NFL Head Coaches Power Rankings For Week Two

Michael IelpiCorrespondent ISeptember 24, 2009

PITTSBURGH - AUGUST 13:  A detail view of Motorola headsets prior to the preseason NFL game against Arizona Cardinals and the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field on August 13, 2009 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  The Steelers won 20-10.  (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)

Week two of the coaches ranking brought us some surprises, a new number one, a new man at the bottom and some small changes in between.

Remember, just because a coach has one or two good weeks, it does not mean that he gets catapulted to the top. This is a marathon not a sprint. Although, for some coaches in 2009, the season is getting away much faster than they thought.



1. Tom Coughlin—GIANTS (Last Week: 2)

Tom Coughlin’s players not only make plays, but they make smart plays. Kenny Phillips instinctively knowing that the ball that hit Jason Witten’s foot was a live football was the kind of thing that you can teach, but you do not always see it come to fruition.

How many times do you fail to see that play made?

The run defense was abysmal as the Cowboys had 251 rushing yards good for an average of 8.7 yards per carry. The Giants secondary was playing short, but you would have never known that. The Giants intercepted Tony Romo three times, but did not record a sack.

The way Eli Manning is finding receivers this year all of that, "Where have you gone Plaxico Burress?" talk will vanish.


2. Bill Belichick—PATRIOTS (Last Week: 1)

The offense looked stale. The Jets defense was giving the Patriots a million different looks, yet the Patriots seemed to be giving the same shotgun formation on a majority of the plays on offense.

While not having Wes Welker and Jerod Mayo hurt, there are no excuses. The Patriots had ample opportunities to win this game. Three trips to the red zone in the first half only got them three field goals.

You do that you normally do not win.


3. Mike Tomlin—STEELERS (Last Week: 3)

The usually reliable Jeff Reed could not make anything in the fourth quarter. His misses were as bad as can be.

While the Steelers defense was good, it was not great on Sunday in Chicago. The run defense did not allow much, but the pass defense made the day a little too easy for Jay Cutler.

Cutler was only sacked once and did not turn the ball over. The Steelers will need to do better than that as they head to Cincinnati to take on the Bengals, who are also 1-1.


4. Jeff Fisher—TITANS (Last Week: 4)

An 0-2 start was not in the plans for Fisher and the Titans. His normally solid defensive unit was torched for 357 passing yards and four touchdowns.

The key stats in this game were that the Titans could not get a sack against a normally porous offensive line, and that while Andre Johnson had 149 yards, the Texans other receivers complied 208 more yards.

Fisher and his Titans will have their hands full on Sunday at the Jets against the defensive coordinator whose old team ended their season last year.


5. Mike Smith—FALCONS (Last Week: 6)

They should wear buttons in Atlanta that says, "Everybody Likes Mike." His Falcons just keep winning and Matt Ryan looks better each week.

Their defense struggled against the pass as they gave up 308 yards passing to Jake Delhomme and the Panthers. The Falcons are 2-0 and both wins have come at the Georgia Dome.

The Falcons struggled on the road, going 4-5 in 2008. While they travel to New England on Sunday, some would have written this one off as a probable loss before the season started, but I think this team has a very good opportunity to be 3-0.


6. Andy Reid—EAGLES (Last Week: 5)

After last week’s pounding by the Saints, it seems that maybe this team has a little bit more than a quarterback issue. Quintin Mikell led the team with 11 tackles on Sunday.

When your safety is making the most tackles on defense that usually means players are moving down the field and your defense is usually getting shredded. The Eagles have the Chiefs at home on Sunday, and if they can do a better a job on defense they should be 2-1 no matter who starts at quarterback.


7. John Harbaugh—RAVENS (Last Week: 7)

The Ravens escaped from San Diego with a last second defensive stand. It also helped that they were playing against a coach who let the game get away (see Turner, Norv way down below).

The Ravens have allowed 50 points in two weeks. Last season, the Ravens gave up 50 points in four weeks. Was it all Rex Ryan or is this defense getting older?

The defense should look better on Sunday against the Browns at home. Barring a huge upset they should be 3-0 heading into New England in week four.


8. Ken Whisenhunt—CARDINALS (Last Week: 8)

The Cardinals must have thought it was a throwback game as they played in a half-empty stadium in Jacksonville and not Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe.

Usually, teams from the west coast do not fair well during 1 p.m. kickoffs on the east coast, but the Cardinals blew that theory away by putting up a 24-3 halftime lead.

Kurt Warner was as close to perfect as you get, and the Cardinals looked good on defense and special teams as well. They have the Colts at home who will be coming off of short rest and have to travel to the desert.


