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Four Underrated NFL Head Coaching Candidates To Consider

NFL Head Coaching

NFL Head Coaching
(Geoff Burke/USA TODAY Sports)

With the NFL regular season having concluded, 20 teams have already played their final games of the season. The Giants, Eagles, 49ers, Browns, Dolphins, and Titans will be looking for new head coaches this season with the possibility of more head coaching openings in the new few weeks. While a name like Chip Kelly is well known and will get another coaching opportunity, I will offer some underrated names that perhaps deserve head coaching opportunities over some of the others that will likely land NFL head coaching jobs this season.

  1. Kyle Shanahan – (Atlanta Falcons, Offensive Coordinator)

Kyle Shanahan’s name is no where to be found in rumored coaching destinations; something that continues to boggle my mind. Shanahan’s track record as an offensive coordinator is nothing to sneeze at when looking at the statistics. Shanahan, 36, best coaching asset comes in his creativeness in the running game. During his 7 seasons as offensive coordinator his runningbacks somehow always manage to put up extraordinary numbers. Let’s take a look at some of the backs Shanahan has had success with.

With Shanahan

2012 (1,613 yards, 13 touchdowns, 4.8 yards per carry)

2013 (1,275 yards, 7 touchdowns, 4.7 yards per carry)

Without Shanahan

2014 (1,074 yards, 8 touchdowns, 4.1 yards per carry)

2015 (751 yards, 1 touchdown, 3.7 yards per carry)

With Shanahan

2015 (1,061 yards, 11 touchdowns, 4.0 yards per carry)

Without Shanahan

2014 (248 yards, 1 touchdown, 3.8 yards per carry)

Those are just two great examples in a long list of runningbacks he has had major success with. His success in the passing game cannot go unnoticed either. As offensive coordinator Shanahan lead the Redskins to the playoffs behind the play of Robert Griffin III. Since Shanahan has left Griffin has been irrelevant and has been benched in favor of Kirk Cousins. Is it possible that maybe RG3’s success came from Shanahan tutelage?

The other major advantage of hiring Shanahan would be the possibility of adding his father onto the coaching staff. Mike Shanahan, father of Kyle, has been itching to return to the coaching ranks and has a three Superbowl rings during his coaching career. Mike, 63, could coach with much less pressure of a head coaching duty. The Shanahan hire should be considered a home run, a home run no general manager has considered thus far.

2. Josh McDaniels (Patriots, Offensive Coordinator)

McDaniels name is well known having spent several years in the Patriots organization. McDaniels also has head coaching experience with the Denver Broncos; yes he’s the guy that lead the Broncos to a playoff win with Tim Tebow……enough said. Was it fair that McDaniels was canned in Denver having to guide a gadget quarterback to wins? Probably not, this is a guy who deserves another shot. It may be no coincidence that McDaniels has been on New England’s staff in all four Superbowl victories. The Patriots postseason record without McDaniels from 2009-2011 is an unsurprising 2-3, much worse than when he is on their staff.

3. Brian Schottenheimer (Unemployed – 2015 University of Georgia Offensive Coordinator)

Play calling is everything in the NFL and Brian Schottenheimer was nothing short of magnificent as a play caller for the University of Georgia in 2015. After a year that followed with tons of controversy Georgia managed to win 10 games. Losing Todd Gurley to the NFL, Nick Chubb to a possible career ending injury, head coach Mark Richt being fired, and horrific quarterback play were just a number of things this team overcame. Schottenheimer also does have NFL experience as an offensive coordinator for Jets and Rams. Part of that resume includes taking Mark Sanchez to two AFC title games! Brian is also the son of legendary coach Marty Schottenheimer who has over 200 wins during his NFL career. Any possible mentoring from the elder Schottenheimer couldn’t hurt right?

4. David Shaw (Stanford head coach)

Collegiate transitions into the NFL are sometimes tricky but have seen rather marginal success as Pete Carroll is an example of this. Shaw would not leave the illustrious Stanford unless it was for the perfect NFL situation. Teams such as the Browns and Dolphins likely wouldn’t have a crack at Shaw who all indications loves Stanford. Since taking over for Jim Harbaugh in 2011, Shaw has amassed a record of 54-11, a place where it is difficult to recruit based on the academic requirements. Shaw was Harbaugh’s offensive coordinator at Stanford and has drawn rave reviews from the current head man at Michigan. The Giants are one team that could entice Shaw with an established quarterback option.


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