Raymond Summerlin

Offseason Low Down

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The Coaching Carousel: NFC

Wednesday, January 27, 2016


The 49ers' hire of Jim O'Neil as their defensive coordinator officially shut the coaching carousel down for 2016. There are still some positional coach openings to fill, but, for the most part, coaching staffs are set. Here is a rundown of the biggest changes across the league. 

The AFC rundown can be found here.

Last Update: 1/27/2016 4 p.m. EST

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New Organization
Detroit Lions
The Lions became the first organization to fill their general manager vacancy when they nabbed former Patriots director of pro scouting Bob Quinn. Only 39, Quinn had spent his entire career in New England and spent the last three seasons directing the pro scouting department. His player evaluations are reportedly highly regarded.

Quinn’s first task as general manager was deciding coach Jim Caldwell’s fate. After a week of deliberation, Quinn decided to keep Caldwell around for another season, but it is likely he will be a short leash under a general manager who did not hire him. Keeping Caldwell around was a good idea simply to retain the services of OC Jim Bob Cooter and DC Teryl Austin. Cooter worked wonders with Matthew Stafford over the second half of the season, and Austin is a well-respected coordinator who should land his own head coaching job soon enough. 

GM Bob Quinn: With the patriots from 2000-2015. Worked his way up from player personnel assistant to the director of pro scouting.
HC Jim Caldwell
18-14 in two years in Detroit with one playoff appearance. Rebounded from a 1-7 start to finish 7-9.
OC Jim Bob Cooter:
Took over for Joe Lombardi Week 8. Matthew Stafford had a 20:4 touchdown-to-interception ratio under Cooter. 
DC Teryl Austin:
Finished 18th in total defense and 23rd in points allowed after finishing 2nd and 3rd respectively in 2014. Despite the slip, Austin did well to maintain some respectability despite a severe decrease in talent.

Philadelphia Eagles
The Eagles did not bring in a new organization per se, but the firing of Chip Kelly and re-empowerment of Howie Roseman represents a significant change. Roseman will not take on the general manager title he lost in a power struggle with Kelly last offseason, but it does appear he will handle most of the duties usually reserved for the general manager. Even if they hire a new GM, that person would likely just be an advisor for Roseman.

On the coaching front, the Eagles gave courtesy interviews to former-OC Pat Shurmur and longtime Eagles player and assistant Duce Staley, but they ultimately decided to head in another direction. That said, the coaching search was not smooth.

Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin rebuked Philly early in the process. Bears OC Adam Gase was an early favorite, but he ended up in Miami. There were rumors of Jon Gruden being interested, but he refuted those reports. Owner Jeffrey Lurie was reportedly smitten with John Harbaugh, but that was as fanciful as a C.S. Lewis novel. Giants OC Ben McAdoo was thought to be a favorite, but he stayed in New York as the head coach. McAdoo's former boss Tom Coughlin was reportedly deep into negotiations, but he pulled his name out of the running because he did not feel he could build a staff on the fly with most of his people still under contract in New York. 

After all of those whiffs, Philadelphia finally landed their man in Chiefs OC Doug Pederson. An Andy Reid acolyte, Pederson started nine games at quarterback for the Eagles in 1999 and was a coach with the organization from 2009-12 before following Reid to Kansas City as the offensive coordinator. Pederson was not the main play caller in Kansas City under Reid, but Reid did give him those duties at times to get him ready for his head-coaching future. Now heading his own team, Pederson will take on the play-calling duties. 

Ex-Lions coach Jim Schwartz became the first member of Pederson's staff when he was hired as defensive coordinator. Schwartz was out of the league last season, but he led a dominant Bills defense in 2014. Philadelphia will likely switch to a 4-3 under Schwartz. 

Ex-Chargers OC Frank Reich was hired as the offensive coordinator. He was scapegoated despite the Chargers offense arguably overachieving the last two seasons. RBs coach Duce Staley will be retained. Ex-Browns OC John DeFilippo was brought in as the QBs coach.   

GM Howie Roseman: Served as the general manager in 2013 and 2014. Played a large role in the drafting of Marcus Smith in the first round in 2014.
HC Doug Pederson:
Played and coached in Philadelphia. 
OC Frank Reich:
 Chargers finished 9th in total yards despite serious injury issues. 
DC Jim Schwartz:
Led the Bills defense in 2014. Finished 4th in total defense and 4th in points allowed. Runs a 4-3 scheme. 

New Coach
New York Giants
Tom Coughlin “resigned” on Black Monday, although his brush off of John Mara at the press conference announcing his resignation and his willingness to speak with the Eagles and 49ers suggested there was more to the situation. Either way, the Giants had to search for a new coach.

New York considered several outside candidates, with Lions DC Teryl Austin, Panthers DC Sean McDermott, ex-Falcons coach Mike Smith and Jaguars assistant HC Doug Marrone getting interviews. The best candidate, however, was already inside the organization. 

Eli Manning consistently expressed his desire for OC Ben McAdoo to become the new head coach, and the quarterback got his wish in the second week of the coaching search. McAdoo is extremely young as head coaches go at 38, and he has only two years of coordinator experience. Even so, Manning has played some of his best football under McAdoo the last two seasons, and McAdoo was clearly on the head coach track. Speeding up his ascension to a lead job is a small price to pay for the continuity the star quarterback obviously desired. 

