It is only Week 14, butreports of Urban Meyer-created dysfunction in Jacksonville and speculation about offensive-wonderkid Joe Brady’s next destination has already begun to fuel the 2022 NFL coaching carousel. While teams will likely have household names such as Eric Bieniemy, Brian Daboll and Todd Bowles at the top of their lists, I am going to dive into some of the underrated head coaching candidates and their best fits around the NFL.
The only thing I am sure about at this point in the NFL season is that the transitive property is not applicable to the NFL. The Titans beat the Bills, Chiefs, Colts, Rams and Saints but have had gut-wrenching losses to the Jets and Texans. This epitomizes the energy of this NFL season, where no one team is the clear favorite and where nobody really knows what is going on. This is especially the case in the AFC.
As I watched the 49ers get shredded by Colt McCoy and James Conner on Sunday, it felt as if I had been watching a poorly coached team. Then I remembered that in the football community, especially on Twitter, it is a cardinal sin to criticize Kyle Shanahan: the revered offensive guru and mastermind. While Shanahan is not on the hot seat in this case, a game like this begs the question of whether NFL teams should blindly pursue the best-looking, most innovative offensive mind that is available in the offseason. While NFL teams are no longer hell-bent on hiring anybody who has shaken hands with Sean McVay, I believe it would be useful to examine the different types of head coaching that exist in the NFL and evaluate the hiring process as a whole.
The team we should take more seriously
This offseason, like many before it, was full of hope for Jacksonville Jaguars supporters. With the addition of quarterback Trevor Lawrence and Head Coach Urban Meyer, it felt like the entire organization had received a much-needed facelift. Meyer’s catchy slogans including “+2 Mentality” and “Own It,” the team's evolution into a players-first organization, improved strength and conditioning programs and plans for a brand-new training facility made it feel as if a genuine culture shift was afoot in Duval County. But after five weeks, it appears that Meyer has brought the toxicity from his past to the Jaguars.
With the No. 4 pick, the Atlanta Falcons could draft their next franchise quarterback, select "unicorn" Kyle Pitts or trade down to accumulate assets. Yes, there are clear benefits with each option, but I believe being in the position to select a franchise quarterback is too great of an opportunity to pass up. Additionally, 35-year-old Matt Ryan would be the perfect mentor and bridge to either Fields or Lance.
NFL Network called it “the throw of the pro day season.” There was one particular throw in Zach Wilson’s pro day that stood out to NFL scouts and Twitter alike. "The throw" had the former Brigham Young quarterback in a sprint right bootleg, rolling toward the left hash and hitting receiver Aleva Hifo in-stride 60 yards downfield, as Wilson was still drifting to his left. But when former Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields made a nearly identical throw in his pro day several days after Wilson, the NFL media was silent.
The Cleveland Browns were a 14-yard run by Chad Henne and a gutsy fourth down call by Andy Reid away from having a shot at playing in the AFC championship game. The Browns are not only back, but their tenacious running game and potent play-action passing have also made them legitimate contenders in the AFC. In order to seriously challenge the Chiefs, Browns general manager Andrew Berry needed to shore up the secondary.
It is clear that women are becoming increasingly involved in the NFL. While others have captured the national headlines recently, one very talented woman in the NFL has flown completely under the radar. On Friday, Feb. 22, the Jacksonville Jaguars announced that they had hired Amy Palcic to lead their public relations department.