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NFL Report Card: 7 New Head Coaches
by Wayne Root - 09/12/2018
The Wayne Root Report Card on the 7 New NFL Coaches for Week One.
Owners are so quick to fire coaches. Once in a while it works. Sometimes sooner than later. But 2018 has begun as a disaster for this year’s class of new headmasters. The offseason brought seven new head coaches of which five were brand new ones and a pair of retreads in Jon Gruden and Pat Shurmur. They combined to go 0-7 in the first week of season. So what owners are the most worrisome?
The Detroit Lions have to be concerned with Matt Patricia. He one of two new coaches that are on the cusps of losing their locker room if the old guard doesn’t come around. He has almost no time to set the tone and work ethic. He had very little of it in preseason as reported by various NFL sources. After Matt Stafford’s performance, the last thing he needed to hear was that the Jets knew what plays they were calling. His running game was invisible and let added time for New York to win by 31. He has his work cut out for him.
Tennessee Titans Coach is also on the “little respect from players” list and is in the same boat. Mark Vrabel may have talked himself into a head coaching job he can’t handle. He failed miserably on both sides of the ball as there was no offense and Miami moved at will thru his lack of team defense defense. The weather delays are not an excuse! Mariota was awful (9-16, 0 TDs, 2 INTs) and then he was hurt, so this week may be a mystery. It’s unlikely his defense and special teams resume will keep the critics away.
Steve Wilks got the Arizona Cardinals gig and has some star players but the Quarterback is not one of them. He needs to rebuild quickly and the next two weeks will help if Josh Rosen is part of the plan. David Johnson should give the QBs some options along with Larry Fitzgerald. He should make Sam Bradford his backup and put all his hope on Rosen. With the Rams difficult schedule and the target on their back, anything can happen. Seattle and San Francisco can help out within the division so the gamble on Rosen could keep Arizona relevant in September if Josh Rosen can back up his draft day speeches.
Indianapolis started out in the right direction. They had the Bengals down by double digits. But without a rushing attack, they leaned on Andrew Luck until the luck ran dry and Cincinnati put it in high gear. Two things come to mind: Can you afford to have your franchise quarterback throwing the ball 53 times? Secondly, if things don’t change, how long will it take for Coach Frank Reich to be reminded he’s Indianapolis Colts second choice and got the job by default? He’ll be run run out of town if he over uses Luck’s surgically repaired golden arm.
Bears coach, Matt Nagy, may have a extremely good team set for a longtime. He has both sides of the ball cover with youthful talented players. He’s not the only one that has lost a lead to Green Bay’s Rodgers...on the road. It’s not all that uncommon with a first year coach and a sophomore quarterback to understand how to play with a 20 point lead. They need to focus that they led the game for over 50 minutes and move on from that. They will find out how to close a game out as the season progresses.
On Jon Gruden’s Raiders, it’s difficult sailing since the Mack trade, losing to the Rams and now going to Denver trying to avoid that 0-2 start. But, his locker room could blow up. He may be more of a celebrity than a coach in the eyes of the locker room. Many players may think his salary was the roadblock on paying Mack his due. Ten years has change the playing field and the youthful personalities he’ll have to face at 3:14am each day. The two questions today might be: where was Amari Cooper on Monday night and does his team really buy into that he’s there for $100 Million salary more than a Super Bowl ring. We shall see.
The New York Giants could win this division. Coach Pat Shurmur’s squad played a decent game against a great team before losing to Jacksonville by five points. Veteran quarterback Eli Manning was a huge part of the problem with his 6 yards per catch totals. Note: That’s with Odell Beckham Jr running routes. Let’s not forget that Saquon Barkley is taking some heat off of Eli Manning if scripted correctly. The talent is there. Shurmur is a former quarterback coach so he should retread nicely here. But can the New York haters be far behind or will they remain behind this team all year?