2013 NFL Coaching Turnover and Fantasy Football Implications
Every offseason, several teams make the decision to go in a new direction by making a change at head coach. In 2012, eight teams -- the Eagles, Cardinals, Jaguars, Browns, Bears, Bills, Chiefs and Chargers -- fired their head coaches. We also have 13 new coaches at the all-important offensive coordinator (OC) position.
To get everyone up to speed, here's a team-by-team review of the coaching staff along with some key pass/rush statistics from the 2012 season. These changes are vitally important to fantasy football owners and lay a solid foundation in preparing for the 2013 fantasy football season.
New HC Bruce Arians takes over for Ken Whisenhunt, who was fired after his 6th season with the Cardinals. Arians was the OC in Indianapolis last season and actually spent most of the season as the interim HC as Chuck Pagano battled leukemia. By all accounts Arians did a great job, and led the Colts to an 11-5 record and a playoff berth. The Colts were 10th in total offense and 18th in points in 2012. Arians also led good offenses during his tenure (2007-2011) as OC in Pittsburgh; the Steelers had an average rank of 11.0 in total offense from 2009 to 2011. Harold Goodwin will be the OC in Arizona, but Arians will still call the plays. With the acquisition of a serviceable Carson Palmer at quarterback, the Cardinals' passing attack should be much improved under Arians' guidance. Larry Fitzgerald once again looks like a low-end WR1 while Michael Floyd and Andre Roberts should also get a boost. The Colts did run 41% of the time, so Arians does believe in the ground game. Rashard Mendenhall and Ryan Williams will fight for carries. Just don't expect a lot of dump-offs -- Arians likes his RBs to block in the passing game.
2012 Pass/Rush: 63.5%/36.5% - Pass/Rush TDs: 11/10 - Yds/Catch: 10.0 - Yds/Rush: 3.2
HC Mike Smith is entering his 6th season with the Falcons. Smith has led the Falcons to five straight winning records and playoff appearances in 2008, 2010, 2011 and 2012. OC Dirk Koetter enters his 2nd season as the Falcons' play-caller after the team finished 8th in total offense in 2012. Koetter opened up the offense and threw the ball quite a bit more than his predecessor.Koetter was the OC in Jacksonville for the last five years. The Jaguars were middle of the pack in both total yards and scoring in 2009 and 2010 before a disastrous 2011 with rookie QB Blaine Gabbert under center.
2012 Pass/Rush: 61.9%/38.1% - Pass/Rush TDs: 32/12 - Yds/Catch: 11.2 - Yds/Rush: 3.7
HC John Harbaugh enters his 6th season as the main man in Baltimore. He has led the Ravens to the playoffs in each of his six seasons as HC, winning the Super Bowl in 2012. In a dramatic move, Jim Caldwell took over as OC in Week 15, replacing Cam Cameron. The change coincided with a jump in QB Joe Flacco's production, who averaged 284 yards and 2.5 TDs in six meaningful games under Caldwell after averaging just 248/1.4 under Cameron in the team's first 13 games. Meanwhile, RB Ray Rice averaged 26.2 touches under Caldwell after touching the ball an average of 20.8 times in the first 13 games, so it appears that Caldwell's promotion was good for both Flacco and Rice.
2012 Pass/Rush: 56.2%/43.8% - Pass/Rush TDs: 22/16 - Yds/Catch: 12.0 - Yds/Rush: 4.3
Doug Marrone, former HC at Syracuse, takes over for Chan Gailey, who was fired after three seasons in Buffalo. Before arriving at Syracuse, Marrone was the OC for the Saints (2006-2008), but Sean Payton called the plays. The Saints were pass-happy during his tenure there, but at Syracuse he led a much more balanced attack. In 2012, the Orange averaged ran the ball 54% of the time, but that included 6.5 rushes per game from QB Ryan Nassib. Regardless, Marrone is well aware that the Bills talent is concentrated at RB in the form of C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson and will do all that he can to take advantage of that talent, especially with Kevin Kolb projected to start at quarterback. Nathaniel Hackett takes over as OC after serving as Marrone's assistant at Syracuse for the last three seasons. He also had previous stints with the Bills and Buccaneers on the offensive side of the ball.
