Hi all, I'd like to start by saying I'm a long-time reader who only recently decided to come out of the shadows, and a big thank you to the front page guys and all the bloggers who make this such a great online community.
With the season over for all intents and purposes, and a new head coach a foregone conclusion for next year, I thought I'd offer my take on which rocks we should be looking under. After the jump, I'll look at some of the league's most successful current head coaches, where they were before obtaining their current gig, and try to find some guys who fit a similar mold.
Let's start by looking at the NFL'sbest coaches right now. Here's my list (in no particular order)
Mike Shanahan (We'll look at his Denver days, since that's where he was successful and its too early to judge his job in Washington)
Now there are certainly coaches who are enjoying success right now that I've left off this list (Rex Ryan and Todd Haley for starters), but I wanted to look at coaches who have enjoyed sustained success, with longevity and Super Bowl wins being the two most important factors. Also, please note how much it pains me to put the coaches of all of the other NFC East teams on my list.
Let's start with the retreads. Belichick, Shanahan, and Coughlin were all NFL head coaches prior to their success. Belichick coached Cleveland, Shanahan the Raiders, and Coughlin the expansion Jaguars. Worth noting however, is both Belichick and Shanahan went back into the coordinator ranks before another head coaching job opportunity happened. Also, each coach had minimal success in their first head coaching job.
Jeff Fisher, Andy Reid, Sean Payton(sigh), and Mike Tomlin all rose from successful coordinator to successful head coach. Of them, only Fisher was coordinator for the same team he now coaches.
Going off this template, we will be looking for successful young coordinators for other teams, as well as coordinators who have had head coaches jobs in the past, with poor results, but have excelled in the coordinator role since. Again, I list these in no particular order, although I will indicate which guys I'd most like to see.
1.) Marty Mornhinweg- O-Coordinator, Philadelphia Eagles. Mornhinweg was head coach of the Detroit Lions from 01-02 before joing the Eagles staff. He has three things going for him: 1.) Can you really blame a guy for failing in Detroit while Matt Millen was buying the groceries? 2.) Even if you can, he's been learning from Andy Reid and helping to lead a very potent offense since then. 3.)Stealing a successful coach from a division rival can't be a bad idea. In that same vein, I present:
2.) Perry Fewell- D-Coordinator, New York Giants. The turnaround in the Giants D-line from last year to this year is staggering. They've returned to being a feared unit, and that started with Fewell. On the MNF broadcast (shudder), they mentioned that when he came in, Fewell had his players take ownership of the defense. The guys bought in, and the rest appears to be history. For anyone worried about returning to a 4-3, Raf outlines in his second point HERE, that we have personnel that could play in the scheme at least marginally effectively while we're starting out. I actually like this option best if we go defensive, despite how much I've enjoyed the 3-4 defense.
3.) Rob Ryan- D-Coordinator, Cleveland Browns. Ryans know defense. They learned it from their curr of a father, and now they both bring the heat in the NFL. Sunday's pasting of the Saints by Rob's defense turned some heads in the NFL, and brother Rex seems to be an effective head coach, at least thus far. Ryan uses a 3-4 defense, so our scheme and personnel wouldn't need to change too drastically.
4.) Brian Schottenheimer, O-Coordinator, New York Jets. What has Schottenheimer done in New York? Built a formidable O-line, used a creative and effective running game, and utilized game plans that limit turnovers from his talented yet sometimes wild QB. Raise your hand if you think that would translate well here. Schott is my personal favorite candidate, and might be able to bring Mike Pettine with him to coach the D, since it's realistically Rex Ryan's defense in New York anyway, he may allow Pettine to leave for the chance to truly run his own defense. Two for the price of one!
Well, there's my long, drawn out post on coaching candidates. Hope it was at least mildly entertaining, and can maybe spark some nice debate!