9. Sean Payton—SAINTS (Last Week: 12)

The talk of the league right now is Payton’s Saints. The offense is firing on all cylinders.

The defense did snag four turnovers on Sunday, but still gave up 391 passing yards to an inexperienced quarterback. I am not sure why Payton kept Brees in the game with the Saints up by 21 and just five minutes to play.

The Saints will be seeing plenty of New York as they travel to Buffalo on Sunday, followed by home games with the Jets and Giants.


10. Brad Childress—VIKINGS (Last Week: 10)

This week did not start off well for Minnesota as they fell behind 10-0 to the Lions. But, the Vikings regrouped and went on a 27-3 run to close out the game.

It is kind of funny that with all the media attention that Brett Favre gets, no one really reported that he went 23-for-27 with no interceptions. Three fewer incompletions and he would have had the record that Kurt Warner set against Jacksonville on Sunday.

The Vikings better not be looking past the 49ers at home this Sunday before their showdown with the Packers on Monday, October 5.


11. Tony Sparano—DOLPHINS (Last Week: 11)

Usually on the television show the Sopranos, when Tony Soprano gave an order for a hit, the hit got delivered. Last night, Tony Sparano’s orders to tackle went unnoticed.

It appeared that Arena Football made a comeback in Miami on Monday as the Colts had drives of 12 and 26 seconds. The Dolphins had the football for over 45 minutes and lost.

Sometimes too much time of possession means your defense is not doing a very good job. One thing will be for certain, the Dolphins defense will be pretty well rested as they travel to San Diego and look to avoid starting 0-3.


12. Mike McCarthy—PACKERS (Last Week: 9)

Gulp. This was not a bad loss. It was a brutal loss.

Was this a classic trap game or are the Packers really this mediocre? At what point do you say, hey, we might want to block Antwan Odom before he breaks the NFL sack record.

The sacks were bad enough, but the defense did not do its part either. The Bengals were 9-for-14 on third down.

The Packers travel to St. Louis where they will try not to kill the other half of the Survivor Leagues that they busted up last week.



13. Rex Ryan—JETS (Last Week: 14)

The Jets look more like the Ravens than the Ravens. Baltimore used to make their living on scores of 16-9. The defense has not allowed one touchdown in eight quarters.

It is easy to be pumped up when you are playing your most hated rival. Can the Jets bring that intensity back on Sunday at home against the Titans?

Last Sunday made Rex Ryan a star in New York, but this Sunday will determine how bright it shines.


14. Jim Caldwell—COLTS (Last Week: 13)

When the plane home from Miami landed in Indianapolis on Tuesday morning, I am going to wager that many of the Colts defenders were still asleep. The defense was on the field for just over 45 minutes and 84 Dolphin snaps.

The offense just made scoring too easy as the Peyton Manning show averaged 10.2 yards per play on Monday night in South Florida.

Caldwell’s 2-0 Colts travel to Arizona on Sunday Night against another offense that will be difficult to remove from the field.


15. Mike Singletary—49ERS (Last Week: 15)

This is becoming one of the NFL’s premier defensive units. Patrick Willis has 15 solo tackles in two weeks.

Frank Gore had two massive touchdown runs. But, if you take out those two large runs, he is only averaging two yards per carry on the season. That will have to improve if the 49ers want to be a contending team.

The 49ers tackle the Vikings in Minnesota on Sunday, and you do not want that defense to be on the field for that long against one of the NFC’s better offensive units.


16. Josh McDaniels—BRONCOS (Last Week: 19)

Your leaders in the AFC West are the Denver Broncos. Yes, they played Cincinnati and Cleveland, so curb your enthusiasm for now. The win over the Bengals was a fluke, but last Sunday’s win over the Browns was dominant.

It is tough to judge where this team really stands until it faces a bigger opponent, but 2-0 sure sounds nice in the Mile High City.

Can McDaniels’ Broncos beat the Raiders on Sunday and possibly grab a two game lead in the division (if San Diego loses vs Miami)?

Their schedule will get dicey after that.


17. Jim Schwartz—LIONS (Last Week: 21)

I think the decision to have Stafford play from the start will pay off eventually for the Lions. It sure started well with Stafford throwing his first NFL touchdown pass to Calvin Johnson in the second quarter giving the Lions a 10-0 lead.

Rookie tight end Brandon Pettigrew had four catches. If this team can cut down on their turnovers then four wins may not be out of the question. The Lions have a winnable game at home against the Redskins on Sunday.


18. Steve Spagnuolo—RAMS (Last Week: 20)

The defense showed some improvement and kept the Redskins out of the end zone the entire game. The offense found the end zone for the first time this season. That was the good news.

