All-AFC North team: Coaching staff

January, 25, 2012
1/25/12
4:39
PM ET
The unveiling of my All-AFC North team continues with the coaching staff. Defense will come out Thursday, and offense will wrap it up Friday.

As always, voice your opinions in the comments section below.

Head coach: Marvin Lewis, Bengals. This selection is only surprising when you consider most didn't think Lewis would be coaching the team after last season. He turned the Bengals from a four-win team into a playoff one. Lewis did this by relying on a rookie quarterback and changing six starters -- all in a lockout season. He was named the Associated Press Coach of the Year in 2009, but this season was a more impressive coaching job.

Offensive coordinator: Jay Gruden, Bengals. You could say Gruden won this by default because he is the only offensive coordinator in the division who is guaranteed to return next season. But that would minimize the work he did with an offense that revolved around two rookies, quarterback Andy Dalton (who was a second-round pick) and A.J. Green. Under Gruden, Dalton became the only rookie in NFL history to throw for 20 or more touchdowns passes while winning eight or more games as a starting quarterback.

Defensive coordinator: Chuck Pagano, Ravens. When Pagano took over the Ravens' defense last offseason, he said it would "wreak havoc." He is certainly a man of his word. In their first season under Pagano, the Ravens' defense finished third in both yards and points allowed. Pagano's biggest impact came in generating more pressure. Baltimore finished third in the NFL in sacks (48) this season after recording a team-record-low 27 in 2010. Dick LeBeau, whose defense finished No. 1 despite several key injuries, was a very close second here.

Front-office executive: Mike Brown, Bengals. Yes, you read it correctly. This was a year in which he made all the right moves after being known for making all of the wrong ones. It started with his hardline stance with disgruntled quarterback Carson Palmer, which eventually led to getting first- and second-round picks out of the Raiders in a trade. He also listened to his coaches in drafting Dalton in the second round when he preferred Ryan Mallett. Brown topped it off with his "buy one, get one free" ticket promotion that led to a sellout in the regular-season finale and his decision to cut prices for 14,000 season tickets next season.

Jamison Hensley

ESPN Ravens reporter

SPONSORED HEADLINES

Comments

You must be signed in to post a comment

Already have an account?