Breaking Down the 2018 NFL Coaching Carousel
Even though the NFL season is ending, things have been heating up lately for teams that have decided to make coaching changes for the upcoming 2018-19 campaign.
Surprisingly enough, the NFL playoffs seem to be the busiest time for teams hoping to fill their head-coaching vacancies as they look to plunder successful coaches and coordinators from some of the playoff teams. Given the amount of information that comes out during any given week, it can be hard to keep track of which coaches ended up taking which jobs.
Lucky for you, we’ve gone through the trouble of tracking and breaking down this off-season’s coaching changes for you. Let’s dive into it!
IN – Mike Vrabel | OUT – Mike Mularkey
Talk about a tough audience – after leading the Tennessee Titans to the playoffs for the first time since 2008 and securing the team’s first playoff victory since 2003, coach Mike Mularkey was fired this off-season. The Titans hired Mike Vrabel to fill their vacancy, who has been a rising star as a coach after enjoying a successful playing career with the Patriots. Vrabel has extensive experience as a player, having won three Super Bowls, but it’s yet to be seen how he will fare as a head coach – despite his successful stint as defensive coordinator in Houston.
IN – Jon Gruden | OUT – Jack Del Rio
The NFL has always been considered to be a “what have you done for me recently” league, and this is especially apparent when you look at the Raiders decision to fire Jack Del Rio. Del Rio led the team to a 12-4 record, which coincidentally got the Raiders into the playoffs for the first time since George W. Bush’s first term in office. However, after a 6-10 season, Del Rio was canned and the Raiders made a splash by hiring their former coach Jon Gruden. Gruden coached the Raiders from 1998-2001 but has not coached in the league in almost ten years. The coached dubbed “Chucky” certainly was a big-name hire, which was something needed by the Raiders for their impending move to Las Vegas, but can Gruden lead the team to success after not coaching for ten years? It remains to be seen but Oakland will surely be a fun team to watch in 2018-19.
New York Giants
IN – Pat Shurmur | OUT – Ben McAdoo
The Giants had seen enough from coach Ben McAdoo earlier this year as they fired him after the team limped to a 2-10 start. The Giants were extremely patient in their search for a new coach and were rewarded as they landed Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur. Shurmur has done a fantastic job with an “island of misfit toys” in Minneapolis as his offense produced solid numbers despite being led by career backup Case Keenum. Shurmur will have plenty of talented offensive weapons in the Big Apple, and he should be able to get the team on track after a train wreck of a 2017-18 campaign.
IN – Matt Nagy | OUT – John Fox
The Bears have been a franchise in limbo for the past decade or so, having made the playoffs only once since going to the Super Bowl back in 2006. Chicago was one of the first teams to fill their head coaching vacancy as they set their sights on Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Matt Nagy. Nagy showed that he has the chops to succeed at the NFL level late in this past season as he was trusted with calling the Chiefs offensive plays. During his stretch as the play-caller, Kansas City was able to right the ship after sputtering mid-season, going 4-1 under Nagy’s offensive guidance. With a young potential franchise quarterback in Mitch Trubisky and an up-and-coming head coach, things seem to be trending upward for the boys in the Windy City.
IN – Steve Wilks | OUT – Bruce Arians
This offseason has been particularly tough on the Arizona Cardinals as head coach Bruce Arians decided to retire after five years at the helm – alongside quarterback Carson Palmer. The Cardinals seemed to have landed a hot commodity in Panthers defensive coordinator Steve Wilks, who impressed plenty of teams during interviews prior to the 2017 season.
IN – Josh McDaniels (Presumably) | OUT – Chuck Pagano
It seems as though the New England Patriots are finally set to lose both of their highly-touted coordinators, as Josh McDaniels is set to become the head coach of the Colts after the Super Bowl while Matt Patricia is set to coach the Lions next season. McDaniels has drawn plenty of interest from teams over the past few offseasons but has been very selective. His discerning decision making seems to have paid off as the Colts are a great fit for him. The 41-year-old will be set up for success early due to the fact that he will work alongside superstar quarterback Andrew Luck. McDaniels had a tough time as the head coach of the Broncos back in 2010 but he’s had plenty of time to develop his coaching skills in New England and should succeed in Indy.
IN – Matt Patricia (Presumably) | OUT – Jim Caldwell
As previously mentioned, Patriots defensive coordinator (and Aeronautical Engineering graduate from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute) Matt Patricia is set to become the next coach of the Detroit Lions. Patricia has been a trusted ally of Bill Belichick since 2004, having worked his way up from an offensive assistant to the team’s defensive coordinator. The 43-year-old has done fantastic work in New England as he’s molded the team into a fantastic “bend but not break” defense despite not having the best of personnel. If you’re a Detroit Lions fan, you’ve got to be excited about the team’s future.