25 Most Overrated Coaches, Coordinators and General Managers in the NFL
Arm-chair quarterbacking is something that skeptics around the sports world do on a consistent basis. This causes fans of certain teams and players to jump all over the supposed "experts."
This doesn't mean that those "experts" are wrong. In many cases, it is just the fans hearing something they don't want to hear but might already know.
On that note, this article is going to focus on 25 coaches, coordinators and general managers in the National Football League who are overrated.
Hey, New York Jets fans, there is a reason the two main men in your hierarchy are pictured above. It means that they are on the list. You might also see Rex Ryan's twin brother on the list as well.
So, let's get started, and bring the criticism, I will be waiting with an evil smirk on my face.
25. Mike Nolan, Defensive Coordinator, Atlanta Falcons
Mike Nolan was considered one of the best young coordinators in the NFL with the Baltimore Ravens prior to moving on to become the San Francisco 49ers head coach in 2005. It has pretty much been a downhill fall for Nolan ever since.
The following season Nolan bolted for the Miami Dolphins, once again leading a defense to mediocrity in the form of the 14th-ranked defense in the league.
Although the Dolphins rebounded for a top 10 ranking last season, they decided not to retain Nolan while forming an entirely new coaching staff.
It just seems that the former defensive mastermind of the Ravens has leveled out over the last couple seasons and is nowhere near the talent that many believed less than a decade ago.
24. Bruce Arians, Offensive Coordinator, Indianapolis Colts
Bruce Arians has been a respected coordinator in the National Football League for more than a decade. His name has been bandied about as one of the better offensive minds in the entire football world.
Well, I just don't see it.
One of your primary responsibilities as an offensive coordinator in the NFL is to put your quarterback in a position to succeed. Despite poor offensive line play in Pittsburgh for the last few seasons, Arians continued to put Ben Roethlisberger in less than enviable situations.
How many empty set formations did you see the Steelers run over the course of the last few seasons? This put Big Ben into a situation to be hit because their offensive line wasn't great in pass-protection. Sometimes it just makes sense to adapt to the personnel you have on the team. Arians refused to do that in Pittsburgh.
The trips formation is also questionable with the personnel that Pittsburgh has had. This is when you line up three receivers at one hash, keeping one extra blocker in the form of a running back. This play takes longer to develop and enables the defense to hit the quarterback.
Arians now heads to the Indianapolis Colts to take over their offense. He is going to have to adjust to their lack of proven blockers if Andrew Luck is going to have any chance at success or even stay on the field for an entire season.
After all, not everyone can play through the pain that Big Ben has continued to play through over the course of his career.
23. Greg Roman, Offensive Coordinator, San Francisco 49ers
It isn't that I am not a fan of Greg Roman. Rather, his inclusion on this list indicates that some have jumped the gun in praising the young San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator.
First, he wasn't responsible for a majority of the play-calling last season in San Francisco. Those duties were performed by a combination of Roman, Jim Harbaugh and quarterbacks coach Geep Chryst.
Second, the 49ers didn't exactly light the world on fire on offense last season. They ranked just 29th in the league in passing yards and were near the bottom in red-zone offense. If it weren't for great special teams and defense, this team wouldn't have come close to winning 13 games last season.
There was also questionable play-calling on third downs and near the end zone. This is where San Francisco struggled the most last season. The 49ers finished 31st in the league in third-down efficiency.
Expect his name to be a hot commodity in the future, but it is going to take some seasoning before he should seriously be considered for a head coaching job.
It really is that simple.
22. Gunther Cunningham, Defensive Coordinator, Detroit Lions
The Detroit Lions had a disastrous 2011 season on defense, and it was only magnified during a record-setting playoff loss to the New Orleans Saints in January.
Not only did Detroit rank near the bottom third of the league in scoring defense, they yielded over 450 yards per game over the course of their final five regular-season matchups. This is one of the primary reasons that the Lions didn't contend for a conference championship in 2011.
Gunther Cunningham might have name recognition, but he has been a marginal defensive coordinator in the National Football League since leading the Los Angeles Raiders back in 1992, his first gig as a coordinator in the league.
21. Scott Pioli, General Manager, Kansas City Chiefs
Let's get one thing straight: Scott Pioli was not calling the shots for the New England Patriots during his tenure there. That is like saying any Oakland Raiders "general manager" under Al Davis was anything more than a figurehead.
