Coaching changes can affect fantasy owners just as much as the can the actual organization. As is typical in an NFL off-season, several teams shuffled their coaching decks in hopes of better results on the field.
The big name to make his return to the sidelines this fall is former Houston/Tennessee head coach Jeff Fisher leads the football gateway into St. Louis. Fisher has promised to help quarterback Sam Bradford regain the form he had as a rookie and not the quarterback who struggled through last season. In the past, Fisher went with a power running game, utilizing a fullback almost every offensive snap. That is welcome news to Steven Jackson owners, who although is entering his 9th season has seven 1,000 yard seasons to his credit still has tread on the tires.
Romeo Crennel remains in Kansas City after taking over for Todd Haley during last season. Crennel, the former head coach in Cleveland where he failed to lead the Browns to the playoffs. He will continue to run the defense in addition to the head coach tag and with new offensive coordinator Brian Daboll. Daboll spent last season as the offensive coordinator in Miami and prior to that was Cleveland's offensive coordinator in 2009 and 2010.
Mike Mullarkey takes over for Jack Del Rio in Jacksonville after spending the past four seasons as the offensive coordinator for the Atlanta Falcons. Mullarkey, a solid offensive coach takes the reins of a struggling franchise with a new owner and a young quarterback who is learning on the job. Maurice Jones Drew will continue to be the anchor offensively and from a fantasy perspective, a top running back selection. Jones-Drew set a career high in both carries and yards last season with 343 and 1,606 respectively.
In Tampa, little known college coach Greg Schiano is in for Raheem Morris. As head coach for Rutgers for 11 years, Schiano compiled a record of 68-67. Schiano has said he has 85-90 percent of the offense installed and will work the remainder in during the Bucs training camp. He has stressed the running game and with LaGarertte Blount and rookie Doug Martin, Tampa Bay should be able to move the ball on the ground. The aerial attack should be vastly improved with the addition of one of the biggest off season free agent names in Vincent Jackson.
With all three Miami teams making changes at the top, life won't be nearly as easy for Joe Philbin in Miami. The former Green Bay Packer offensive coordinator from 2007-2011 will take his fair share of hard knocks this season. The biggest question starts with the quarterback position. David Garrard, Matt Moore or rookie Ryan Tannehill will each take reps early to establish position. It will be a rebuilding year in Miami, but running backs Reggie Bush and Daniel Thomas should be able to take some of the load off on the offensive side of the ball.
Dennis Allen takes over in Oakland where he will bring stability to an organization that has spent the better part of the last decade in coaching turmoil. Allen and General Manager Reggie McKenzie are pointing Raider Nation in a united direction. Whether that direction is right is an entirely different discussion. Allen is a defensive guy and at age 39 is the youngest current head coach in the NFL. The Raiders spent the farm a year ago to bring in Carson Palmer who looks to regain his top end form from his days in Cincinnati. The key lies in running back Darren McFadden, who in his short four year career has not been able to keep himself on the field. If the talented running back can stay on the field, it should allow the young receivers and the passing game a chance to catch up.
The Colts went from the penthouse to the outhouse in one year. Of course loosing a Hall of Fame quarterback had a little to do with that fall from grace. With Peyton Manning now residing a mile high in Denver, the Colts turn to Andrew Luck to lead the way for new head coach Chuck Pagano. Pagano is the fourth former Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator to land an NFL head coaching job. Like the other new head coaches, Pagano has spent much of the teams mini-camps and OTA's (organized team activities) installing the new offense. Pagano has outright stated that running back Donald Brown has what it takes to be a number one back in the league. A big change from the Jim Caldwell regime that didn't use Brown as a starter.