Five Future NFL Head Coaches
Todd Bowles Buccaneers Defensive Coordinator
In the 2020-2021 NFL playoffs, Todd Bowles may have had arguably the greatest performance by a defensive coordinator. Having faced quarterbacks: Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, and Patrick Mahomes; there was not a single game where the Bucs defense looked outmatched. In the Super Bowl, Bowles was able to take advantage of a replacement Chiefs offensive line and an injured Patrick Mahomes. Bowles was able to generate pressure with just four man fronts and force Mahomes to get out of the pocket with an injured toe. By bracketing Tyreek Hill, he was able to prevent any deep plays from getting over the heads of Tampa's young secondary. Against the Packers, Bowles was able to get in Packers Head Coach, Matt LaFleur's head. It seemed like everything that LaFleur had dialed up, the Buccaneers were able to stop. Bowles was absolutely in his bag that game. After getting killed by a mesh play early in the game, Bowles was able to counter it by sending either the front side or backside safety down. He also killed the Packers red zone offense by running a cover seven and forcing the Packers defense to step up against Tom Brady. Todd Bowles was a good head coach with the Jets a few years ago and I believe he will get another opportunity soon with a more talented roster than what the Jets had back in 2015.
Joe Brady Panthers Offensive Coordinator
While the Panthers weren't amongst the elite teams in 2020, they did have a few shining stars: DJ Moore, Mike Davis, and of course, offensive coordinator, Joe Brady. Everybody knows Brady's roots, started as a quality control coach for the Saints then led one of the most impressive national championship runs with LSU back in 2019. At just 31 years old, Brady's ascension has been fast and extremely impressive. By no means were the Panthers a playoff contending team last year, but they were in almost every game they played. Carolina went just 5-11 last year, but nine of those 11 losses came in one score games. That was also with an injured Teddy Bridgewater and Christian McCaffery. If you've been reading my articles for a little while now, you know that I'm not the biggest fan of Sam Darnold. I didn't love him when he was coming out of USC and I didn't think he was great with the Jets. With that being said, if there is anyone who can get the best out in him, I think it would be Joe Brady. With the addition of Darnold, I expect the Panthers offense to be filled with a greater percentage of downfield throws and a big season from rookie, Terrace Marshall Jr. After this season, Brady would be a perfect hire for the Bengals. With Joe Burrow leading the charge and Ja'Marr Chase and Thaddeus Moss as his weapons, this would be the perfect collaboration for both Brady and the Bengals. There aren't many scenarios more perfect than this one right here.
Mike LaFleur Jets Offensive Coordinator
In the modern day NFL, it seems that just about every team is looking for the next Sean McVay, Kyle Shanahan, or Matt LaFleur. Let's not get to creative now, the next "boy wonder" could be right in front of us and in the same wheelhouse of these guys, or in some cases, the same family. Since 2017, Mike LaFleur has been the passing game coordinator for the San Francisco 49ers under Kyle Shanahan. Shanahan is one of the most creative offensive play callers in NFL history and I guarantee you that LaFleur has learned a thing or two in his tenure in the bay. LaFleur has been around all those guys who I've mentioned previously and he understands what it takes to be successful in the NFL. What makes Shanahan such a great coach is that he started off by learning about the defensive side of the game. He knows how to anticipate defensive calls and that is why he's able to call all these extremely creative, yet calculated, offensive counters. LaFleur is going to have a similar opportunity to learn from Robert Saleh. By gaining a deeper knowledge of the defensive side of the game, he'll get a better understanding of the offensive side as well. I could see LaFleur turning Zach Wilson into a star and bringing out the best in Denzel Mims, Chris Herndon, and Corey Davis. Keep an eye on the Jets offense this year because their play caller could end up being the next head coach of your favorite football team.
Eric Bieniemy Chiefs Offensive Coordinator
The fact that Eric Bieniemy isn't already a head coach in the NFL is one of the biggest disgraces in the league. There is no reason for him not to be so you have to start to wonder if it's related to race. Let's talk about it, there are only three Black NFL head coaches despite the league being made up of nearly 70% Black players. It shouldn't have to do with the system that Bieniemy is in, as we've seen both Doug Pederson and Matt Nagy hired directly from being the Chiefs offensive coordinator under Andy Reid. Not to mention, the Chiefs have had the best offense in the NFL the past three seasons. Bieniemy has been extremely influential in the development of MVP quarterback, Patrick Mahomes, and he has shown that he's more than deserving for a head coaching job. Bieniemy has been on this list ever since he was hired as offensive coordinator of the Chiefs back in 2018. There is no coordinator more deserving of a job than Bieniemy and I really hope he lands with the right organization in 2022.
Mike McDaniel 49ers Offensive Coordinator
I already drooled about what it's like to learn under Kyle Shanahan when writing about Mike LaFleur, but the same thing goes for Mike McDaniel. McDaniel has been everywhere that Shanahan has been since his time in Washington. It's often to hear about genius passing concepts by an offensive coordinator around the league, but in San Francisco you hear about the run design. If it's different jet sweeps with Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk, full back handoffs and blocking patterns with Kyle Juszczyk, or creative outside zone plays with Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson, the 49ers are known for their lethal running game. That is all thanks to coach Mike McDaniel. McDaniel is a players coach, guys like George Kittle and Juszczyk absolutely love him, and he's just built to be a head coach in this league. With the addition of Trey Sermon and the added dimension of a quarterback running game with Trey Lance, the 49ers offense is poised for another breakout season. People have been underestimating just how good this team can be in 2021 and it could result in the hiring of Mike McDaniel as a head coach in 2022.