NFL Coaches Power Rankings: Where Each Coach Stands After Week 5

Ethan Bailey@@ebai_todayFeatured Columnist IOctober 14, 2015

NFL Coaches Power Rankings: Where Each Coach Stands After Week 5

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    The Atlanta Falcons' Dan Quinn is having an excellent first year as head coach, leading the team to an undefeated start.
    The Atlanta Falcons' Dan Quinn is having an excellent first year as head coach, leading the team to an undefeated start.Bill Kostroun/Associated Press

    National Football League coaches are kind of like quarterbacks—they get too much credit or are faced with too much blame for how their teams perform.

    It's the nature of how we analyze the game. As figureheads, head coaches absorb a lot of shots from the media.

    And that's just the way it is. 

    A couple of things to consider before delving into the coaches' power rankings:

    1). What is their team's record in 2015?

    2). How has their team improved or regressed throughout the season?

    As always, defend your colors in the comments section below.

    Let's do this.

No. 1: Bill Belichick, New England Patriots

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    Steven Senne/Associated Press

    2015 record: 4-0

    The NFL's "Emperor Palpatine" is at it again, dismembering opponents with patience and precision. 

    It's no secret that Belichick and Tom Brady have ruled the football galaxy for a while now, and it's a direct reflection of Belichick's implemented offensive and defensive systems.

    The best example from this season has been running back Dion Lewis' emergence. Who? Oh, just a little-known guy who has already accounted for 20 first downs with New England so far in 2015. 

    And with the luxury of the NFC East and AFC South on the Patriots' schedule, there's no sign that New England's galactic conquest—so to speak—is stopping anytime soon.

No. 2: Mike McCarthy, Green Bay Packers

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    Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

    2015 record: 5-0

    If Belichick is Emperor Palpatine, then does that make the Green Bay Packers' Mike McCarthy Admiral Akbar? 

    OK, so it's not the most flattering reference, but you get the idea.

    A good benchmark for coaches is seeing how well their teams do in the face of adversity—like losing No. 1 target Jordy Nelson to a season-ending injury, for example. 

    No problem for Aaron Rodgers and Co., who continues to play the quarterback position arguably better than anyone in the league. 

    The key for McCarthy moving forward is to not get complacent late in games with play-calling. Even though those duties have been officially relegated to Tom Clements, it's still McCarthy's ship.

No. 3: Dan Quinn, Atlanta Falcons

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    2015 record: 5-0

    Really, Ethan? Dan Quinn is among the NFL's top three coaches?

    Right now, yes. 

    As you can see in the "Mic'd Up" piece above, Quinn has infused this Falcons team with an exuberant energy that is paying immediate dividends.

    The Falcons are grinding out gritty wins, signaling that Quinn has them doing something they didn't under former coach Mike Smith—playing for a full 60 minutes.

    Yes, it's well-known that Atlanta has been a talented football team in recent years, but it takes the right captain to steer the ship. Among new NFL head coaches, Quinn is by far and away the best of the bunch after five weeks.

No. 4: Bruce Arians, Arizona Cardinals

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    Rick Osentoski/Associated Press

    2015 record: 4-1

    The Arizona Cardinals' Bruce Arians is a man with a plan, and that plan involves bringing home championship hardware this season.

    So far, his Cardinals look like a top-tier team in not only the NFC but also the entire league. 

    Arizona has scored 190 points on the season to this point, crushing each team in its way (except for those pesky Rams). Meanwhile, the defense has been stout, giving up 90 points this season. 

    The Cardinals' consistency should be credited to Arians, who has shown he was right for the job since being hired in 2013.

No. 5: Gary Kubiak, Denver Broncos

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    Jack Dempsey/Associated Press

    2015 record: 5-0

    Admittedly, this writer has never been a believer in Kubiak. And by the way the Denver Broncos offense has played this season, it looked like the non-believing was going to continue.

    But Kubiak's defensive brand of football so far has been nothing but effective, and the man deserves credit.

