FRISCO, TEXAS – JANUARY 08: (L-R) Executive Vice President Stephen Jones of the Dallas Cowboys, Head … [+]
Barring an unexpected bombshell move, the NFL hiring-and-firing season is in the books as the Cleveland Browns finalized their deal with Minnesota Vikings’ offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski on Monday.
It was a strange coaching-change season. Five is a relatively small number of firings in the NFL and all five organizations made their decision rather swiftly. The regular season ended just two weeks ago and the search is over throughout the NFL.
To help you digest the all the coaching changes, we are going to look at the best and worst-case scenarios for all five coaches with their new teams:
Carolina Panthers, Matt Rhule
Best case: Rhule lives up to the $62 million, seven-year contract the Panthers gave him. Rhule was a hot candidate this coaching cycle because of his work at rebuilding college programs, at Temple and Baylor. If Rhule, who does have NFL assistant coaching experience, can use this model with success in Carolina, the Panthers should be a NFC contender in a couple of years.
Worst case: Rhule’s process is a better fit for the college ranks. His style as a head coach doesn’t translate to the NFL and the Panthers waste a ton of money.
Cleveland Browns, Kevin Stefanski
Best case: Stefanski, 37, is another in a line of young, offensive minds who find fast head-coaching success. Stefanski was hired to ignite a Browns’ offense that disappointed in 2019, but has a ton of potential. He will be a success if he gets quarterback Baker Mayfield and crew back on track.
Worst case: The job is too big for the young coach and a roster full of big personalities turns against them just as they did with first-time head coach Freddie Kitchens in 2019 and the Browns’ long run of bad coaching hires continues.
Dallas Cowboys, Mike McCarthy
Best case: McCarthy’s 13 years as an NFL head coach translates in Dallas and he is the missing piece on a team with a strong roster. This is a Super Bowl-winning coach. This could be a great fit. If Jerry Jones shows half the patience with McCarthy as he did with Jason Garrett, McCarthy should succeed.
Worst case: If McCarthy doesn’t connect with quarterback Dak Prescott, this offense could flounder. If McCarthy can’t create the same overall positive energy he did in his first 10 years in Green Bay early, there could be a problem.
New York Giants, Joe Judge
Best case: Judge, 38, is the real deal. He uses his experience as a Bill Belichick protegee and it has immediate dividends. His expertise as a special teams coach helps the roster as a whole. He is the next great, young hire.
Worst case: He isn’t ready and his polished demeanor doesn’t help him in this role. He is not up for the rebuild of a young roster at this point in his career.
Washington Redskins, Ron Rivera
Best case: The freedom owner Daniel Snyder has given Rivera energizes the entire building. Rivera’s experience as an NFL coach and his reputation as a great communicator is exactly what this troubled franchise needs. He is a great influence on young quarterback Dwayne Haskins and he is the coach in Washington for the next decade.
Worst case: Fresh air doesn’t help Rivera, who was the head coach in Carolina for nine seasons, revive his coaching career and Rivera can’t positively influence this franchise.