The bad news is that the Rams have scored a grand total of seven points in two games and that one of the best players for the Rams on offense, Donnie Avery, has fumbled in both games.

I was disappointed in Spagnuolo at the end of the first half. The Rams had the ball on their own 35 with 1:12 on the clock and all three timeouts. They chose a running play that picked up five yards, but then a holding penalty negated the run and ended the half.

When you are coaching a team that is having trouble scoring you need to stay aggressive and try not to waste any possessions.


19. Jim Mora, Jr.—SEAHAWKS (Last Week: 16)

The Seahawks stacked the box to try to stop Frank Gore. Gore ignored the stop sign and went plowing through.

One thing that most kids learn while playing high school football is that while the majority of teams will run the ball either with the option or some other version, you better hope those last two in the backfield can make the saving tackles.

They could not, and Frank Gore ran like he was being filmed for a re-make of Forrest Gump. One run of over 70 yards is embarrassing, but two?

It is unknown as to the state of Matt Hasselbeck for Sunday against the Bears, but Seneca Wallace did start eight games last year, so the cupboard is not bare.


20. Todd Haley—CHIEFS (Last Week: 17)

Do not look at the statistics from this game. Oh, ok, let’s take a peek. The Chiefs had 409 yards of total offense. That was 243 yards more than the Raiders gained.

The Chiefs had the ball for over 38 minutes and held JaMarcus Russell to three completions late in the fourth quarter. You would have thought the Chiefs won by 21. Instead, they lost 13-10.

Haley said after the game, "When we had the personal foul penalty we kind of were in a position to put them in a bit of a difficult position, and we let them off the hook."

We let them off the hook? Oh my goodness, those are Denny Green’s words!

Somehow the schedule makers have the Chiefs playing all four of the teams in the NFC East in a row. It starts in Philly on Sunday.

If the Chiefs could somehow split the four games, their season could still have hope. But I can totally see this team winning one or none of those games and starting 1-5 or 0-6, which makes the loss to the Raiders even more painful.


21. Raheem Morris—BUCCANEERS (Last Week: 18)

Last week, the Bucs had their problems stopping the long pass. This week it was their run defense that was their Achilles heel.

The Bills ran for over 200 yards as a team and averaged 6.2 yards per carry. It will get no easier for the Bucs in week three as they host the Giants, a team that runs and passes the ball very well.


22. Tom Cable—RAIDERS (Last Week: 25)

The Raiders produced a grand total of 166 yards of offense. JaMarcus Russell completed seven total passes for the game, and four of those completions came on the final drive.

The Raider defense is good enough to win games, but if the offense cannot produce, it will be a wasted effort.

This is a make-or-break week for the Oakland Raiders as they host the Denver Broncos. A win would put them tied for first in the AFC West, a loss puts them two games behind with two of those losses coming within the division.



23. Jim Zorn—REDSKINS (Last Week: 27)

I am all for aggressive play calling, and I did not mind that the Redskins went for it on fourth-and-one from the Rams two-yard line. At the worst, if you fail to make it the other team has to go 60 yards to win the game with a field goal.

But, the play that was called was a bust. I cannot understand why on fourth down and short you would try a run to the far left, where your running back (in this case Clinton Portis) has to run six or seven yards to get one.

This offense tries to be too creative at times, when I think it would be better off playing more a smashmouth style of football. This team heads to Detroit on Sunday, and I think there is a good chance that they might not walk out of Ford Field victorious.


24. Wade Phillips—COWBOYS (Last Week: 23)

We all know that Tony Romo was T.O.’s quarterback and teammate. But, is he still Wade Phillips'?

Romo once again could not deliver in a big game. This time he threw three costly interceptions and ended up with a QB rating of an anemic 29.6. It was a shame for Dallas, because the Cowboys ran the ball for an amazing 251 yards against one of the better defenses in the league.

The Cowboys seemed to be able to keep the Giants rushing game in check, but the Cowboy pass defense made Steve Smith and Mario Manningham look like the second coming of Lynn Swann and John Stallworth.


25. John Fox—PANTHERS (Last Week: 26)

Fox was right to trust his gut and start Jake Delhomme. Delhomme only had one interception.

He and Steve Smith hooked up like it was old times as Smith had eight catches for 135 yards.

The Panther defense does not look like its old self. Matt Ryan had a field day throwing the ball against them.

Julius Peppers had just two tackles and Ryan was not sacked. The Panthers head to Dallas where this team will be in S.O.S. mode as they try not to fall to 0-3.


