5 NFL Facts to Know for Week 1
The NFL season is back.
Like your favorite TV show, the time off between seasons has felt like an eternity. But before you settle in for the game tonight, make sure you catch up on five stats you need to know about this upcoming season. We'll be bringing you five more every Thursday before all the games get started.
The NFL Has 11 New Offensive Coordinators
Big thanks to Russell Baxter of ProFootballGuru.com who sent this one my way. There are 11 teams in the NFL that changed their offensive coordinator during the offseason. Some did it out of necessity, as their former coordinator got tabbed for a head coaching gig. Some did it out of need. Not surprisingly, 10 of the 11 teams that made a change all ranked in the bottom half of the league according to our Adjusted Net Expected Points (NEP) metric.
Minnesota decided they loved Norv Turner's success in Cleveland with Jordan Cameron, so they tabbed him to be the coordinator of an offense with Kyle Rudolph. Cleveland gutted their entire coaching staff (and front office), which led to Turner being replaced with Kyle Shanahan from the Redskins. The Redskins then promoted Sean McVay to assist RGIII and company. Cincinnati had to promote Hue Jackson when the Redskins took away Jay Gruden to fill their head coaching vacancy.
San Diego also saw their coordinator swiped for a head coaching gig, so they promoted from within with Frank Reich, formerly their quarterbacks coach (and of Buffalo Bills fame). Gary Kubiak went the opposite direction, going from head coach of the Texans to the offensive coordinator at Baltimore. The Ravens needed someone because they had to replace Jim Caldwell, who took a head coaching gig himself in Detroit.
Speaking of Detroit, they were one of two teams that raided high-powered offenses for their new offensive coordinators. The Lions plucked Joe Lombardi from the Saints while the Giants tabbed the Packers' quarterbacks coach, Ben McAdoo, as their offensive coordinator.
Is your head spinning yet?
In the new Buccaneers system, Mike Sullivan was replaced with Jeff Tedford. Tedford spent 11 years at the University of California and is known for having a hand in Aaron Rodgers' career as well as Trent Dilfer's.
To round out the offensive coordinators, Jason Michael is now the face of the Titans offensive coaching staff while Miami brought in Bill Lazor, the former quarterbacks coach of the Eagles.
Getting Back to the Playoffs: 50% Chance
The Seahawks and Broncos faced off in Super Bowl 48, but does that automatically mean they make the playoffs again? If history is any indication, it’s about a 50-50 shot. Over the past five seasons, the loser of the Super Bowl has made it back to the playoffs every year. In the same time frame, the winner of the previous year’s Super Bowl has only made it back to the playoffs twice.
But the past 14 years look a little different. Only seven teams that lost the Super Bowl have gotten back to the playoffs the next year; eight of the 14 Super Bowl winners did make it back to the playoffs the next year. And the only team to go back-to-back as Super Bowl champions since 2000 is the New England Patriots.
Seattle and Denver begin the season at the top of numberFire’s Power Rankings, but it doesn’t mean that they are a complete shoo-in for the playoffs this year.
The NFL Has 10 New Defensive Coordinators
To go along with the 11 changes at offensive coordinator throughout the league, there were 10 changes in defensive coordinators. Six teams went for the complete overhaul on the offensive and defensive side of the ball, while two teams had to replace their coordinators because they left for head coaching gigs. Six of the 10 changes came from teams that were in the bottom half of our Adjusted Defensive Net Expected Points.
Two Mikes were on the move this offseason, as both jumped from defensive coordinator to head coach. To replace the departure of Mike Pettine, Buffalo brought in former Lions’ head coach, Jim Schwartz. After Mike Zimmer left Cincinnati, he was replaced with Paul Geunther.
Both Texas teams made a move in defensive coordinators as well. Dallas promoted Rod Marinelli to replace Monte Kiffin, and Houston replaced Wade Phillips with Romeo Crennel, who has - before sitting out last year from coaching - held either a defensive coordinator or head coaching position since 2000.
Ray Horton headed south to Tennessee after Cleveland dumped him in favor of an inexperienced Jim O'Neil. Same for Leslie Frazier, as he was dropped as the Vikings head coach; he then took his talents down to Tampa Bay.
The career of Gregg Williams was revived once again by St. Louis - the team that cut him loose two months before his suspension for involvement in the Saints “Bounty Gate” was over. Rounding out the defensive coordinator changes are Teryl Austin (Lions) and George Edwards (Vikings).
Replaceability in Fantasy Football: 44 Start-Worthy Quarterbacks
If you’ve been around numberFire a lot during the offseason, you have noticed talk about the replaceability of different positions in fantasy football.
If you’re still not convinced, think of fantasy football as a weekly game. Last year, 44 quarterbacks had a startable week; in other words, 44 quarterbacks had at least one week with a top-12 finish at the position in fantasy football.
Fantasy football is all about weekly matchups, finding value, and looking for replaceability at every position. Once you understand that more (and read more of our articles), you will start doing better in your fantasy leagues.
The NFL Has 7 New Head Coaches
With all the offensive and defensive coordinator changes, there were obviously changes in a few teams’ head coaches. Seven to be exact. It’s not surprising that five of the seven teams finished in the bottom 10 in terms of Total NEP from 2013. Some teams were touched on above, but here’s a recap of the different head coaching changes.
Only one team plucked a coach from the college ranks, and that was Houston tabbing former Penn State head coach Bill O’Brien as their head coach (and offensive coordinator as well).
Three teams chose coaches with a defensive background. Cleveland picked up Mike Pettine from Buffalo, Minnesota brought in Mike Zimmer from Cincinnati, and Lovie Smith is taking over Tampa Bay.
The remaining three teams went with proven offensive coordinators. Detroit traded in Schwartz for Jim Caldwell (who won Super Bowls with Peyton Manning and Joe Flacco) from Baltimore, Tennessee is hoping Ken Whisenhunt can work magic with Jake Locker like he did with Kurt Warner, and Washington just needed some new blood in Jay Gruden.