    Is this type of football beautiful? To us, not even a little bit. 

    But to quarterback Peyton Manning, it's beautiful. What have Manning teams historically lacked, both in Indianapolis and Denver? Good defenses. 

    Denver's schedule does eventually get harder, and it will be interesting to see how Kubiak's style holds up down the stretch. 

    For now, though, Kubiak makes this list as a top-five NFL coach.

No. 6: Marvin Lewis, Cincinnati Bengals

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    Gary Landers/Associated Press

    2015 record: 5-0

    All smiles for Marvin Lewis in the photo above, and why not? You'd feel good about a 5-0 start that includes a wild comeback victory against the Seattle Seahawks, too. 

    Lewis has the Cincinnati Bengals playing elite football right now on both sides of the rock. 

    But it has to continue, and, more importantly, it ust continue into the playoffs. 

    The Bengals head coach has an uninspiring 0-6 postseason record, which is really the only reason he doesn't crack this list's top five. Only the playoffs will tell if his 2015 Bengals team is truly for real or not.

No. 7: Todd Bowles, New York Jets

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    2015 record: 3-1

    The New York Jets didn't play in Week 5, but that doesn't change how impressive Todd Bowles has been as their head coach.

    In the above interview, Bowles said that there wouldn't be any excuses in a long road trip to take on the Miami Dolphins in London. That mantra has shown itself all season long for the Jets, and they're off to a good start because of it.

    Geno Smith getting punched in the face before the season opener would've buried a lot of first-time head coaches, but not Bowles.

    His calm, collective nature has translated to the field, as New York's stout defense and running attack are patiently controlling football games.

No. 8: Ron Rivera, Carolina Panthers

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    2015 record: 4-0

    It's hard to put Ron Rivera this high on the list, but his Carolina Panthers are undefeated, after all. 

    But when Riverboat Ron says, "We got a lot of work ahead of us," in the video above, he isn't kidding. The Panthers have been lucky to have so far played the Jacksonville Jaguars, Houston Texans, New Orleans Saints and Tampa Bay Buccaneers—arguably four of the league's absolute worst teams.

    Winning in ugly fashion is just how the Panthers are going to operate this season, though. Each of their four wins were by two touchdowns or less.

    Moving forward, the Panthers need to find a passing game. They only have nine plays of 20-plus yards through the air, which is the NFL's second-fewest. 

    So, for now, Rivera is on thin ice at No. 8 on this list.

No. 9: Tom Coughlin, New York Giants

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    2015 record: 3-2

    Tom Coughlin is getting older, but he's still one of this league's great head coaches. That was a heck of a call on the game-winning touchdown for the New York Giants last Sunday night against the San Francisco 49ers, seen above. 

    The Giants aren't the Super Bowl-caliber team they were a few years ago, which makes Coughlin's job so far in 2015 that much more impressive.

    After losing its first two games in floundering fashion, Big Blue has bounced back with three straight wins. Most impressive was a 24-10 victory over Buffalo in Week 4. Coughlin has a magical way of rallying his troops after being down.

    Eli Manning's offense has produced 86 points in the last three weeks, but the group will be interesting to watch moving forward with top target Odell Beckham Jr. nursing a hamstring injury.

No. 10: Mike Tomlin, Pittsburgh Steelers

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    Lenny Ignelzi/Associated Press

    2015 record: 3-2

    Mike Tomlin is not only among the NFL's most passionate coaches, but he knows how to get the most out of his guys. 

    Unconvinced? See backup quarterback Mike Vick's game-winning drive against San Diego on Monday Night Football.

    Where a lot of head coaches might lose faith after their QB throws three-and-a-half quarters of downright stinky football, Tomlin let Vick fly free on the game's final drive. Vick was 4-of-7 with 44 yards passing and a clutch 24-yard scramble to put the Steelers in scoring position.

