The changing landscape of the NFL and adjustments to the rules dictates a need to have a prolific, schematically fresh offense in order to succeed. Several hot coaching candidates that are stirring the rumor mill can provide just that.
It may be assumed that this offensive firepower could most easily be found in a college football coach for hire, but there are a couple of masterminds in pro football that would also instantly turn around a team if given the opportunity.
Here is a list of three of the hottest names on teams' wish lists that would key a struggling franchise to an instant turnaround—including the openings they have been reportedly connected to.
Chip Kelly, University of Oregon
Parts of Kelly's quick-tempo offense have been used at the professional level already—and he's the one holding all the plays. Whatever else Kelly has up his sleeve that would translate to explosive plays in the NFL should only help him in his prospective transition.
There isn't really a team that Kelly couldn't fit with by adjusting his schemes and even slightly adjusting personnel. As long as defenses don't have adequate time to substitute the proper 11 players in, Kelly will still be able to exploit mismatches at the next level with the best of them.
But that's not all Kelly brings to the table. He is a proven winner, and built an outstanding program at Oregon.
It proves he can connect with players and fellow coaches, and Kelly's colorful personality and very aggressive style have rightfully made him a magnet amongst teams with coaching vacancies.
Stagnant franchises in need of an enthusiastic injection won't find many better than Kelly, who appears to be leaning towards the Cleveland Browns' opening, according to Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. He will meet with the Browns on Saturday after a seven-hour discussion on Friday.
Cleveland would definitely qualify as a franchise in need of a legitimate, fresh start. With a new, hands-on ownership led by Jimmy Haslam and CEO Joe Banner, Kelly would be an ideal fit there.
Mike McCoy, Denver Broncos
Although McCoy may not have the boisterous, projecting demeanor of some of the more fiery coaches, there is no doubting his methodical genius. He tweaked the Denver offense in 2011 to suit QB Tim Tebow, and the Broncos led the league in rushing.
McCoy then overhauled it and turned it into a juggernaut of a different kind under the direction of new signal-caller Peyton Manning.
That type of innovation and adjustment proves that McCoy is quickly adaptable, and wouldn't waste much time thriving in whatever organization decided to hire him as head coach.
The New York Jets' fiasco and the fact that they would not let Tebow start at the end of the season may be part stubbornness, or partially because they seem to agree with the consensus that Tebow can't be a successful starter in the NFL.
It's been a circus in the Big Apple, but it only makes McCoy's track record that much more impressive. What's more, he was an offensive assistant and quarterbacks coach on John Fox's staff back in their days with the Carolina Panthers. In other words, McCoy helped Jake Delhomme become a successful NFL quarterback.
Once McCoy left, Delhomme signed an extension for five years in 2009, and although he was aging, he was never again the same.
McCoy is only 40 years old, and has attracted interest from the Bears, Eagles, Cardinals, and Bills (h/t Yahoo!). That likely means he will land a head coaching job sooner rather than later, and he clearly has all the makings of creating an instant winning culture.
Bruce Arians, Indianapolis Colts
It was hard to believe that Arians didn't generate any buzz as the Pittsburgh Steelers' offensive coordinator, even if he didn't necessarily want a head coaching gig back then.
Now it's unavoidable for the Colts' play-caller, who did an outstanding job in 2012 as an interim head coach while still tending to his coordinator duties. Arians took over for Chuck Pagano when the coach was diagnosed with leukemia early in the season.
Considering that quarterback is the most important position, that would make him a strong candidate to bring aboard. Clearly though, there is something more to Arians than his ability to run a successful offense.
To do what he has done this season is nothing short of remarkable, and should earn him Coach of the Year even though it wasn't technically on a full-time basis. The Colts had no business going 11-5, especially with the loss of their head coach.
But Arians led the scrappy, resilient bunch to a 9-3 record, creating arguably the greatest season storyline in NFL history.
Linked to the Chicago Bears and Philadelphia Eagles so far, Arians has also drawn interest from the San Diego Chargers. He would be able to exert a positive influence upon whichever franchise he chooses, should he decide to pursue any of those opportunities.
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