NFL Head Coaching Changes in 2017

By Loot, NFL Handicapper,

2017 NFL Head Coaching Changes

Sometimes, a coaching change is just what the doctor ordered. Sure, teams can maybe not improve and conceivably get even worse with a coaching change. But we’ve also seen teams get a big upgrade with a new voice leading them. Just last season, we saw first-year head coaches Doug Pederson, Adam Gase, Ben McAdoo, and Dirk Koetter all experience varying degrees of success. And second-year Atlanta head coach Dan Quinn got his team all the way to the Super Bowl. With the windows of time for success being shrunk over time, head coaches need to hit the ground running and judging by recent results, a lot of them have been able to do just that. Let’s take a look at the new faces we will see as head coaches in the 2017 NFL season.

New Head Coaches for the 2017 NFL Season

Sean McDermott (Buffalo Bills): The 42-year old McDermott takes over for Rex Ryan, as he tries to lead the Bills to the postseason for the first time since 1999. After a promising 9-7 season in ’14, the Bills have lost one win off their total in each successive year, with a 7-9 record last season. McDermott got into coaching in the late 90’s after a college playing career at William & Mary. He spent nearly a decade as an Eagles’ assistant, before spending the last 6 seasons as defensive coordinator for the Carolina Panthers, where he helped form one of the fiercest defenses in football. He has some tools with which to work and looks to instill a new winning culture with the long-suffering Bills.

Vance Joseph (Denver Broncos): The Broncos faltered last season after earning Super Bowl honors the previous season, faltering late en route to a 9-7 season with no playoffs for the defending champions. With Gary Kubiak’s health issues, a change was made with former Colorado star and NFL player Vance Joseph, 44. He returned to his college alma mater to coach after retiring, before working as a DB coach until 2015 with several different NFL teams. In 2016, he was defensive coordinator with the Miami Dolphins, before taking the Denver job.

Anthony Lynn (Los Angeles Chargers): The Chargers have a new home and will also have a new coach in the 48-year old Lynn. The 4-year tenure of Mike McCoy started well enough, before dissolving into a 4-12 and 5-11 mark in the last two seasons. Lynn has a lot to work with, as injuries have really crippled a talented team in the past few years. He played 6 years in the NFL from 1993-99, getting very little touches as a running back who was mostly used on special teams. A running backs coach for over a decade with Jaguars, Cowboys, Browns, Jets, and Bills, Lynn became Buffalo’s offensive coordinator, even serving as interim head coach after Rex Ryan was fired after week 16 last season.

Sean McVay (Los Angeles Rams): McVay takes over for Jeff Fisher, who could never quite turn the corner with the Rams and was canned midway through their first season back in LA in 2016. The Rams have not finished above .500 since the 2003 season. Just 31, the Rams are hoping they found the NFL’s new boy-wonder in McVay. He spent the last three seasons whipping the Redskins offense into shape and now faces a big task in doing the same with the Rams. They are hoping McVay’s handiwork with quarterbacks rubs off on their former top pick Jared Goff the same way it did with Kirk Cousins. The youngest coach in modern NFL history will be coaching some men who are actually older than he is. The former Miami-Ohio receiver will certainly have his work cut out for him.


Kyle Shanahan (San Francisco 49ers): It wasn’t long ago when the Niners were reliable conference contenders, but they have gone 7-25 in their last two seasons and look for an upturn with the hiring of 37-year old Kyle Shanahan, son of former Super Bowl winning coach Mike Shanahan. Following stints as offensive coordinator with the Texans, Redskins, Browns, and Falcons, Shanahan gets his first head-coaching gig at any level. A coordinator by the tender age of 28, Shanahan is respected as a keen offensive mind and is coming off some of his best work, leading the Atlanta offense to the Bowl last season. He did, however, catch some deserved criticism for his late-game handling of the offense, as New England mounted the unlikely comeback win. Nevertheless, he looks to establish his head coaching prowess as he attempts to turn around a franchise that is in the midst of a massive downwards spiral.


Doug Marrone (Jacksonville Jaguars): Technically, the 52-year old Marrone’s tenure as head coach of the Jaguars began last season, as he was named interim head coach following Gus Bradley’s dismissal. He went 1-1 in two games and now faces the daunting task of turning around the long-struggling Jaguars franchise. After unceremoniously bailing out of the Buffalo head coaching gig following the 2014 season, Marrone joined the Jacksonville coaching staff, working as offensive line coach and assistant head coach. Marrone was also the head coach of Syracuse for four seasons, having held a slew of assistant coaching positions throughout the college and pro ranks over the past quarter-century.

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