    What's even more commendable from Tomlin, though, was the decision to essentially end the game with Le'Veon Bell's fateful touchdown run. You've got to respect that gutsy, game-winning call from one of the NFL's best coaches.

No. 11: Pete Carroll, Seattle Seahawks

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    Gary Landers/Associated Press

    2015 record: 2-3

    The Seattle Seahawks just aren't what they have been in recent years.

    Take Week 5 for instance, when Seattle blew a 17-point halftime lead against the Bengals and went on to lose 27-24. 

    It looks like Pete Carroll has a Super Bowl loss hangover so far in 2015.

    By the way, it's about time to get tight end Jimmy Graham heavily involved in the passing game. His 21 catches with two touchdowns is unacceptable for a team that brought in Graham as a key free-agency addition and one that lacks legitimate outside receivers. 

    Seattle's offense needs to show some explosiveness—and soon.

No. 12: Rex Ryan, Buffalo Bills

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    Associated Press

    2015 record: 3-2

    After a red-hot start, Rex Ryan's Buffalo Bills have cooled down in the last couple of weeks. 

    In its last two games against the Giants and Tennessee Titans, Buffalo has managed just 24 combined points. The Bills squeaked out a win against the Titans in Week 5, sealing the deal with a timely interception. 

    But the Bills won't play teams like the Titans every week and, eventually, Buffalo will have to become a more balanced team to make the postseason. 

    Quarterback Tyrod Taylor has been a sensation of sorts for the Bills this season, but don't forget that Ryan's teams have never been known for potent offenses.

    With a big matchup against the Bengals in Week 6, the Bills must show that their scattered success hasn't been a fluke—and it's up to Ryan to prepare his team to do so.

No. 13: Mike Zimmer, Minnesota Vikings

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    Andy Clayton-King/Associated Press

    2015 record: 2-2

    Mike Zimmer lands in the top half of this list solely based on the way the Vikings defense is playing.

    Minnesota only allows 18.2 points per game, good enough for sixth in the league. 

    But, like Rex Ryan, Zimmer must find a way to get his team's offense to find balance with the defense's success.

    Even with the luxury of having running back Adrian Peterson behind him, Teddy Bridgewater has not been good in four games played. He has thrown two touchdowns and two interceptions in 2015 and looks slower making decisions than a year ago.

    Of course, being sacked 13 times already this season hasn't helped Teddy. Zimmer must find offensive balance going forward—and quickly.

No. 14: Jack Del Rio, Oakland Raiders

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    Charles Rex Arbogast/Associated Press

    2015 record: 2-3

    Even after dropping to 2-3 on the season, the Oakland Raiders look infinitely better than they did a year ago—Jack Del Rio has given this team an identity for the first time in years.

    Obviously, though, not all is well in Oak Town. 

    Although Del Rio has always been known as a defensive coach, Oakland's defense has struggled this season. The unit has given up nearly 25 points per game in 2015. Oakland's pass defense has also surrendered 1,496 passing yards.

    To his credit, though, the Raiders have stayed competitive in their last two losses, losing by a combined eight points to the Chicago Bears and Denver Broncos. 

    The Raiders are still a season away from being legitimate contenders, but Del Rio has the ship pointed in the right direction.

No. 15: Ken Whisenhunt, Tennessee Titans

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    Scott Audette/Associated Press

    2015 record: 1-3

    By looking at their record, you could say the Tennessee Titans haven't changed much since a putrid 2014 campaign. 

    But if you watch this team play, it's evident they've made some big strides in the past year.

    The decision to draft quarterback Marcus Mariota second overall in the NFL draft has looked like the right one so far. The young QB has more than 1,000 yards passing with eight touchdowns and three picks on the season.

    Even Tennessee's defense has looked good at times. No surprise there, as Dick LeBeau was brought in from Pittsburgh as a defensive coordinator. 

    It looks like Whisenhunt has his team moving in the right direction, something this writer didn't think possible after last year's 2-14 finish. 

