With the playoffs well underway, an increasing number of teams are looking to pick up the pieces and forge a path forward so they can get to this level next season. At the time of this article, 8 teams (the Bears, Broncos, Dolphins, Giants, Jaguars, Raiders, Texans, and Vikings) will need to answer this question – who will lead their squad into battle next year?
This has become a huge talking point in recent years, as a more informed football audience notices coaching deficiencies much more than they used to before social media, analytics, and Madden. Coaching in the NFL is so talked about these days that even some of the best sportsbooks online in the US have posted odds on who will fill these vacancies.
Here, we’ve tried to find the best answer to that question and determine the best fit for each open head coaching spot.
Chicago Bears – Kellen Moore, Dallas Cowboys OC
While once thought of as a hot up-and-comer, some of the shine has been taken off Moore’s resume after the Cowboys’ truly bizarre playoff exit. Still, a solid season of playcalling shouldn’t be dismissed entirely due to one ill-advised quarterback draw.
Moore has been a crucial aspect of the Cowboys’ great offense with Dak Prescott the past two seasons and a major reason Prescott has become the quarterback he is today. With Chicago, he could maximize Justin Fields’ talent and potentially mold the young QB into a star, just like he did with Dak.
Denver Broncos – Todd Bowles, Tampa Buccaneers DC
In my opinion, Denver is one of the most talented teams in the league. They’re just missing two pieces – a competent head coach and a quarterback. Unfortunately for Broncos fans, those are the two most important people in an organization.
Todd Bowles had previously been the man in charge of the Jets for four seasons. In New York, he had an uninspiring stretch leading the Jets to last in the AFC East three out of those four. However, Bowles has had a few more years to grow under Bruce Arians in Tampa and how much of the Jets’ organizational incompetence can you really lay at the feet of one man, anyway?
Bowles will be motivated to prove himself in his second stint and is a defensive mind, meaning any QB the Broncos acquire (like Aaron Rodgers or Russell Wilson) wouldn’t have to conform to a system that’s set in stone. Add in his defensive expertise and Bowles could be a great fit next to veteran quarterback in Denver.
Houston Texans – Brian Flores, former Miami Dolphins HC
After Flores’ shocking dismissal from Miami, many stories circulated about what happened that could have caused such a surprising move. One of the reasons was allegedly Flores pushing the Miami front office to make a move for Houston Texans’ QB Deshaun Watson.
Of course, last offseason Watson demanded a trade from Houston and was subsequently accused of sexual harassment by over 20 women, several of whom also filed police reports. Watson didn’t play a snap this year and most assume that he will never play in Houston again.
But here’s a radical idea. Flores loves Watson and Watson’s trade value is probably at rock bottom right now. Why not bring in Brian Flores and retain Deshaun Watson as quarterback? It may be too much to handle behind the scenes, but on paper, it fits.
Jacksonville Jaguars – Byron Leftwich, Tampa Buccaneers OC
A homecoming for former Jaguars’ first-round pick Byron Leftwich feels right to me. Leftwich has proved himself as an offensive coordinator the past two years, molding boss Bruce Arians’ style to Tom Brady’s needs.
After spending the past couple of years with the GOAT, Leftwich could take the lessons he’s learned and pass them on to last year’s #1 overall draft pick Trevor Lawrence. If Jacksonville is serious about building around Lawrence, an offensive-minded head coach should be their pick and Leftwich already has ties to the organization from his playing days.
Looking for our picks for the Raiders, Dolphins, Vikings, and Giants? Click Here for Part 2