NFL: new blood among coaches

While the playoffs are getting all the attention in the NFL, already four teams have confirmed hiring new coaches and more are on the verge of doing so. The next few months will be critical for these franchises which have opted for a new direction. Here is the state of play.

Jacksonville Jaguars

New coach: Urban Meyer

It’s the hiring that has made the most noise in the current cycle as Meyer has enjoyed tremendous success on the college scene with the Florida Gators and Ohio State Buckeyes, winning three national titles in the process. Everywhere he’s gone he’s won, but it will be his first jump in the NFL. Several pilots in the NCAA failed their attempt. The Jaguars are in terrible shape and they had to give it a big shot. Recognized as a brilliant offensive spirit, Meyer inherits the first overall pick in the next draft, who will obviously be quarterback Trevor Lawrence. There are holes all over the roster, but the Jaguars are crammed with choices and have plenty of wiggle room below the salary cap. Meyer may say that football is football, but it would be best if he surrounded himself with coordinators with extensive experience in the NFL.

New York Jets

New coach: Robert Saleh

The Jets probably aren’t as bad a team as their 2-14 record has indicated this season, but tensions were high between ex-coach Adam Gase and his players. The franchise was looking for a leader who would be respected and appreciated by the troops. That’s exactly what Robert Saleh was in San Francisco, the one who energetically guided the 49ers defense. Last year it was one thing to do, but this year, despite a storm of injuries that ravaged their roster, the defense still delivered the goods. With the Jets, Saleh will clearly not have the same defense within reach, while the offense risks being rebuilt. You’ll have to be patient, but like Meyer in Jacksonville, he arrives in a good financial position and with a bank of choice stocked. His first big decision: to rebuild Sam Darnold or change his plan as a quarterback?

Los Angeles Chargers

New Coach: Brandon Staley

Many expected an offensive coach to surround promising young quarterback Justin Herbert. Instead, the job went to one of the hottest young defensive minds on the tour, Brandon Staley. At 38, Staley has done an outstanding job with the Rams’ defense helping them advance from the 20e rank before arriving at the very first under his rule this year. A disciple of well-respected defensive guru Vic Fangio, Staley brings an interesting aspect to Herbert’s development as he himself was a quarterback for three years in the varsity scene. Staley arrives in an ideal situation, in the sense that a young franchise quarterback is in place, with a promising roster around him.

Atlanta Falcons

New coach: Arthur Smith

The Falcons got their hands on a candidate who was in high demand. Arthur Smith has served as the Titans’ offensive coordinator for the past two seasons and, under his rule, the offense has progressed dramatically. He fits into the current wave of young innovative offensive minds, at 38 years old. It will be interesting to see him in Atlanta without the workhorse he had in Derrick Henry and with an aging quarterback in Matt Ryan. Smith represents a wind of change after the last 13 seasons in Atlanta, marked by drivers with a defensive vocation. The Falcons must prepare this year for the possible relief of Matt Ryan and Julio Jones, who will arrive sooner rather than later.

Philadelphia Eagles and Houston Texans

Vacant jobs

The Texans are desperate to mend the mess with star quarterback Deshaun Watson, who has felt ignored in the process to find a new general manager and head coach. His prime candidate to lead him would be current Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, whom the Texans finally interviewed on Monday. In the Eagles, research is in full swing and the team leaves with a certain delay, she who has barely shown the door to Doug Pederson.

Detroit Lions

Coach to be confirmed: Dan Campbell

If Campbell’s hiring goes through, she will likely be the one that comes out the most from left field of all the vacancies. This doesn’t mean that this is a bad choice for Lions, but rather that no one saw it coming. Since 2016, Campbell has served as the assistant head coach and tight end coach with the Saints. It’s hard to stand out under the orders of a boss who takes up as much space as Sean Payton, but it seems that the players appreciate his qualities as a unifier. Campbell was interim head coach of the Dolphins in 2015 (5-7 record).

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