Bill Belichick, Dan Quinn make my early Coach of the Year ballot

Like trying to predict the Super Bowl teams in August, giving a "Best Coaching" award at the quarter mark of the season just leaves you open to the critics as the rest of the campaign plays out and your assessments and predictions seem silly.

Having said that, there are some notable observations that can be made about coaching jobs that have stood out, even this early in the season. Or maybe I'm just a glutton for punishment.

Anyhow, here are a few head men who have caught my eye through the first four weeks of the 2015 season:

Bill Belichick, New England Patriots

Any time you mention Belichick in this manner, it seems to be low hanging fruit, as his team annually sits atop league standings. But, partially because of Belichick's insanely consistent dominance and partially because he has Tom Brady, we tend to overlook some of the brilliant moves he makes. Obviously, holding the attention of the team during the "Deflategate" saga has been, in and of itself, a tremendous feat.

Lost in all that drama: The fact that the Pats totally reworked their secondary and offensive line -- and after three games, neither has proven to be a liability. Belichick's rotation of young linemen could have drawn huge criticism, as this violates all conventional wisdom about the cohesiveness of a group that has the highest degree of difficulty when coming together as a single unit. But the Patriots are doing just fine -- as always.

Mike McCarthy, Green Bay Packers

Again, because of continued success and the fact that he has the best quarterback on the face of the planet right now, McCarthy often gets overlooks in this category. This is unfortunate.

McCarthy's decision to turn the play calling over to offensive coordinator Tom Clements and QB Aaron Rodgers has allowed the head coach to view the game from the larger perspective it deserves. The team is playing as well as it did at any time during the 2010 Super Bowl season -- only this year's version runs the ball better!

McCarthy's addition of Mike Solari -- for my money, one of the top three offensive line coaches in the game -- as an assistant O-line coach to James Campen is one of the best coaching moves of the past offseason.

Gary Kubiak, Denver Broncos

In keeping with my theme of being Captain Obvious, listing a coach who has Peyton Manning as his quarterback seems a little gratuitous. But Manning is exactly the reason he shows up on my list -- just not for the reasons you'd typically expect.

Much was made this offseason of Kubiak and general manager John Elway asking Manning to change his style of play to match the zone-running, play-action scheme of his new head coach. To Manning's credit, he did it, even though the early returns were questionable. To Kubiak's credit, he recognized that he needed to adapt what he had been doing for years, to give Peyton a more legitimate play-fake from the I-formation (or now the pistol) and allow Manning the freedoms to orchestrate the at-the-line offense he has been so brilliant in throughout his career. This type of in-season adjustment isn't easy after an entire preseason of practicing a different system, but Kubiak's flexibility has minimized the abuse Manning was taking early in the season. In the Broncos' first two games, Manning was sacked a total of seven times. After the scheme change? Manning's been sacked three times in two weeks.

Dan Quinn, Atlanta Falcons

You have to mention the job that Quinn has done in Year 1. Inheriting a quarterback like Matt Ryan is not a bad starting place, of course, but that wasn't the part of the team that needed fixing. The emergence of second-year running back Devonta Freeman -- albeit at least somewhat due to injury of opening-day starter Tevin Coleman -- has been nothing short of miraculous. This is a team that finished dead last in rushing yards per game in 2013 and only had a running back post a 100-yard game once last season. Under Quinn -- and offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan -- the O-line's actually pushing people off the ball and the Falcons boast an NFL-high nine rushing touchdowns.

Even still, the offense isn't really what Dan Quinn was hired to fix; it's the solid play of Atlanta's defense that earns him a spot on this list. What Quinn has done to remake the shambles of a lineup that Thomas Dimitroff and Scott Pioli tried to pass off as a defense last year -- a group that got Mike Smith fired -- has been brilliant and inspired. Perhaps I should have owner Arthur Blank on this list for having the good sense to give Quinn final say on the 53-man roster.

Ron Rivera, Carolina Panthers & Marvin Lewis, Cincinnati Bengals

These two are a package deal on this list. Both have their teams at 4-0, but more importantly, both have shown the courage of their convictions to stay with what they believe in, in spite of the critics who compel them to change, just for change's sake.

Carolina might be the least-trusted undefeated team in the league because of the schedule the Panthers have faced. But they can only line up against the teams they are told to play, and in a league full of parity, 4-0 is 4-0.

As for the Bengals, Lewis won't really get much credit until he and Andy Dalton actually advance beyond the first round of the playoffs. Still, the first thing they have to do is actually get there, and they're well on their way with a perfect mark to date.

HONORABLE MENTION: Bruce Arians, Arizona Cardinals

So, as you might've figured out: Yes, every coach listed above is in charge of an undefeated team. And rightly so, as the win-loss record is really the only assessment that matters. But even with a loss on his 2015 résumé, Arians deserves some attention for the job he's doing yet again in Arizona. It's no coincidence this guy has won two of the last three Coach of the Year awards, becoming the 11th coach in NFL history to snag the hardware multiple times.

We all know the stigma that comes with coaching the Cards, as everyone always waits for the other shoe to drop and for them to collapse. This is a team built to win, and with Carson Palmer playing the best ball of his career, this is as strong a Super Bowl contender as we have. Also, if not for some horrendous blown calls by the officials last Sunday, Arians and the Cardinals would also be 4-0.

Follow Brian Billick on Twitter @coachbillick.

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