Coming into this offseason, there were seven NFL teams looking for a new head coach. And only one big name head coach was available. So it’s no surprise that it’s been a hiring season filled with unknowns and retreads.
Here are my thoughts on each of the seven new faces leading NFL teams in 2012.
Jeff Fisher, Rams. He had a long, successful tenure with the Titans, but only one Super Bowl appearance. Something always seemed to go wrong in the playoffs. In his final season with the Titans, he appeared to be getting burned out as he mishandled the team’s relationship with former QB Vince Young. Hopefully the year off did him some good.
Joe Philbin, Dolphins. Ahh, that Super Bowl glow. The Dolphins really, really wanted Jeff Fisher, but even the team’s owner noticed that Fisher really didn’t seem interested in coaching the Dolphins (see burn out concerns mentioned above). Enter Philbin, Green Bay’s offensive coordinator, who blew them away with a great interview and a thick binder that he’d been working on for years with his complete coaching philosophy. The Dolphins have been without an offense for almost 10 years now, so they really needed an offensive minded coach.
Romeo Crennel, Chiefs. He looks a little out of place standing on the sideline, peering over his bifocals. His time in Cleveland didn’t turn out so well, and he’s the oldest head coach hired this year. But after the fiery Todd Haley era ended abruptly, maybe a steady veteran coach is what this team needs.
Mike Mularkey, Jaguars. The Jacksonville offense was offensive to watch in 2011, so hiring an offensive minded coach is a good idea. But, as the Atlanta’s offensive coordinator, he led a pretty conservative unit that was shut out in the playoffs by the Giants. Mularkey’s previous head coaching experience with the Bills ended after only two seasons so you have to wonder what went wrong last time.
Chuck Pagano, Colts. He spent the past four seasons working for John Harbaugh in Baltimore, and in 2011 he was the Ravens defensive coordinator. Their performance against Tom Brady in the AFC Championship game alone might have earned him this job. Previously, he followed Butch Davis on many stops through the college ranks and the NFL.
Dennis Allen, Raiders. New GM Reggie McKenzie wanted to bring a new atmosphere to the Raiders, and he’s apparently found the drill sergeant to do it. But Allen only spent one season as Denver’s defensive coordinator — previously he’d been coaching the defensive backs in New Orleans. The same goes for him and Pagano: their lack of experience as either a coordinator or head coach is a risk.
Greg Schiano, Buccaneers. He was a little known college coach who was the most surprising hire of the year. He’s got some strong supporters, including Sports Illustrated’s Peter King, but the atmosphere in Tampa will be a lot different than at Rutgers. He hasn’t coached in any NFL capacity in over a decade and he probably carries the most risk.
More from Washington Post Sports:
Couch Slouch: Coaches are hired to be fired
Early Lead: Greg Schaino agrees to coach Buccaneers
Early Lead: Jeff Fisher accepts Rams coaching job
Early Lead: Romeo Crennel named Chiefs’ head coach