Power Ranking Every Coaching Staff Heading into the 2018 NFL Season

Brad Gagnon@Brad_Gagnon NFL National ColumnistJuly 9, 2018

Power Ranking Every Coaching Staff Heading into the 2018 NFL Season

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    Winslow Townson/Associated Press

    All 32 NFL teams have mostly assembled their rosters for the 2018 season, but each of those rosters will go through various changes before the regular season gets underway. 

    Meanwhile, all 32 coaching staffs look the way they will come Week 1, barring shocking developments

    So, how do they stack up against one another? 

    We'll mainly compare head coaches, but we'll also consider key assistant coaches. That'll help break ties or give extra boosts to staffs that have notable coaches running the offense and/or defense. 

    How do we determine the strength of each coaching staff? We'll mainly look at track recordswin-loss records and playoff successes or failures for head coaches, offensive or defensive rankings for coordinators but career trajectory and potential is also worth something, as is experience. In other words, we won't hold it against a coach for not having won a Super Bowl in his first five years, but we will if he hasn't won a playoff game in 15 (looking at you, Marvin Lewis). 

    Can any coaching staff measure up to Bill Belichick and the vaunted New England Patriots? Have a look.

             

    (Career head-coaching records in brackets)

32. New York Jets

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    Joe Mahoney/Associated Press

    Head coach: Todd Bowles (22-29)

    Key assistants: Offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates, defensive coordinator Kacy Rodgers, offensive line coach Rick Dennison

    Bowles' defenses performed well during his two seasons with the Cardinals, and he got off to a good start with a 10-6 maiden campaign with the Jets, but Gang Green has lost 11 games in each of the last two years and ranked in the bottom 12 defensively in both of those seasons. 

    Rodgers is merely a right-hand man, while Bates will be an offensive coordinator for the first time since 2010. Neither helps this staff gain much credibility, although it does get credit for bringing in the well-reputed Dennison to oversee the running game and offensive line. 

    But that's not enough to get this coaching staff out of the basement. 

31. New York Giants

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    Adam Hunger/Associated Press

    Head coach: Pat Shurmur (10-23)

    Key assistants: Offensive coordinator Mike Shula, defensive coordinator James Bettcher

    Ben McAdoo wasn't the answer, but Shurmur is a bland hire. The 53-year-old did a good job with the Vikings offense in 2017, but he struggled to help the Rams and Browns earlier in his career.

    His 9-23 record as a head coach in Cleveland hardly inspires much confidence, and he isn't particularly well-supported by his new primary coordinators. 

    In 2015, Bettcher took over a Cardinals defense that ranked fifth in points allowed during the previous season. With him at the helm, the Cardinals ranked seventh, 14th and 19th, respectively, in terms of points allowed over the past three seasons. Bettcher is only 40 and has room to grow, but that decline in Arizona isn't promising.

    Meanwhile, Shula's offenses disappointed in four of his five seasons as Carolina's coordinator despite the presence of Cam Newton. While the Panthers led the NFL in scoring and ranked 11th in total yards during their Super Bowl run in 2015, they failed to field a top-10 offense during Shula's other four years in charge.

30. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    Butch Dill/Associated Press

    Head coach: Dirk Koetter (14-18)

    Key assistants: Offensive coordinator Todd Monken, defensive coordinator Mike Smith

    Koetter took over as Tampa Bay's offensive coordinator in 2015, and that unit went on to rank 20th in scoring. He was then promoted to head coach, and they've ranked 18th in each of the last two seasons. Save for a five-game hot streak in the second half of the 2016 season, Koetter has gone 9-18 as head coach of a relatively talented team. 

    His seat should be on fire.

    Monken doesn't look any better considering that the last two seasons were his first as an NFL offensive coordinator. Smith has experience, but his defenses have ranked in the bottom 10 in each of his two campaigns with the team. 

    This staff isn't the answer in Tampa.

