This is the online version of our daily newsletter, The Morning Win. Subscribe to get irreverent and incisive sports stories, delivered to your mailbox every morning. Chris Korman is filling in for Andy Nesbitt.
Nine NFL teams replaced their head coach during the offseason, and if I were to grade the hires I’m not sure any of them deserve better than a solid B. And the teams earning that grade — the Jaguars and Saints — didn’t exactly use a pristine process to get where they got.
Jacksonville interviewed Doug Pederson early, then a bunch of other guys and appeared close to a deal with Byron Leftwich before it fell apart and they reverted to Pederson. (This a year after the Jaguars gave total control to a former college coach who everyone predicted would flame out of the league if given total control; he did.)
The Saints promoted defensive coordinator Dennis Allen, which was a good call, but also the Saints do not have a QB, their star running back was just arrested and their best wide receiver doesn’t seem to want to play for the team. They’re probably sticking a loyal assistant with a difficult rebuild.
The Texans, who hired Lovie Smith Monday evening, made a complete mockery of the process. They shocked everyone a year ago by hiring David Culley, a 45-year coaching veteran who had never been a head coach. He shocked us by making Houston into something resembling a real NFL team and then … he got fired … so he could be replaced … by his (spectacularly bearded) defensive coordinator?
This happened, almost everyone believes, because the Texans had actually wanted to hire Josh McCown, the 42-year-old former journeyman QB with no college or pro coaching experience. But that would have been a little on the nose for a team that was also, at one point, considering hiring Brian Flores, the former Miami Dolphins coach who is suing the league, alleging discrimination against three teams.
Right. All of that happened during this cycle, too.
Smith becomes the second man of color hired this time around; new Dolphin’s coach Mike McDaniel’s father is Black.
That’s simply not good enough in a league where 70 percent of the players are Black.
And yes, it’s fair to be excited about McDaniel, a Kyle Shanahan protege, but the Dolphins sure look more dysfunctional than ever coming out of the Flores mess; he also accused team owner Stephen Ross of trying to pay him off to lose games in order to get a higher draft pick.
So here’s the full final list of coaches hired:
Bears: Matt EberflusBroncos: Nathaniel HackettGiants: Brian DabollRaiders: Josh McDanielsVikings: Kevin O’ConnellJaguars: Doug PedersonDolphins: Mike McDanielTexans: Lovie SmithSaints: Dennis Allen
It’s hard to hire the right NFL coach, of course. Back in 2016 when Doug Pederson was selected to coach the Eagles he was widely seen as the worst hire out of that class; the other men hired that year were Mike Mularkey, Adam Gase, Dirk Koetter, Hue Jackson, Ben McAdoo and Chip Kelly. Those guys went a combined 80-140 in those jobs, Pederson brought Philly a Lombardi Trophy.
More failure than success is the most likely outcome for every one of the coaches hired in this cycle, and in many cases they’ll have only a minor impact on how many games their teams win or lose.
But the NFL keeps turning up the same names — or picking from the same coaching trees.
Quick hits: What’s up with Kyler Murray’s Instagram? … WOW Eileen Gu! … Julius Randle, hitting a laptop … And more.
(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
— Kyler Murray deleted all Cardinals-related content from his Instagram. Hmm.
— Eileen Gu nailed a 1620 (!) in women’s freestyle big air to win gold in Beijing.
— Julius Randle swatted a Knicks staffer’s laptop in a heated courtside exchange.
— Here’s our Super Bowl 56 betting cheat sheet with all our tips, tricks and guides on Rams-Bengals.