The phrase ‘new wave‘ is used a lot when discussing NFL coaches. But is this new wave actually working?
For some teams, yes it is.
Teams like the Los Angeles Rams, Chicago Bears, and San Francisco 49ers have some of the best young play-callers in the league in Sean McVay, Matt Nagy, and Kyle Shanahan respectively. However, that doesn’t mean every offensive minded head coach will be successful as a head coach.
Two examples stand out from this current cycle of example that point to this.
Former Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur being hired by the Green Bay Packers and the Cleveland Browns promoting interim offensive coordinator Freddie Kitchens to be their new head coach.
The hire of LaFleur is one that is surprising. The 39-year-old former offensive coordinator of the Titans isn’t exactly the most exciting pick. He ran a fairly bland offense for the most part and as a result ended the season ranked 25th in total yards and 27th in total scoring.
Seems like a head-scratching move for the Packers.
The Packers have much more offensive talent ready to aid LaFleur. However, his brief history as an offensive coordinator has shown that his offense is pretty dry and ineffective.
Meanwhile, the Browns are riding high
Cleveland finished the season 13th in yards on offense and 20th in scoring. That spike in productivity occurred when Kitchens took over as the OC.
Rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield sprung to life. Nick Chubb emerged as one of the best young running backs in the league. As a result, the Browns started rolling and went 5-3 to finish the year.
There’s a special breed of head coach that works. Teams can’t just pluck any offensive mind from anywhere and expect them successful.
The former coach doesn’t even have to be successful but in the sense of McVay, Nagy and Shanahan, it’s coaches that are known for creativity and know how to keep team’s guessing and have a play for every conceivable situation to move the sticks.
Just remember when the ‘new wave’ of NFL coaching is brought up, don’t get fooled. Just because a coach is more geared toward offense doesn’t automatically mean they’ll become a great head coach. Play-calling is as important as anything and if a coach can’t do that effectively, they won’t survive.