Coaching Changes for the 2018 NFL Football Season

By Loot, NFL Handicapper,

As we have seen in recent seasons, a coaching change can really pump some life into a team. In the last Super Bowl, Doug Pederson was able to get the Eagles the Super Bowl title in just his second season at the helm. Some teams that canned their head coaches are not that far off from being really good. And maybe some fresh air at the top will put some wind in their sails. The coaching turnover is a lot more than it once was. General managers are quick to pull the trigger and with 7 head coaching changes heading into the next season, 2018 has followed suit. There will be some old faces in there, along with some guys getting their first crack at head coaching success. Let’s take a look at all the head coaching changes heading into the 2018 NFL season.

Jon Gruden, Oakland Raiders: Jack Del Rio’s exit after a letdown 6-10 season paved the way for the long-awaited return of Jon Gruden. He was last a head coach with the Buccaneers, where he was a Super Bowl Champion. Before that, he was with the Raiders as head coach from 1998-2001. Now after nearly two decades after first becoming Raiders head coach at 35, he returns at 54 after a decade in the announcing booth. The expectations are high, even as these are the last two seasons the Raiders will be in Oakland, with the relocation to Las Vegas scheduled for 2020.

Matt Nagy, Chicago Bears: With the Bears parting ways with John Fox after a 5-11 season, they turn to the 39-year old Nagy. A standout quarterback at Delaware and later in some secondary pro action, Nagy is coming off a run in Andy Reid’s staff in Kansas City. And after three seasons as a quarterbacks coach and two more as offensive coordinator, Nagy earned the shot to get the long-suffering Bears back on the right track.

Matt Patricia, Detroit Lions: The Lions parted with Jim Caldwell after a 9-7 where they didn’t make the playoffs in 2017. The bearded former defensive coordinator for the Patriots inherits some promising pieces on a team that has been on the cusp of good things for the past few seasons, but hasn’t been able to get over the hump. A protege of sorts to Bill Belichick, Patricia rose through the ranks with the Patriots’ coaching staff, starting as an offensive assistant, moving over to defense in 2006, and ending up as the coordinator for the past six seasons. At 43, this is his first head coaching position.


Frank Reich, Indianapolis Colts: Rebuilding the Colts falls on the shoulders of Frank Reich, a solid choice and a rising force in the coaching ranks. The Colts ended up with a little mud on their face after a deal that was in place fell out with Josh McDaniels, but they could have done a lot worse than the 56-year old Reich as a second-choice. The former at-times-thrilling Bills quarterback enjoyed a fruitful 14-year playing career. Years after his career ended, he got into coaching. After serving as an assistant for the Colts and Cardinals, he parlayed a QB-coach gig into a spot as offensive coordinator for the Chargers. He then became the Eagles’ coordinator and his performance in that role over the past two seasons was enough to get him this job.

Pat Shurmur, New York Giants: The 52-year old takes over for Ben McAdoo as the new Giants’ head coach. This is the second go-around as head coach for Shurmur, having previously been the head coach for the Cleveland Browns in 2011-12. Shurmur started working as an assistant following college at Michigan State where he was the starting center for three years. A former offensive coordinator for Rams, Eagles, and last season the Vikings, Shurmur looks to help get the Giants on the right track after a huge letdown 3-13 season in 2017. Shurmur was 9-23 in two seasons with the Browns, which not be as bad as it looks on paper. He looks for better with a team that seemed headed in the right direction before last season’s collapse.

Mike Vrabel, Tennessee Titans: The 42-year old former Pro Bowl linebacker gets his first head coaching job, replacing Mike Mularkey and taking over a rising team in the Titans. Last season, the Titans made it to the playoffs and are heading in the right direction. Vrabel served for the last four seasons on the coaching staff with the Texans, first as linebacker coach and last season as defensive coordinator. A 14-year veteran of the league as a player, Vrabel looks to be in a high-pressure spot where the postseason is expected and perhaps more. The former Ohio State All-American will need to hit the ground running.

Steve Wilks, Arizona Cardinals: Wilks, 48, takes over a Cardinals team coming off an 8-8 season. Though it seemed like .500 was an overachievement with all the issues they had, coach Bruce Arians and the team parted ways. Wilks now takes over as head coach, the first time he has been in that role since a season as head coach of Savannah State in 1999. A longtime assistant in the college and then pro ranks, Wilks has spent the last 6 years on the Carolina Panthers defensive coaching staff, last season as a coordinator. At 48, he has paid his dues and risen through the ranks, falling into a decent position where he can succeed.

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