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AFC Coaching Grades


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Coryell Factor: The fact that many players have made the Hall without making the Super Bowl is ample evidence as to why it should not matter. Don Coryell, Hall of Fame 2011

With the recent firing of Wade Phillips, I thought today would be a great day to grade the current coaches in the NFL. This will be a two part article with the NFC on Friday. This article was completed on Tuesday afternoon, so I cannot be held responsible if any current coach gets fired before this article is posted. I am the teacher today and I am handing out the grades. The teams are in order of their current standings at the time of this writing. Lets get at it–AFC Coaches Grades

AFC EAST

NY Jets-Rex Ryan
B-

I know that fans love his candor and folksy way about him. I do not like his immature way. I feel that his message can wear thin on people although it appears that player enjoy being around him. This obviously will help in years to come as the NY Jets are in the market with free agents. I believe he will always need to surround himself with offensive minds as his coaching is one sided toward the defensive side of the ball. Hence, his grade is a B-. Win the Super Bowl and I will give you your due.

NE Patriots-Bill Belichick
A

I have written articles about Belichick in the past and have always been a fan of coaches over players. Belichick is near the top of the list. He is in control of the entire organization and is flat out a winner. We may not like his personality but not one person can argue with his results.

Miami Dolphins–Tony Sparano
C

Sparano seems to be a really nice guy that you want to pull for. He would have gotten a much higher grade after last season but he has as much if not more talent than any team in the NFL this year and cannot seem to get over the hump. I do wonder if his past success was not based on the entire organization and not his coaching abilities. The Dolphins are very predictable and the game plan seems to be generally generic with all of that talent. Coach them up Tony and you may get a better final grade.

Buffalo Bills–Chan Gailey
D

I was against this hire when the Bills made it. I am always about results not effort. Yes, the Bills seem to be in every game but wins and losses fall on the man in charge. I have a hard time believing that Gailey was the best hire for the Bills and their passionate fans. Only time will tell.

AFC NORTH

Baltimore Ravens–John Harbaugh
A

Who knew that he may be the best coach in his family? Harbaugh has proven to be a class act and he has the Ravens at the top of the heap. His attitude is very serious and he is getting the most out of the talent that this great organization is giving him. As long as Harbaugh is at the top, the Ravens will be competitive and a possible champion.

Pittsburgh Steelers–Mike Tomlin
A

Is there any doubt who is in charge in the Steel city? Tomlin is a hard nosed, no nonsense coach. I believe the Steeler fans were not happy with this hire when he replaced Bill Cowher. They are happy now and who can ever question the Rooney family. This forst class organization has a first class coach.

Cleveland Browns–Eric Mangini
C+

This is the same man that fans called Mangenius only a few short years ago. The help from Mike Holmgren may keep him in charge the Browns for some years to come. I believe in Holmgren and Mangini can coach. If there is one thing proven in the NFL, stability wins. Look for Holmgren to keep mangini and the Browns to be decent for years to come with Mangini at the helm.

Cincinnati Bengals–Marvin Lewis
D

Marvin Lewis may be a man of character but that does not win football games. This organization is a mess with Mike Brown in charge. Lewis will be gone at the end of the year and the next Cincy failure will be hired. Coaches can improve teams but this organization has so many problems that I don’t know if any coach can win consistently with the Bengals. Marvin will find work as a defensive coordinator with another team and his time in Cincy will be a bad dream. Could he re-unite with his old boss, Brian Billick, possibly in Dallas.

AFC SOUTH

Tennessee Titans–Jeff Fisher
A

What can you say badly about Fisher other than he is yet to win the Super Bowl. He is truly one of the best in the business and every team in the NFL would love to have him. He will get his due one of these seasons and nobody deserves it more than one of the classiest coaches in the business.

Indianapolis Colts–Jim Caldwell
B

Jim is carrying on with what Tony Dungy and Bill Polian started. I do wonder if Caldwell is that good as a head coach or if Peyton Manning makes him look good. Time will tell if it is Caldwell or the great Colts organization. I admit that I would like to see more personality out him. I never know what his true feelings are. Many of you who have read my articles for some time know that I love people and athletes that tell it like it is. Caldwell does not fit that classification for sure.

Jacksonville Jaguars–Jack Del Rio
B

Tell me when Del Rio has had the most talent in this division? I believe that Del Rio is very under-rated and is truly getting the most out of his players on the field. I believe that the players like and respect him. That is all you can ask in this day of the high dollar athlete. He may lose his job after this season with unrealistic expectations of the Jags faithful. Be careful what you wish for. Del Rio wont be unemployed for long. I already can see him in Minnesota. Just a hunch

Houston Texans–Gary Kubiak
C-

I have always liked Kubiak but it is time to tell the truth, OVER-RATED. Sorry Gary, it is apparent that you can not get this very talented Texan team to play up to their ability week in and week out. He will be an offensive coordinator in the league but he has proven that he is not capable of being a head coach. Without Shanahan, Kubiak, has not gotten the job done.

AFC WEST

KC Chiefs–Todd Haley
B

The key to being a good manager is getting the best people to work for you. Haley accomplished this without a doubt. Teaming up Romeo Crennel and Charlie Weis again was a super move for Haley. It also shows his confidence in his own ability. He is not intimidated by having two high profile coordinators on his staff. Haley has the Chiefs competitive and back to being a top notch football team. KC fans have to be excited about their future and this young, talented team will only get better.

Oakland Raiders–Tom Cable
C

I admit that I am not sold on Cable. Sorry Raider Fan, I don’t see it. They have won 3 in a row for the first time since 2002 and appear to be back. I wonder if it is because of Cable or his staff. It is great to see the Raiders back competing for the AFC West crown. Is it only me or does Cable look lost on the sidelines. This may be what the Raiders needed but I find it hard to give the credit for the Raiders recent success to Cable. Prove me wrong, Tom, and I will be the first to admit it.

San Diego Chargers–Norv Turner
B-

I would love to give Turner a lower grade but San Diego is always in the hunt even though they tend to start slow and choke come playoff time. Turner has had the talent yet they seem to under perform when the big game comes around. They have made some risky personnel moves to make his job tougher but it is time to put up or get out of town Norv.

Denver Broncos–Josh McDaniels
D

Has a coach’s popularity dropped any faster than McDaniels? Maybe Jason Garrett but as a head coach, it was only last year that he was fist pumping after starting off 5-0. What happened? Then they give up 3 draft picks for a guy to hold the clipboard in Tebow. This organization used to be one of the best in the NFL, enter Josh McDaniels and downhill ever since. He should and will be gone at the end of the year. Don’t be surprised if Kubiak is in Denver next year. Pat Bowlen is a great owner and they need to restore the Broncos back to greatness, McDaniels is not the man for the job.

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About livingwithsportz

I was a professional baseball umpire for 11 seasons from 1979-1989. I follow all sports and read and study everything to do with all aspects of sport. I am now a 50 yr old man who feels the need for a new career and am hoping to get into the sports information age. I love starting discussions about controversial sports and life subjects. I am originally from Wisconsin. I am a diehard cheesehead and have been a lifelong Packer and Badger fan. I have lived all over the country and hope to give an interesting perspective to sports.

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