LAST offseason we saw a quarter of the NFL change head coaches with eight new men appointed to start a different regime. Seven of them survived and this time around there wasn’t as much carnage amongst the coaching carousel. However, there were still five NFL squads who needed a new leader to steer them into the 20’s. Time will tell if each respective franchise made the right hire, with some poised to fit in perfectly, while others left something to be desired.
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5. Joe Judge, New York Giants
SOMEONE had to be 5th on this list and unfortunately for NY fans, it’s their new man Joe Judge. The largely unknown Judge surprised most when he became a head coach, but when you learn about his history you can see why New York wanted to secure his services. Having served under the likes of Nick Saban and Bill Belichick, the special team’s coordinator has helped play a role in New England’s three most recent Super Bowl wins and two National titles at the collegiate level with Alabama. At only 38, Judge will hopefully translate his winning ways to the Giants, but he has a tough task ahead of him.
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4. Kevin Stefanski, Cleveland Browns
IT probably came a year later than it should have, but the Browns made a fairly popular hire when they appointed former Vikings offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski as their new HC. The 7th coach in a decade long span will hopefully see out his entire five-year deal, after a series of tumultuous and ultimately failed hirings for the Browns. Stefanski has worn a number of offensive hats for Minnesota in his 14-year tenure at the club and he’s more than capable of steering this franchise into relevance. Time will tell if ownership gives him space and time to build a winning institution that has eluded Cleveland fans since the 80’s.
3. Matt Rhule, Carolina Panthers
THE Carolina Panthers are clearly going in a new direction as they move into the next chapter in the franchise’s history. That next episode will be directed by Matt Rhule, who has forged a reputation by turning college programs around – moving higher and higher up the coaching pecking order in the process. In 2013 he joined Temple and despite starting with a 2-10 season, it only took Rhule two years before the Owls were posting consecutive double-digit win seasons. From there he joined Baylor where he had similar success, flipping them from a 1-11 outfit in 2017 into an 11-3 squad this past season. Panthers fans will be hoping he can have the same turnaround with the NFL based franchise, even if it means some ugly win-loss totals to start the process.
Image from nj.com
2. Ron Rivera, Washington Redskins
KUDOS to the Redskins for FINALLY ending the torment that has plagued their fans by parting ways with Jay Gruden and more importantly their president Bruce Allen. Entering 2020 there is plenty of optimism around Washington, something that hasn’t been common in recent times and their new head coach Ron Rivera is a big reason why spirits are so high. The previous coach of the aforementioned Carolina Panthers, Rivera has had plenty of success as the lead man of an NFL franchise, finishing at the bottom of his division just once in eight seasons and claiming three straight NFC South titles culminating in a 15-1 season in 2015 and Super Bowl appearance against Denver. There is plenty of hard work ahead for Rivera and the Redskins to end their on-field suffering but for once, they have the right personnel in place to solve the problem.
1. Mike McCarthy, Dallas Cowboys
ONLY six active coaches have more wins than Mike McCarthy, all of whom have at least one Super Bowl win on their resume. McCarthy has a ring of his own, but his marriage with the Dallas Cowboys will hopefully give Jerry Jones another shiny piece of jewellery he so desperately craves. Having served as the Packer head coach from 2006 to 2018, McCarthy took a year out of the game last season and is now ready and rejuvenated as he prepares to lead Dallas back into championship contention. The storied franchise hasn’t made a Super Bowl in 25 years, with a 4-10 playoff record since then, so you can expect McCarthy and his new team to gear up for a title or bust run within the next few years.
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