NFL Coaching Changes

Joe Philbin

NFL Coaching Changes

Like nearly every NFL season, there was plenty of turnover amongst the NFL head coaching ranks. This year, nearly a quarter of the 32 pro football squads will make that change. Here’s a look at the seven new field generals who will be manning the sidelines for a new team in 2012.

Jeff Fisher- The biggest name amongst the new NFL head coaches will be former long-time Titans head man Jeff Fisher. Fisher ends his one year absence from the league by taking over for a young but talented Rams squad that had high expectations in 2011 but badly under-achieved under Steve Spagnuolo. 

Part of the appeal for Fisher to come to St. Louis was that he has nearly total control. He’ll have a major say in who the club hires as General Manager and with have control over personnel. He’s already hired a much improved coaching staff, signing late Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams and new offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer is expected to restore a run-heavy offense better suited to Fisher’s conservative style.

Romeo Crennel- Kansas City took the “interim” title off of Crennel and retained him as the new head coach. He nearly led the Chiefs to three straight season-ending wins after taking over for Todd Haley and ended the Green Bay Packer’s dreams of an undefeated season.

Crennel has the full support of the Chiefs’ locker room and the players rallied around him and vocally supported his full time transition from defensive coordinator to the main man.

It’s thought that his familiarity with the team with allow for a quicker turnaround for a Kansas City team that went from AFC West champion to cellar dwellers in one short season.


Dennis Allen- Perhaps the new Raiders won’t be a huge departure from Al Davis‘s regime. The surprising dismissal of Hugh Jackson reeked of new managing general partner Mark Davis starting anew and putting his own stamp on his team. But hiring a coach with little experience is a high risk/reward move reminisce and symbolic of Oakland’s last decade of misery.

Allen was the defensive coordinator for the division-rival Denver Broncos last season. He helped John Fox install a strong 3-4 unit that led to a surprising AFC West title. His top priority will be to improve Oakland’s 29th ranked defense and bring some discipline to a team that is annually amongst the most penalized.

At 39, Allen is now the youngest head coach in the NFL. He is also the first defensive-minded coach to lead the Raiders since legendary hall-of-famer John Madden.


Chuck Pagano- It certainly appears that Jim Irsay’s Colts are going in a totally different direction and are starting from scratch. Gone are their longtime General Manager Bill Polian and head coach Jim Caldwell. In will be new G.M. Ryan Grigson, formerly an executive with the Philadelphia Eagles and new head coach Chuck Pagano.

Pagano comes to Indianapolis as the former defensive coordinator with the Baltimore Ravens. His preaches an aggressive 3-4 defensive scheme that utilizes blitzes with big and powerful players. It’s a complete contrast to the Colts’ recent defensive philosophy of relying on speed at the expense of size. For Irsay to move from soft-spoken offensive coaches like Caldwell and Tony Dungy to the more brash, defensive-minded Pagano speaks to just how many changes should be expected started in 2012 for his club.

Clearly it will be a work in progress for Indianapolis, as they are essentially gutting their entire franchise from top to bottom and starting fresh with a new front office, head coach and with the majority expecting that they will select Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck with the top pick in the draft, a new franchise quarterback.

Greg Schiano- The Bucs looked to the college ranks to fill the final coaching vacancy available. Greg Schiano, late of Rutgers, was a surprising hire for the Glazer’s as his name was not amongst the many rumored to be candidates for the head coaching position.

It’s not surprising that a college coach was hired to fill Raheem Morris’s old job. As recently as last Sunday, Oregon head coach Chip Kelly was expected to be hired before he allegedly backed out at the last moment. Houston Texans defensive coordinator Wade Phillips was also a rumored candidate before he withdrew his own name from consideration.

Schiano, who signed a five year deal, has a strong background on the defensive side of the ball, so his first priority will be to restore the Bucs to the “Youngry” defense that looked to be on the rise in 2010, then faded badly as the losses mounted in 2011. Look for the club to add an experienced offensive coordinator and to be in the market for a quarterbacking guru to diagnose what went wrong for Josh Freeman last year.


Joe Philbin- The Dolphins are another team that is moving in a totally new and different direction. Former Packers offensive coordinator Joe Philbin was hired to turn around and develop a Miami offense that has seemed to aimlessly drift for several season.


With the exception of the Jay Fiedler era, the Dolphins have struggled to establish a long-term answer at quarterback since Dan Marino retired. Philbin has a history with helping develop Aaron Rodgers and Matt Flynn. With Flynn being a free agent, the speculation of his pending arrival in South Beach is already rampant.

Miami is also expected to transition from a 3-4  defensive front, so look for them to hire a new defensive coordinator with experience in the 4-3.


Mike Mularkey- Perhaps the most surprising hire was Mularkey’s return to the head coaching ranks. He was not considered a strong candidate to return on the sidelines after a disappointing stint as the head man in Buffalo and leading an Atlanta Falcons offense that ultimately underperformed in the playoffs.

Considering the Jags have a new owner and a history of an inability to sell out home games, it’s puzzling that Mularkey is getting another kick at the can. Many expected Shahid Khan to make a big splash by trying to sign a big name coach, but he ultimately decided that Mularkey’s track record on the offensive side of the ball was just what he was looking for to open a new chapter in Jacksonville.

Let the Los Angeles Jaguars speculation begin..


About the author

Jody Smith

Co-owner and Managing Editor of Gridiron Experts. 2012 FantasyPros Most Accurate Fantasy Expert. Member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. 26 year fantasy football veteran. Featured on, Fantasypros, Football Diehards annual magazine, local AM sports radio, podcasts everywhere and SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio. Once scored 4 touchdowns in a single game for Polk High School.

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