RANKING EVERY 2022 NFL HEAD COACH 21-32

BY ADAM GREENE

We now enter a territory that should solely belong to new head coaches and men entering their second seasons. If a true “veteran” head coach is ranked here in the bottom 12 then you know there’s a great chance the team truly whiffed in its hiring process. The fact that there’s a Super Bowl winner and a Super Bowl loser in this group, exemplifies how quickly the game can blow past you. In the case of our Super Bowl winner, how you can be carried by the talent on your team alone and that trophy had absolutely nothing to do with your coaching prowess.

As for ranking the new men, it’s all about gut feelings and how well they did in their previous jobs as coordinators.

If you’d like to get caught up, click here to see head coaches 1-10 and click here for 11-20.

21. BRIAN DABOLL, NEW YORK GIANTS

Last season: Was not a head coach

Career record and accomplishments: 0-0

Brian Daboll was the hottest name coming out of this year’s batch of new coaching hires for a reason. Under his watch, the Buffalo Bills offense became one of the most prolific in the league. With Daboll designing the offense and calling the plays, Josh Allen went from a raw rookie, to an athletic strong armed guy to one of the best QBs in football.

He has his work cut out for him in New York. It’s the league’s biggest market so all eyes will be on the new coach as he takes the field with Daniel Jones for the first time.

22. KEVIN O’CONNELL, MINNESOTA VIKINGS

Last season: Was not a head coach

Career record and accomplishments: 0-0

While O’Connell didn’t call the offensive plays for the Los Angeles Rams, he did serve as its offensive coordinator for the last two seasons and landed a Super Bowl ring for his trouble. He knows how to develop plays for a talent like Matthew Stafford, but, more importantly, he knows how to devise plays for a talent like Jared Goff, which is way closer to what he has in Minnesota with Kirk Cousins.

Every former McVay assistant led his team to a winning record last year. O’Connell has a chance to join that club right off the bat with a playoff run in his first year with a loaded Vikings offense.

23. NATHANIEL HACKETT, DENVER BRONCOS

Last season: Was not a head coach

Career record and accomplishments: 0-0

Hackett’s hiring almost went under the radar after bigger “gets” like Daboll, Josh McDaniels and O’Connell. But he’s part of that system, serving as the offensive coordinator for the Green Bay Packers for three seasons, two of which landed the Pack in the NFC Championship.

He’s been handed the keys to the best Denver team since Peyton Manning hung up his spurs and the expectations are high. Hackett and Russell Wilson could be the answer for a Broncos team that’s been desperate for both a real head coach and a quarterback for the last seven years.

24. DAN CAMPBELL, DETROIT LIONS

Last season: 3-13

Career record and accomplishments: 8-20-1

NFL punditry might have gotten excited about how hard Dan Campbell had the Lions playing at the end of the season, but I’m not there yet. This was not a hire I liked and nothing I really saw, especially with a lengthy losing streak that hovered dangerously close to 0-17 territory changed my mind.

The NFC Wild Card race is wide open this season, at least for two of the spots. With new quarterbacks in Seattle and San Francisco and the Arizona Cardinals facing one of the league’s toughest schedules, if Campbell was the right man for the job, he’ll prove it with a winning record and playoff berth in 2022.

25. MIKE MCDANIEL, MIAMI DOLPHINS

Last season: Was not a head coach

Career record and accomplishments: 0-0

Mike McDaniel was in the same boat as Kevin O’Connell. He was a key cog in the game preparation, play design and planning, but on gameday he took a back up role as head coach Kyle Shanahan called his own plays.

But McDaniel, like O’Connell, learned from one of the best (No. 3 on my list) and he’s been set up for success with a Dolphins team that just capped its second consecutive winning season and traded the house for a brand new offensive weapon in Tyreek Hill. It’ll all come down to what McDaniel can get out of quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, but if he can install and successfully run that 49ers attack in Miami, it will not require elite QB play.

26. MATT EBERFLUS, CHICAGO BEARS

Last season: Was not a head coach

Career record and accomplishments: 0-0

Matt Eberflus was one of our few defensive coordinators to land a new head coaching position and he did the smart thing the minute he got tossed the baton in Chicago, he hired an offensive coordinator from Green Bay.

The Bears have a decent enough roster to achieve something since this is a team that made the playoffs in two of the last four seasons. What they didn’t have is a good offensive philosophy or even passable head coach. Eberflus already as a leg up on his predecessor Matt Nagy by simply hiring former Packers QB coach and passing game coordinator Luke Getsy as his OC.

