By Ben Babcock
The 2018 offseason has already been a very active one so far, with 7 new head coaches taking over new teams. Which has also left several teams with offensive and defensive coordinator positions to fill.
New Head Coaches:
Frank Reich will be taking over the HC spot in Indianapolis, a five-year contract is expected to be set soon -per NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo. Reich is a former NFL quarterback and is just coming off a Super Bowl 52 win with the Philadelphia Eagles as their offensive coordinator. He obviously had success this past year with the Eagles offense and two young QB’s. With Andrew Luck hopefully coming back for a healthy season we could expect stronger offensive play from the Colts all around.
Jon Gruden comes out of retirement and returns to Oakland as head coach. Gruden was the head coach of the Raiders from 1998-2001 and the Tampa Bay Bucs from 2002-2008 before leaving coaching. He won a super bowl victory with the Bucs in 2002, During his 11 years as a head coach he only had 3 losing seasons and compiled a record of 95-81. Gruden signed a 10-year $100 million contract with the Raiders, which makes him the second highest paid coach in the league second only to Bill Belichick, and leads us to believe that the Raiders have a lot of confidence in the fact that Gruden will be successful in leading this team. The Raiders had a disappointing season this year after being top 3 in the AFC in 2016-17. They are still full of young talent, however, and some strong leadership by an experienced coach like Gruden could get this team back on top of the AFC.
Matt Nagy is the new head coach of the Chicago Bears. Nagy was the offensive coordinator for the Kansa City Chiefs the past two seasons, and their quarterback coach for three seasons before that. In his two years as offensive coordinator, their offense moved up seven spots in points scored to 6th in the league and up twenty-two spots to 5th in total yards gained. It’s no secret that the Bears have struggled offensively for the past few seasons, but now have a promising young quarterback in Mitchell Trubisky. As well as Tarik Cohen and Jordan Howard proving to be a strong running back duo, ranking 16th in the league in rushing yards per game. This gives Nagy a good head start with young talent to build around. It’ll be interesting to see what he can do next season.
Pat Shurmur is leaving his job as the offensive coordinator of the Vikings to be the head coach of the New York Giants. Shurmur has been in the league for 18 years, with 5 different teams and in multiple different positions on the coaching staff. Shurmur is only 10-23 as a head coach, but over the past few years has helped bring up young less appreciated quarterbacks like Nick Foles, Sam Bradford, and Case Keenum. Keenum and Foles both led their teams in the playoffs this year and faced each other in the NFC Championship game, and Foles went on top be Super Bowl MVP this year. This is good news for Giants fans because Eli Manning has been struggling a lot in recent seasons. Shurmur could be the guy to turn that around.
Steve Wilks has left the Carolina Panthers to become the new head coach of the Arizona Cardinals. Wilks has been coaching in the NFL since 2005, mainly working with defensive backs. Wilks should bring a great amount of knowledge and experience to a veteran, but on and off Arizona defense. This is good for the Cardinals, who have had a good amount of veteran playmakers on their team the past few years but have had very underwhelming seasons. Hopefully Wilks can turn this team around and get them performing like they should be. With David Johnson returning next season, the Cardinals offense shouldn’t struggle nearly as much as they did this year and we can expect a good season, but they do have a lot to contend with in a pretty strong division.
Matt Patricia left the New England Patriots to become the new head coach of the Detroit Lions. Patricia won two super bowls with the Patriots as their defensive coordinator and in his 6 years at that position, his defense never ranked outside of the top 10 in points allowed. The Lions defense has only made the top 10 in points allowed once in the past 17 years so Patricia could be the one to straighten that out. Patricia has had probably the best upbringing any coach could ask for, being under, and learning from one the most successful head coaches of all time in Bill Belichick for 14 years. The Lions couldn’t have asked for a better candidate, and with the Lions being out of the playoffs the past several years, Patricia could get them that playoff win they’ve been looking for the past 26 years.
Mike Vrabel will be taking the head coach position in Tennessee after 3 years in Houston as linebacker coach and defensive coordinator. This is probably the most interesting of all the head coach signings because Vrabel has very little experience as a coach and is coming off a very rough year for the Texans defense. The Titans most promising part of their team is their young offense, which they have been grooming for the past couple seasons and building around quarterback Marcus Mariota. So the fact that they’ve brought in the defensive-minded coach in Vrabel is very questionable. Only time will tell what Vrabel will be able to do as a head coach. I certainly wish the former Patriot the best of luck.
Head Coaches That Are Gone:
Chuck Pagano- Indianapolis Colts (Fired)
Jack Del Rio- Oakland Raiders (Fired)
John Fox- Chicago Bears (Fired)
Ben McAdoo- New York Giants (Fired)
Jim Caldwell- Detroit Lions (Fired)
Mike Mularkey- Tennessee Titans (Fired)
Bruce Arians- Arizona Cardinals (Retired)