Wednesday Wrap-Up: Head Coach Carousel

By: Ryan Hain and Austin Streitmatter

The 7 NFL Head Coach openings have been filled so today Ryan Hain and Austin Streitmatter are grading each HC hiring. Read on and let us know if you think we taught you something you didn’t know or if you think that our grades are horrendous! We always love to hear from all of you!

Streitmatter: A

The Falcons clearly believe they still have the offensive talent to compete. This is the first Head Coach that the Falcons have hired with an immediate former job on the offensive side of the ball since 2007 when they hired Bobby Petrino. They’ve gone 13 years without an offensive minded coach at the helm so I’m excited to see what Smith can do after creating a machine of an offense in Tennessee. In the 2 years before Smith served TEN as their OC they were ranked 19th and 27th respectively. In the 2 years that Smith took over, TEN has had the 10th and 4th ranked offense in the league with the 2nd highest yards per game total last year. Smith can revolutionize an offense and the Falcons have the talent to do just that. 

Hain: A

I think this is an excellent hire by the Falcons. I am surprised that Arthur Smith, who was sought after by most of the teams on this list, decided to go to the Falcons, considering it is one of the least appealing jobs available. The cap situation is terrible, and the Falcons have the oldest roster in the NFL. With that being said, the Falcons do have the 4th pick and plenty of talent on both sides of the ball. This hire means that the Falcons intend to squeeze every ounce they can out of Matt Ryan and Julio Jones which is the smart thing to do since I believe they have plenty left to offer, and their cap numbers would be a nightmare to move. Overall I’m excited to see what Arthur Smith and Matt Ryan can cook up, and it will be interesting to see where they go in the draft. 

Streitmatter: B

Campbell will be gone within the next 3 years not due to his faults but due to the fact that Detroit will be a bottom feeder for the next 3 years. They’re doing the right thing letting Stafford go and initiating a full rebuild but that means they will be BAD for the next couple years. He does have head coaching experience during his interim role with the Dolphins where he led them to a 6-10 record after Joe Philbin started them with a 1-3 record. Campbell also has been a part of a winning culture for the past 5 years with New Orleans as they made the playoffs 4 of those 5 years. Campbell won’t have the talent that was in New Orleans but he can start the shift back to relevance with his new culture and that’s why he gets a B.

Hain: B

I actually kind of like this hire. I think of him as Mike Vrabel turned up to 11. Don’t expect him to call any plays or offer a ton in terms of X’s and O’s, but he might be the best coach out there in terms of motivation. A former Lions player himself, I feel like he can give this Lions team a new identity, which they have been severely lacking for years. In his first press conference, he said some very interesting things about biting people’s knee caps and building a tough team . With Matthew Stafford out the door, I wonder where the Lions will go from here. If they can get some draft capital for Stafford, I could see them trading up for a quarterback or possibly sitting with the 7th picking and taking Trey Lance. If Cambell can surround himself with a good staff, I could see this hire working out pretty well for the Lions.

Streitmatter: F

The situation is terrible. There is no hope and outlook for Texans fans. The one minor brightside is that Watson will demand a King’s ransom and so the Texans may get some capital back. But for the next 2-3 years, expect these guys to be bad, very bad. Culley does have 27 years of coaching experience but what worries me is that he’s never been more than a position group coach except for a small stint at UTEP from 1989-’90. He’s had many assistant HC roles but nothing more and that scares me since he’s been a coach for 27 years as mentioned before. He struggled with a now MVP candidate in Josh Allen when he was at Buffalo and Lamar Jackson both in 2020 and through the air in 2019 (his 208.5 YPG was 28th).  Expect nothing and you’ll have a chance to be satisfied.

Hain: F

I feel sorry for Texans fans. The Texans were put into a lose-lose situation by their incompetence. They have no draft capital, Deshaun Watson wants out, and their owner is a clown. These three things combined make this job by far the worst in the NFL. It didn’t matter who they hired because they are set up to fail. I feel like this is a hire that is a placeholder through the hard times they are about to go through. I doubt David Culley will last two seasons.

Streitmatter: A

This is arguably my favorite hire for the entire cycle. Urban has historic success at Ohio State and Florida winning national titles with both schools. He’s had success at every school he’s been at and should continue to see success in the NFL. My 2 main fears with this hire are that he’s working with a rebuilding roster. The defense is iffy at best but the offense is solid. If Urban can hit some draft picks and sign some pieces for that defense, the Jaguars return to relevance could be sooner than we expect. The 2nd fear is the people have tended to gloss over Meyer’s past scandals. He’s been known to have some culture problems at OSU and UF. Now that may be because he was coaching college guys but that’s still a little scary.

