6 New NFL Head Coaches and Coordinators Destined to Fail Next Season
Perennially-losing franchises, as well as those who simply failed to meet lofty expectations in 2011, have made quick moves to hire new faces, in the hope that fresh ideas will translate into a winner for 2012.
But the new coaches and coordinators face an uphill battle to revive the fortunes of teams and individual units stuck in troubling streaks of mediocrity. These challenges are made even tougher because the pressure on new coaches and coordinators intensifies every year.
Every new coordinator will be expected to produce an impact similar to what Wade Phillips has achieved in his first season with the Houston Texans defense. Given the phenomenal first-year success of Jim Harbaugh's San Francisco 49ers, the bar for new head coaches has been set even higher.
Only a select few of the new coaches and coordinators can be realistically expected to even approach these levels right away.
Here is a list of six new coaches and coordinators who are set to fail in their debut seasons.
6. Mike Mularkey, New Head Coach, Jacksonville Jaguars
Former Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey will be expected to create a high-powered attack for a Jacksonville Jaguars team that notoriously struggles to score points. But Mularkey's chances for success are not high.
The Jaguars are saddled with Blaine Gabbert at quarterback and the youngster has yet to demonstrate the potential to contribute to a potent offense. A shortage of quality weapons in the passing game certainly doesn't help.
Mularkey will most likely rely on the talents of diminutive rusher Maurice Jones-Drew. Expect the Jaguars offense to continue to be built around a power running game.
But that doesn't mean the Jags will score any more points, and they could still resemble the kind of dour team they were under former head coach Jack Del Rio.
Even in a seemingly wide open AFC South, that won't be enough to make the Jaguars contenders in 2012.
5. John Pagano, New Defensive Coordinator, San Diego Chargers
John Pagano enters a notoriously precarious situation as defensive coordinator for the San Diego Chargers. Defensive coordinators have usually been the scapegoats for the Chargers' colossal underachievement during recent seasons.
Greg Manusky, an intelligent assistant, couldn't last more than a single campaign in the position. San Diego's defense took a step back in 2011, thanks to the poor performances of key players in big games.
Under-fire head coach Norv Turner and his entire staff will be under heavy pressure to deliver a winning season in 2012. That creates too high a level of expectation for Pagano's first unit.
If the Chargers flatter to deceive yet again, expect another defensive coordinator to pay the price in San Diego.
4. Tony Sparano, New Offensive Coordinator, New York Jets
It's hard to see Tony Sparano's high-intensity style going over well with all of the egos in the New York Jets dysfunctional offense. For a team seemingly destined for a major collapse, bringing in Sparano was a strange idea.
The former Miami Dolphins head coach takes over a Jets attack still seeking a definite identity. Given Sparano's history, emphasising power running seems to be the logical conclusion from his hiring.
But any offense that limits the participation of Mark Sanchez raises further questions about the development and future of the man the Jets traded up to select fifth overall in the 2009 draft.
3. Alan Williams, New Defensive Coordinator, Minnesota Vikings
Ex-Indianapolis Colts defensive backs coach Alan Williams will be expected to quickly restore a Minnesota Vikings defense which is aging in certain areas and short on talent in others.
Even with the presence of the league's sack leader Jared Allen, Williams will have to work some magic to produce a stout defense for the Vikings in 2012.
Despite a defense that ranked 21st in yards and surrendered the second-most points in the NFL with a whopping 449, the Vikings appear to have gone for schematic continuity by bringing in Williams. Minnesota have relied on a Tampa-2 system for a while now and that's the background of Williams.
The Vikings missed the chance to reinvent their defensive structure and implement some fresh ideas for 2012.
2. Dennis Allen, New Head Coach, Oakland Raiders
Despite having some defensive talent to work with, rookie head coach Dennis Allen will find things tough with the Oakland Raiders in 2012. Having spent only one season as a defensive coordinator, Allen is taking a big step up attempting to stabilise a Raiders franchise desperate for consistent success.
Allen's chances have already been undermined by some dubious trades made by the previous regime. That means the Raiders won't have many options in the draft. Not good news for a first-time head coach who needs to facilitate an entire culture shift in Oakland.
Allen has to move the Raiders away from trying to be the league's bully and living up to the rebel image of the franchise. If he can cut down the penalties, Allen must then find a way to justify the team's hefty investment in veteran quarterback Carson Palmer.
With a limited draft and suspect framework for success, Allen might be asked to do too much in his first year.
1. Chuck Pagano, New Head Coach, Indianapolis Colts
The Indianapolis Colts sprang a surprise when they opted for Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano as their new head coach. Pagano takes over a team coming off a 2-14 campaign and facing a huge dilemma concerning franchise player Peyton Manning.
The Colts are undergoing huge changes in every area of team structure. New faces will be in the front office and new systems could well be in place on both sides of the ball.
The Colts own the top pick in the draft, but they require a major overhaul at numerous positions. Pagano will likely have a rookie at quarterback and have to re-design an offense and defense that for over a decade have both been constructed to support and complement the specific talents of Manning.
Although it's hard not to take a step forward after going 2-14 and the first year of a new era will inevitably judged less strictly in terms of success and failure, fans still shouldn't expect a winner too soon in Indianapolis.