29. Cleveland Browns

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    Ron Schwane/Associated Press

    Head coach: Hue Jackson (9-39)

    Key assistants: Offensive coordinator Todd Haley, defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, quarterbacks coach Ken Zampese

    A supposed quarterback whisperer, Jackson has gotten nothing out of six different signal-callers since he took over the Browns in 2016. That's a big reason he's lost 31 of his 32 games in Cleveland.

    Jackson deserves some credit for posting an 8-8 record in 2011 with a mediocre Raiders team, but he never excelled as an offensive coordinator and hasn't done so as a head coach, either. His .188 winning percentage is the lowest in modern NFL history among coaches with at least 40 career games under their belt. 

    Veteran NFL writer Don Banks runs a relatively new site called HeadCoachRanking.com, which uses a detailed formula to rank all NFL head coaches broadly and within specific categories. And in 2017, Jackson and the now-fired Chuck Pagano finished tied for last.

    Haley and Williams bring experience to the primary coordinator positions. However, the former has never been part of a championship team, and the latter hasn't accomplished much since he returned to the league after a one-year hiatus due to the Bountygate scandal.

    This isn't the worst staff in football, but it would benefit from some new energy. 

28. Denver Broncos

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    David Zalubowski/Associated Press

    Head coach: Vance Joseph (5-11)

    Key assistants: Offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave, defensive coordinator Joe Woods, quarterbacks coach Mike Sullivan

    Joseph was a puzzling hire to begin with, considering that he had just one season under his belt as a defensive coordinator in Miami and that the Dolphins ranked 29th defensively that year. The Broncos didn't surrender a lot of yards but gave up far too many points in his maiden season, and now he enters his second yar on the hot seat with just a handful of wins under his belt. 

    Only Jackson, Chuck Pagano and Jack Del Rio performed worse in terms of total ranking at Head Coach Ranking. 

    But it's too early to call him a failure, and at least he has some support. Quarterback Case Keenum is in good hands with the experienced and respected Sullivan, while Musgrave deserves a second season to turn the offense around after doing exactly that with the Raiders in 2016.

27. Cincinnati Bengals

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    John Minchillo/Associated Press

    Head coach: Marvin Lewis (125-112-3)

    Key assistants: Offensive coordinator Bill Lazor, defensive coordinator Teryl Austin, offensive line coach Frank Pollack

    Lewis is a respected defensive mind whose defenses have almost always been strong in Cincinnati, and he deserves credit for getting to the playoffs in seven of his 15 seasons as the Bengals' head coach. However, he's failed to win a playoff game in a decade-and-a-half there, and he's won just 13 total games the last two seasons with a talented team. 

    Among six head coaches who have been in their current roles at least 10 years, Lewis is the only one without a Super Bowl victory, let alone a playoff win. 

    At Head Coach Ranking, only Jackson ranked lower in terms of clock management, while only Jackson, Chuck Pagano and Steve Spagnuolo ranked lower when it came to in-game adjustments

    Lazor's offense performed terribly last season and didn't fare much better when he held the same title in Miami. There are high expectations for Austin, but he didn't exactly put together championship defenses in Detroit. 

    They do get a little credit for recently stealing the well-reputed Pollack from the Cowboys, but that doesn't make this a good staff. 

26. Miami Dolphins

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    Wilfredo Lee/Associated Press

    Head coach: Adam Gase (16-16)

    Key assistants: Offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains, defensive coordinator Matt Burke

    Gase's offenses performed exceptionally well in Denver, but that was with Peyton Manning under center. And the Bears ranked in the bottom dozen in terms of scoring and yardage during his only season there. He does deserve some love for getting a strong run out of quarterback Ryan Tannehill before injuries cost the veteran the end of his 2016 campaign and all of 2017, but the Miami offense still ranked poorly both seasons.

    In terms of game-planning, only Joseph fared worse at Head Coach Ranking.

    The 37-year-old Loggains might be considered a bit of an up-and-comer, but he didn't deliver in two seasons as Chicago's offensive coordinator, and the jury is still out on Burke after his first season running things on the other side of the ball.

    There's at least room for this staff to grow, but it's hard to get too fired up about any of the primary coaches in Miami.