2012 Pass/Rush: 53.6%/46.4% - Pass/Rush TDs: 24/12 - Yds/Catch: 11.1 - Yds/Rush: 5.0
HC Ron Rivera enters his 3rd season as head coach of the Panthers after successful stints as defensive coordinator for the Bears and Chargers. Mike Shula replaces former OC Rob Chudzinski, who left for the head job in Cleveland. Under Chudzinski, the Panthers finished 7th and 12th in total yards in 2011 and 2012. Shula was also involved, as he has served as Carolina's QB coach for the last two seasons. His only other OC stint was in Tampa back in the late '90s. During his tenure there, the Buccaneers finished no better than 22nd in total yards, but the team had a winning record under HC Tony Dungy.
2012 Pass/Rush: 51.5%/48.5% - Pass/Rush TDs: 19/21 - Yds/Catch: 13.8 - Yds/Rush: 4.5
Lovie Smith was fired after eight years running the Bears, and was replaced by Marc Trestman, who won the Grey Cup in 2009 and 2010 as the head coach for the Montreal Alouettes. He has NFL experience as well, with stints as the QB coach in San Francisco (with Steve Young) and Detroit (helping Scott Mitchell have a good season). He also coached Jake Plummer to one of his better seasons in Arizona and was the OC in Oakland the year Rich Gannon won the MVP. In short, he should inject some life into the Bears' offense, which should mean good things for Jay Cutler, Brandon Marshall and Matt Forte. Forte especially could see a big jump in receptions as Trestman enabled Charlie Garner to catch 91 passes for the Raiders. Trestman hired former Saints assistant Aaron Kromer to be his OC, though Kromer's experience is mostly with the offensive line and running game.
2012 Pass/Rush: 50.8%/49.2% - Pass/Rush TDs: 21/11 - Yds/Catch: 11.5 - Yds/Rush: 4.2
HC Marvin Lewis enters his 10th season with the Bengals, and has compiled a 19-13 record the last two seasons with two playoff berths. OC Jay Gruden enters his 3rd season calling plays for the Bengals. Under Gruden's guidance, the Bengals improved from 22nd in scoring in 2010 to finish 18th in 2011 and 12th in 2012.
2012 Pass/Rush: 55.8%/44.2% - Pass/Rush TDs: 28/11 - Yds/Catch: 11.4 - Yds/Rush: 4.1
New HC Rob Chudzinski spent the last two seasons as the OC in Carolina, where he led an offense that finished 7th and 12th in total yards in 2011 and 2012. He hired Norv Turner as his OC in Cleveland. Turner has had success in that role, and typically likes to throw the ball downfield (which is good for QB Brandon Weeden and WR Josh Gordon) while using a single, bell cow RB. In his career as OC and HC, Turner has featured RBs like Emmitt Smith (averaged 386 touches from 1992-93), Tony Allen (averaged 374 touches from 1995-96), Stephen Davis (averaged 339 touches from 1999-2000), LaDainian Tomlinson (averaged 340 touches in 2001 and 2007-09), Ricky Williams (averaged 436 touches from 2002-03), Lamont Jordan (342 touches in 2005) and Frank Gore (373 touches in 2006). In fact, in Turner's 21 seasons running offenses in the NFL, his lead back failed to reach at least 313 touches just eight times, and that was typically because he didn't have a true feature back on the roster. (We're talking about guys like Ricky Ervins, Amos Zereoue and the ever-fragile Ryan Mathews.) In the other 13 seasons, his RB1 averaged 377 touches, so Trent Richardson figures to be used early and often. The arrival of Chudzinski and Turner is also good for Jordan Cameron, whom they've identified as their starting tight end. The duo has had success with Antonio Gates in San Diego, and Chudzinski utilized Greg Olsen heavily in Carolina. It also should be noted that Chudzinski served as the Browns OC in 2007 when Derek Anderson, Kellen Winslow & Braylon Edwards all posted career-best numbers.
