Opening marks for the new head coaches
Posted on Sun, Oct. 01, 2006
Brad Childress is one of nine new coaches in the NFL, but not all of them are having a memorable start.
Sean: During the offseason, Vikings owner Zygi Wilf had first pick of all the available coaching candidates, and he selected Brad Childress to lead his team. So far, Wilf's choice appears solid, as the Vikings, despite arguably their toughest stretch of the season, are off to a 2-1 start under Childress.
Today, Childress is opposite another new head coach, Dick Jauron, formerly of the Chicago Bears. The Buffalo Bills are 1-2, after playing two of their first three division games on the road.
But eight other teams made changes this offseason: the New York Jets (Eric Mangini), Houston Texans (Gary Kubiak), Oakland Raiders (Art Shell), Kansas City Chiefs (Herm Edwards), Green Bay Packers (Mike McCarthy), New Orleans Saints (Sean Payton), Detroit Lions (Rod Marinelli) and St. Louis Rams (Scott Linehan).
Who do you think has done the best job so far, Don?
Don: A lot of coaches have done a good job, including Childress. But no one has done better so far than Sean Payton in New Orleans. I thought the Saints would come back to earth in Monday night's game against Atlanta. Instead, they looked like a playoff team in a convincing 23-3 victory. Childress and Eric Mangini with the Jets are both off to good starts. But if you were voting today for coach of the year, Payton would top most people's ballot.
Sean: I have also been impressed with Payton, who, like Childress, has taken a hard-line stance in shaping his roster. His approach reminds me more of a college coach, but Payton has earned the respect of his team and his community.
The other coach who has impressed me is former Vikings offensive coordinator Scott Linehan, whose Rams are off to a 2-1 start. They surprisingly defeated the Denver Broncos in the opener, and they won one of their two division games on the road. That's not too bad.
He made a wise choice in selecting former Saints head coach Jim Haslett to run his defense, and his offense has only scored 47 points. But Linehan's unit will come around and perhaps blow up this week against the Detroit Lions.
Don: I like the Linehan hire, too. The Rams are a weird 2-1, beating the Broncos and then turning around and losing to the San Francisco 49ers. But at least they appear to be on the right track.
That's more than you can say for some of these teams with new coaches, like Oakland and Detroit. Rod Marinelli's drill sergeant approach was supposed to light a fire under the underachieving Lions. But at 0-3, they still look like one of the NFL's worst teams.
The Raiders might be even worse, with an 0-2 record under Art Shell, an injured starting quarterback (Aaron Brooks) and two unhappy receivers (Randy Moss and Jerry Porter).
Even the Texans, who are 0-3, under Gary Kubiak, aren't as messed up as the Raiders are.
Sean: Moss unhappy? That's a new one.
But I think the Raiders, with all their offensive talent, will scare at least a few opponents this season. In Houston, I'm not sure a proven assistant like Kubiak has enough talent to turn around the Texans. They obviously need to be patient.
The three losing teams that I can't criticize are the Packers, Chiefs and Bills. I think the Chiefs can become a contender, if â€” and when â€” Trent Green returns. That's tough for any team to lose its starting quarterback so early in the season. Besides, the 0-2 Chiefs have lost to two playoff teams from 2005, and they lost a heartbreaker, 9-6, in Denver.
I think McCarthy is a good coach. But the Packers clearly need some of their high-paid players to start stepping up more. And, once again, the Packers have to be patient with a rookie linebacker (A.J. Hawk).
As for the Bills, they went into Miami and beat the Dolphins, who were projected as a possible Super Bowl team, and they played the New England Patriots and Jets tough in their two losses.
Don: Except for Brett Favre, the Packers are in full rebuilding mode. So Mike McCarthy gets a pass for this season. Even with the loss of Trent Green, I'm surprised the Chiefs are 0-2. Like a lot of people, I thought Herm Edwards was trading up when he forced his way out with the Jets. And I thought Eric Mangini would be in over his head. Instead, Edwards' old team has looked a lot better than his new one.
And I think Kansas City is going to have a hard time turning its season around, no matter when Green gets back.
As far as Buffalo, I thought Jauron was a surprising hire for the Bills, especially after he went 1-4 as the Lions' interim coach last season. But at least he didn't end up with the full-time job there.
If anyone traded up during the offseason, it's him.
Sean: I think by season's end, the Chiefs will be right in the thick of things. They have too many weapons on offense and some talented players on defense not to be a contender, regardless of how many weeks Green misses.
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Re: Opening marks for the new head coaches
LMAO! What percentage of turnover did the Vikings have this year & they give the Packers a free ride?
Don: Except for Brett Favre, the Packers are in full rebuilding mode. So Mike McCarthy gets a pass for this season.
The HC & the organization had the opportunity to sign the players they lost, with the but failed to do it.
They shouldn't get a free ride because of it.
They had a pretty decent cap this year, but wasn't it McCarthy's choice to get his players thru the draft instead of FA?
He's to blame for that. No free rides in the NFL.