25. Oakland Raiders

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    Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

    Head coach: Jon Gruden (95-81)

    Key assistants: Offensive coordinator Greg Olson, defensive coordinator Paul Guenther, offensive line coach Tom Cable

    This is a tricky one because Gruden has been out of football so long. He still deserves some credit for winning a Super Bowl 16 years ago, but let's keep in mind that he went 45-51 while failing to win another playoff game during the six seasons that followed that championship campaign. 

    Has the game passed him by? It's a fair question to ask, especially considering some of the odd moves he's made this offseason. 

    Olson is a retread who hasn't run a high-ranking offense since he was in St. Louis in 2006, and Cable didn't do much to fix the Seahawks' offensive line, but at least Guenther joins the fray with a strong resume from his time in Cincinnati. 

    There's a lot of hype surrounding this staff, but it might be tremendously overrated.

24. Houston Texans

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    Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press

    Head coach: Bill O'Brien (31-33)

    Key assistants: Defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel, quarterbacks coach Sean Ryan, senior defensive assistant John Pagano

    O'Brien posted a winning record in each of his first three seasons with the Texans, and it looked as though he'd have another winning season before rookie sensation Deshaun Watson suffered a season-ending knee injury in October. He deserves credit for what he got from Watson before that, even though he oddly left him on the bench to start the season. 

    Now that he has a franchise quarterback, this might be a make-or-break season for a head coach who has taken some heat for his game management

    He does at least have a pretty good supporting cast. Crennel has a considerable track record, Pagano is an interesting addition to the defensive staff, and Ryan clearly did something right with Watson. 

23. Arizona Cardinals

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    Matt York/Associated Press

    Head coach: Steve Wilks (0-0)

    Key assistants: Offensive coordinator Mike McCoy, defensive coordinator Al Holcomb

    It's too early to strongly judge Wilks, who was hired in January, but his lack of experience has to factor in. The 48-year-old hasn't been a head coach since he was at Savannah State in 1999 (it went 5-6), and last season was his first-ever year as an NFL defensive coordinator (his defense in Carolina ranked 11th in terms of points allowed).

    Holcomb is also a coordinator for the first time at the age of 47. And while McCoy has a decent track record, his offenses didn't consistently rock during his time in San Diego, and the Broncos offense struggled immensely under his tutelage last year. 

    There's potential with this staff, but it could also easily fail miserably. 

22. Indianapolis Colts

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    Michael Reaves/Getty Images

    Head coach: Frank Reich (0-0)

    Key assistants: Offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni, defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus

    Again, the glass-half-empty view is that Reich has never been a head coach while the glass-half-full view is that he has a high ceiling. His offenses weren't great in San Diego, but he deserves a lot of credit for what happened in Philadelphia last season. 

    The 37-year-old Sirianni has never been an offensive coordinator, and the 48-year-old Eberflus has never run an NFL defense, which isn't ideal when you already have a rookie head coach. 

    This staff could become great, but right now there's just not enough to go off.

21. Detroit Lions

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    Carlos Osorio/Associated Press

    Head coach: Matt Patricia (0-0)

    Key assistants: Offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter, defensive coordinator Paul Pasqualoni

    Patricia is in the same boat as Wilks and Reich as a January hire, but we're giving his staff a little more love here because the 43-year-old learned from the best in New England and he's supported by a well-reputed, rising offensive coordinator in Cooter. 

    Just 34 years old, Cooter's offense ranked seventh in scoring last season. 

    Meanwhile, the 68-year-old Pasqualoni at least brings a ton of experience to the table. It makes you wonder if the Lions could have a Sean McVay-Wade Phillips dynamic going on this season. 

20. Chicago Bears

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    Head coach: Matt Nagy (0-0)

    Key assistants: Offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich, defensive coordinator Vic Fangio

    The 40-year-old Nagy appears to have a big future ahead of him after doing big things with Alex Smith and the Chiefs in his only season as that team's offensive coordinator. A lot of folks are excited to see what he does with Mitchell Trubisky and the rejuvenated Bears offense, but you can't call him a great head coach until he's coached some games. 

