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The Grueling Truth - Where Legends Speak / Pro Football / Grading the NFL’s New Head Coaching Hires for 2019

Grading the NFL’s New Head Coaching Hires for 2019

How do they stack up?
Publish Date: 02/05/2019
Fact checked by: Mark Lewis

1) Brian Flores, Miami Dolphins

If you watched Super Bowl XLIII you had to be impressed by the Patriots defense that Flores coordinated. With that being said, you could have said that about every defensive coordinator Belichick has had. So will Flores be any different than someone like Charlie Weiss? Your guess is good as mine and the real question is just how much Belichick had to do with the game planning and in-game adjustments. Flores is not a typical retread at the young age of 38 and that is a good thing. I think this hire is solid but I am not sold completely on it.

Grade C+

2) Zac Taylor, Cincinnati Bengals

This hire does not make a lot of sense to me as Taylor has accomplished nothing in a short career. It looks a lot like the Lions deciding on Matt Patricia before he bombed out in last year’s Super Bowl. At least Taylor wasn’t calling the offense in Super Bowl XLIII. To say that Taylor had something to do with Jared Goff’s development would be just flat out wrong! Zac Taylor was the Rams’ quarterbacks coach last year. However, you can’t say that he had any impact in Jared Goff’s strong 2018 season because the Rams had a different quarterbacks coach (Greg Olson) last year, which is when Goff made his biggest leap. The one saving factor for Taylor is that he is not Marvin Lewis. If he gets a quality and experienced defensive coordinator he will have a chance to make it.

Grade C-

3) Vic Fangio, Denver Broncos

At the age of 62 Fangio deserves a shot. The only question here is do they go after a Nick Foles or ride with Case Keenum? The AFC West is a tough division with the Chiefs and Chargers but I think giving Fangio a shot could be a good move for the Broncos. Fangio will have Von Miller and Bradley Chubb and that will be interesting to watch, to say the least. Solid choice.

Grade B-

4) Adam Gase, New York Jets

When this move was first announced my first thought was, WHY? But when you sit back and look at this move it may be absolutely brilliant! In Miami, it seemed that Gase was always playing with a backup Quarterback or maybe worse, Ryan Tannehill. In all reality, when Tannehill was healthy he didn’t play as poorly as most people thought, even taking the Dolphins to the playoffs a few years ago. Darnold looks like he could be special and the pairing of Darnold and Gase could finally get the Jets in position to make a deep playoff run.

Grade A

5) Freddie Kitchens, Cleveland Browns

The Browns almost had to hire Kitchens. With Kitchens calling the plays Quarterback Baker Mayfield was a stud, so no reason to pick a different coach and lose Kitchens which would have led to Mayfield having to learn an entirely new offensive scheme. In the end, I still have questions about Kitchens, but even with that being said, this was the correct move for the Browns.

Grade A-

6) Bruce Arians, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The only concern here would be the 67-year-old Arians’ health. Outside of that issue this is a very good hire. Arians will be perfect for Winston because he has a brilliant football mind, and maybe even more importantly, he will take no crap from anyone including Winston.

Grade A-

7) Kliff Kingsbury, Arizona Cardinals

Last year I said the Cardinals made a gigantic mistake hiring Steve Wilks and one year later I am repeating myself. The Cardinals have a young Quarterback in Josh Rosen who needs to develop and Kingsbury is not the guy to do it. Hell, at Texas Tech he went 7-6 with Patrick Mahomes and Mahomes left college with a major need for improvement in his game and he got the help with a private coach, and Chiefs Head Coach Andy Reid. This is doomed and the only reason he will get a second season is they don’t want another embarrassing one-and-done Head Coach.

Grade F-

8) Matt LaFleur, Green Bay Packers

Rodgers needed to be challenged with an innovative young coach with a sharp, offensive mind. I’d say LaFleur fits that description. McCarthy was to set in his ways. My only question will be does Rodgers let LeFleur run the team he wants and keep his nose out of it. This is a very good hire, in my opinion, we will have to see how Rodgers accepts new ideas.

Grade B+

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