26. Eric Mangini—BROWNS (Last Week: 22)

Are there any Fan-gini’s left in the world? Here is one thing the Browns cannot do for you: Tackle. My goodness, in two weeks the Browns had more whiffs than the Indians.

If there has been one positive it's that Braylon Edwards had six catches for 92 yards. And if there is any sign that the Browns could be turned around that is a start. The Browns are 0-2, and it will not get any easier as they travel to Baltimore in week three.



27. Lovie Smith—BEARS (Last Week: 28)

Jay Cutler played much better and did not give the ball away this week. But, the player that Smith has the most confidence in on the Bears is Robbie Gould.

After watching Pittsburgh’s kicker Jeff Reed badly miss two field goals earlier in the fourth quarter from shorter distances, Smith’s Bears team got to the Steelers 34 with 1:16 to play, and Gould hit from 44 yards to win the game.

It would have been interesting to see what would have happened had Gould missed the kick and the Bears lost the game in overtime. But, a win against the defending champions is still a very good win that takes you out of the doghouse, for at least one week.


28. Gary Kubiak—TEXANS (Last Week: 30)

What a nice surprise this was for Houston. The Texans unleashed the beast that is Andre Johnson, they had no turnovers, went two-for-two on fourth down conversions, and most importantly did not give up when down 21-7 early in the second quarter.

All were great signs, but seeing Steve Slaton average just two yards per carry, while the Titans averaged a massive 9.2 yards per carry is a sure sign of where the Texans need improvement.

This team can still make the playoffs. They have a very favorable schedule that begins at home on Sunday against Jacksonville.


29. Dick Jauron—BILLS (Last Week: 31)

In another good job of recovering from a bad loss the Bills opened up a 17-0 lead after the first quarter and did not really look back.

The defense controlled a good Buccaneer run attack. The Bills get Marshawn Lynch back from suspension after week three, but how can you sit Fred Jackson after the two weeks he has played.

Jackson has run for 220 yards and has 108 receiving yards. The Bills have a two-headed monster in the backfield.

Trent Edwards does need to do a better job of getting the ball to his wide receivers. Lee Evans only had one catch.


30. Marvin Lewis—BENGALS (Last Week: 32)

We were all wondering how the Bengals would respond after such a devastating loss in week one. Turns out, it was a lot better than most would have thought.

Thirteen penalties for 100 yards and not falling on the onside kick still does not make me feel that this team is very disciplined. But, for one Sunday, let’s give Marvin his props as his team pulled off the upset of the week.

The Bengals defense was a menace to Aaron Rodgers all day, and Antwan Odom had five sacks on the day. Odom had only 17-and-a-half career sacks in 117 prior games.

On the offense, Cedric Benson carried the way with 29 carries for 141 yards and Chad Ochocinco scored the game-winning touchdown.

Enjoy your week off the hot seat, Marvin. You have the Steelers at home this Sunday.



31. Norv Turner—CHARGERS (Last Week: 24)

Easily, the worst coaching I saw over the weekend. Late in the first half, the Chargers complete a pass that goes down to the Ravens one-yard line. There is a penalty against Baltimore than pins the football at the one-foot line.

The video replay booth challenges the ruling and proves that it was a catch, and the referee whistles the ball ready for play.

Turner is blaming the officials for not resetting the play clock back to 25. They had two minutes thanks to the review to get to the line and call a play! The Chargers still had at least 12 seconds to get the play off, and they did not. The five-yard penalty moved the ball back to the six-yard line.

If the team was not ready to get a play in they could have spiked the ball and went back to the huddle, it was only first down. The Chargers settled for an incomplete pass and a field goal to end the half.

That indecision probably cost the Chargers four points. Had they had those four points, they would only have needed a field goal instead of a touchdown at the end.

The Chargers hopes ended as a fourth-and-2 play from the Ravens 15-yard line was stuffed as no one on the Charger offensive line remembered to account for Ray Lewis.

I probably couldn't block Ray Lewis either, but at least I would have laid a finger on him before letting him tackle my running back.



32. Jack Del Rio – JAGUARS (Last week: 29)

In 2007, the Jaguars played the Patriots in the Divisional Round of the playoffs. Tom Brady went 26-of-28 and set the NFL record for completion percentage in a playoff game. On Sunday, Kurt Warner went 24-of-26 and set the regular-season completion percentage record.

It is quite possible that Warner could have broken Brady’s record, except for one small issue. The Cardinals were winning 31-3 and his services were no longer needed in the contest.

The Jaguars looked like the team from the west coast playing a 1 p.m. game, not the Cardinals. Del Rio has his work cut out for him if he wants to stay with this team. A half-empty stadium does not help his cause.