2012 Pass/Rush: 58.9%/41.1% - Pass/Rush TDs: 16/12 - Yds/Catch: 11.2 - Yds/Rush: 3.9
HC Jason Garrett enters his 3rd season as the lead man in Dallas, and it appears he will once again call the plays despite the presence of OC Bill Callahan. The Cowboys were 15th in scoring and 6th in yards in 2012, so moving the ball isn't much of a problem. Expect more of the same from the Cowboys.
2012 Pass/Rush: 65.0%/35.0% - Pass/Rush TDs: 29/8 - Yds/Catch: 11.5 - Yds/Rush: 3.6
HC John Fox is in his 3rd season as the head honcho in Denver. Former OC Mike McCoy left for San Diego, and has been replaced by Adam Gase, who served as the QB coach in Denver for the last two seasons. Peyton Manning will continue to have a big role in shaping this offense, so we're not expecting much of a drop-off in production, especially with the addition of slot receiver Wes Welker.
2012 Pass/Rush: 55.0%/45.0% - Pass/Rush TDs: 37/12 - Yds/Catch: 11.6 - Yds/Rush: 3.8
HC Jim Schwartz enters his 5th season as the head coach in Detroit and is mainly focused on the defense. OC Scott Linehan remains as the team's play-caller. The Lions were 17th in scoring and 3rd in yardage in 2011, and were once again the most pass-happy team in the NFL, throwing the ball 65.4% of the time.
2012 Pass/Rush: 65.4%/34.6% - Pass/Rush TDs: 22/17 - Yds/Catch: 11.5 - Yds/Rush: 4.1
Green Bay Packers
HC Mike McCarthy is in his 8th year as the head coach and the team's primary play-caller. Expect the powerful offensive attack to continue under the guidance of QB Aaron Rodgers. OC Tom Clements replaced Joe Philbin last season, but there's no doubt that this is McCarthy's offense. The Packers dropped from 1st in 2011 to 5th in 2012 in total points scored.
2012 Pass/Rush: 56.3%/43.7% - Pass/Rush TDs: 39/9 - Yds/Catch: 11.6 - Yds/Rush: 3.9
HC Gary Kubiak is in his 8th season as the Texans' head man. He has a heavy hand in the offense and still calls the plays on offense with input from OC Rick Dennison, who enters his 4th year with the team. Both men came from the same Mike Shanahan-led system in Denver. The Texans were 8th in points scored and 7th in total yardage in 2012.
2012 Pass/Rush: 52.2%/47.8% - Pass/Rush TDs: 22/19 - Yds/Catch: 11.4 - Yds/Rush: 4.2
HC Chuck Pagano returns as HC, though he missed most of the 2012 season due to his battle with leukemia. Pagano was the defensive coordinator for the Baltimore Ravens in 2011 after coaching the secondary for three seasons. OC Bruce Arians left for the head job in Arizona, so the Colts hired Andrew Luck's former OC Pep Hamilton to lead the offense. While Arians liked to throw the ball downfield (which led to Luck taking a lot of hits), Hamilton runs more of a West Coast Offense featuring shorter, quick-hitting throws. Luck's completion percentage should rise from the substandard 54.1% he posted in his rookie season, though he may see a drop-off in big plays. The addition of Darrius Heyward-Bey gives the team another burner (along with T.Y. Hilton) to complement the good hands of Reggie Wayne. Hamilton's offense also features a power running game, so look for Vick Ballard to have a solid fantasy RB2-type season unless the Colts bring in another back.
