVP award in 2016. While LaFleur didn't rewrite "Vince Lombardi on Football" and liven up the football world during his lone season as OC in Tennessee, the current find-me-another-Sean-McVay climate in the NFL helped him land a choice spot in Green Bay. Can LaFleur help fix a so-so defense? We'll see.

  • The head-coaching hire that came with the least ballyhooing in 2019 has to be Zac Taylor. Taylor was Sean McVay's quarterbacks coach last season, which doesn't make him unique among the new HCs given that the Packers brought on another McVay disciple in Matt LaFleur, who was the Rams' OC under McVay in 2017. In 2018, Taylor built on LaFleur's success with Jared Goff, as the young QB posted another prolific campaign, then made clutch throws that helped the Rams advance through the NFC field in the playoffs. Taylor was an assistant wide receivers coach for the Rams in 2017, following one-year stints as offensive coordinator for both the Dolphins and the University of Cincinnati. Taylor is the poster child of NFL teams' desire to find the next transcendent offensive mind, as he's just a couple months past his 36th birthday, and has only two years of experience as a coordinator. Still, the new Bengals front man finds himself in a better situation than you think. 1

    Aaron Doster/NFL

    Zac Taylor, Cincinnati Bengals

    The head-coaching hire that came with the least ballyhooing in 2019 has to be Zac Taylor. Taylor was Sean McVay's quarterbacks coach last season, which doesn't make him unique among the new HCs given that the Packers brought on another McVay disciple in Matt LaFleur, who was the Rams' OC under McVay in 2017. In 2018, Taylor built on LaFleur's success with Jared Goff, as the young QB posted another prolific campaign, then made clutch throws that helped the Rams advance through the NFC field in the playoffs. Taylor was an assistant wide receivers coach for the Rams in 2017, following one-year stints as offensive coordinator for both the Dolphins and the University of Cincinnati. Taylor is the poster child of NFL teams' desire to find the next transcendent offensive mind, as he's just a couple months past his 36th birthday, and has only two years of experience as a coordinator. Still, the new Bengals front man finds himself in a better situation than you think.