CBS sports insider Jason La Canfora generated rankings for the NFL’s seven new head coaches in 2021, and his metrics were ownership, front office, roster, and recent history. His reasoning of development and rosters being vital is fair, but the rest of his criteria seems unnecessary; even more importantly, his rankings don’t abide by his own measures.
What is the level of immediate expectations? What is the market like in terms of fans and the media? Is there any history of at least a modicum of recent success?
Are other parts of the franchise still in transition – the front office or business operations? Is the team in any jeopardy of being sold and falling under new management in the near future? Any coaches or general managers get second contracts around there? Recent history of infighting and backstabbing? Is the owner easily influenced by outside voices and the media?
Brandon Staley holds the top spot in La Canfora’s rankings, which I have no issues with. The Chargers roster is superior to the Falcons, and the biggest factor is Justin Herbert is an ascending talent while Matt Ryan is definitely in the latter years of his career. However, the Chargers organization as a whole is just as inconsistent and mediocre as Atlanta. Arthur Blank is a more stable owner than the Spanos family as there has been recent turmoil among the siblings.
Ubran Meyer follows Staley, and this is just a laughable ranking. In no way, shape, or form is any facet of Jacksonville’s situation better than Atlanta; the only thing they have going for them is Trevor Lawrence, who is one of the most prolific quarterback prospects we’ve seen since Peyton Manning. Meanwhile, Meyer has been notorious for leaving teams high and dry. As an entire organization, Jacksonville is subpar to the Falcons.
Nick Sirianni and the Eagles are next on the list… ahead of Arthur Smith and the Falcons. This is the organization whose owner and general manager bullied its last head coach… seems stable. Not to mention, the roster is abysmal outside of the offensive and defensive lines. The quarterback battle between Jalen Hurts and Joe Flacco is laughable compared to the stablitlty of Matt Ryan. I seriously don’t understand this placement for the Eagles whatsoever.
Dan Campbell and the Lions follow as the fourth ranked rookie head coach situation. The Lions might be the most dysfunctional franchise in the entire NFL — only because the Browns seem to have turned things around. Detroit has been the laughing stock of the NFL since Barry Sanders failed to win any championships. Detroit’s roster, as it stands, is still inferior to the Falcons, and if Jared Goff couldn’t win with Sean McVay and the Rams’ loaded roster, what makes La Canfora believe this situation is better than Atlanta?
Then there is the Falcons as the fifth-ranked rookie head coaching situation, and his reasoning:
Heavy is the head of those labelled a QB-guru or offensive wunderkind. People expect immediate results. And this owner resisted a full rebuild and kept Matt Ryan around (despite giving away Julio Jones for cash/cap reasons), which sends an odd signal. They have no hope of immediate success with that defense, and the QB is in decline. But the objective seems to be to win ASAP, despite a horrible cap situation and with an aging core.
La Canfora is right, expectations for the Falcons are higher than any team on the list other than the Chargers, but the notion that the roster is depleted compared to the Eagles, Lions, and Jaguars is blasphemy. The horrible cap situation can be negated by some smart contract work, and with quarterbacks playing well into their 40s nowadays, extending Matty Ice could kill two birds with one stone. I’m not delusional; the Falcons aren’t winning a Super Bowl in 2021, but they are certainly in a better position to do so than every other team on this list not named the Chargers.
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