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New NFL Head Coaches Need New Quarterbacks

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When becoming a new head coach of a NFL team, there are plenty of parts that must be evaluated before putting out a quality product onto the gridiron.

The most important piece is undoubtedly the quarterback position . Over time and in recent years, we’ve seen how valuable the relationship between the coach and quarterback is.

As a matter of fact, when you look at some of the hires in recent memory, you’ll notice how coaches elect to bring their own signal caller in via the draft.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at some examples.

Gus Bradley – After enduring the sub-mediocre play of Chad Henne during his first season in Jacksonville, head coach Gus Bradley decided to select Central Florida product Blake Bortles with the third overall pick in the 2014 draft.

The decision has proven to be a very good one thus far.

Things didn’t start off well for Bortles, as he had a touchdown to interception ratio of 11:17 his rookie season.

Nonetheless, Bortles experienced a major leap in year two, tossing 35 touchdowns to 18 interceptions. With a young and talented receiving corps, this Jaguars offense should only get better with time.

Lovie Smith – Throughout his tenure in Chicago, Lovie Smith experienced plenty of ups and downs to say the least.

When Smith went to Tampa Bay, his first season was horrendous as the Buccaneers finished with a NFL’s worst 2-14 record.

Year 2 was completely different under the leadership of Jameis Winston. The Bucs improved four games, while showing plenty of promise moving forward, but unfortunately for Smith, he won’t get the opportunity to be part of the process after being recently fired.

Joe Philbin – Back in 2012, not only did the Miami Dolphins welcome in Joe Philbin, they also hauled in Ryan Tannehill in that year’s draft.

Ever since Dan Marino decided to hang up the cleats, Miami has been searching for that next superstar quarterback.

Following years and years of disappointment, Philbin and company felt Tannehill was the guy to bring the organization back to glory.

To this point, Tannehill hasn’t quite lived up to expectations. While it’s still too early to write him off, the feeling remains uneasy for Dolphins fans considering they’ve seen this movie before.

Chuck Pagano – Of all the coaches on this list, Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano had the easiest choice to make at quarterback.

As the Colts were prepping for life after Peyton Manning, there was some guy named Andrew Luck ready to take over the franchise.

Luck led Indy to the playoffs each of his first three seasons and each appearance ended with promise heading into the next season.

However, this past season was a disaster in Indy.

Luck was battling injuries throughout the course of the season until enough was eventually enough in early November.  With their signal caller missing more than half of the team’s games, Pagano finds himself fortunate to be back in Indianapolis for next season.

Mike Zimmer – Similar to a lot of organizations, the Minnesota Vikings have been missing a franchise quarterback for quite some time now.

When Mike Zimmer took charge two years ago, he clearly had his eyes set on Teddy Bridgewater.

Numbers-wise, Bridgewater isn’t going to blow anyone away, but there’s still plenty of room for him to grow as a passer.

Getting him a receiver or two wouldn’t hurt either.

Although the team was led by Adrian Peterson in 2015, Bridgewater had a hand in getting the Vikings back to the postseason and were a missed chip-shot field goal away from taking down the defending NFC Champs.

Ron Rivera – Five years ago when Ron Rivera and Cam Newton arrived in Carolina, the vision was to eventually win the Super Bowl.

Well, here we are in 2016 with the Panthers one win away from accomplishing the goal of every franchise.

During Newton’s first few years in the league, he was just looked at as a great athlete, but now opponents must respect him as a passer.  Cam will win the NFL’s MVP Award and rightfully so, as he’s been the best player in football.

To think Newton’s doing this without top receiver Kelvin Benjamin is simply remarkable.

Pete Carroll – When looking back at the 2012 NFL Draft, all of the talk was about Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin, III for obvious reasons.

Ironically, the only quarterback of that class to win a Super Bowl is none other than Russell Wilson.

Five quarterbacks were taken before Wilson, which include the likes of Ryan Tannehill, Brandon Weeden and Brock Osweiler.

Carroll didn’t have the most confidence in Wilson, as he waited until the third round of the draft to select him, but he did make the decision to start him from Day 1 in place of free agent signee Matt Flynn.

Doug Marrone – His departure from Buffalo is still bizarre, as was the selection of EJ Manuel.

Everyone knew Manuel was an interesting prospect out of Florida State, but no one outside of general manager Buddy Nix thought he was good enough to take with the No. 16 overall pick.

In just a matter of three years, Manuel finds himself buried on the bench as Tyrod Taylor is the clear starter moving forward.

Marrone inherited Manuel, and surprisingly, the former Florida State Seminole actually outlasted his head coach in Buffalo.

Dennis Allen – Current Oakland Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio needs to be sending Dennis Allen thank you cards every day for the next five years.

After only his second season, Derek Carr is arguably one of the top ten quarterbacks in the NFL.

Carr has a career touchdown to interception ratio of 53:25.

With all of the coaching changes over the past few weeks, it’ll be interesting to see which ones decide to go down similar paths as the afformentioned coaches.

One would think Hue Jackson (Cleveland) and Chip Kelly (San Francisco) would be strong candidates to bring in their own guy under center within the first two seasons at their new destinations.

Time will tell.


About Mark Gunnels

Mark Gunnels

Mark Gunnels is an NFL columnist for Football Insiders. He has several years of experience covering the NFL and NCAA football. He's the radio color commentator for Lincoln University football. Mark's work has been featured on Sports Illustrated, Fox Sports and Yard Barker.