This didn't stop the Kansas City Chiefs from hiring Pioli as their general manager following a disastrous 2-14 season in 2008.
His first order of business was to trade for former Patriots' backup quarterback Matt Cassel by sending a second-round pick to New England. What seemed like a match made in heaven hasn't exactly worked out. Sure, the Chiefs made the playoffs in 2010 with a surprising 10-6 record, but Cassel has since regressed and doesn't seem to be the long-term answer in Kansas City.
Due to a myriad of different injuries, the Chiefs fell to 7-9 last season, firing head coach Todd Haley after a 5-8 start. Haley was Pioli's hire as well.
The only player to perform at a high level from his first draft with the Chiefs in 2009 was Ryan Succop, a kicker who was the final pick of that draft.
While recent drafts have seemed to work in the Chiefs' favor, it is the first couple years of questionable decision-making that puts Pioli on this list.
20. Kevin Gilbride, Offensive Coordinator, New York Giants
I am pretty sure that a majority of New York Giants' fans would agree with the inclusion of Kevin Gilbride on this list.
Despite being given some amazing weapons to work with on the offensive side of the ball, Gilbride has continued to make questionable calls during games.
I am not going to focus as much on stats with this slide. The talent that the Giants have had on offensive would make any coordinator look good.
It is more about Gilbride struggling to dial up the right calls on third downs and in certain situations that has me baffled. He consistently draws up the wrong play at the wrong time and gets bailed out by the likes of Eli Manning and Victor Cruz.
This is as subjective as they come, but I personally think the Giants offense would be much better off without Gilbride.
19. Jim Haslett, Defensive Coordinator, Washington Redskins
What has Jim Haslett done as defensive coordinator that keeps on getting him jobs in the same role around the National Football League?
His first defensive coordinator job in the league was with the New Orleans Saints in 1996. Haslett lasted one season there after the Saints finished 20th in the league in scoring offense during a 3-13 campaign.
His reward? The same position with the Pittsburgh Steelers from 1997 to 1999. This is where Haslett rode the coattails of players like Carnell Lake, Greg Lloyd and Levon Kirkland to name recognition. The Steelers finished no worst than 12th in scoring defense during his three seasons with the team.
This landed Haslett the head coaching job with the aforementioned Saints. From 2000 to 2005, New Orleans made the playoffs just once as its defense struggled a great deal.
After being fired by the Saints in 2005, Haslett joined the St. Louis Rams as their defensive coordinator. In two seasons with that team, he led a defense that finished 28th and 31st in the NFL in scoring.
Now Haslett gets another chance, this time with the Washington Redskins.
18. Juan Castillo, Defensive Coordinator, Philadelphia Eagles
Juan Castillo was solely an offensive assistant in the NFL for 16 seasons before the Philadelphia Eagles made him their defensive coordinator prior to 2011.
Okay, now that doesn't seem to make a lot of sense. Why promote an offensive mind to coach defense? However, Castillo played linebacker in college and during a brief stint in the United States Football League.
It still doesn't jibe with how teams run in the NFL.
Many were still ready to give Castillo the benefit of the doubt.
A disastrous first season as the Eagles' defensive coordinator quickly changed many people's minds. They struggled in every aspect of the game outside of the pass-rush, couldn't tackle worth a damn and made huge mistakes with the game on the line.
Despite finishing No. 10 in scoring defense, it was apparent that they just didn't have the scheme and coaching to be successful when it counted the most.
Still, the Eagles decided to retain Castillo for the 2012 season and give him another chance. While we may be rooting for the guy, I am not too sure how confident we should be in his ability to succeed.
17. Mike Smith, Head Coach, Atlanta Falcons
There are so many people out there who want to praise Mike Smith for the job that he has done as the head coach of the Atlanta Falcons since taking over in 2008. After all, he has led them to winning seasons in each of his first four years with the club.
That really isn't the point.
The NFL is a postseason-driven league. This means that you must perform and show up when it counts the most in January. This is something that the Falcons have failed to do under Smith.
They have lost all three postseason games since 2008 by an average of over 18 points, completely falling apart when it counts the most.
Smith will continue to be overrated in my book until the Falcons prove that they can actually compete in the playoffs.