No. 16: Mike McCoy, San Diego Chargers

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    Denis Poroy/Associated Press

    2015 record: 2-3

    The San Diego Chargers are in trouble, and Mike McCoy knows it.

    Banged-up offensive line or not, the Chargers have to win games against teams like the Mike Vick-led Steelers. Instead, they lost in horrible fashion Monday night. 

    After three-and-a-half quarters of getting after Vick, the Chargers defense let him throw uncontested in the Steelers' final two drives. Consequently, the Steelers carved the Bolts both times, the second being a game-winning drive.

    McCoy has had this team since 2013, and the Chargers have been nothing but mediocre. McCoy isn't on the hot seat just yet, but he will be by the end of the season if the Bolts don't push for a playoff spot.

No. 17: Jeff Fisher, St. Louis Rams

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    Matt Ludtke/Associated Press

    2015 record: 2-3

    Since the St. Louis Rams hired him in 2013, Jeff Fisher has been a mediocre coach at best.

    The only thing his Rams teams have been good at is winning within the tough NFC West, which admittedly is no feat to blow off. 

    But at some point, you have to start winning games outside of your own division. 

    Running back Todd Gurley is an enticing young player, but the Rams passing game is hard to watch. Sticking with the theme of mediocrity, quarterback Nick Foles has six touchdowns to five picks on the season, while completing 57.4 percent of his passes. 

    Jeff Fisher needs a Hail Mary of sorts to make the Rams competitive again. And, frankly, it doesn't seem like it's coming this season. Consider Fisher to be on the "hot seat."

No. 18: Mike Pettine, Cleveland Browns

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    Gail Burton/Associated Press

    2015 record: 2-3

    The Cleveland Browns aren't without their flaws, but they are playing better than they have in recent years. 

    Head coach Mike Pettine has this team playing tough.

    They stuck with the Ravens until the very end in Week 5, prevailing in overtime after quarterback Josh McCown's miraculous late-game heroics. Yes, Josh McCown. 

    Games like that are testaments to coaching, through and through. Pettine didn't let the Browns get their heads out of the game, and they came through with a nice win over a division rival.

No. 19: Jason Garrett, Dallas Cowboys

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    Brynn Anderson/Associated Press

    2015 record: 2-3

    It's hard to figure out where to put Jason Garrett on this list. On one hand, he's dealing with two critical injuries for the Cowboys in Tony Romo and Dez Bryant

    On the other hand, his Cowboys have blown leads against the Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints. 

    There's really not much else to say about the Cowboys right now, and it's that other hand that lands Garrett at No. 19.

No. 20: Chuck Pagano, Indianapolis Colts

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    Patric Schneider/Associated Press

    2015 record: 3-2

    The Indianapolis Colts have taken a few steps backward in 2015. It's a difficult point to argue. 

    It's also hard to put such a respectable coach like Pagano so low in these power rankings, but somebody has to take the blame for what's happened to the Colts. 

    Yes, starting quarterback Andrew Luck has a shoulder injury. But in his place, Matt Hasselbeck has gone 2-0. The team is talented enough to win (especially in the AFC South) without Luck. 

    The rest of the league has caught on to what Pagano's Colts have had success doing in recent years, and other teams are combating the typical Colts long-ball style of play.

    They're also taking advantage of a subpar defense that has long been hidden behind the Colts' offensive firepower. 

    Pagano and his staff need to consider changing Indy's game plan—and soon. There have already been rumors this season that Pagano is on the "hot seat," according to Fox Sports' Jay Glazer.

No. 21: John Fox, Chicago Bears

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    Ed Zurga/Associated Press

    2015 record: 2-3

    After a miserable 0-3 start, the Chicago Bears have bounced back with wins against the Raiders and Kansas City Chiefs. 

    Credit John Fox with keeping his troops in line after the Bears looked like one of the NFL's worst teams to start the season. 

    He still lands low on the list for a dreadful 26-0 loss to Seattle, where his play-calling was lazy, unimaginative and lacked urgency despite an early deficit.

