When the new NFL regular season kicks off in a couple of weeks, there will be eight teams with a new head coach at the helm. Some have already served time in that position with a different team in the league, while a few others are completely new to the NFL.
The following is a brief look at all eight coaches from best to worst as far as their chances to make an immediate impact in the league in 2013.
1. Andy Reid: Kansas City Chiefs
Putting Reid at the top of this list is a no-brainer considering his past track record in Philadelphia. He became the Eagles' head coach in 1999. After going 5-11 that season, his team posted a winning record in nine of the next 13 seasons. Last season, he was the longest-tenured head coach in the league until Philadelphia let him go after a woeful 4-12 campaign.
Under Reid’s guidance, the Eagles went to five NFC Championship Games and one Super Bowl. His only mistake was staying in one place for so long.
Kansas City presents an opportunity to build and mold another perennial winner. And with the talent already in place, that winning tradition could begin as early as this season.
2. Marc Trestman: Chicago Bears
Trestman bounced around the NFL for 17 years as an assistant coach with a number of different teams, but all of his experience as a head coach was with the Montreal Alouettes of the CFL. He led his team to back-to-back Grey Cup titles in 2009 and 2010 and was also named CFL Coach of the Year after the 2009 season.
The reason I ranked Trestman so high on the list is primarily due to the team he inherited.
The Bears went 10-6 last season. However, after they failed to qualify for the playoffs the organization decided to part ways with Lovie Smith, who coached the team since 2004.
The other reason he has a good chance to win just as many games this season is a working relationship with quarterback Jay Cutler. If these two can stay on the same page, Chicago has a chance to be one of the most potent offenses in the league.
3. Chip Kelly: Philadelphia Eagles
All of Kelly’s coaching experience has been at the college level, most recently as the head coach at Oregon. That should not be too big of a deal. Jim Harbaugh recently paved the way for this kind of transition through his success in San Francisco after cutting his teeth with Stanford.
The thing I like about Kelly is his unconventional approach to just about everything he does. His up-tempo, fast-paced offensive scheme has gotten most of the attention. However, in his short time in Philadelphia he has gone out of his way to put a personal stamp on almost every aspect of this team.
The talent level still remains high from Reid’s time in Philadelphia, so Kelly has a legitimate shot at turning things around in a hurry.
4. Mike McCoy: San Diego Chargers
This is another team that had a long tradition of winning over the past decade or so but has fallen on hard times lately. McCoy is best known for his time in Denver as the team’s offensive coordinator. While Tim Tebow did not help get him hired as an NFL head coach, Peyton Manning did.
Now he's paired with another veteran quarterback in Philip Rivers. This duo has a good shot at making some noise this season.
The problem with the Chargers is they are depleted in a number of different areas, so a return trip to the playoffs after an extended hiatus may still be a season or two down the road.
5. Bruce Arians: Arizona Cardinals
After a long and productive career at both the college and NFL level, Arians finally gets a shot to run the show with his own team. He proved he is capable of being a head coach in the NFL after stepping in for Chuck Pagano last season in Indianapolis.
But the Cardinals are a whole other story.
Other than the run with Kurt Warner at quarterback in 2008 and 2009, the Cardinals have not had a winning season since 1998.
6. Doug Marrone: Buffalo Bills
After a fairly successful stint as the head coach of Syracuse, Marrone is trying to follow in the footsteps of Tampa Bay coach Greg Schiano, who came over to the NFL the year before from Rutgers. The problem is he is taking over a franchise that has just one winning season since 1999. The Bills are in a perpetual rebuilding mode, and nothing Marrone does is going to change that in the short run.
7. Rob Chudzinski: Cleveland Browns
Rob Chudzinski spent nine seasons in the NFL, including the last two as offensive coordinator in Carolina. The Browns are another major reclamation project with two winning seasons since 1994.
Also working against him this season is the fact that the other three teams in the division are legitimate playoff contenders.
8. Gus Bradley: Jacksonville Jaguars
If these coaches were ranked by long-term potential, then Bradley would be higher on the list.
But as far as this season goes, if the Jaguars can double last season’s win total (two games), that would be a major accomplishment. Bradley did a tremendous job building Seattle’s defense into one of the best units in the league, but he has very little to work with in Jacksonville at this time.
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