16. Brian Schottenheimer, Offensive Coordinator, St. Louis Rams
The New York Jets have finished in the top 10 on offense just once in Brian Schottenheimer's six seasons as their offensive coordinator. Additionally, they finished in the top half of the league in total yards just once during his tenure in New York.
He was the coordinator for a Jets team that never saw Mark Sanchez progress towards being anywhere near a franchise quarterback.
Schottenheimer first made his name known as the quarterbacks coach for the San Diego Chargers from 2002-2005 when Drew Brees was jumping onto the scene as one of the best young quarterbacks in the league.
This led many to believe that Marty's son was ready to take over the reins of an offense in the NFL and help build quarterbacks into franchise guys.
This didn't happen in New York, and I have a hard time believing it is going to happen in St. Louis with the Rams.
15. Bruce Allen, General Manager, Washington Redskins
Bruce Allen was definitely a hot commodity when he bolted from the Oakland Raiders to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers following the 2003 season. This despite the fact that everyone knew that Allen wasn't the primary decision maker in Oakland. Those duties went to the late Al Davis.
From 2004-2008, Allen led a Tampa Bay Buccaneers franchise that had been champions of the league just a few years back. Under his direction they became mired in mediocrity. His first piece of business as the Buccaneers general manager was to release John Lynch and let Warren Sapp leave via free agency.
This sent two of their key defensive veterans packing, causing major issues in regards to continuity on the team.
In Allen's five seasons with Tampa Bay, he drafted "busts" such as Michael Clayton, Arron Sears and Dexter Jackson (WR) in early rounds. He also let key veterans depart via free agency and didn't make many great free-agent signings.
Allen was fired following four consecutive losses to end the 2008 season.
Sharing player personnel duties with Mike Shanahan in Washington, Allen hasn't fared much better. They traded for Donovan McNabb prior to the 2010 season, a decision that set the franchise back a couple years.
While it remains to be seen if Robert Griffin III is going to pan out, the bounty that Washington gave up in return was huge: three first-round picks as well as a second rounder.
14. Rob Ryan, Defensive Coordinator, Dallas Cowboys
Rob Ryan, much like his brother, has to be one of the most overrated individuals in the world of professional football.
Ryan led the Oakland Raiders defense from 2004-to-2008, never finishing better than 18th in scoring defense. As a whole, the Raiders averaged a total of four wins each season he was their defensive coordinator.
The enigmatic coordinator then took over the Cleveland Browns defense for the next two seasons, leading them to an average defense both seasons. Despite finishing 13th in the NFL in scoring defense in 2010, the Browns jumped up to No. 5 the following season when Ryan bolted for the Dallas Cowboys.
Last season saw the Cowboys struggle a great deal on defense, finishing in the middle of the pack on defense.
Ryan might talk a good game, but he is nothing more than a mediocre coordinator in the NFL. It really is that simple.
13. Thomas Dimitroff, General Manager, Atlanta Falcons
Everyone seems like they want to give Thomas Dimitroff a ton of credit for building the Atlanta Falcons we see today. I just don't see it.
How many playoff games has this franchise won since he took over in 2008? The answer to that question is...well, zero. This is a team that remains nowhere near the elite in the NFC and won't be for quite a while unless things change.
Dimitroff signed Dunta Robinson to a six year, $57 million contract back in 2010, a deal that hasn't paid off for the franchise in his first two seasons with the team.
In 2011 he traded multiple first-round draft picks to the Cleveland Browns in order to trade up for the services of Julio Jones, who wasn't even considered the top wide receiver prospect in that draft. This disabled the Falcons' ability to improve in certain areas that are glaring weaknesses right now.
The general manager also spent top-round picks on the likes of Peria Jerry, Sam Baker and William Moore, none of whom have lived up to expectations.
A couple years ago, it seems like the Falcons were on the midst of becoming an elite team. Now it appears they are nothing more than a fringe playoff contender.
These decisions are primary reasons for that.
12. Ken Whisenhunt, Head Coach, Arizona Cardinals
Ken Whisenhunt started out extremely strong as the head coach of the Arizona Cardinals, leading them to the NFC Championship in his second season.
This franchise has since fallen on tough times. It isn't that the Cardinals are not decent enough to finish around .500 each season, which has been the case for the most part. It is more about their inability to hurdle the line towards consistent playoff contention.
Instead, the Cardinals seem mired in mediocrity. They don't play disciplined football, tend to struggle managing games and just don't have the "it" factor.