Hain: B-

This is a complicated hire. On paper, the Jaguars have the most appealing job. They have the number one overall pick, which means Trevor Lawrence, they have a lot of cap space, and they have a lot of excellent young pieces to build around. I think Urban Meyer could be a good hire. He is a proven winner in the college ranks and has North Florida ties from his days in the swamp. I think he will be a good mentor for Trevor Lawrence and will bring a college mind to that offense. I graded this hire so low because there are just so many questions that need to be answered. The first is that Urban Meyer has never coached in the NFL. How will not being the man like he was in college and responding to the GM and owner work for him? How long is Urban committed to the NFL? He has had numerous health concerns in the past. I think if he responds well to his new role and is committed to the Jags long term, this would be a great hire, but until then, we’ll just have to wait and see.

Streitmatter: A

Anytime you can hire someone who led his unit to a top 3 performance is a good hire. Staley has constantly been promoted which I think is a great sign for a younger coach. Staley inherits a defense that is arguably better than the Rams defense. A healthy Derwin James, Joey Bosa and hopefully a newly signed Melvin Ingram gives the Bolts 3 stars at all levels of the defense. The offense is young and has a stellar rookie in Herbert. If Staley can replicate his success with the other LA team, the Chargers should be a threat to dethrone KC in the west this year.

Hain: A+

I love this hire. I thought that they would go with an offensive mind to help develop Justin Herbert, but instead, they went with, in my opinion, the brightest mind on defense in football. Staley led the Rams to the number 1 defense this past season, expecting him to do similar things with the Chargers. Considering the amount of talent that the Chargers have of defense, they have underperformed. With a much-improved defense, I think that Herbert could take another leap and start winning the Chargers some more games. The chargers also hired Joe Lombardi to be their offensive coordinator, which I think is a pretty solid hire. Lombardi has worked with the Saints for years, and I think he is an excellent candidate to help develop Herbert.

Streitmatter: B+

Anyone would be greater than Former Head Coach Adam Gase. The Jets could have hired the head of Barstool Sports Dave Portnoy and that would STILL be an upgrade to Gase. Ryan Tannehill, Jarvis Landry, Kenyan Drake and even Jay Ajayi all played significantly better after leaving Gase. Saleh is a bright defensive mind, he made the Super Bowl in 2019 and maintained a strong unit this year despite almost every injury you can imagine. He inherits a defense that isn’t great but has youth and can develop. Only reason I give this a B+ and not an A- is because I don’t know how he’ll address the biggest need the Jets have: Whether Darnold is a franchise QB or not. I’m not sure Saleh will be able to extract the most from him but I hope he makes me eat my words.

Hain: A+

Another great hire. I think Saleh is like Dan Cambell, but he knows his X’s and O’s. Saleh has led the 49ers to back to back top 5 defensive seasons even with countless injuries last season. I also believe that he can provide a vision for a team that has severely lacked it since Rex Ryan. If the Jets can find the right QB, whether, through trade or the draft, this is a team to look out for in the next couple of years.

Streitmatter: C

The Eagles still think Wentz is their QB of the future. They made that clear when they fired Perderson as there reportedly was a rift between the two of them and they could only keep one. So if the Eagles think Wentz is still the guy, they need someone to make him better. If they couldn’t get Frank Reich, the former OC for the Eagles when they won the Super Bowl, why not go after his OC in Sirianni. I give this a C because it seems like the Eagles are trying to fix past mistakes and just turn the clock back. He’s young and inexperienced at the coordinator position with his 2 years in Indianapolis being his only coordinator job. That scares me. I think the Eagles stretched on this one and were grasping for hope when there may be better options out there. 

Hain: F

I hate this hire. I can understand that the Eagles want someone that can continue to work with Carson Wentz, but this just seems like a significant step back from Doug Pederson. In Indianapolis, he never called plays, which is concerning for someone that young to take a job without any playcalling experience. I also really think they should have hired Duce Staley, who played with the Eagles and has been on their staff for years. From what I have heard, that is who the players wanted, and I feel that he can bring the Philly passion that Eagles fans want. Overall I just don’t think this hire accomplishes anything. Aside from keeping Wentz, what does Siranni offer? I would argue not much.

Are we crazy? Only time will tell the true answer but we want to hear what you guys think? Do you think Sirianni is a better hire than Ryan gives credit for? Was Austin’s grade of an A for Urban too high? Let us know in the comments below!

2 thoughts on “Wednesday Wrap-Up: Head Coach Carousel

  1. I like the points you both brought up. I heard Campbell’s bit about the kneecaps and I really REALLY hope he can last more than a couple of season because he seems like a genuinely interesting dude. I have also heard a lot of good things about Staley, so the Chargers look like they could be very scary in the upcoming seasons, which you guys touched on brilliantly. I also appreciated you both giving different grades for most of the picks, bringing some different opinions to each hire. Great work!


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