NFL Off-Season Already Very Busy


Noah Gross, Sports Editor

With another Super Bowl wrapped up, teams officially moved into “Black Monday” mode. The term “Black Monday” is used to describe the day after the Super Bowl when head coaches around the league are given their walking papers.
While some teams did not wait for the proverbial Boogeyman to come calling before firing their coach, nine teams in total hired new head coaches in this cycle. Those nine teams were the New Orleans Saints, New York Giants, Chicago Bears, Denver Broncos, Miami Dolphins, Las Vegas Raiders, Jacksonville Jaguars, Houston Texans, and Minnesota Vikings.
The Saints decided to tab their long-time defensive coordinator, Dennis Allen, to be their next head coach after Sean Payton decided to retire. Allen’s reign as coordinator saw him turn the unit from one that had been giving up historic amounts of yards and points into a top-five defense. Allen’s biggest challenge will be finding a new starting quarterback and maneuvering around the Saint’s salary cap situation, which is currently the worst in the league.
The Giants hired former Bills offensive coordinator, Brian Daboll, as their next head coach. Credited for the rapid development of superstar quarterback Josh Allen, Daboll had been one of the most popular names in the last few coaching hires. The big question is whether he was brought in to develop former first-round pick Daniel Jones at the quarterback position, or if the Giants will use one of their two picks in the top 10 to select a new quarterback for Daboll to mold.
Matt Eberflus, former defensive coordinator for the Colts, was hired as head coach of the Chicago Bears after the firing of Matt Nagy. A bit of a surprise hire, Eberflus is known as a coach obsessed with details, and was instrumental in the development of key Indianapolis defensive players, such as Darius Leonard, Kenny Moore, and Julian Blackman. It will be interesting to see how the hiring of a defensive-minded coach impacts the development of second-year quarterback Justin Fields.
The Broncos decision to hire former Packers offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett was shrewd for two reasons. First, Hackett is a bright coach with a history of success who should help turn around a much-maligned Denver offense. Secondly, star Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has been publicly seeking a trade. Perhaps he would want to follow his former offensive coordinator to Denver, which would make the Broncos an immediate Super Bowl contender.
Miami’s decision to hire San Francisco offensive coordinator Mike McDaniel was met with skepticism given the firing of former Dolphins coach Brian Flores, but McDaniel is a great coach in his own right. His youth and ability to connect with young players, such as quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, are areas in which Flores lacked. McDaniel’s zone running scheme should mesh well with the rest of the Dolphin’s roster.
Josh McDaniels, who has been a longtime offensive coordinator for the Patriots, was hired as the next head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders. After flaming out as head coach of the Broncos earlier in his career, McDaniels gets a chance to make a new name for himself. Offensive stars like QB Derrek Carr, RB Josh Jacobs, and TE Darren Waller should help make his life a bit easier.
After firing Urban Meyer in less than a season, the Jacksonville Jaguars hired Doug Pederson, former Eagles head coach. The former Super Bowl winner took a year off from coaching last year and now has an opportunity to start fresh in Florida. Pederson inherits a generational talent at quarterback with last year’s No. 1 overall pick, Trevor Lawrence. However, much work is still to be done for a franchise with one of the worst records in football over the last five years.
The Texan’s ended their whirlwind of a coaching cycle by landing on former Bears head coach, Lovie Smith. The Texans hired Smith at the 11th hour after facing intense backlash over rumors of hiring Josh McCown, a former NFL quarterback with zero coaching experience of any kind. As sort of the last apple in the bushel, Smith will have to have quite an impressive season to avoid being a one-year wonder like Steve Wilks was in Arizona.
The final head coach hiring of this cycle was Minnesota, who chose Kevin O’Connell, offensive coordinator for the Rams, as their next head coach. Fresh off his Super Bowl victory, O’Connell inherits a roster with a ton of talent that has the chance to instantly contend in the NFC North. With players like Justin Jefferson, Adam Thielen, Kirk Cousins, and Dalvin Cook, the Vikings could become the Rams of their division.