Death, taxes, and coaching changes in the NFL (and the 2021 season is no different). Each year several coaches lose their job. Even after a strange season there has been a lot of movement this season. We take a look at them, and the potential impact on your fantasy team
2021 Coaching Changes- Atlanta Falcons
Head Coach- Arthur Smith & Offensive Coordinator- Dave Ragone
Last season the Falcons attempted 628 passes in the league, behind only the Steelers, Cowboys and Kansas City. Part of that was due to the defense, but a large part was that the run-game just struggled to get going. The Falcons were only able to achieve an average of 3.7 yards per carry, only more efficient than the Steelers. With the talent the team had, clearly, there was going to be a change and the whole house was cleared.
Arthur Smith previously worked as the Offensive Co-ordinator for the Tennessee Titans for the 2019 & 2020 seasons. As we know, the Titans were a run-heavy offense, and then took efficient shots downfield.
In 2020, the Titans threw the ball just 485 times, but were one of the most efficient in terms of yards per attempt. This was due to the fact that the team were able to rely on Derrick Henry moving the chains on the ground.
Dave Ragone was previously the QB Coach and Passing Game Coordinator (having served in that role since 2016). Ragone survived John Fox being replaced by Matt Nagy, who has come from the Andy Reid coaching tree. Another team that has previously used the ground game to control their offense.
The overall impact of these two changes shows that the team are likely to lean towards re-establishing the running game, and give Matt Ryan less work to do. This could affect the value of all receivers, as we see them having to adapt to being more efficient.
2021 Coaching Changes- Detroit Lions
Head Coach- Dan Campbell & Offensive Coordinator- Anthony Lynn
The Matt Patricia reign is over in Detroit. During his time there it was all a bit confused. Patricia was a defensive coach historically, but couldn’t get anything going there, while the offense was heavily reliant on Matthew Stafford. The team ultimately closed the chapter, and are in full rebuild mode with the team making several moves this offseason (letting Matthew Stafford go for a haul of picks, and allowing Kenny Golladay the opportunity to move too).
Campbell comes in having worked in New Orleans as part of the offense since 2016. Sean Payton has long been able to evolve his offense, albeit with better weapons than the new Lions coach. The biggest thing will be if Campbell will actually be able to run a modern offense.
Lynn was let go from being the head coach for the Los Angeles Chargers this offseason, holding the role since 2017. Under Lynn the Chargers operated a balanced offense firstly under Philip Rivers, and then impressive rookie Justin Herbert.
To be totally honest, I’m not sure what I think about this offense. The team is in full rebuild mode, and have a new QB leading the team. Jared Goff has typically been a short field passer, but the team have added a multitude of downfield threats. De’Andre Swift and T.J. Hockenson are likely the only players worth adding (except in very deep leagues)
2021 Coaching Changes- Houston Texans
Head Coach- David Culley
I’m surprised they even managed to fill this role, given the issues that the team has…..pretty much everywhere. This offseason, the team let J.J. Watt (arguably the heartbeat of the organization) leave while also just having nothing to work with to rebuild the team.
No draft capital, a QB who doesn’t want to play for them and also might not even be able to play this season. Combined with very little on the roster to start with.
Culley becomes the oldest first-time head coach in NFL history, but that gives him a massive amount of experience to draw upon. Since 2013, Culley has worked with the Kansas City Chiefs, Buffalo Bills and Baltimore in a multitude of roles.
It remains to be seen how Culley will do in this offense, but given the surrounding issues that the organization has, this 2021 season will be one to forget.
2021 Coaching Changes- Indianapolis Colts
Offensive Coordinator- Marcus Brady
Brady steps up to being the OC for the team, having previously worked as QB coach since 2019. However, it’s unlikely we will see too much of a change with Frank Reich still inplace and calling the plays. The team has a new QB, but one that is familiar with the offense, so we can expect the offense to work in a similar way to before. The biggest question is who the team are going to bring in to catch the ball during the offseason.
2021 Coaching Changes- Jacksonville Jaguars
Head Coach- Urban Meyer & Offensive Coordinator- Darrell Bevell
Jacksonville started the season with an unexpected win, but things very quickly turned for the team. The team strategy just seemed to be get the ball to James Robinson, who was a fantastic find deep on their depth chart. With the draft capital the team has, it’s unfair to really draw many comparisons to 2020.
Meyer takes over as head coach, after an incredibly successful college career. Having come back from retirement, it will be interesting to see what he is going to be able to do with the pieces he has on offense. In college, he found a way to get the best out of the talent that he has at his disposal. Hopefully, that translates to the NFL level.
Bevell comes over after an unsuccessful time in Detroit. The team struggled to get results, but the offense at times looked decent enough. With a (hopefully) young franchise QB in Trevor Lawrence, this offense should be able to make the most of some of the versatile talent that the team has.
2021 Coaching Changes- Los Angeles Chargers
Head Coach- Brandon Staley & Offensive Coordinator- Joe Lombardi
The Chargers may have disappointed with a losing record, but there were definite signs that the team are moving in the right direction. The team has found a QB in Justin Herbert that should be able to keep the team moving on offense, alongside the veterans that were the there. Given the signs of improvement, it’s interesting to see the coaching change the team made. However, they wanted to do something to try and ignite the talent it has on the defensive side of the ball.