No. 22: Jay Gruden, Washington Redskins

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    2015 record: 2-3

    Although the Washington Redskins are playing physically overall in 2015, they haven't been clutch in close games (except for a big win against Philadelphia). 

    Head coach Jay Gruden elected to start Kirk Cousins at quarterback this season, which has resulted in free drinks in the D.C. area. 

    No, seriously. Watch the video above—it's a real thing. 

    And those free drinks aren't because Cousins is good. Rather, patrons drink on the house for every interception Cousins throws. That would be six free beverages so far, if you're keeping track. 

    Gruden does deserve credit for putting a team on the field that has been solid in the trenches in each game this season.

No. 23: Chip Kelly, Philadelphia Eagles

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    Michael Perez/Associated Press

    2015 record: 2-3

    Chip Kelly lands low in the rankings because, up to this point, his calculated deconstruction of last year's Philadelphia Eagles has mostly resulted in failure. 

    Replacing quarterback Nick Foles with Sam Bradford has yielded mediocre results at best in 2015. Bradford has eight touchdowns and six interceptions on the year, but he's still learning Kelly's offense. 

    Running back DeMarco Murray was expected to light it up in 2015, but he isn't having success behind Philly's lighter, more athletic offensive line. Yes, the Eagles employ a running back-by-committee approach, but 130 total rushing yards isn't acceptable for Murray.

    Kelly will see a rise in rankings if his mad-science experiment starts coming together, but, until then, this version of the Eagles remains just that—an experiment.

No. 24: Bill O'Brien, Houston Texans

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    Eric Christian Smith/Associated Press

    2015 record: 1-4

    Weren't the Houston Texans supposed to be good in 2015?

    Well, they aren't. Not even a little bit. 

    Houston's talented defense has surrendered nearly 1,700 total yards to opponents and has allowed 15 total touchdowns in 2015.

    On offense, head coach Bill O'Brien won't commit to one starting quarterback for the season. In his defense, the choice between Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallett isn't an easy one. 

    That being said, Mallett should've stayed in the game against the Colts. The interception he threw was off the hands of Arian Foster

    And, no matter how hard you wish for it, you don't make a living off "Hoyer Hail Marys." It's not how this game works. 

    The Texans are far worse than they were a year ago. And that falls on O'Brien.

No. 25: John Harbaugh, Baltimore Ravens

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    Nick Wass/Associated Press

    2015 record: 1-4

    John Harbaugh's Baltimore Ravens are a train wreck, and after an overtime loss at home to Cleveland in Week 5, things are only getting worse. 

    Once known for a legendary defense, the Ravens have shown they're a husk of their former selves on that side of the ball. The pass defense has given up more than 1,300 yards while allowing nine touchdowns and forcing only three interceptions. 

    On offense, the Ravens have seven turnovers this season. Five of those have been interceptions by quarterback Joe Flacco. 

    Simply put, Harbaugh isn't getting the job done in 2015. Depending on how the rest of the season goes, he may not get another chance in 2016.

No. 26: Jim Caldwell, Detroit Lions

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    Scott Eklund/Associated Press

    2015 record: 0-5

    Victim of a bad call in Seattle or not, the Detroit Lions are winless. Some (or a lot) of that blame must be placed on head coach Jim Caldwell.

    The Lions have 32 penalties this season, uncharacteristic of a Caldwell-coached team. But it's the Lions defense that is hurting this team more than anything.

    Detroit's D has given up 1,877 total yards and 17 touchdowns on the season. With quarterback Matthew Stafford clearly regressing, having such a bad defense makes for a bad combination. 

    If their season keeps going like it is, the Lions will be cleaning house at the end of the season.

No. 27: Lovie Smith, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    Chris O'Meara/Associated Press

    2015 record: 2-3

    For having the NFL's worst team last season, Lovie Smith has certainly made strides with the 2015 Buccaneers. 

