Kyle Shanahan – San Francisco 49ers (Year 1)
The man behind Kirk Cousin’s rise to Pro Bowl-caliber signal caller will now get his shot at reviving a proud and storied franchise. Odds are stacked against Shanahan though. One look at this 49ers roster offers little reason for optimism. How San Francisco finishes this year won’t be truly indicative of their coach’s ability. A full assessment would be better served in Year 3 of this long-term project.
Anthony Lynn – Los Angeles Chargers (Year 1)
Many assumed offensive-minded Anthony Lynn would be the turning point to Rex Ryan in Buffalo. Instead, Lynn finds himself in a less monopolized division, with a more fluid quarterback situation, and premier weather. With Ken Whisenhunt and Gus Bradley in place as coordinators, Lynn has heavy coaching experience to lean on. We’ll see how he utilizes some of the quality pieces he already has on defense, and whether or not his intentions of running the ball will open up the passing game on offense.
Vance Joseph – Denver Broncos (Year 1)
For those unfamiliar with the name, Vance Joseph paid his dues climbing ranks as a defensive backs coach. Using stints in San Francisco, Houston, and Cincinnati to become the defensive coordinator of the Miami Dolphins in 2016. With only one year of coordinator experience and no track record of grooming young, franchise quarterbacks, Joseph makes for a questionable hire. There are currently three young quarterbacks on the roster, each with a legitimate shot at winning the opening day start. The one Joseph commits to will shape the franchise for years to come.
Sean McDermott – Buffalo Bills (Year 1)
At the ripe age of 43 and in Year 1 of his first head coaching gig, Sean McDermott will have his work cut out for him in a division that has been won by the New England Patriots for eight straight years. McDermott comes from the Andy Reid lineage, having learned defense from the late, great Jim Johnson. His ability to cultivate roster talent, game plan, and manage in-game situations will surely be tested this upcoming season.
Sean McVay – Los Angeles Rams (Year 1)
Without the hiring of Sean McVay, it would’ve been easy to rank his predecessor, Jeff Fisher, as the worst head coach in the league. Alas, we wait and see how McVay, former Washington OC, fares in developing last year’s 1st overall pick Jared Goff. Goff was less than adequate last season, but that was partially due to a coaching staff void of much offensive background. As a 31-year old head coach, youngest in NFL history, McVay is better suited to lead a young roster. His best decision yet was the hiring of Wade Phillips as defensive coordinator. This allows him to focus his efforts on the young offensive talents already in place.
27. Hue Jackson – Cleveland Browns
Hue Jackson started his head coaching rookie season by trading the 2nd overall pick in 2016 NFL Draft (which later on turned to be Carson Wentz), and proceeded to lose 14 straight games. Instead of selecting a signal caller to build and develop, Jackson went on to start the likes of Cody Kessler, Josh McCown, Robert Griffin III, Charlie Whitehurst, and Kevin Hogan in the 2016 season. Now entering Year 2, and still without a Week 1 starter at quarterback, Jackson has set himself up for another long and antiquated season.
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