The lack of NFL innovation offensively has led to a lot of bad football in 2017. It’s been written about plenty, but this NFL season has been sluggish because of bad QB play and boring offenses.
There could be as many as 11 new coaches in the NFL next season, and while it makes sense that the top target will be Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, I think Dabo Swinney should be everyone’s first or second call. After winning a title last year, Swinney signed an 8-year extension in August worth $54 million.
Prying him away would be costly.
Let’s get the negatives out of the way: Yes, he’s probably ticketed for the Alabama head coaching job when Nick Saban retires. Swinney is from Alabama, played receiver there, and started his coaching career there.
Yes, Swinney is very religious and can sometimes get preachy in press conferences, and that is unlikely to play well in New York (or Cincinnati or Indianapolis or wherever) and to millionaires the way it does to college kids.
But don’t confuse preachy with screaming in the name of coaching. Swinney has churned out plenty of NFL talents at Clemson. He’s had double-digit wins at Clemson for seven years in a row. When NFL coaches like Bill Belichick need to innovate, they usually dip into the college ranks and inquire with Chip Kelly or Urban Meyer.
The next coach they’re going to be talking to is Swinney, who won a title last year with Deshaun Watson, and now is going back to the Playoff with a a brand new QB in Kelly Bryant. Twice as an underdog Swinney has gone toe-to-toe with Nick Saban and covered both times.
The most difficult dynamic college coaches must adjust to in the pros is not having control over their players 24/7 and knowing where they are at all times. From Spurrier to Saban, that was a problem in the NFL. Chip Kelly’s offense worked initially, but he wanted absolute power and that didn’t quite work out for him.
Swinney might be an ideal fit as head coach for an NFL team in the South such as Tampa, which may get rid of Dirk Koetter. Would he play in the North?
Let’s look at the last 5 Jets head coaches:
Todd Bowles: Lifelong defensive coach
Rex Ryan: Lifelong defensive coach
Eric Mangini: Majority of coaching career as a defensive coach
Herman Edwards: Lifelong defensive player/defensive coach
Al Groh: Former defensive player and mostly defensive coach
Bill Parcells: Lifelong defensive coach
It’s time to look for a coach with an offensive mindset. It’s time to find a franchise QB.