2012 Pass/Rush: 58.8%/41.2% - Pass/Rush TDs: 23/11 - Yds/Catch: 12.9 - Yds/Rush: 3.8
HC Gus Bradley takes over for Mike Mularkey who was fired after one season. Bradley was the DC for the Seahawks for the last four years, and the team's defense became elite under his guidance. New OC Jedd Fisch has never called plays in the NFL, though he did call plays for the University of Miami the last two seasons and has nine years of experience in professional football. Judging by his play-calling in Miami, he likes to throw the ball, which would seem to favor Cecil Shorts and Justin Blackmon. The Jaguars are also expected to transition to a zone-blocking scheme, which is a red flag for Maurice Jones-Drew, who has thrived in a power attack for most of his career.
2012 Pass/Rush: 62.0%/38.0% - Pass/Rush TDs: 20/5 - Yds/Catch: 11.5 - Yds/Rush: 3.8
Kansas City Chiefs
New HC Andy Reid took over for Romeo Crennel, who was fired after one season running the Chiefs. Reid has a strong offensive mind, as the Eagles finished in the top 11 in yardage in six of the last seven seasons and in the top 8 in points in four of the last five. He'll call the plays in Kansas City, with new OC Doug Pederson primarily responsible for handling new QB Alex Smith and developing Chase Daniel and whoever else the Chiefs want to add at the position. Reid's arrival is good news for WR Dwayne Bowe and RB Jamaal Charles, who should both benefit from a better offensive attack. Charles may not see as many rushes as he did in 2012 (285), but LeSean McCoy averaged 20.5 touches per game in the last three seasons, which is more than the 18.0 that Charles averaged in the same span (and the 20.0 touches he averaged in 2012).
2012 Pass/Rush: 48.8%/51.2% - Pass/Rush TDs: 8/9 - Yds/Catch: 10.7 - Yds/Rush: 4.8
Joe Philbin enters his 2nd season as the head coach for the Dolphins. Mike Sherman stays put as OC after Miami finished 27th in points and in total yards. The addition of Mike Wallace, Dustin Keller and Brandon Gibson should make this a more potent aerial attack in 2013.
2012 Pass/Rush: 53.5%/46.5% - Pass/Rush TDs: 13/15 - Yds/Catch: 11.7 - Yds/Rush: 4.1
HC Leslie Frazier enters his 3rd season as the lead man in Minnesota. He was formerly the team's defensive coordinator. OC Bill Musgrave is also in his 3rd year. The Vikings finished 14th in points and 20th in yards in 2012. Thanks to Adrian Peterson, the team has a great running game but has trouble moving the ball through the air. That could continue in 2013 as Greg Jennings replaces Percy Harvin at receiver.
2012 Pass/Rush: 49.8%/50.2% - Pass/Rush TDs: 18/16 - Yds/Catch: 9.8 - Yds/Rush: 5.4
New England Patriots
HC Bill Belichick is in his 14th season as the Patriots' head coach and is a great defensive mind. OC Josh McDaniels enters his 2nd season as the team's OC. The Patriots were 1st in both points and yards in 2012. It may be tough to repeat that feat after losing WR Wes Welker in free agency. The Patriots replaced him with Danny Amendola, but only time will tell if he'll be able to fill Welker's shoes.
2012 Pass/Rush: 55.1%/44.9% - Pass/Rush TDs: 34/25 - Yds/Catch: 12.0 - Yds/Rush: 4.2
New Orleans Saints
HC Sean Payton returns after being suspended for the 2012 season. Pete Carmichael stays on as OC, though it's not clear who will be calling the plays in New Orleans. Carmichael has filled that role for most of the last two seasons, but Payton is a very capable play-caller in his own right. Either way, the Saints should once again have a prolific offense.
2012 Pass/Rush: 64.5%/35.5% - Pass/Rush TDs: 43/10 - Yds/Catch: 12.3 - Yds/Rush: 4.3
New York Giants
HC Tom Coughlin enters his 10th season with the Giants. OC Kevin Gilbride is in his 7th season running the offense. Expect more of the same from the G-Men, who finished 6th in points and 14th in yards in 2012.