For a head coach who was highly praised just a few short seasons ago, Whisenhunt seems to be nothing more than a marginal figure at this point.
Of course, things can change.
11. Jason Garrett, Head Coach, Dallas Cowboys
Never mind that Jason Garrett took over a Dallas Cowboys team that was falling apart during the middle of the 2010 season. He took over a talented team and led them to mediocrity last season.
The Cowboys cannot blame Tony Romo for this mediocrity either. The talented quarterback had the best season of an impressive career, throwing for over 4,000 yards and possessing a three-to-one TD/INT ratio.
It remains to be seen whether or not Garrett is the long-term answer in Dallas. What is apparent is that he is going to be on thin ice in 2012 and needs to lead the Cowboys to the playoffs.
10. Cam Cameron, Offensive Coordinator, Baltimore Ravens
When you have a player like Ray Rice, aren't you supposed to ride him throughout the season? This really doesn't take a video room shut-in to completely understand.
It doesn't appear that Cam Cameron has gotten the memo.
First, Rice ranked No. 7 in the NFL in attempts per game with just 18 in 2011—his despite the fact that Baltimore is 18-3 when Rice runs the ball 20-plus times in his career, including an 8-0 record last season.
Okay, so get him the ball. Right? Apparently not if you are running the Ravens offense. I am pretty sure that Ravens' fans share in this frustration.
9. Josh McDaniels, Offensive Coordinator, New England Patriots
Josh McDaniels is a beneficiary of something I call the "Brady Effect." This happens when a certain coach and/or player looks better because they were lucky enough to be surrounded by Tom Brady. We have seen this with individuals such as Deion Branch and the aforementioned McDaniels.
Outside of three great seasons (2006-08) as the offensive coordinator of the New England Patriots, McDaniels has not done much in the National Football League.
He couldn't make it through two full seasons as the Denver Broncos head coach, getting fired after the 13th week of the 2010 season. Moreover, McDaniels led a struggling St.Louis Rams offense to a league-worst 12.1 point per game last year.
The good news for the young coach is that he returned to the Patriots as an assistant during the postseason last year and will once again be their offensive coordinator in 2012.
Riding on Brady's coattails again.
8. Jeff Fisher, Head Coach, St. Louis Rams
Sure, Jeff Fisher led the Tennessee Titans to Super Bowl XXXIV in 2000. However, you really have to take that with a grain of salt. Luck played a major role that season in the form of the "Music City Miracle," one of the craziest postseason plays in NFL history.
This was also a Titans team that had a tremendous amount of talent but consistently under-achieved during the regular season and in the playoffs.
He was a primary reason for that.
Now he takes over a St.Louis Rams team that lacks the talent he had in Tennessee. If Rams' fans are hoping for another miracle, they might be in for a rude awakening. At the very least, Fisher didn't warrant all the attention he received as a "free agent" this offseason.
Time will tell whether his addition to this list is premature.
7. Jeff Ireland, General Manager, Miami Dolphins
What is there to say about Jeff Ireland that hasn't already been said? The Miami Dolphins front office became somewhat of a joke during this offseason.
After a failed courtship of Peyton Manning, the Dolphins set their sights on Matt Flynn, which never materialized. Within the matter of just a couple days, this once-proud franchise was down to courting Alex Smith, who was solely using them as leverage in order to get a better contract from the San Francisco 49ers.
Jeff Ireland and his failed negotiating tactics as well as Stephen Ross and his hands-on mentality are to blame for this.
Moreover, Ireland just hasn't been a great personnel guy for the Dolphins since becoming their general manager in 2008.
After selecting Jake Long with the first overall pick in the 2008 NFL draft, Ireland went with Phillip Merling and Chad Henne in the next two rounds. Neither performed up to expectations in South Beach.
The 2009 draft saw Miami go with another quarterback, Pat White from West Virginia, in the second round. Obviously that didn't pan out either.
These are selections that have proven Ireland incapable of finding a franchise quarterback for Miami. Now the focus turns to Ryan Tannehill. How much confidence do you have that they got their man?
6. Andy Reid, Head Coach, Philadelphia Eagles
Sure Andy Reid has won 126 regular-season games since he took over the Philadelphia Eagles' head coaching job in 1999. He has led them to seven division titles, multiple NFC Championship Games and one Super Bowl.
