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The Coaching Carousel: Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

Annual Tradition of the Coaching Cycle

Black Monday has become notorious in the NFL. This refers to the first Monday after the regular season concludes. While 14 NFL teams will be prepping for the postseason, other franchises are looking toward the future after disappointing campaigns. Black Monday marks the day when many coaches across the league are fired. Then, the coaching carousel kicks off. It’s an annual tradition during the NFL offseason.

The Coaching Carousel: Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes
Arizona Cardinals head coach Jonathan Gannon | Chris Coduto/Getty Images/AFP

The 2023 offseason was no different, providing plenty of coaching changes. Let’s look at the notable hires ahead of the offseason. Which teams should we favor in NFL betting lines for turnaround seasons?

New-Look Offenses Led By Big Names

Before digging into the new head coaches of the 2023 season, let’s look at coordinators. Offensive and defensive coordinators should not be overlooked. Many coordinators are the play callers and play a big part in game planning.

The Baltimore Ravens, Los Angeles Chargers, New England Patriots, and Washington Commanders made significant offensive coordinator hires. The Ravens hired Todd Monken from Georgia. This should help open up the offense with a more aggressive passing attack. Monken does a great job of getting favorable one-on-one matchups in space by utilizing pre-snap motion. This has caused some to favor Baltimore for the AFC North title in NFL predictions. The sportsbook has the Ravens as the second choice (+250).

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New England signed Bill O’Brien as offensive coordinator. He held the same position with Alabama from 2021-22. O’Brien was also the Pats’ OC from 2009-11. New England had dreadful offensive play-calling last season, which led to some of quarterback Mac Jones’ struggles. O’Brien likes to work the middle of the field in the passing game. He also uses bunch formations frequently and could add plenty of pre-snap motions and run-pass options. Jones excelled in a similar system at Alabama in 2020.

The Chargers hired the former Dallas Cowboys offensive coordinator, Kellen Moore. The Cowboys finished top four in points per game in the previous two seasons. Moore could help unlock quarterback Justin Herbert’s potential, who is +1200 to win the MVP Award.

Washington landed Eric Bieniemy, who was the Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator since 2018. Bieniemy was a part of the NFL’s most creative offense, which the Commanders desperately need.

Moore and Bieniemy’s new jobs required the Cowboys and Chiefs to find replacements. Dallas hired Brian Schottenhiemer as offensive coordinator, and head coach Mike McCarthy will call the plays. Quarterbacks coach Matt Nagy was promoted to Kansas City’s OC. Nagy held the same position with the Chiefs in 2016 and 2017.

Notable Veterans Join Defensive Staffs

At defensive coordinator, the Denver Broncos reunited with Vance Joseph, the Miami Dolphins landed Vic Fangio and the Minnesota Vikings hired Brian Flores. These have been some of the NFL’s brightest defensive minds for years. All three have held head coaching positions as well.

Joseph takes over a talented Denver defense. Fangio’s system should mesh well with Miami’s athletics edge rushers – Jaelen Phillips and Bradley Chubb. Flores has experience in turning defenses around quickly. In his first year as head coach of the Dolphins, they ranked last in allowed points per game. A year later? Miami finished sixth in the category. Minnesota’s defense could be in store for a turnaround.

The Dolphins landing Fangio could be the best move among defensive coordinator hires. This is a match made in heaven, as Miami has ideal personnel for Fangio’s system. This includes using heavy-zone coverage.

According to NFL odds, the Dolphins have a projected win total of 9½. The cover is an enticing pick with Fangio joining the team (-125).

Five Head Coaching Changes Headline Offseason

Five teams hired head coaches: Jonathan Gannon (Arizona Cardinals), Frank Reich (Carolina Panthers), Denver Broncos (Sean Payton), DeMeco Ryans (Houston Texans), and Shane Steichen (Indianapolis Colts).

This is less than what we are used to. Since 2018, at least seven teams made head coaching changes in four of six years. The 2023 and 2020 offseason had the lowest marks at five. In 2022, it was pandemonium with 10 head coaching changes.

Gannon could be the most questionable hire. He led an impressive Philadelphia Eagles defense last season. However, this was a stacked unit that did not require an exceptional scheme. The Eagles kept it simple and an elite pass rush fueled the fire. In Super Bowl 57, Philly’s defense was shredded in the second half. Gannon made a few adjustments, sticking to soft zone coverage.

Many Eagles fans griped about Gannon over the last two seasons. Arizona could be in store for more disappointment. The Cardinals are expected to be the worst team in the league with a projected win total of 4½.

There are no big complaints with the other four hires. Each move made sense and seem like a good fit. Frank Reich’s time with the Colts did not end well, but he never had a quality quarterback. The Panthers have equipped Reich with Bryce Young – the No. 1 pick of the 2023 NFL Draft.

The Broncos fired Nathaniel Hackett during the 2022 season and eventually hired Sean Payton. He was perhaps the best coach available. Payton won Super Bowl 44 in 2010 with the New Orleans Saints. He has built a reputation for installing exceptional offensive systems, which should bode well for Russell Wilson. Per NFL lines, Denver is +185 to make the postseason.

DeMeco Ryans has developed into one of the league’s rising stars. He was an excellent defensive coordinator for the San Francisco 49ers. Ryans also played for the Texans from 2006-11. Houston has finally taken a significant step towards improving.

Shane Steichen is a quarterback guru. He helped develop Herbert and Jalen Hurts, who are among the NFL’s highest-paid QBs. The Colts gave Steichen another signal-caller to develop: Anthony Richardson. Indianapolis has a bright future if Richardson pans out. He has almost every tool imaginable with a sky-high ceiling.

Which coaching changes will yield the most success in the 2023 season? The coordinator hires could have the biggest impact on potential playoff teams.

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