Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Ben McAdoo To The Giants and Other NFC Coaching Changes

Unsurprisingly it's good for coaches' careers when they have a chance to work with QB Aaron Rodgers. Two years ago OC Joe Philbin became the Dolphins' head coach and now QB coach Ben McAdoo has been hired by the Giants:
McAdoo's been the next big thing for a couple of years now. He's "perhaps the hottest young offensive coordinator candidate in the league" because his contract expired at the end of the season which means that no team had to ask the Packers for permission to interview him (which they didn't give in the past) and he's a free agent. Oh, and he's got the shine of having coached Rodgers for the past couple seasons. I guess we'll ignore the other five guys he coached this season who have no business starting in the NFL.

He's probably a very smart coach who's obviously got Mike McCarthy's trust since he's been working with him for almost 10 years. But McCarthy's still the brains behind the entire operation and the offense only succeeds because of Rodgers. The Packers will be fine without McAdoo, who now faces the major challenge of rebuilding the Giants' terrible offense.

As for the two head coaching hires in the NFC North, both guys appeared to have been hired because they have the exact opposite personalities of the previous coaches. A little disclaimer first: I have no idea what type of person makes a great head coach and the successful ones can come from anywhere. I kind of like a coach to have an offensive background, but that's no guarantee of success either.

Vikings hired Mike Zimmer, who's known for screaming at players on Hard Knocks while previous HC Leslie Frazier was "a popular figure in the locker room." As I wrote above, I have no idea whether that'll make him a success or a failure, but Zimmer certainly knows how to coach defense (of course, so did Frazier) and maybe a Jim Schwartz type of guy is what the Vikings need. However, the Lions just fired Schwartz and they decided to go in a different direction.

Here's former Packer Jeff Saturday talking about new Lions' head coach, Jim Caldwell. He was the coach who was always looking calm on the Colts' sidelines versus the often confrontational Schwartz. Caldwell deserved a lot of credit for turning the Ravens' offense around in 2012 as offensive coordinator, but he might have been fired this offseason for guiding them through a disastrous 2013 campaign. His number one priority will be working with QB Matthew Stafford. Former OC Scott Linehan isn't the best coach in the world, but maybe Stafford is just going to be a maddeningly inconsistent QB in the mold of Eli Manning and Joe Flacco for the rest of his career. Caldwell is no sure bet to turn him around.

In the end, neither the Vikings or Lions made a bad choice (though the Lions did seem to bungle the P.R. battle by looking like the loser in the Ken Whisenhunt sweepstakes) and only time will tell if either coach succeeds.

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