DC Steve Spagnuolo was passed over for the head job and got some interest from the Eagles, but he will remain as the defensive coordinator. It is an interesting decision considering how terrible Spags' defenses have been in his last two seasons as a coordinator (Giants in 2015 and Saints in 2012), but he was dealing with a talent-deficient roster last season. Perhaps he can turn it around, but he is going to need a talent infusion to make it happen. 

Ex-Dolphins coach Joe Philbin was expected to join McAdoo's staff as the offensive coordinator, but that job went to QBs coach Mike Sullivan. Philbin ended up joining the Colts as an offensive line coach. Ex-Rams OC Frank Cignetti was hired to replace Sullivan.

GM Jerry Reese: Held the position since 2007. The lack of talent and depth on defense falls squarely on his shoulders. 
HC Ben McAdoo
: Finished 8th in total offense and 6th in points scored. Eli Manning has thrown at least 30 touchdowns with a 2.3 interception percentage in back-to-back seasons.
OC Mike Sullivan: Offensive coordinator with the Bucs in 2012 and 2013. Spent nine seasons total with the Giants including as QBs coach last year. 
DC Steve Spagnuolo:
Finished 32nd in total defense and 30th in points allowed. Led one of the worst defenses of all time while with the Saints in 2012.

San Francisco 49ers
Jim Tomsula was fired before the final fan made it out of the parking lot after the 49ers’ overtime win over the Rams in Week 17. Never a long-term answer, Tomsula will return to his rightful place as a position coach, and GM Trent Baalke will continue his attempt to ruin a franchise which was a legitimate contender as recently as 2013.

In that pursuit, Baalke was reportedly looking to hire a coach who would not "threaten [his] power." The paranoia likely caused San Francisco to miss out on Hue Jackson, who ended up in Cleveland, but the 49ers did land ex-Eagles coach Chip Kelly. Kelly has said he is no longer interested in running the personnel side after failing miserably in Philadelphia, and he reportedly has a good relationship with 49ers senior personnel executive Tom Gamble. 

With Baalke at the helm, Kelly is probably the best possible outcome for the 49ers. He had success the first two years in Philadelphia, runs an offense which is a good fit for both Colin Kaepernick and Carlos Hyde, and is unlikely to seek out absolute power anytime soon. The defense in San Francisco played well at times in 2015. If Kelly can get the offense to be respectable, there is some hope for a turnaround. 

Current DC Eric Mangini was expected to stick around, but Texans LBs coach and former All-Pro linebacker Mike Vrabel was offered the job. He declined, and the 49ers had to turn to ex-Browns DC Jim O'Neil. Cleveland's defense was bad with O'Neil running the show, and coaching opposite Kelly's fast-paced offense has proven to be a major challenge. The defense will face a ton more plays and will likely take a step back this season. 

Curtis Modkins was brought in as offensive coordinator. He was Chan Gailey's coordinator in Buffalo from 2010-12 and spent the last three seasons coaching the running backs in Detroit. Kelly will call his own plays. Bob Bicknell came over from the Eagles to fill the same WRs coach role on 49ers. 

GM Trent Baalke: Held the position since 2011. Had some hits in the 2014 draft, but his overall record is poor.
HC Chip Kelly:
26-21 in three seasons with the Eagles. Excellent fit for both Colin Kaepernick and Carlos Hyde
OC Curtis Modkins:
Bills offensive coordinator from 2010-12. 
DC Jim O'Neil:
 Browns finished 23rd and 27th in total defense his two years as coordinator. 

Tampa Bay Bucs

The firing of Lovie Smith was not shocking considering he was 8-24 in two seasons with the Bucs, but the timing was interesting. Tampa Bay waited until the Wednesday after Week 17 to let the veteran coach go, and that decision did not appear to be made until OC Dirk Koetter started to receive interest from other teams.

The timeline suggested Koetter was always the lead candidate for the job, and the Bucs made it official just over a week later. Koetter has had success as a play caller in his career, but his head-coaching experience is limited to the college ranks. That said, he appeared to be a hot candidate before Tampa decided to let Smith go. The Bucs obviously wanted to keep Koetter, and the only way that was going to happen was by making him the head coach. 

Koetter brought in ex-Souther Miss coach Todd Monken as offensive coordinator, but he is expected to keep calling plays. He said he plans to be more aggressive next season. Monken will also coach the receivers. 

Ex-Falcons coach Mike Smith, who was Koetter's boss in Atlanta, will join the staff as defensive coordinator. Smith's defenses early in his run as coordinator in Jacksonville were strong, but his defenses struggled late in his run with the Jags and throughout his tenure in Atlanta. Tampa Bay overachieved a bit in 2015, and there is a chance they take a step back next season under Smith. 

GM Jason Licht: Held the position since 2014. Licht appears to have gotten it right with Jameis Winston at No. 1 overall in the last draft, and he found some later-round value in Kwon Alexander. Licht was behind the questionable decision not to exercise the fifth-year option on Doug Martin last spring.
HC Dirk Koetter:
Finished 5th in total offense and 20th in points scored. Worked well with Winston, which is the main reason he was such a strong candidate for Tampa. Will continue to call plays as head coach. 
OC Todd Monken: Coordinator and head coaching experience limited to college, but coached with Koetter in Jacksonville. 
DC Mike Smith: Jags DC from 2003-07. Coached Falcons from 2008-14. Defenses have struggled most of the last seven seasons. 




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Raymond Summerlin is a football writer for Rotoworld.com. He can be found on Twitter at @RMSummerlin.
Email :Raymond Summerlin



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