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Ranking NFL Head Coach/QB Combos- Part IV

As we enter past the middle of the pack, find out why some of the better head coach/ quarterback combos are.

Charlie Bernstein

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Football is the ultimate team sport.  With that said, the quarterback is not only the most important position in the game, but in all of sports.  What makes a great quarterback work well is usually the relationship he has with his head coach, even if the coach knows just to leave his star alone.

To get you fully prepared for the NFL season we are continuing our countdown series as we move to the best head coach/quarterback combinations.

In our first volume, we ranked the worst head coach/quarterback combinations entering the 2015 season.

We moved up the list just a bit in volume two, further along in volume three, and now we get to the middle of the pack.

17. Kansas City Chiefs- Andy Reid/ Alex Smith

If Alex Smith was in his prime 20 years ago, we’d look at him as one of the borderline elite quarterbacks in the NFL.  Smith protects the football as well as just about anyone, and most of the time he won’t be the reason why his team loses.

Unfortunately, it takes a little more to win big in today’s NFL.

Andy Reid is a very good head coach, but he often gets a little too “pass happy,” and the Chiefs don’t have the weaponry to do that.  Reid will win more games as a head coach than he will lose, but he hasn’t been proven trustworthy in big spots.

16. Miami Dolphins- Joe Philbin/ Ryan Tannehill

Ryan Tannehill seems to be improving every year, and spoiler alert, he’s not the reason for the No. 16 ranking.

Joe Philbin has taken a talented roster and made them a very mediocre team.  He struggles in late game situations and this is pretty much a playoffs or bust season for him.

We feel that Philbin is holding Tannehill and the rest of the Dolphins back.

15. Philadelphia Eagles- Chip Kelly/ Sam Bradford

Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly is a true innovator and micromanager, who controls every facet of his team down to dieting and sleep.  He immediately transformed a last place team into a division champion, and still won 10 games last year despite losing his starting quarterback.

We don’t know how great Kelly will coach in huge spots, as he’s lost the only playoff game his team has competed in.

They say that the most important ability is durability.

Sam Bradford is the reason why this ranking is as low as it is, and we’re not saying that Bradford is a bad quarterback, we simply don’t know.  Bradford has missed nearly half of the games during his five NFL seasons and it’s a real gamble that he can stay healthy.

14. Detroit Lions- Jim Caldwell/ Matt Stafford

Jim Caldwell earned Coach of the Year consideration in his first year in Detroit, but neither Caldwell, nor the Lions have much of a history of sustained success.  Caldwell was basically handed the head coaching job in Indianapolis and was in “don’t screw it up” mode.  With Peyton Manning in his prime, it was difficult not to win and he still found himself fired.

As for Matt Stafford, he has all the arm talent that anyone could ask for, but again, consistency has been a major issue for the former No. 1 overall pick (2009).  Stafford has lost both of the playoff games that he’s started and hasn’t played particularly well in either.

The sole reason why this ranking is this high is because of Stafford’s limitless potential.

13. Atlanta Falcons- Dan Quinn/ Matt Ryan

Matt Ryan is one of the more accomplished quarterbacks in the NFL, and there’s no reason to believe he won’t continue his stellar level of play.

Dan Quinn is a first-time head coach, and he’s the reason why this ranking isn’t higher.

Quinn has a great attitude and he is certainly qualified for his position.  We’ll see how well he does with a bad defense and a potentially great offense.

Charlie Bernstein is the managing football editor for Football Insiders and has covered the NFL for over a decade.  Charlie has hosted drive time radio for NBC and ESPN affiliates in different markets around the country, along with being an NFL correspondent for ESPN Radio and WFAN.  He has been featured on the NFL Network as well as Sirius/XM NFL Radio and has been published on Fox Sports, Sports Illustrated, ESPN as well as numerous other publications.

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