2012 Pass/Rush: 56.9%/43.1% - Pass/Rush TDs: 26/18 - Yds/Catch: 12.3 - Yds/Rush: 4.6
New York Jets
HC Rex Ryan is in his 5th year as head coach for the Jets after surprising many by surviving a very disappointing 6-10 season in 2012. OC Tony Sparano was fired and replaced by Marty Mornhinweg, who has had plenty of success as the OC for the Eagles in the last seven seasons. His WCO should enable QB Mark Sanchez to complete more passes, though the Jets have serious question marks at WR and TE. Mornhinweg has a reputation for being a QB guru, so Sanchez is a bounce-back candidate this year after a pretty awful 2012.
2012 Pass/Rush: 49.9%/50.1% - Pass/Rush TDs: 14/12 - Yds/Catch: 11.7 - Yds/Rush: 3.8
HC Dennis Allen is in his 2nd year as the Raiders' lead man and has a primarily defensive background. New OC Greg Olson takes over for Greg Knapp, who unwisely tried to fix something that wasn't broken (i.e. the running game) by installing a zone blocking scheme that was ill-suited to the strengths of Darren McFadden. Olson plans to reinstall a power scheme, which should definitely benefit McFadden. Olson has seven years of experience as an OC for the Lions (2004-05), Rams (2006-07) and Buccaneers (2008-11) and his offenses have been mediocre at best. The Raiders traded for QB Matt Flynn after trading Carson Palmer away, and they lost both Darrius Heyward-Bey and Brandon Myers to free agency, so this offense will have a very different look in 2013.
2012 Pass/Rush: 62.7%/37.3% - Pass/Rush TDs: 24/4 - Yds/Catch: 11.4 - Yds/Rush: 3.8
Former Oregon coach Chip Kelly takes over for Andy Reid, who was fired after 14 years with the Eagles. Kelly runs a quick-hitting, up-tempo offense, so provided it can translate to the NFL, the key Eagles -- QB Michael Vick (provided he wins the job), RB LeSean McCoy and WRs Jeremy Maclin and DeSean Jackson -- shouldn't be adversely affected. Jackson especially could see more touches on bubble screens to take advantage of his speed, which is at a premium in Kelly's offense. (Bryce Brown may also eat into McCoy's touches.) Unfortunately, college coaches do not often have immediate success in the NFL, though it is encouraging that some NFL teams have adopted characteristics of Kelly's spread offense. Kelly hired Pat Shurmur to be his OC and will draw on his experience as an assistant to Reid in Philadelphia from 1999 to 2008, but make no mistake -- this will be Kelly's show. We're cautiously optimistic about the Eagles' offense in 2013.
2012 Pass/Rush: 59.9%/40.1% - Pass/Rush TDs: 18/10 - Yds/Catch: 11.1 - Yds/Rush: 4.6
HC Mike Tomlin is in his 7th season running the Steelers and has enjoyed great success. OC Todd Haley enters his 2nd season as the team's OC. In 2012, the Steelers finished 22nd in scoring and 21st in yardage after finishing 21st/12th the previous season under departed OC Bruce Arians. Haley has a good track record, however. He ran the Cardinals' offense in 2007 and 2008, and those teams finished 7th and 3rd in scoring, respectively. When he was the HC for the Chiefs, they improved from #23 in scoring in 2009 to #14 in in 2010.
2012 Pass/Rush: 58.1%/41.9% - Pass/Rush TDs: 26/9 - Yds/Catch: 11.3 - Yds/Rush: 3.8
San Diego Chargers
Norv Turner is out after six seasons and former Broncos OC Mike McCoy takes over as the Chargers' head honcho. McCoy did a fine job in Denver of adapting his offense to the talent he had available, first with Kyle Orton and Tim Tebow in 2011 and then again with Peyton Manning last season. New OC Ken Whisenhunt will call the plays, and has proven adaptable as well. In 2005, he led a run-heavy Pittsburgh team to a Super Bowl win in Ben Roethlisberger's second season. But in 2008, he led a pass-heavy Cardinals team (featuring Kurt Warner) to another Super Bowl appearance. The Chargers were 20th in points and 31st in yards, so there's plenty of room for improvement.
