The NFL regular season just ended last Sunday and in that short time, two head coaches have found new homes.
The first hire took place on Wednesday morning, when the Houston Texans hired Bill O’Brien as their new head coach. It was first reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen and later confirmed by the team.
Now this hire is no surprise, considering he was the favorite for the Texans job and for good reason. O’Brien may only be 44-years old but he has shown the ability to be great coach. It wasn’t to long ago that he was the Patriots’ offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, where he did impressive work. He did a great job of developing and improving that offense, not to mention he was part of creating the two tight end set that the Patriots used to perfection.
I was even more impressed with the great job he did with Penn State despite the issues that come with the job like a lack of scholarships, an underrated roster and a bowl ban. Let’s not forget that he was able to lead Penn State to a 15-9 record over his two seasons at Penn State. He was named Big Ten coach of the year in 2012 after leading Penn State to an 8-4 record on his first year of the job. He did a great job of developing quarterback Matt McGloin who is now playing in the NFL for the Oakland Raiders and he did a great job of developing freshman quarterback Christian Hackenberg this past season along with the talent around him.
More importantly, I feel he is a good fit for the Texans. He’s known to be confident and stern. He has dealt with the politics of a program like Penn State and the pressure of being in New England which gives him the experience to handle the pressure and politics in Houston. He is more than capable of taking the offense to the next level. He will have a key role in drafting the Texans next quarterback but more importantly he will have a great hand in developing that quarterback.
I’m not saying O’Brien is the next great coach of the NFL, I’m not even saying his time with the Texans will be easy, I’m simply saying this was a solid hire for the Texans. Everyone says that the Texans need direction, I feel O’Brien gives the Texans that.
The second hire took place on Wednesday evening, when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers hired Lovie Smith as their new head coach. It was first reported by Jay Glazer of Fox Sports and later confirmed by the Buccaneers.
Honestly, this is a good hire for the Buccaneers. By now, most of you know the struggles of what the Buccaneers went through with Greg Schiano and while their will be some struggles with Smith, there is no doubt that he is a step in the right direction for the Buccaneers.
He was with the Chicago Bears for nine years, during that time, he lead them to five winning seasons and three playoff appearances. He even led them to a Superbowl in 2006, they didn’t win but it doesn’t change the fact that Smith is an amazing coach.
At 55-years old, he is bringing a great amount of experience and knowledge. He also brings a great defensive mindset to the Buccaneers which is what they want and need. He will make a point to take the Buccaneers defense to the next level and I’m sure the defense will love playing for him. Smith is also a great teacher and developer. He will turn his talented players into leaders.
The area of concern with this hire is the Smith’s inconsistencies with the offense. While coaching the Bears, the quarterback play was confusing and at times erratic. However, that doesn’t change the fact that this is a solid hire. It was reported by Adam Schefter of ESPN that Smith plans to hire Former Cal coach Jeff Tedford as his offensive coordinator and Rod Marinelli as his defensive coordinator.
Then there were some reports that stated if he is unable to acquire Marinelli, Smith would hire former Minnesota Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier as his defensive coordinator. See tweet below by Jason LaCanfora of CBS Sports:
Now when it comes to Tedford, this would be his first NFL stint. He is considered to be a solid offensive minded coach but what I really want to see from him, is his development of the quarterback. Remember that the Buccaneers have quarterback Mike Glennon who will be going into this second year next season. While they could end up drafting a new quarterback for the franchise, it doesn’t change the fact that Tedford must be able to develop that particular person into that franchise quarterback, whether it be Glennon or a new quarterback.
As far as the defensive coordinator job goes, if it’s Marinelli, I have mixed feelings. I feel Marinelli has improved the Cowboys secondary but it doesn’t change the fact that the Cowboys defensive line couldn’t pressure the quarterback consistently all season. Then on top of that, the Cowboys defense struggled to stop the run consistently. Now that’s not to say that Marinelli will be horrible with the Buccaneers, it just some areas to watch if he does indeed join the staff. Plus I would like to think that Smith and Marinelli together could form a consistent solid defense. Basically meaning that Smith would make up for what Marinelli’s lacks and vice versa. If the Buccaneers go with Frazier, you’re talking about someone who is familiar with the Cover 2 scheme which is normally run by Smith. Then there has been talked that Cover 2 scheme is outdated, so some feel that Frazier wouldn’t be much help if he were to join the Buccaneers staff. The point being, there are risks with both Marinelli and Frazier, it’s more about who will work best with Smith and develop the defense.
Overall, I feel the Bears made a good hire in Lovie Smith. He is going to bring a winning mindset and a strong defensive scheme to this team. More importantly, bringing in Lovie Smith leads the Buccaneers franchise in the right direction which is what they want.
Written by LBeasley, Sports Contributor for Radio One Detroit
Listen to LBeasley’s Radio Show, “Sports Talk with L-Beasley” every Mon, Wed & Fri from 6-8pm (ET) on LBeasley.com