Power Ranking: 10 Best Play-Calling Offensive Coordinators
As June quickly approaches, the 2010 NFL season is a little over three months away and there have already been a number of changes to the coaching staffs of most teams.
No team is capable of reaching their full potential without the right head coach to lead the way. And no head coach is capable of reaching his highest point of success without a strong coaching staff behind him.
Head coaches will receive most of the credit when their team comes through with the win, but there are a number of members on staff who tend to make life easier for them. One of the hardest tasks in the NFL is being in charge of the play-calling on offense.
Whether a team manages to move the ball down the field and put up points relies heavily on the coach standing on the sideline calling the shots.
Some coaches are considered geniuses for the decisions made in critical situations on offense.
Here are the 10 best play-calling offensive coordinators in the NFL.
Dan Henning: Miami Dolphins
It's never easy for a team to adjust after losing their starting quarterback and running back.
Unfortunately, that's what Dan Henning and the Dolphins had to deal with last season.
With Chad Pennington playing in just three games and Ronnie Brown playing in just nine, Miami was forced to rely on their backups on offense.
After a disappointing 0-3 start, the Dolphins managed to finish the season 7-9 thanks to solid play from their backups.
The Dolphins averaged 22.5 points per game and 337.6 yards per game last season.
Despite their injuries, Henning managed to help Miami find success with Chad Henne and Ricky Williams filling in as the starters, which shows his ability to utilize the offense, no matter what players he has.
Marty Mornhinweg: Philadelphia Eagles
For most of his career, Andy Reid has been responsible for most of the play-calling for the Eagles.
However, Marty Mornhinweg has established himself as an effective play-caller for Philadelphia's offense since taking over as offensive coordinator in 2006.
Despite a weak running game last season, thanks to an injured Brian Westbrook starting just seven games, the Eagles' offense relied heavily on their passing game and finished fifth last season by averaging 26.8 points per game. They also averaged 357.9 yards per game.
Over the years, Philadelphia has been criticized for their inability to balance the run and pass plays.
With a handful of young weapons (including Kevin Kolb taking over the starting job at quarterback) to help keep the balance in line, Mornhinweg hopes to find even more success next season.
Brian Schottenheimer: New York Jets
Thanks to a dominant defense that allowed just 14.8 points per game, life was pretty easy for Brian Schottenheimer and the Jets on offense.
Every rookie quarterback goes through his share of struggles, which is why Mark Sanchez's 2,444 yards for 12 touchdowns and 20 interceptions last season should come as no surprise.
Despite these struggles, Schottenheimer still managed to help New York produce one of the most dangerous offenses in the NFL, thanks to a strong running game led by Thomas Jones and Shonn Greene.
The Jets averaged 172.2 yards per game on the ground in 2009. Jones may no longer be with the team, but with a year as a starter under Sanchez's belt and a number of key offseason additions, Schottenheimer's squad may contain one of the best offenses in 2010.
Bruce Arians: Pittsburgh Steelers
While the Steelers have established a name for themselves as a team known for its stellar defense, their offense doesn't receive as much recognition as it should.
Bruce Arians helped Pittsburgh's offense average 371.3 yards per game last season despite key injuries on offense.
His top running back, Willie Parker, started just three games, but Arians saw major contributions from Rashard Mendenhall, who finished with 1,108 yards and seven touchdowns on the ground.
Not to mention Ben Roethlisberger set a career high with 4,328 passing yards.
Between Roethlisberger's suspension and the departures of Parker and Santonio Holmes, Arians faces major adjustments for the upcoming season.
However, with key members of the defense returning (especially Troy Polamalu), the offense shouldn't face as much pressure to play from behind as it did last season.
Mike Mularkey: Atlanta Falcons
Ever since his arrival in 2008, Mike Mularkey has helped the Falcons' offense transition from one of the worst to one of the best in the NFL.
In their first year under Mularkey, Atlanta's offense finished sixth overall thanks to a strong running game led by Michael Turner and a surprising first season by rookie quarterback Matt Ryan.
While the two stars both dealt with injuries throughout the 2009 season, there's no question the Falcons retain one of the most dangerous offenses in the NFL when their star players are healthy.
Mike Heimerdinger: Tennessee Titans
While the Jets possessed the top ground game in the NFL, the Titans had the top individual rusher in Chris Johnson, who became the sixth player in history to finish with over 2,000 yards in a season.
After averaging just 14 points per game and starting the season 0-6, Mike Heimerdinger played a major role in turning around Tennessee's offense.
Behind Heimerdinger, the Titans made a surprise late-playoff run as they went on to win eight of their final 10 games while averaging 27 points per game.
Heimerdinger is another example of an offensive coordinator who knows how to utilize the talent his star players contain.
He realizes the best way to use Vince Young (who replaced Kerry Collins in the middle of last season) and Johnson on offense, which is why the Titans were so successful the second half of 2009.
Kevin Gilbride: New York Giants
While their defense collapsed in the second half of last season, the Giants still kept one of the most high-powered offenses thanks to Kevin Gilbride.
Even though Brandon Jacobs struggled with injuries most of last season, New York unexpectedly flourished with a young group of wide receivers in Steve Smith, Mario Manningham, and Hakeem Nicks.
Eli Manning set career highs in just about every category and may even find himself in MVP talks in 2010.
Cam Cameron: Baltimore Ravens
After a failed attempt as head coach of the Dolphins, Cam Cameron's last two seasons with the Ravens have proven he's better off as an offensive coordinator.
A team known for their defense, Baltimore's offense has progressed over the last two seasons and averaged 351.2 yards per game to go along with their 24.4 points per game in 2009.
Cameron has played a major role in the success of Ray Rice (combined 2,041 yards) and Joe Flacco (3,613 yards and 21 touchdowns) early on in their careers.
Cameron is a coach who knows how to take advantage of the talent around him. With an improved passing unit, look for the Ravens' 2010 offense to be just as effective, if not better, than they were last season.
Tom Moore: Indianapolis Colts
While most of the credit behind the success of the Colts' offense goes to Peyton Manning, his career would not have been the same without Tom Moore calling the shots on the sidelines.
Moore has been by Manning's side his entire career and was recently promoted to senior offensive assistant.
He's one of the most successful play-callers from last decade and seems to find a way to find success on offense—no matter what.
When Anthony Gonzalez—who replaced Marvin Harrison as the starting wideout alongside Reggie Wayne—suffered a knee injury that ended up sidelining him all season, Moore found a way to succeed with two inexperienced wide receivers.
Not only did Pierre Garcon and Austin Collie finish last season with a combined 1,441 yards and 11 touchdowns, but they were a key factor to the success of Moore's offense.
Jason Garrett: Dallas Cowboys
After struggling in 2008, Jason Garrett bounced back last season to help the Cowboys have one of the most dangerous offenses in the NFL.
Dallas finished second in 2009 by averaging 399.4 yards per game, thanks to a number of strong weapons on offense.
Along with a strong running game led by Marion Barber, Felix Jones, and Tashard Choice, Tony Romo had his best season as a Cowboy by throwing for 4,483 yards, 26 touchdowns and just nine interceptions.
The season may still be a few months away, but many analysts already consider Dallas to have one of the most stacked offenses entering 2010.
If Garrett manages to use his weapons effectively, the Cowboys will have a legitimate shot at playing Super Bowl XLV in their own stadium.