    We'll also have to wait to see what Helfrich can do at the NFL level, but the longtime college coach and Chip Kelly disciple is at least an interesting hire. 

    Fangio's presence is important because he brings a lot of experience to an inexperienced staff. The Bears defense quietly excelled under his tutelage in 2017, and it's nice to see Nagy give him a shot to keep building that in 2018. 

19. Tennessee Titans

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    Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

    Head coach: Mike Vrabel (0-0)

    Key assistants: Offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur, defensive coordinator Dean Pees

    It's hard not to be excited about the energy and potential Vrabel brings to Tennessee, but it should be pointed out that the 42-year-old has just one season as a defensive coordinator under his belt. And the Texans defense surrendered more points than every other team in football last season.

    LaFleur also has just one season as a coordinator on his resume, but the Titans pulled off a major coup by stealing the 38-year-old from a Rams team that led the league in scoring in 2017. And they'll get a lot of wisdom from Pees, whose defenses ranked in the top 12 in terms of points allowed in five of his six seasons with the Ravens. 

    Vrabel and LaFleur both have enough potential that Pees' presence makes up for their lack of experience.

18. Atlanta Falcons

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    John Bazemore/Associated Press

    Head coach: Dan Quinn (29-19)

    Key assistants: Offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian, defensive coordinator Marquand Manuel

    The Atlanta coaching staff missed departed offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan in 2017. It had the league's highest-scoring offense with Shanahan in charge in 2016, but that unit ranked just 15th in that category under Sarkisian's tutelage last year. 

    That's ridiculous considering how much talent the Falcons have on that side of the ball.

    Manuel calls the plays but Quinn installed and oversees the defense, and he deserves credit because that young unit took a major step forward in a quietly strong 2017 campaign. He also has a stellar career win-loss record, but he deserves a lot of blame for that unforgettable collapse in Super Bowl LI. 

    Put it all together, and this is a slightly-below-average staff. 

17. Baltimore Ravens

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    Patrick Semansky/Associated Press

    Head coach: John Harbaugh (94-66)

    Key assistants: Offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg, defensive coordinator Don Martindale

    Harbaugh's Ravens have won just a single playoff game since capturing Super Bowl XLVII in 2012, but the league's sixth-longest-tenured head coach still has just one losing season on his record. 

    The problem has often been his coordinators haven't provided much support to a head coach with only a special teams background, and it's fair to criticize Mornhinweg and Martindale. The former had a top-10 scoring offense in 2017 but ranked 21st or worse in each of his previous four seasons with the Eagles, Jets and Ravens. The latter has just one season as a defensive coordinator under his belt, and that came when the Broncos ranked dead last in the NFL in yards and points allowed in 2010. 

    This staff has problems beyond Harbaugh, who hasn't had a lot of recent success either.

16. Buffalo Bills

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    Head coach: Sean McDermott (9-7)

    Key assistants: Offensive coordinator Brian Daboll, defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier

    Hard to fault McDermott for his lack of head-coaching experience after he led the Bills to the playoffs in his first season there. The 44-year-old's potential outweighs his inexperience, especially since his defenses ranked in the top six in two of his last four seasons as Carolina's defensive coordinator. 

    That defense could manage to get better, but Frazier might not be the answer. The 59-year-old has overseen a top-10 scoring defense just once in his 12-year career, and that was back in 2009. Meanwhile, Daboll comes on board this year despite the fact he fell on his face as the OC in Cleveland, Miami and Kansas City earlier this decade.

    In other words, this staff loses some luster because there are some major questions regarding McDermott's coordinators. 

15. Carolina Panthers

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    Chuck Burton/Associated Press

    Head coach: Ron Rivera (64-47-1)

    Key assistants: Offensive coordinator Norv Turner, defensive coordinator Eric Washington

    The Panthers have been anything but consistent during Rivera's seven-year tenure, but he's taken them to the playoffs in four of the last five seasons and led them to a 15-1 record and a Super Bowl appearance in 2015.

    He's a superb risk-taker and a great challenger, and his defenses are always top-notch when healthy. 