However, you have to look at the talent this franchise has boasted over the duration of Reid's tenure there and the fact that they have yet to win a Super Bowl.
A coach simply cannot be considered one of the best in the league if his teams consistently under-perform in the postseason.
This is the situation that the Eagles have been in under Reid for the better part of the last decade.
5. Mike Tannenbaum, General Manager, New York Jets
The last three drafts prior to 2012 have not been friendly to the New York Jets in retrospect. Since 2008 they have struggled tremendously in the first round, and this is in main part due to Mike Tannenbaum's issues in the player personnel department.
2008 first-round pick Vernon Gholston was one of the biggest busts in the recent history of the draft. In three seasons with the Jets, he started a total of five games and didn't record a sack.
The following season New York traded up in the first round to select Mark Sanchez. In that trade they gave up a first and second rounder in 2009 as well as three marginal players.Josh Freeman ended up being selected by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with the 17th overall selection, a slot originally held by the Jets before they traded up with the Cleveland Browns to acquire Sanchez.
It really isn't what the Jets gave up in that trade, it is more about what they received. Sanchez has proven himself to be nothing more than a pedestrian starting quarterback in the National Football League, something teams are not looking for from a top 10 pick.
Now the Jets appear to be on the downswing as their free-agent signings haven't panned out either.
4. Norv Turner, Head Coach, San Diego Chargers
The San Diego Chargers have been one of the most disappointing franchises in the National Football League since Norv Turner took over as their head coach in 2007.
Despite a great collection of talent, they just don't seem to get it done when everything is one the line. Turner and the Chargers have missed the playoffs in each of the last two seasons, while struggling with maturity and discipline on the field.
The talent that has passed through and remains in Southern California is just too good to accept mediocrity, and at this point that is all Turner is good for.
That being said, this franchise continues to give Turner opportunity after opportunity to prove skeptics wrong. Maybe he will in 2012, but I highly doubt it.
3. Jerry Jones, Owner and General Manager, Dallas Cowboys
The NFL is a "what have you done for me recently?" league. Despite the fact that Jerry Jones had success immediately after he took control of the Dallas Cowboys in 1989, this franchise has fallen on tough tames as of late.
The Cowboys have won a total of one playoff game since 1996, and player personnel decisions are a primary reason for that. Whether it is free agency or the draft, Jerry Jones and Co. have failed tremendously in this category.
Their top pick since the 2001 draft includes players such as Quincy Carter, Roy Williams, Julius Jones, Bobby Carpenter and Jason Williams—not exactly the type of production that teams look for in regards to their top-round draft picks.
Dallas has also made some tremendous gaffs in terms of trades during this time. They sent a first, third and sixth-round pick to the Detroit Lions in 2008 for wide receiver Roy Williams, who caught just 94 passes in two-plus seasons in Dallas.
The 2010 and 2011 drafts seemed to give Dallas a much larger return than in the previous decade. Tyron Smith, DeMarco Murray, Dez Bryant and Sean Lee all seem to have bright futures with the Cowboys.
2. Pete Carroll, Head Coach, Seattle Seahawks
I just don't get all the props that Pete Carroll receives. He has been nothing more than a mediocre head coach in the NFL over the course of his six-year career. This is a coach who has lost two more games than he has won and promises to be stuck behind the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC West for the foreseeable future.
He led the New England Patriots to a 8-8 record in 1999 before Bill Belichick took over and brought that franchise to five Super Bowl appearances in a 12-year span.
Carroll has failed to lead the Seahawks to a .500 record in each of his first two seasons with the franchise but consistently receives high marks from "experts."
It just doesn't make much sense to me.
1. Rex Ryan, Head Coach, New York Jets
Teams that are ran well by the coaching staff don't fall apart the way the New York Jets did last season. They don't have a falling out in the locker room that leads to a lack of cohesion.
It just doesn't happen.
I have not been a fan of Rex Ryan and his antics since he crawled onto the stage a couple seasons ago. Sure, the Jets have made two AFC Championship Game appearances in his three seasons as head coach.
That really doesn't matter.
The Jets have been unable to turn Mark Sanchez into a franchise type quarterback, and that blame has to go to the top dog on the sidelines. They appear to be on the downswing, which will not bode well for Ryan's stock moving forward.
Ryan is as overrated as his massive gut, ego and mouth all combined.
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