Ranking the Remaining Openings in the NFL
The NFL playoffs are underway, but the teams who missed out on the postseason are doing the best they can to steal the spotlight with head coach openings.
The Miami Dolphins recently took away one of the openings, as well as taking one of the hottest candidates, hiring Chicago's offensive coordinator Adam Gase on Saturday. With Gase in tow, there are now six vacancies left to be filled. With plenty of worthy candidates out there, let's take a look at which ones potential newcomers will be most welcome to...
1. New York Giants
Of all the candidates on the list, the Giants are the only team that has a stable quarterback situation. Eli Manning has been under center in East Rutherford for over a decade, and neither he and the Giants have indicated he's going anywhere anytime soon. In addition, the Giants also have Odell Beckham Jr. for the foreseeable future, and while his attitude may be a bit of a fixer-upper, an offensive minded coach would love to have Beckham in his prime for the next few years. Another problem to fix would also be the defense, last in football in several categories, but the Giants offense, filled with other potential like Rashad Jennings, makes it tantalizing enough.
2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
A surprising late opening, the Bucs job is one that didn't look so hot at the start of the year. However, a hot second half, the emergence of rookie QB Jameis Winston, and Mike Evans being Mike Evans has gifted the Buccaneers the label of "potential 2016 breakout team". The Bucs will need to be careful with their next hire, as they don't want to stunt the development of Winston. A job with Tampa Bay may not carry the weight and prestige one in New York has, but whoever ends up here will have a lot of talent to work with...but a lot of pressure. With more eyes on them and Lovie Smith fired after undoubtedly improving the team, who knows how patient Bucs management will be with increased expectations.
3. Philadelphia Eagles
Get past the fans (who still revile Andy Reid, their best coach in franchise history) and the Eagles job isn't so bad. There's some talent to work with on both sides of the ball, like TE Zach Ertz and DE Fletcher Cox, not to mention the idea of competing in a weak NFC East gives the potential of immediate success. The Eagles are in a bit of a pickle with their quarterback situation, however. Sam Bradford, who was actually pretty solid this season, will be a free agent once the Super Bowl ends, and no coach wants to enter a situation with quarterback questions.
4. San Francisco 49ers
A job that's poisoned by the lack of a stable quarterback, whoever takes the Niners job will have to lead them into the post-Colin Kaepernick era. With all the retirements and in-house fighting, it was a tense year in San Francisco, so the new coach will have to put out a few fires upon his arrival. Despite that, there are still some attractive and talented players to work with, particularly on defense (i.e. Navorro Bowman). They'll also have to get this proud franchise, who has tasted success rather recently, back on the right track.
5. Tennessee Titans
The Titans have a quarterback to lead whosoever comes to coach them in Marcus Mariota. Now here's the challenge...who else is there? The Titans have some work to do with the roster, as Mariota is going to need some help to lead the franchise into the future. For example, Antonio Andrews at running back isn't going to cut it. Perhaps the right coach can help the Titans' inexperienced roster reach their potential, but they're going to need to work with management to bring in more talent to compete immediately.
6. Cleveland Browns
With the Browns insane coaching changes, we could basically put the same explanation down here every time they need a new one. The Browns have no idea who is going to be their GM...or quarterback. They own a high draft pick, but who knows what management is going to do with that. Even if the Browns decide to bring back Johnny Manziel under center, what coach is going to want to deal with that? So once again, the Browns are looking for another guy to lead them into the future. Check back here to this link in two years when they're looking for a new coach again, by the way.
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