|06-29-2005, 11:10 AM||#1|
Lace em' up and lets go!!
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: South Dakota
Broncos Coach on the HOT SEAT
Gunther Cunningham, Chiefs
With the additions of DE Carlos Hall, LBs Kendrell Bell and Derrick Johnson, CB Patrick Surtain and S Sammy Knight, Chiefs defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham has the players he wanted. Now he must make the unit a success. But he won't have the luxury of time. The Chiefs expect to be Super Bowl contenders, and the first-month schedule includes no easy, confidence-boosting games.
Carl Smith, Jaguars
The new coordinator won't have much of a honeymoon after taking over for the fired Bill Musgrave. NFL OFF-SEASON LINKS
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The offense was anemic under Musgrave, averaging a franchise-low 16 points last year, and the heat will be on to produce results immediately. That could be difficult if RB Fred Taylor doesn't come back strongly from knee surgery and QB Byron Leftwich doesn't make the leap to elite starter in his third year. Smith is promising to open up the offense with more downfield throws, but that's easy to say when the players are running around in shorts. The team needs speed at wide receiver, and speed is seriously lacking at wideout for the Jaguars with the exception of Matt Jones.
Rob Ryan, Raiders
Ryan didn't get the production or results he had hoped for from his troops last season, his first as a defensive coordinator in the NFL. This, despite his players saying the talent was there and that Ryan was a little-known mastermind. Ryan's scheme may be sound, but he likely won't get the results he desires unless his players remain healthy and play to their potential. He also needs to find the best positions for players such as Tyler Brayton and Warren Sapp and let them settle into those roles. Also, he needs to devise ways for his players to get more pressure on the quarterback, especially on third-down plays.
David Shaw, Ravens
Wide receivers coach
The Ravens receivers have been the team's worst unit annually, which has been as much to do with the talent level as coach Shaw. But personnel is no longer an excuse after the Ravens added Derrick Mason and Mark Clayton to replace underachievers Travis Taylor and Kevin Johnson. The Ravens have been one of the NFL's worst passing teams and Shaw's primary task is to get Clayton, a first-round draft pick, ready to be a starter right away. Shaw also has to continue the development of the younger players like Clarence Moore and Randy Hymes.
Jim McNally, Bills
Offensive line coach
With two new starters and the presence of an untested starting quarterback, McNally will be challenged to mold the front five into a cohesive and consistent unit that can protect the passer and blast holes for the running backs. McNally is working with a new left side as Mike Gandy takes over at tackle and Ravens free agent Bennie Anderson steps in at guard. While Anderson is an established pro, Gandy is a question mark. He was cut by the Bears and has much to prove. McNally, who excels at teaching techniques and fundamentals, believes Gandy has the skills to succeed.
Chris Palmer, Texans
No quarterback has been sacked in the past three seasons as many times as David Carr (140). The offense will be the focus during training camp and throughout the season as the Texans try to earn their first winning record as a franchise. Palmer has implemented new schemes and might shuffle the O-line, in hopes of giving Carr a higher chance for success. There is no doubt that the pressure is on though. The Texans have liked what they have seen from Carr so far, but they know he cannot be successful unless he is able to stay on his feet.
Terry Robiskie, Browns
Wide receivers coach
What a long, strange trip it has been for the Browns' Terry Robiskie. Two years ago, he was the wide receivers coach whose unit was a huge disappointment. But Robiskie landed on his feet as the team's coordinator in 2004. Robiskie finished the year as interim head coach and lobbied hard to be head coach in 2005. He didn't get that job, but he got his old one; he's back as receivers coach. With TE Kellen Winslow out for the season, Robiskie must steer first-round pick Braylon Edwards toward a go-to role, milk career years out of Antonio Bryant and Andre' Davis and fit in slot receiver Dennis Northcutt. He also must prove he can mesh with new head coach Romeo Crennel.
Nick Saban, Dolphins
For a first-year coach, Nick Saban has done quite a bit to hurt any honeymoon period he could have expected. His clashes with all of the media over access have made him pretty unpopular with reporters. Some members of the media have referred to him as "The Nicktator," "The Shadow," and "Double-O Saban" (as in Secret Agent 007). While fans don't care much about that right now, Saban has put himself in a position where he may take more criticism faster if the team's play is not that good right away. That may not be completely fair, but it is reality.
Also feeling the heat
Ricky Hunley, Bengals linebackers coach: Hunley's job is by no means in jeopardy. Free Fantasy Football
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But the fact he's grooming so much young talent in an effort to improve the NFL's 26th-ranked run defense means he's firmly under Marvin Lewis' microscope.
Bob Slowik, Broncos defensive backs coach: Sure, he's got Champ Bailey at CB, but he also has to fix a unit that was humiliated by the Colts in the playoffs. First on his agenda is to get Lenny Walls to play up to his potential. Walls has the talent, but he needs some polishing.
Carl Mauck, Chargers offensive line coach: The pressure is on as Mauck replaces the revered Hudson Houck. An unproven line overachieved under Houck (now in Miami) in 2004. Houck's unit was helped last year by uncanny good health (just two games lost to injuries by one starter), a benefit Mauck will almost certainly not have the fortune of.
Alan Williams/Leslie Frazier, Colts defensive backs coaches: The secondary was inconsistent throughout 2004, managing 19 interceptions with the DBs accounting for just 12. Too often, a pass defense designed to limit big plays failed miserably. That inconsistency, coupled with the anticipated youth at the position, convinced coach Tony Dungy to hire Frazier, the former Bengals' defensive coordinator, to aid Williams.
Eric Mangini, Patriots defensive coordinator: The pressure will he high because Belichick is serving as the de facto offensive coordinator and figures to be stretched thin. Like Belichick, Mangini is a wiz when it comes to X's and O's. Drawing up schemes won't be an issue. Former coordinator Romeo Crennel's strength was that he was both a motivator and a sounding board for veterans. Mangini will have to grow into that part of the role.
Alan Lowry, Titans special team coach: Lowry's units struggled in several key areas last season, most notably in the return game (ranked 32nd in punt returns, 30th in kickoff returns). The Titans think improved personnel should help. Rookie Pacman Jones is expected to return punts, and the team is exploring options on kickoffs. Lowry will have a challenge this season because of so many young players on the roster.
Darren Perry, Steelers secondary coach: Perry will have a tough job because he has lost his most experienced CB, Chad Scott, who was cut, and has to hope that either veteran Willie Williams or second-year CB Ricardo Colclough can step in. Williams started 12 games after Scott was injured last season and the team was 11-1 with him as a starter. But Williams is in his 13th season and is susceptible to getting beat deep.
Mike Heimerdinger, Jets offensive coordinator: Former offensive coordinator Paul Hackett was vilified in New York for his conservative playcalling, but the critics sometimes forgot that he took his marching orders from coach Herman Edwards. Now, with a new, aggressive coordinator on the staff, the question becomes: Will Edwards let Heimerdinger run his own show?