27. ARTHUR SMITH, ATLANTA FALCONS

Last season: 7-10

Career record and accomplishments: 7-10

I was probably the only guy on the planet who thought the Falcons might sneak into the playoffs a year ago, so needless to say, Arthur Smith let me down. His Atlanta team looked a whole lot like Dan Quinn’s Atlanta team from the years before so he’s earned his spot her at the bottom of the list.

It won’t be any easier for Smith this season, but I like Marcus Mariota a lot. The Falcons have some players and, like I said earlier, two of those Wild Card spots in the NFC will be up for grabs. Regardless, Smith needs to show some significant signs of life in season two.

28. ROBERT SALEH, NEW YORK JETS

Last season: 4-13

Career record and accomplishments: 4-13

Robert Saleh was one of the hottest head coaching prospects to hit the market a year ago after a tremendous stretch as the defensive coordinator for the San Francisco 49ers. His Jets tenure did not get off to a great start.

While he did lead them to two more wins than Adam Gase did the year prior, Gase posted a 7-9 season in his first year with the team, the best mark after two 5-11 and one 4-12 campaigns from Todd Bowles.

I didn’t like the Zach Wilson pick when it happened. I thought he might end up a coach killer. Saleh might turn out to be his first victim unless some major improvement happens in year two.

29. MIKE MCCARTHY, DALLAS COWBOYS

Last season: 12-6

Career record and accomplishments: 153-101-2, 1 NFC Championship, Super Bowl XLV Champion

Mike McCarthy is the disaster that just keeps on happening. He’s the NFL’s version of a cold sore and, no matter how many times he proves he’s not the man for the job, he has landed one again.

He was a terrible offensive coordinator for the San Francisco 49ers when the Packers hired him as their head coach. After getting dragged along to a Super Bowl victory by Aaron Rodgers, he was finally jettisoned after two losing seasons. The guy that replaced him, Matt LaFleur (No. 6 on our list) immediately took that same team to 13-3 and an NFC Championship.

Jerry Jones has hired McCarthy to do the same thing in Dallas, be hauled into the Wild Card round repeatedly by a Super Bowl caliber roster. It’s the dumbest self-inflicted wound in the history of a franchise that’s full of them. This is the team that hired Dave Campo for God’s sake.

Luckily for fans of the Cowboys, Sean Payton’s availability next season should wrap up McCarthy’s Dallas tenure, and pro coaching career, for good. It can’t come soon enough.

30. LOVIE SMITH, HOUSTON TEXANS

Last season: Was not a head coach

Career record and accomplishments: 92-90, 1 NFC Championship, 2005 NFL Coach of the Year

Love Smith had a chance, in his stint as head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, to show what a mistake the Chicago Bears made in firing him. Instead, he won eight games in two seasons. He followed that up with a forgettable and losing tenure at Illinois so you can forgive me for not getting too excited that this garbage dump religious cult of a franchise chose him as its head coach to replace David Culley.

And it should be said that Culley, in his only year, surpassed all expectations for what the Texans could do. The fact that they won four games at all and didn’t go 0-17 was a shock in itself. That two of those victories came against the Tennessee Titans and Los Angeles Chargers should have earned the guy another year.

I can’t see any way that Smith outperforms that 4-13 finish with this team.

31. MATT RHULE, CAROLINA PANTHERS

Last season: 5-12

Career record and accomplishments: 10-23

Matt Rhule was an uninspired hire by the Panthers two seasons ago and has done nothing to prove that perception wrong. Rhule was a decent enough college coach at Temple and Baylor, but he was barely over .500 in those two stops. If he’d ended up at a University of Tennessee, NC State or Wake Forest, that would have made sense. A jump to the NFL was ridiculous and has looked it.

The Panthers opened the season 3-0 a year ago and won just two games after that. The only way he survives the 2022 coach cull is if the Panthers ownership is specifically trying to lose in order to move the team because they can’t get a new stadium deal.

32. DENNIS ALLEN, NEW ORLEANS SAINTS

Last season: Was not a head coach

Career record and accomplishments: 8-28

The worst hire of the 2022 hiring cycle is officially the worst head coach in the 2022 rankings. Dennis Allen was absolutely terrible in his stint with the then Oakland Raiders and the only excuse the Saints have in hiring him is that he’ll be very easy to fire if they can coax Sean Payton back into the building.

The Saints are a good team, a playoff caliber team and I have no idea if Allen can get them there. But that should be the bare minimum they accomplish in a weakened NFC for him to keep this job.  

Follow Adam Greene on Twitter @TheFirstMan.

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