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Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Coaches under the NFL microscope in 2011


With preparations for the 2011 NFL season starting soon under much different circumstances than in previous seasons, the teams with consistency in the head coaching and coordinator ranks are likely to have an advantage. No new system(s) to implement and fewer new coach-player relationships to build will ease the burden of shortened timeframes.

Eight teams will start the season with a different head coach than at the start of the 2010 season, a dramatic increase from the three head-coaching changes from the start of 2009 to the start of 2010. That's just three short of the NFL record (since the merger in 1970), set in 1976 and tied in 1997.

Three of the eight new coaches have previous head-coaching experience and two of them -- Jason Garrett and Leslie Frazier -- got that experience as interim coaches last season, coaching 14 games between them. John Fox is the only new guy with even a full season under his belt, taking over in Denver after nine seasons in Carolina.

Only 13 teams will have the stability of entering the season with the same head coach, offensive and defensive coordinator that they ended last season with. On the other end of the spectrum, there are four teams that will have new men in all three positions -- the Oakland Raiders, Carolina Panthers, San Francisco 49ers and Tennessee Titans.

Twelve different teams will have a new offensive coordinator and only three of those teams were in the top half of the league last season in yards gained. On the other side of the ball, 12 teams will have a new defensive coordinator and five of them were in the top half on the league in yards allowed last season.

Seven of the 13 teams with the same three coaches were playoff teams a year ago and none of the four teams that are changing all three positions made the postseason. In fact, they combined to go just 22-42 in 2010 with only the Raiders (8-8) winning more than 6 games.

Keep in mind, since the merger in 1970, only 11 first-year head coaches took their team to the Conference Championship Game and just five of those played in the Super Bowl.

Carolina Panthers
Ron Rivera
Entering first season as NFL head coach
Replaces: John Fox
Team W-L in 2010: 2-14 (last in NFC South)
Previous job: Chargers defensive coordinator

Cleveland Browns
Pat Shurmur
Entering first season as NFL head coach
Replaces: Eric Mangini
Team W-L in 2010: 5-11 (3rd in AFC North)
Previous job: Rams offensive coordinator

Dallas Cowboys
Jason Garrett
Entering second season as NFL head coach (5-3 in 2010)
Replaced: Wade Phillips
Team W-L in 2010: 6-10 (T-3rd in NFC East)

Denver Broncos
John Fox
Entering 10th season as NFL head coach (73-71 in 9 seasons with Panthers)
Replaces: Josh McDaniels and Eric Studesville (interim)
Team W-L in 2010: 4-12 (last in AFC West)
Previous job: Panthers head coach

Minnesota Vikings
Leslie Frazier
Entering second season as NFL head coach (3-3 in 2010)
Replaced: Brad Childress
Team W-L in 2010: 6-10 (T-3rd in NFC North)

Oakland Raiders
Hue Jackson
Entering first season as NFL head coach
Replaces: Tom Cable
Team W-L in 2010: 8-8 (3rd in AFC West)
Previous job: Raiders offensive coordinator

San Francisco 49ers
Jim Harbaugh
Entering first season as NFL head coach
Replaces: Mike Singletary and Jim Tomsula (interim)
Team W-L in 2010: 6-10 (3rd in NFC West)
Previous job: Stanford head coach

Tennessee Titans
Mike Munchak
Entering first season as NFL head coach
Replaces: Jeff Fisher
Team W-L in 2010: 6-10 (T-3rd in AFC South)
Previous job: Titans offensive line coach