No less than eight teams will kickoff the 2011-2012 Nfl season with a new skipper manning the sidelines. In the Afc Cleveland, Denver, Oakland, and Tennessee welcome new skippers, meanwhile, four Nfc teams also roll out the red carpeting for new headmen in Carolina, Dallas, Minnesota, and San Francisco.
Two of the eight new skippers (cowpoke Jason Garrett and viking Leslie Frazier) are truly interim Hc hold-overs from last season when Dallas and Minnesota both fired their headmen prior to the closing of the regular season, however, both Garrett and Frazier still must be thought about rookie Nfl skippers as they are entering their first full season as the man in charge. As a matter of fact, seven of the eight new skippers for the 2011-2012 Nfl are truly rookies when it comes to being the man in charge.
Head Coaching Changes and Teams to Watch For The 2011-2012 Nfl Season
Denver is the only team to hire a retread this season as they brought aboard former Carolina Hc John Fox to control their destiny, however, it is powerful that both Tennessee and Oakland promoted from within as the Raiders moved last years nasty coordinator (Hue Jackson) into their Hc slot while the Titans handed the skipper reins to long time player and assistant coach Mike Munchak who has 30 years with the organization. Below is a summary of two potential surprise teams from this years crop of new Hcs and what to watch for:
Cleveland: The Brownies brought in Mike Holmgren to run the show prior to the start of last season, being the nice guy the ole walrus is, he gave Hc Eric Mangenius a year to prove himself. Unfortunately for Eric Mangenius his Brownie team didn’t show up to play for him as they lost their final four games to close out the regular season along with the 9-41 drubbing in the season finale that was administered to them by divisional rival Pittsburgh and ended up with a mark of 5-11 for the second level season.
Needless to say and rightly so, a two year description of 10-22 got Eric Mangenius kicked to the curb. Enter new rookie skipper Pat Shurmur…shur who? Although Pat Shurmur had a decent college playing occupation as a town at Michigan State, his name isn’t one that easily comes to mind when it comes to the Nfl as he never played in the pro ranks and when it comes to Nfl coaching palpate tollied in virtual obscurity for nine seasons as the Eagles Qb coach prior to last year when he was a one-year nasty coordinator for the Rams.
Shurmurs claim to fame while his nine year stint with Philadelphia stems from the play of former Eagle Qb Donovan McNabb who led his team to five Nfc Championship games and one Super Bowl appearance, join that with the play of rookie Ram Qb Sam Bradford last year in Shurmurs only season with St Louis as their Oc and presto….Cleveland Gm Mike Holmgren loves Shurmur, hires Shurmur, and now expects Shurmur to do the same with young Brownie Qb Colt McCoy.
The Brownies major malfunction last season was their offense which ended the season ranked a terrible 29th in passing yards per game, 29th in total yards per game, and 27th in points per 100 yards gained, which of procedure is the fancy why Cleveland ended last year ranked 31st in median points scored per game (16.94). If Shurmur can fix what ails this Brownie offense then Cleveland might just be one of the surprise teams this season as their defense truly didn’t play that bad last year in ranking 8th in points allowed per 100 yards, 12th in yards allowed per rush and a respectable 13th in median points allowed per game at 20.75 and especially when considering how long they were on the field due to the play of the poor Brownie offense.
There will be changes to the Cleveland defense as the Brownies elected to let defensive coordinator Rob Ryan go and brought in Dick Jauron to call the shots. Jauron, who had head coaching stints with both Chicago and Buffalo, knows how to coach defense as evidenced by the statistics that his units posted while with the Packers, Jags, and Bears in former defensive coaching stints.Most preponderant of upcoming turn will be the alignment the Brownie defense utilizes as they will be switching from a 3-4 to a 4-3, look for the additions of monster tackle Phil Taylor (1st round draft choice) and De Jabaal Sheard (2nd round draft choice) up front to pay quick dividends along with the return of linebackers Scott Fujita and Chris Gocong and second year Cb Joe Haden.
Offensively, new Hc Pat Shurmur will be calling the plays just as his new mentor and Gm Mike Holmgren did while with both Green Bay and Seattle. turn will come to the offense as well with the implementation of a short quick passing game (often referred to as the west coast offense), when it comes to divisional play this turn can only help the Brownie offense against defensive stalwarts Pittsburgh and Baltimore.
Divisional rival Pittsburgh is fresh off a Super Bowl loss, if historical trends hold up this means that the Steelers should fail to make the playoffs, either that happens or not is anyone’s guess, however, this much I do know and that is the fact that Pittsburgh is getting pretty long in the tooth and especially on defense, a behold at Pittsburgh’s roster from last season shows their players median age was 26.78 years old which was the second oldest in the league behind Washington.
The same can be said for Baltimore as their roster averaged 26.68 years of age which made them the fifth oldest team in the Nfl. Cleveland was right up there as well with an median of 26.78 years per player which ranked them third in the league, the variation is that because the Brownies had shoddy records over the past three level seasons (14-34) they were able to add fresh young talented blood to their lineup and dumped a lot of aging talent this season. Vegas has set the season win/loss total at 6.5 for Cleveland, I think the Brownies get at least to the .500 mark this season……Over 6.5 Seasonal wins.