    Turner has a lot of experience but might have hit a ceiling based on his recent track record. The 66-year-old's offenses have ranked in the bottom half of the league in each of his last five seasons (four as an OC, one as an HC). Meanwhile, Washington is new to his role after overseeing a usually strong defensive line the last seven years.

    Riverboat Ron alone keeps them above the league median.

14. Los Angeles Chargers

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    Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

    Head coach: Anthony Lynn (9-8)

    Key assistants: Offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt, defensive coordinator Gus Bradley

    Lynn lost his first four games as head coach of the Chargers but lost just two games in regulation the rest of the year. A few better breaks and he'd already have a playoff appearance under his belt. Prior to that, he did a fantastic job coaching the Bills running game in 2015 and 2016. 

    Lynn lacks experience as a coach and coordinator, but the Chargers make up for that with Whisenhunt and Bradley, who have served as head coaches or coordinators for a combined 23 seasons.

    In the last couple of seasons with the Chargers, Whisenhunt has come close to repeating some of the success he had with the Steelers more than a decade ago, while Bradley has started to experience some of the success he had with the Seahawks a half-decade ago. 

    The three coaches have a nice combination of potential and maturity, even if they haven't recently done anything big together or separately. 

13. Washington Redskins

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    Nick Wass/Associated Press

    Head coach: Jay Gruden (28-35-1)

    Key assistants: Offensive coordinator Matt Cavanaugh, defensive coordinator Greg Manusky, offensive line coach Bill Callahan, defensive line coach Jim Tomsula

    This staff ranks well because it's deep and experienced. Cavanaugh and Manusky have a combined 19 seasons' worth of coordinator experience, Callahan has been serving in major coaching roles since 1995, Tomsula ran the defensive line in San Francisco for eight seasons, and Gruden is entering his fifth season as head coach.

    The 2017 season was that group's first together, and the Redskins went only 7-9, but that's not bad considering that the roster was ravaged by injuries. In fact, according to Football Outsiders, they were hit harder by injuries than any other team. 

    Gruden has yet to put together a 10-win season or earn a playoff victory, but they're in the mix every year. Washington's high-profile coaching staff could be on the verge of a nice run. 

12. San Francisco 49ers

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    Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

    Head coach: Kyle Shanahan (6-10)

    Key assistant: Defensive coordinator Robert Saleh

    Sporting News named Shanahan the Coordinator of the Year in 2016, and the 49ers offense improved greatly during his first season as the team's head coach in 2017. He's a tremendous offensive mind, and he's only 38 years old. 

    Nitpicking a tad here, but he's not supported by a lot of accomplished or experienced assistants. Saleh's defense didn't fare well in his first season in that role, and tight ends coach Jon Embree is the only other roundly recognizable name on staff. 

    Still, Shanahan's accomplishments and career trajectory make this staff better than average. 

11. Jacksonville Jaguars

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    John Raoux/Associated Press

    Head coach: Doug Marrone (26-24)

    Key assistants: Offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett, defensive coordinator Todd Wash, defensive backs coach Perry Fewell

    A former offensive coordinator who excelled with the Saints, Marrone has helped guide offenses that have ranked strongly in two of his three seasons with the team. He took over a team that won three games in 2016 and had them winning playoff games in 2017, which shouldn't have been overly shocking because he also won nine games with a so-so Bills team when he was last a head coach in 2014. 

    Hackett deserves some credit for their success on that side of the ball in 2017, but he hasn't done enough with Blake Bortles at quarterback. 

    Meanwhile, Wash is coaching so much talent that it's tough to tell what kind of impact he's had, but the fact is he's run a top-10 defense in each of his two seasons in that role, and he has a good lieutenant in Fewell. 

10. Dallas Cowboys

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    Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

    Head coach: Jason Garrett (67-53)

    Key assistants: Offensive coordinator Scott Linehan, defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli, defensive backs coach Kris Richard

    It's hard to believe Garrett has survived seven full seasons as the Cowboys' head coach, because he's won 10 or more games in just two of those campaigns. But both of those seasons came in the last four years, and his offenses have ranked in the top five in three of the last five seasons. 

