We are approaching the last week of the NFL season and you know what that means, head coaches are going to be getting fired soon and the search for a new coach will begin. We already know that the Houston Texans, Atlanta Falcons, and Detroit Lions have openings and I expect there to be a few more. In this article I will tell you who I think the best and worst fits are for each opening and what other openings I expect to become available. Let’s get to it!
We currently have three teams without a head coach and I’ll rank them in order of what I think is the best opening to the worst as well as who they should hire.
1.) Houston Texans- 2020 Coach Bill O’Brien
Even heading into an off season without first or second round pick (due to the trade made with the Miami Dolphins last season) the Houston Texans are the best opening as of right now. They have a franchise QB in Deshaun Watson already locked up for the future who even after the horrible trade of WR DeAndre Hopkins to Arizona put up fantastic numbers. He is the kind of quarterback that will make everyone around him better no matter who it is. They do have an aging defense but there are players they could shop to get more draft capital. DE JJ Watt being atop of that list. Watt could land them at least a 2nd or 3rd round pick and clear out some cap room for Houston to go retool that roster. Watson is the number one reason why this is the best available job.
Who the Texans should hire- Eric Bieniemy Offensive Coordinator, Kansas City Chiefs
With a talented quarterback already in place Bieniemy makes the most sense here. You have seen how well Patrick Mahomes has been right? A lot of that credit can go to Bieniemy. He puts his players in the best position to succeed, he’s an in-your-face communicator and always has had the respect from his players. He will be the hottest candidate on the market and Houston would be smart to target him ASAP and make him the next head coach.
2.) Atlanta Falcons- 2020 Head Coach Dan Quinn
This roster is getting old I get it. The average age of this roster is around 27 and players such as QB Matt Ryan and WR Julio Jones are nearing the end of their careers and carrying high cap numbers. These also could be trade chips to teams that need a QB and WR and are in win-now mode (New England, Indianapolis possibly in the upcoming offseason). The cap situation is messy but you have an owner in Arthur Blank who has the resources and has publicly promised to do whatever needs to be done to win. With that kind of support any coach interviewing for this job would have to feel good about this situation. Sell as high as you can with your aging players and retool. Plus, possibly having a top 5 pick you have the opportunity to draft Matt Ryan’s replacement or add another impact piece. The Falcons job should attract quite a few coordinators and former coaches this off season.
Who should the Falcons hire- Raheem Morris, Current Interim Head Coach
This one to me is easy. Morris has already been with the organization for six years and knows everyone in it and they know him. The Falcons do have a messy cap situation but they do have pieces in place to trade to clear out some room and add some draft capital (Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, etc). They also have young pieces such as WR Calvin Ridley that should give them hope for the future. With a top 5 pick upcoming Morris can pick his quarterback of the future and develop him. The Falcons have played a lot harder since the removal of Dan Quinn as head coach and I credit that to the respect they have for Morris. Atlanta needs to make the obvious move and remove the interim tag and make Raheem Morris their head coach.
3.) Detroit Lions- 2020 Head Coach Matt Patricia
This team had a very rough 2020. QB Matthew Stafford battled injuries most of the year and the team pretty much had given up on former head coach Matt Patricia. You still do have QB Matthew Stafford in place as well as pieces such as WR Kenny Golladay, TE TJ Hockenson, RB D’Andre Swift, and 2020 first round pick CB Jeff Okudah. With the right defensive coordinator and a fresh voice at coach this team could rebound in 2021 depending on Stafford’s health. With a potential top 10 pick coming up in the draft you also have the ability to draft your next quarterback or add another impact piece on the defensive side of the ball. Tons to like here, not as much as Houston or Atlanta, but still a job that should draw tons of interest.
Who should the Lions hire- Jim Harbaugh, Michigan Wolverines Head Coach
Bring on the hate. This is going to be the hire people give me crap for. No, I don’t want Jim Harbaugh to take this job just so he can quit holding back my Michigan Wolverines. Lets look at Harbaugh’s past in the NFL. He was 36-11 in his first three seasons as the San Francisco 49ers head coach and also was 49-22 in six years at Michigan. Also with a Super Bowl trip in his second year in San Francisco. Did he make Michigan a powerhouse again? No. Did he improve them from where they were? Yes, he did. The thing about Harbaugh is he can win as long as a good quarterback is in place. Enter Matthew Stafford. This is a guy who Harbaugh can win with right away and he can use that first round pick to draft the heir apparent. Harbaugh did wonders with Alex Smith and Colin Kaepernick in San Fran and I expect he can do the same with Stafford. Only bad thing about Harbaugh is he seems to wear organizations and players down after 3-4 years but even with that risk he is the best possible hire for this team. I think Harbaugh stays in the state of Michigan as the head coach of the Detroit Lions.
Coaching Jobs I Expect to Become Available
Jacksonville Jaguars- Current Head Coach Doug Marrone
This is easily the best job opening when this becomes available. Jacksonville has been “Tanking for Trevor” all season and they will get their wish. Any coach would love to come into this situation with the potential to draft a franchise QB in Lawrence with rookie phenom RB James Robinson, WRs DJ Chark and Laviska Shenault, LT Cam Robinson, LBs Myles Jack and Joe Schobert and defensive end Josh Allen already in place. The Jaguars could be a fast turnaround. With a projected 84 million dollars of cap space to spend in the 2021 offseason coaches from all around will be drooling over this job. When this job becomes available it will be the best job available immediately.
Who the Jaguars should hire- Joe Brady, Offensive Coordinator, Carolina Panthers
Joe Brady is the most underrated candidate this off season. Brady has done wonderful work with developing what ended up being a loaded offensive class at LSU featuring QB Joe Burrow, RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire, and WR Justin Jefferson. Keep in mind none of these three players were considered first round talents until after Brady took over as passing coordinator and wide receivers coach. Imagine what he can do with Trevor Lawrence, James Robinson, and DJ Chark. This season with the Carolina Panthers, Brady has made Teddy Bridgewater look like a franchise quarterback instead of a bridge (pun intended). Despite losing All-Pro running back Christian McCaffrey, Bridgewater and WRs Robby Anderson, Curtis Samuel and DJ Moore all had career years under Brady. Brady is the perfect fit for Jacksonville and would be the first person I’d reach out to if I’m the Jaguars.
New York Jets- Current Head Coach- Adam Gase
What is there to like about the New York Jets? Nothing. This team can’t even tank right. They had Trevor Lawrence in their sites and decided to go out and start winning. This team has zero appeal and is a joke.
Who should the Jets hire- Anyone who will take the job
No quarterback, no running backs, no good receivers, a bad offensive line and a so so defense. Yeah what’s to like here? Don’t even tell me how great Sam Darnold is. He’s not, get over it. I was thinking about sending in my application via LinkedIn but decided this job isn’t even worth my time. Good luck Jets, your going to need it.
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