    But defense has always been Smith's specialty, and that just simply isn't the case with these Bucs. 

    Tampa Bay's pass defense has surrendered 12 touchdowns through the air. The unit is last in the NFL in terms of points allowed. 

    Considering the team just invested heavily in Jameis Winston, it's relatively safe to say Smith has one more year of job security before he's on the hot seat.

No. 28: Gus Bradley, Jacksonville Jaguars

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    Steven Senne/Associated Press

    2015 record: 1-4

    As with Smith, Gus Bradley ends up low on this list because his Jacksonville Jaguars aren't playing good defense. 

    That side of the ball is Bradley's supposed strong suit. 

    But the fact is that the Jags have surrendered 1,815 yards and 13 total touchdowns to opponents this season. They've only forced a single interception all year. 

    Bradley has had this team since 2013, and, frankly, it hasn't gotten better with each passing year. Quarterback Blake Bortles seems to be improving, which is significant, but it may not be enough to save Bradley's job by the end of this season.

No. 29: Jim Tomsula, San Francisco 49ers

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    Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press

    2015 record: 1-4

    Jim Tomsula inherited a 49ers team in disarray, but his job as head coach so far hasn't made the situation any better.

    After a good-looking win in Week 1 against the Minnesota Vikings, the 49ers haven't had much to be thankful for.

    Big losses against Pittsburgh and Arizona were uninspiring to say the least, but in its last two games against Green Bay and the Giants, San Francisco has looked better.

    Still, the 49ers are 1-4, and until players begin responding better to his coaching, Tomsula remains low in the coaches' power rankings.

No. 30: Sean Payton, New Orleans Saints

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    Matt Rourke/Associated Press

    2015 record: 1-4

    The Sean Payton era in New Orleans is all but over. 

    Don't believe it? Consider that the team's defense has given up more than 2,000 yards and 15 total touchdowns. Is that the defensive coordinator's fault? Partly.

    But at some point, the head coach has to step in and say enough is enough. 

    In this case, it doesn't matter. Both the Saints offense and defense are ranked in the 20s in terms of points allowed. 

    Also, Drew Brees has been sacked 14 times. Oh, and the newfangled running game the Saints were to lean on this year has seen Mark Ingram average 3.8 yards per carry.

    Good move getting rid of Jimmy Graham. Not.

No. 31: Andy Reid, Kansas City Chiefs

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    Ed Zurga/Associated Press

    2015 record: 1-4

    Andy Reid is lucky the Miami Dolphins have an interim head coach, or he would be ranked last on this list. 

    After losing to the Bears in a game the Chiefs led by 14 in the third quarter, it's apparent Reid's offense is as mediocre as it's always been. 

    Yes, losing running back Jamaal Charles is a terrible blow for the Chiefs. But somebody else has to step up and make a play at some point, and it's clear now that this team doesn't have that. It sure isn't going to be quarterback Alex Smith.

    Tight end Travis Kelce is a beast, but he isn't going to do it all on his own. Jeremy Maclin was a nice addition on paper, but he has only managed one touchdown catch this season—one less than Kelce.

    At this rate, the Chiefs are going to dunk and dink themselves to another top-10 pick in next year's NFL draft—and Reid will be fortunate if he's involved in deciding that pick.

No. 32: Dan Campbell, Miami Dolphins

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    Wilfredo Lee/Associated Press

    2015 record: 0-0 (interim head coach)

    It's impossible not to put the Dolphins' new coach here, simply because he hasn't coached a game yet. 

    Here are some keys for Campbell to be more successful than former head coach Joe Philbin:

    1). Show some emotion and enthusiasm. Football players love an enthusiastic coach.

    2). Mix up some blitz schemes to get your all-star free-agency acquisition involved. You know, that guy named Ndamukong Suh? 

    3). Give the Dolphins an identity, because the league is still wondering who they really are despite the talent on their team roster.

    Questions, comments, hate and/or love? Find Ethan on Twitter @ebai_today and express yourself.