Denver: After losing 12 of their final 14 games to close out last years campaign with a truly full, shoddy mark of 4-12 the Denver Broncos decided to part ways with young Hc Josh McDaniels and in turn hired ousted Carolina Hc John Fox to take the reins. In the big photograph who could truly blame Denver for wanting to go in a distinct direction with a new skipper after McDaniels had truly managed to lose 22 of his last 26 games dating back to the former season>
McDaniels, who lucked out to get the Denver job to begin with, was his own worst enemy with regard to player relations as he permanently seemed to cause turmoil and in the end the players naturally quit playing for him. Then of procedure there was McDaniels dubious at best drafting of Tim Tebow the former year which cost Denver in a very large way last year as it came back to bite them squarely in the ole behind with the lack of talent and depth on the defensive side of the ball.
Not judging either Tebow will end up being a good acquisition or not, the point of the matter is that Denver needed help on the defensive side of the ball after finishing 26th in run defense prior to drafting Tebow. In the big photograph Tebow has a questionable arm, questionable accuracy and will be a work in progress. McDaniels gave up way too much to get Tebow in the slot that he drafted him in when considering that he gave up Denver’s 43rd, 70th, and 114th full, picks to Baltimore for the right to draft Tebow in the first round with the 25th pick. After drafting Tebow and Not drafting for defensive help, what happened last season?
A check of the final stats from last years regular season reveals that Denvers defense ended dead last in the Nfl (32nd) in total yards allowed per game (390.81), points allowed per game (29.44), only totaled 23 sacks (1.44 p/gm), the Broncos defense also ended a shoddy 31st in rush yards allowed per game (154.6) and 30th in yards allowed per pass. Is it truly any wonder why Denver got rid of McDaniels? What raised some bushy eyebrows was the direction in which Denver elected to take with regard to the hiring of former Carolina Panther Hc John Fox who himself was fresh off a league worst and truly terrific 2-14 season.
In truth the Panthers fall from grace should not have been That big of a surprise when considering the fact that Carolina resided in the same branch as New Orleans, which had won the Super Bowl the prior season, and with Atlanta, which was up and coming as evidenced by posting a mark of 20-13 over their former two seasons.
Carolina naturally got long in the tooth as evidenced by posting a mark of 35-30 in their former four seasons and elected to go young by dumping a lot of veteran talent and bringing in a lot of new young faces. It didn’t help any when the injury bug hit them early in the campaign and it most truly didn’t help them when young beginning Qb Matt Moore (who had played so well in winning four of five games to close out the former season) suffered a concussion in the season opener and then proceeded to fall flat on his face by throwing four picks in two games.
Moore was benched in favor of rookie Qb Jimmy Clausen who played no better, when Moore was re-inserted for week nine action against New Orleans he injured his shoulder and was done for the year. Moore and Clausen combined to tally a Td to Int ratio of 7 to 16 for the season and were the root cause for the Panther offense to rank a dead last 32nd in the league in passing yards per game, total yards per game, points per 100 yards gained, yards per pass and also ranked 31st in passer completion ration and 30th in time of possession.
Needless to say, Carolina was done in by their shoddy Qb play. John Fox shouldn’t have that concern with the Broncos who have triggerman Kyle Orton under town and a fast improving Brady Quinn backing him up. Orton is the kind of Qb that new Hc John Fox likes with regard to his leadership and steady play, last season Orton tossed for 3653 yards with a Td to Int ratio of 20 to 9 en-route to compiling a Qb rating of 87.5 and in his two seasons with Denver thus far has thrown for a total of 7455 yards with a Td to Int ratio of 41 to 21 with an median Qb rating of 87.15. No Fox won’t have to worry about the Denver offense, instead he can turn his attentiveness to what he does best which is coaching defense.
John Fox has a pretty good pedigree as he got his Nfl coaching start with the Pittsburgh Steelers back in 1986 as their defensive backs coach as well as their defensive coordinator, prior to taking over the helm as the skipper of the Carolina Panthers in 2002, Fox had also cut his teeth as a defensive coordinator for the Bolts, the Raiders, and the Rams. In 2002 when Fox took over the Carolina Panthers, they had ended the former year with a description of 1-15 and oddly enough were remarkably similar to last years Denver team with regard to defense or lack thereof as evidenced by finishing the regular season ranking a shoddy 31st in the categories of rush yards allowed, total yards allowed per game and Top (time of possession) and ranked 28th in both pass yards allowed per game and defensive sacks along with a 27th ranking in yards allowed per pass.
In his first season with Carolina Fox pushed his team to a 7-9 desist and in his second year took them to the Super Bowl. Can Fox double in Denver the same kind of turn-around as he did when he first took over the Panthers? I think he can as the Broncos are a talented club offensively and defensively have added the needed pieces of the puzzle both coaching-wise and player-wise to make huge strides this season. Denver has a tougher program this season with games at Tennessee, Green Bay, and Minnesota along with home dates against the visiting Jets, Bears, and Patriots, however, the rest of Denver’s branch will play the same teams. Look for Denver to desist second in the Afc West behind San Diego and by doing so surpass the season win/loss total of 6 that Vegas has assigned them….Over 6 Seasonal wins.
Take care and be well my friends
Head Coaching Changes and Teams to Watch For The 2011-2012 Nfl Season