2011 NFL Predictions: The Win-Loss Record for All Rookie Head Coaches
No longer is it easy for coaches to install five-year plans to turn around lame-duck franchises.
In an era where millions of dollars are on the line with every move, rookie head coaches have a small window of opportunity in which to perform.
If the team is not winning, the coach may be ousted after just a year.
In 2011, we will see five rookie head coaches at the helm; Ron Rivera, Hue Jackson, Jim Harbaugh, Pat Shurmur and Mike Munchak will all take the reins for their teams.
Now, here are the projected win-loss records for all five rookie head coaches, ranked from worst to best.
Mike Munchak, Tennessee Titans
Projected record: 4-12
The Titans had a reasonably good draft if Jake Locker turns out as an average starter in the NFL, but as of now, this team is in shambles.
There is absolutely no continuity with the quarterback and head coach out the door, and Mike Munchak has no prior coaching experience other than being the offensive line coach for the Titans.
With Kerry Collins the probable starter at quarterback, look for the Titans to suffer through a dismal season...again.
This time, Vince Young won't be able to come off the bench and save the team.
It'll be a rough year for Mike Munchak and the gang.
Hue Jackson, Oakland Raiders
Projected record: 5-11
After a poor draft in which the Raiders stuck to their comfort zone (drafting for speed, not need), Hue Jackson is going to have a roster that may be the least talented in the AFC West.
Besides that, most of his players are still bitter that Tom Cable was booted, and not many Raiders want to just roll over and accept their new head coach.
Jackson will have a tough time convincing these guys to play for him, and the job may prove too tough for the rookie coach.
Look for Oakland to take a step back in 2011 and regress to disappointing form.
It's going to be a long time before there's a Super Bowl parade in Oakland if this keeps up.
Ron Rivera, Carolina Panthers
Projected record: 6-10
The Panthers are on the upswing.
With a rather talented roster and a capable quarterback leading the way, Carolina looks to improve on their terrible 2010 record.
Ron Rivera has installed a new mindset in Carolina, and will motivate his players to outperform the 2010 Panthers—not a difficult feat.
The Panthers don't reach .500 because of possible losses in DeAngelo Williams (free agency) and Steve Smith (begging for a trade) but are certainly on the right track.
Pat Shurmur, Cleveland Browns
Projected record: 7-9
I have nothing but positive things to say about Cleveland's draft, and with Pat Shurmur at the helm, look for the Browns to inch closer to .500.
The Bengals are rebuilding, and the Ravens and Steelers are quietly getting older.
The Browns may well sneak up on everyone in this division, and with a new head coach, look for Cleveland to show up rejuvenated mentally in 2011.
Jim Harbaugh, San Francisco 49ers
Projected record: 9-7
When the smoke cleared and the Jim Harbaugh sweepstakes was over, San Francisco had themselves a bright, young coach who knows how to develop a quarterback.
Harbaugh will be the guy in San Francisco for a while, and look for the 49ers to put together an impressive 2011 campaign with the help of their new head coach.
Harbaugh wants to show that he can be a better NFL coach than his brother John, and he will accept nothing but a winning attitude from his players.
Harbaugh is a no-nonsense coach ready to come in and take the 49ers to the next level.
It may be a year late, but the 49ers may well win the division in 2011.