Staley is a defensive coach, and worked on some impressive units. Working as the LB coach for Chicago in 2017 and 2018, before moving onto be the Rams defensive coordinator via Denver. However, given his experience it’s clear that the offense is going to be out of his hands.
The reigns of the offense are going to be handed over to Joe Lombardi, who has spent the vast majority of his career in New Orleans as QB coach (with the exception of two years as Detroit’s OC). During his time in Detroit he was pass-happy, and has the talent to do so with the Chargers.
However, we could be in a position where there is a step back from a fantasy perspective, as the team improves on the field. Meaning less work for the offense to win games.
2021 Coaching Changes- Miami Dolphins
Offensive Coordinator- Eric Studesville & George Godsey
The dual hire is interesting, with both coaches working in the Miami organisation last season. Clearly the team (or front office) have decided that they want to keep Tua Tagovailoa as their starting QB. With head coach Brian Flores working his magic with the defense, we will need to see who appears to be calling plays during pre-season before we can make a judgement on the offense.
2021 Coaching Changes- Minnesota Vikings
Offensive Coordinator- Klint Kubiak
YOu might be forgiven if you just read the surname and thought there was no change to the coaching setup. Moving on from father Gary, it’s hard to see the offense change much at all especially with the personnel that are committed to the roster. The team has a top-tier running back, a pair of wide receivers, and a TE waiting to break out. Status quo for the time being. The only thing I would be monitoring is if there are improvements made on the defense, then the team could take a step back fantasy-wise as they are required to do less.
2021 Coaching Changes- New York Jets
Head Coach- Robert Saleh & Offensive Coordinator- Mike LaFleur
The Jets looked destined to improve, as Adam Gase was leading them to an awful season meaning that they could rebuild with Trevor Lawrence. However, that wasn’t to be as the Jets picked up a few wins towards the end of their season. The team has some pieces to go along with draft capital to help the team bounce back.
Saleh comes over with a reputation of being a fantastic defensive coach, and brings some winning mentality over from the West Coast. Being a defensive coach, he brought over LaFleur to lead his offense, after the two worked together in San Fransisco.
LaFleur has long familiarity with the Kyle Shanahan offensive system, so I’m expecting the team to run a similar offense. The team moved on from Sam Darnold, and are expected to draft Zach Wilson with the second pick in the draft. WIth the free agent moves they’ve made, they have made the right moves to rebuild their offense.
2021 Coaching Changes- Philadelphia Eagles
Head Coach- Nick Sirianni & Offensive Coordinator- Shane Steichen
The Eagles offense just struggled last year. To the point that the team decided to move on Carson Wentz this offseason, taking a massive cap hit in the process. Injuries took a number of starters out of contention, and the offense just looked stale.
With the struggles that the offense has had in recent seasons, the team looked back to when they were succesful, and brought Nick Sirianni into the fold. Sirianni has worked for the past two seasons under Frank Reich for the Colts, and will be looking to turn the page with new QB Jalen Hurts
Steichen was brought in from the Chargers, after he had a successful season with rookie Justin Herbert. His task is no doubt to replicate that success with Jalen Hurts, now he is the starter for the team.
Overall, this points up for the team. A return to the offense that they were successful with, and support for their young QB to take the next step. That should translate to fantasy value.
2021 Coaching Changes- Pittsburgh Steelers
Offensive Coordinator- Matt Canada
The Steelers started the season brightly, with their defense putting their offense in great field position. However, once the team were hit with injury, they started to struggle to repeat that early season success. That put the spot light on the offense, and the team opted to make a change.
Not a massive change, with Canada working as the QB coach with the team in 2020. Previously working on a multitude of college teams, Canada has been given the opportunity to work with a multitude of weapons. One of the biggest tasks that he has is trying to get more of a balance in the offense, after the team have struggled to move away from relying on Ben Roethlisberger’s arm.
2021 Coaching Changes- San Francisco 49ers
Offensive Coordinator- Mike McDaniel
Not a big change for the 49ers, as it’s still going to be Kyle Shanahan calling the plays. Move along….
2021 Coaching Changes- Seattle Seahawks
Offensive Coordinator- Shane Waldron
Waldron worked as the Rams passing game coordinator since 2018. However, it’ll be interesting to know just how much of an influence he had on the Rams offense, given Sean McVay leading the team.
The fact that Waldron was hired, and the team brought in Gerald Everett makes me more excited for how they are going to use him. With Russell Wilson on board with the hire, I could see the team experimenting with passing the ball more often with their receiving talent.
2021 Coaching Changes- Tennessee Titans
Offensive Coordinator- Todd Downing
Downing steps up from being TE coach for the team, having previously been employed as the (then) Oakland Raiders OC in 2017. This offense is still going to work the same way. Use the battering ram that is Derrick Henry, with shots through the air.
It’ll be hard to see the team operating to the level of previous efficiency, especially given that Downing struggled in his 2017 season, after Derek Carr had a fantastic 2016 season.
We are going to be updating this offseason, as we see more information being released. If you want some more in-depth analysis reach out on social and we can help! You can find us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Don’t forget to check out our other content in our draft kit!
Image Credit: Isaiah J. Downing – USA TODAY Sports