2012 Pass/Rush: 56.4%/43.6% - Pass/Rush TDs: 26/4 - Yds/Catch: 10.7 - Yds/Rush: 3.5
HC Pete Carroll enters his 4th season with the Seahawks after leaving USC with a decade of head coaching experience. OC Darrell Bevell is now in his 3rd season after coming over from the Vikings. He has a WCO background, and he opened up the playbook as he grew more confident in QB Russell Wilson. New WR Percy Harvin gives him another weapon in the arsenal. Assistant HC Tom Cable and Marshawn Lynch helped to revitalize the rushing attack in 2011, and both return again in 2013.
2012 Pass/Rush: 43.1%/56.9% - Pass/Rush TDs: 27/16 - Yds/Catch: 12.5 - Yds/Rush: 4.9
San Francisco 49ers
HC Jim Harbaugh is in his 3rd season running the 49ers after guiding his team to the NFC Championship Game and then to the Super Bowl in his first two seasons. OC Greg Roman came over from Stanford with Harbaugh, and still leans on the running game despite the emergence of QB Colin Kaepernick. Expect the ball to be in his hands a lot, whether it's a pass or a QB keeper.
2012 Pass/Rush: 47.0%/53.0% - Pass/Rush TDs: 23/17 - Yds/Catch: 12.3 - Yds/Rush: 5.0
St. Louis Rams
HC Jeff Fisher enters his 2nd season with the Rams after spending 16 years as the head coach of the Tennessee Titans. OC Brian Shottenheimer is also in his 2nd season running the offense. In 2012, the Rams improved to 25th in points (from 32nd in 2011) and to 23rd in yards (from 31st). In six seasons guiding the Jets' offense, his teams had an average ranking of 16th in scoring and 21st in yards gained.
2012 Pass/Rush: 57.5%/42.5% - Pass/Rush TDs: 21/5 - Yds/Catch: 11.4 - Yds/Rush: 4.2
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
HC Greg Schiano enters his 2nd season as head coach for the Buccaneers after a long stint as the HC at Rutgers. He has a defensive background. OC Mike Sullivan stays on as OC for a 2nd season as well. Last season, the offense improved from 27th to 13th in points and from 21st to 9th in yards, so Sullivan's first season was a success.
2012 Pass/Rush: 57.6%/42.4% - Pass/Rush TDs: 27/13 - Yds/Catch: 13.3 - Yds/Rush: 4.4
HC Mike Munchak is in his 3rd season as the Titans head coach after taking over for Jeff Fisher, with whom he worked for for 14 years. OC Dowell Loggains replaced former OC Chris Palmer, who was fired in November of last season. After Loggains took over play-calling duties, the Titans had a 54/46 pass/rush split in the final five games, which was more conservative than the 59/41 split in 11 games with Palmer calling the shots. This is probably good news for Chris Johnson, though the arrival of Shonn Greene may eat into his goal line carries.
2012 Pass/Rush: 58.9%/41.1% - Pass/Rush TDs: 17/10 - Yds/Catch: 11.2 - Yds/Rush: 4.4
HC Mike Shanahan is entering his 4th season with the Redskins. Shanahan coached 12 years for the Broncos and is known for a run-heavy West Coast offense. OC Kyle Shanahan is also entering his 4th year with the Redskins and is the son of the head coach. Once Robert Griffin III took over at QB and Alfred Morris emerged at RB, the team became more run-oriented in 2012. Expect more of the same this season.
2012 Pass/Rush: 46.2%/53.8% - Pass/Rush TDs: 24/22 - Yds/Catch: 12.6 - Yds/Rush: 5.3