    That's enough for Garrett to be considered a better-than-average head coach, even if he's won just a single playoff game. 

    Garrett's staff is boosted by three good assistants. Linehan and Marinelli got tremendous results as coordinators on each side of the ball in 2016. Last season wasn't as fruitful, but their track records indicate they should bounce back. And there's a lot of excitement surrounding Richard, who helped build the Legion of Boom in Seattle and at the age of 38 should be viewed as a potential heir apparent in the coaching staff.

9. New Orleans Saints

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    Chris Tilley/Associated Press

    Head coach: Sean Payton (105-71)

    Key assistants: Offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael, defensive coordinator Dennis Allen

    Payton has won just one playoff game the last four years, but he's a Super Bowl champion with a tremendous record and stellar rankings from Head Coach Ranking (particularly when it comes to in-game adjustments), and his offenses are consistently among the best in football. 

    In fact, they've ranked in the top six in terms of yardage in each of his 11 seasons running things. And in Carmichael's defense, that unit fared just as well when Payton was suspended in 2012. 

    The defense also took a megastep forward in Allen's third season in that role, but an infusion of talent factored in. It's fair to hold off on praising a DC who achieved generally abysmal results prior to 2017 in Denver, Oakland and New Orleans. 

    This is a top-heavy staff, but it's still a good one because Payton might be a Hall of Famer.

8. Seattle Seahawks

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    John Froschauer/Associated Press

    Head coach: Pete Carroll (112-79-1)

    Key assistants: Offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr., offensive line coach Mike Solari

    Carroll has posted a winning record in each of his last six seasons, with two of those campaigns concluding with Super Bowl appearances. He's well-liked by his players and gets results as both a motivator of men and a defensive expert. 

    They decided to mix things up at the coordinator level this offseason, but it's tough to tell how that'll pan out. Schottenheimer hasn't been an OC since 2014 and hasn't run a top-10 offense in his nine seasons in that role. Norton's defenses ranked in the bottom 12 in each of his three seasons as DC in Oakland. 

    Meh. Thankfully Carroll is a star and there's some hope that Solari might be able to turn things around for that oft-maligned offensive line.

7. Green Bay Packers

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    Mike Roemer/Associated Press

    Head coach: Mike McCarthy (121-70-1)

    Key assistants: Offensive coordinator Joe Philbin, defensive coordinator Mike Pettine

    Among active head coaches, only Bill Belichick and Mike Tomlin have better records than McCarthy, who was a star offensive coordinator in New Orleans before starting this successful run with the Packers in which he has run a top-10 offense in nine of his 12 seasons. 

    He also has 10 playoff wins and a Super Bowl on his record. 

    Philbin is back after a tough stretch in Miami and Indianapolis, but he was OC in Green Bay during a particularly successful stretch between 2007 and 2011. But the Pettine hire is a little odd because he only fared well with Rex Ryan running the show early in his tenure with the Jets and he's been out of coaching the last couple of years.

    So there's a lot up in the air beyond McCarthy, who has taken plenty of criticism as well in recent years.

6. Minnesota Vikings

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    Charles Rex Arbogast/Associated Press

    Head coach: Mike Zimmer (39-25)

    Key assistants: Offensive coordinator John DeFilippo, defensive coordinator George Edwards, offensive line coach Tony Sparano

    Zimmer has overseen top-12 scoring defenses in each of his four seasons as head coach in Minnesota, where he hasn't posted a losing record since going 7-9 in his maiden campaign. Head Coach Ranking concluded that he was the best game-planner in the NFL last season, and that showed with Minnesota surrendering the fewest points and yards in football. 

    Edwards is a right-hand man, but DeFilippo might be an upgrade over departed OC Pat Shurmur because he's coming off a Super Bowl season as quarterbacks coach in Philly and has a lot of potential at the ripe age of 40. And Sparano's presence as an experienced line coach certainly doesn't hurt. 

