16 Things to Know About Offensive Coordinator Changes in 2014
This season, 13 NFL teams will have new offensive coordinators (or play-callers). Some big names are taking over new gigs: Norv Turner (now in Minnesota), Scott Linehan (Dallas), Gary Kubiak (Baltimore), Kyle Shanahan (Cleveland), and Hue Jackson (Cincinnati). The NFL track records of these four are readily available just about anywhere you look, and their impact has been examined just about anywhere.
We've done it on numberFire, too.
We've looked at Turner's impact on Adrian Peterson's pass-catching potential and Cordarrelle Patterson's chance of breaking out this season. As for Linehan, Daniel Lindsey looked in-depth at the potential offensive juggernaut created in Dalls with Linehan's arrival. Additionally, we discussed Lance Dunbar as a pass-catching threat.
Kubiak got a similar treatment from JJ Zachariason, when Zachariason examined the hire for Baltimore way back in January. Dennis Pitta's upside in Kubiak's offense might be capped. Both Joe Redemann and I looked at the backfield situation, here and here, respectively.
Hue Jackson in Cincy has its own manifesto. And Marvin Jones as a breakout candidate has been discussed, as has Tyler Eifert as a top-12 fantasy tight end. Also, Bill O'Brien could mean big things in Houston's passing game.
But there are seven new coordinators without an NFL tutelage, and they deserve some attention, too, even if it only comes from the collegiate ranks or as non-coordinator positions. So here are the things to know about the new, lesser-known coordinators in 2014.
16 Things to Know About New Offensive Coordinators
1. Last year while Bill Lazor was the quarterback coach for Philadelphia, the Eagles led the league in Adjusted Rushing Net Expected Points (NEP). Lazor may not have designed the scheme, but he was part of an elite rushing offense, which could be good news for Lamar Miller.
2. The Eagles passed just 1.11 times per every rush, ranking 27th in the NFL. This is also good news for Miami's rushing attack.
3. As offensive coordinator for the University of Virginia from 2010-2012, Lazor's teams were better at passing than rushing. The Cavaliers ranked 77th, 52nd, and 97th in rushing yards per game while ranking 37th, 46th, and 62nd in passing yards per game in his three years, respectively.
As a standalone coordinator, Lazor didn't put together a stellar running game, but he learned from the NFL's best rushing offense in the league.
4. Tennessee's new offensive coordinator, Jason Michael, hasn't been an offensive coordinator before. He spent the past three seasons as the Chargers' tight ends coach alongside Ken Whisenhunt, then San Diego's offensive coordinator. Whisenhunt brought Michael to Tennessee to be the offensive coordinator of his staff.
5. Whisenhunt claimed that Michael is familiar with the offense that will exist in Tennessee this year. That implies the offense will be similar to San Diego's from last year. If so, it could be both effective and run-heavy. The Chargers had a pass-to-run ratio of 1.19, 26th in the league.
The Chargers also tied for second in Adjusted NEP per Play (0.15), were second in Adjusted Passing NEP per Play (0.28), and were tied for eighth in Adjusted Rushing NEP per Play (0.03).
6. Frank Reich, who was the San Diego's quarterback coach in 2013, is replacing Whisenhunt as the offensive coordinator in San Diego. Despite being in the NFL as a coach since 2008, he has no history as a coordinator. He has been exclusively a quarterbacks coach and a wide receiver coach since 2009.
7. Reich was the quarterbacks coach for the Colts in 2009 when Peyton Manning led the league in Passing NEP and in 2010 when Manning finished third. In 2009, Manning posted his fourth-best NEP season since 2000, but in 2010, he posted his fourth-worst in the past 13 seasons. But Manning's fourth-worst season was good enough for third-best in the NFL in 2010.
Philip Rivers had his second-best Passing NEP season ever in 2013 while Reich was his quarterbacks coach.
8. Reich's history as a receivers coach is less impressive, but he's had some bad luck. Reich was the receivers coach in Indianapolis in 2011, the year Manning missed. Reggie Wayne posted his worst Reception NEP in the 10 seasons during which he had at least 50 catches. In 2012, Reich was the receivers coach for the Cardinals, and Larry Fitzgerald finished with his worst ever Reception NEP with some of the worst quarterback play the league has ever seen.
9. Speaking of former quarterback coaches who have never been play-callers, Ben McAdoo, who is now the offensive coordinator for the Giants, was most recently the quarterback coach for the Packers in 2012 and 2013 (after being the team's tight end coach for six seasons). In 2012, Aaron Rodgers posted his second-highest Passing NEP ever. In 2013, the Packers finished tied for 13th in Adjusted Passing NEP Per Play (0.08) despite Rodgers' missing seven games.
However, the team dropped its Adjusted Passing NEP Per Play from 0.24 to 0.05 in seven weeks without Rodgers, moving the team from 4th to 18th in a matter of 7 games.
10. Last year, Eli Manning had a worse Passing NEP than every quarterback other than Geno Smith, Blaine Gabbert, and E.J. Manuel. He can't afford a decline in Passing NEP, but McAdoo is revamping Eli's offense as he's heading into his 11th season in the NFL.
11. Sticking with the NFC East and former tight end coaches, Sean McVay has no history as an offensive coordinator at any level, but he's not actually calling the plays in Washington this year. Jay Gruden is. McVay, though, spent 2011-2013 as the tight end coach in Washington before being promoted after Shanahan's departure. Under McVay, Jordan Reed posted a top-10 Reception NEP score in 2013.
12. We've discussed the Jay Gruden hire for Washington as well as its implications on its impact on the team's top receiver from last year, the team's new deep threat, the incumbent running back, and the backup rusher. The McVay hire seems to have Washington players optimistic, too.
13. As a break from guys without a history as being an offensive coordinator, Joe Lombardi has spent four seasons as an offensive coordinator: a 2002-2005 stint at Mercyhurst College in Erie, Pennsylvania. Most recently, Lombardi has been the quarterbacks coach for New Orleans since 2009. Lombardi has noted that the Lions will operate a bit like the Saints.
14. I'm not saying Matthew Stafford is Drew Brees, but the Saints own four of the top 20 seasons in Adjusted Passing NEP per Play over the past five seasons, or out of 160 teams. In that same span, they had four of the top 14 Adjusted NEP per Play seasons, too. If Lombardi can get that "New Orleans North" look to work out, big things will be happening in Detroit.
15. Jeff Tedford just got his first job at the NFL level as the offensive coordinator for Tampa Bay. Despite lacking an NFL pedigree, Tedford has some strong NFL ties. Leo Howell, our resident Buccaneers expert, discussed Tedford's tight end nirvana he learned from Bill Belichick. Additionally, Lovie Smith received a recommendation from one of Tedford's former quarterbacks: Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers was one of six first-round quarterbacks coached by Tedford over the past 20 years.
16. Tedford also had an impact on Cal's rushing attack. He's coached a 2,000-yard rusher (J.J. Arrington in 2004), when just 13 other rushers have hit that mark in college football history. And two of the more diverse top 23 running backs off the board this year have been coached by Tedford and achieved at least one 1,000-yard season: Marshawn Lynch and Shane Vereen.