5. Kansas City Chiefs

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    Head coach: Andy Reid (183-120-1)

    Key assistants: Offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, defensive coordinator Bob Sutton

    Entering his 20th consecutive season as a head coach, Reid has consistently overseen top-notch offenses. In fact, his teams have ranked in the top 10 in scoring in 11 of his 19 campaigns. He's also won 11 playoff games but loses some points for having never won a Lombardi Trophy. 

    Sutton is Reid's top assistant, and he's delivered. The Chiefs have ranked in the top 10 in terms of points allowed in four of his five seasons in that role. The jury is still out on Bieniemy, who is replacing the departed Nagy, but they make up for that with experience in those other two key spots. 

4. Pittsburgh Steelers

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    Keith Srakocic/Associated Press

    Head coach: Mike Tomlin (116-60)

    Key assistants: Offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner, defensive coordinator Keith Butler

    Tomlin's .659 winning percentage is the eighth-highest in modern NFL history, and he has eight playoff wins and a Super Bowl on his record too. He's a solid defensive mind but more importantly a strong motivator who continually brings good energy. 

    For some reason he's become awful at challenging plays, but we won't hold that against him enough to keep this staff out of the upper echelon. 

    The jury is still out on Fichtner as a coordinator as he prepares to replace the fired Todd Haley, but he's been a position coach in that very successful offense the last 11 years. Butler's been on the staff since 2003, and his defenses have ranked in the top half of the league in terms of points allowed in each of his three seasons as DC. 

3. Philadelphia Eagles

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    Head coach: Doug Pederson (20-12)

    Key assistants: Offensive coordinator Mike Groh, defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz

    While he'll miss departed offensive coordinator Frank Reich and quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo, Pederson is the brain behind the offense in Philadelphia. And that was the third-highest-scoring unit in football in 2017 as Pederson won the Super Bowl in his second season as a head coach. 

    Head Coach Ranking ranked him as the second-best game-planner and the second-best clock manager in the NFL, which is impressive considering the last team he head-coached before 2016 was a Louisiana high school squad in 2008. 

    His top assistant is Schwartz, who somehow didn't get hired as a head coach in the offseason after his celebrated defensive scheme played a huge role in Philly's Super Bowl run. Schwartz is widely considered one of the top defensive minds in the game, and the numbers have reflected that the last few years (the Bills also ranked fourth in football defensively during his outgoing 2014 season there).

    Jury's still out on Groh, but the Pederson-Schwartz duo is one of the best in the league, and the two coaches appear to have many years ahead of them.

2. Los Angeles Rams

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    Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

    Head coach: Sean McVay (11-5)

    Key assistants: Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, run game coordinator Aaron Kromer, pass game coordinator Shane Waldron

    McVay won the Coach of the Year award as the youngest head coach in NFL history in 2017. Enough said, right? The guy crushed it at Head Coach Ranking when it came to in-game adjustments, game-planning, utilizing personnel and play-calling, which explains why the Rams had the highest-scoring offense in football. 

    And while McVay might miss right-hand man Matt LaFleur, Phillips is clearly his most valuable assistant. In fact, the 71-year-old has for years been one of the most valuable defensive minds in the league. His experience perfectly counterbalances McVay's freshness, and the two have become the best offensive-defensive coaching duo in the NFL. 

    There isn't a lot of depth beyond those two with LaFleur gone, though, which is part of the reason the Rams only have the best coaching staff in their conference, not the entire league. 

1. New England Patriots

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    Steven Senne/Associated Press

    Head coach: Bill Belichick (250-118)

    Key assistants: Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia

    To answer the question posed in the introduction, no. Belichick is the most accomplished and one of the most heralded and respected head coaches in NFL history

    He lost a key assistant in Patricia, but the return of McDaniels is more important because Belichick is ultimately the defensive coordinator anyway. And Scarnecchia has also played a huge role for much of the Belichick era. 

    But this is mainly about Belichick, who has won more games in the playoffs (28) than half of the coaches on this list have won in the regular season. Unsurprisingly, he crushes the field in practically every metric at Head Coach Ranking.

    So mainly because of the man on top, the smallest coaching staff in professional football is also the best.