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What to Expect from New Offensive Coordinators in the NFL

The average turnover for offensive coordinators in the NFL stands at a mighty 40%, about 12 changes per season at the important coaching position according to a Peter Engler article. Heading into the 2021 season, 13 new offensive coordinators are set to make an impact on their respective teams’ performance. Six of the 13 are coaches that were promoted internally with their previous titles listed:

  • Minnesota Vikings: Klint Kubiak (QB coach)
  • Indianapolis Colts: Marcus Brady (QB coach)
  • Tennessee Titans: Todd Downing (TE coach)
  • Miami Dolphins: George Godsey (TE coach) and Eric Strudesville (RB coach)
  • Pittsburgh Steelers: Matt Canada (QB coach)
  • San Francisco 49ers Mike McDaniel (Run coordinator)

These coaches will be coming into an already existing system looking to make changes and tweaks to fit their own style and team personnel. One noteworthy team is the Miami Dolphins who will implement a two-coordinator approach, similar to what they did from 1989-1991 by using a running and passing coordinator. Regardless, these offenses will look extremely similar to the previous regime with an emphasis on an increase in productivity. The other seven are teams providing an opportunity to coaches formerly outside the organization to make an impact on the success of the offense. 

Atlanta Falcons: Dave Ragone 

The Falcons are coming off a disappointing season, finishing 4-12 and losing many close 4th quarter games. They have completely turned over their coaching staff, hiring new head coach Arthur Smith from Tennessee to call the plays. Smith had a lot of success running the ball with Derrick Henry and wants to bring that fundamental approach to Atlanta. Smith has clearly stated he wants to preserve the passing game which, led by Matt Ryan and Calvin Ridley, has consistently finished in the top half of the league the last few seasons. The 2020 Falcons finished 5th in passing offense but a dreadful 27th in rushing. Presenting a balanced attack to keep defenses honest will be a key goal for the first-year head coach as the Falcons looks to rebound from a lost season. 

Detroit Lions: Anthony Lynn

Similar to the Falcons, the Detroit Lions had an abysmal 2020 season in part due to injury and subpar coaching. They reset this offseason trading longtime franchise QB Matthew Stafford to the Rams for Jared Goff and multiple first-round picks. The Lions aren’t going to compete this year, especially in a division with Aaron Rodgers, but have improved several aspects of their offense. They drafted a very talented tackle in Penei Sewell in 2020 who should allow the Lions to run the ball much more efficiently. Detroit also signed Anthony Lynn to take over the play-calling duties. Lynn had some success in Los Angeles last season that saw Justin Herbert thrive and win offensive rookie of the year. Lynn’s big task will be to improve a rushing attack that ranked 29th in 2020 and never generated any momentum. Second-year RB De’Andre Swift will play an important role for this team and is a key fog in the offense. Anthony Lynn and first-year head coach Dan Campbell have their work cut out for them but should bring some improvements to a franchise without any recent successes. 

Jacksonville Jaguars: Darrell Bevell 

The hype for the 2021 Jacksonville Jaguars was through the roof at the start of the preseason. They hired former Ohio State legend Urban Meyer, who went 187-32 as a college coach, to take over the team. Meyer brought in Darrell Bevell who has had some very strong passing offenses in his career. This will be exponentially important in the development of star rookie QB Trevor Lawerence’s development in 2021 and beyond. The Jags are providing Lawerence with several pass catchers including Marvin Jones, who has thrived in Bevell’s offense in Detroit, Laviska Shenault, and D.J. Chark. Don’t expect Meyer or Lawerence to replicate the success they had at the college level but the momentum the Jaguars can build in 2021 will be crucial to their future. 

Los Angeles Chargers: Joe Lombardi

The Chargers lost all three of their main coordinator positions this offseason. They brought in former Rams’ defensive coordinator Brandon Staley to be their new head coach in 2021 and former Saints QB coach Joe Lombardi to lead the offense. Lombardi has a pass-heavy style and, being a former QB coach, should offer invaluable insight to Justin Herbert who could take another massive step forward this season. Lombardi also plans to utilize swiss-army knife RB Austin Ekeler in an Alvin Kamara-type role in this offense. The offense wasn’t an issue in Los Angeles last season as the Chargers finished in the top 10 in total offense. Lombardi has the tools to take this offense to the next level and possibly help the Chargers to a deep playoff run. 

New York Jets: Mike LaFleur

To say the New York Jets have not been successful in recent seasons is an understatement. The franchise has finished last in the AFC east six of the past seven seasons. The Adam Gase experiment was a disaster but allowed the Jets to gain the second overall pick in the 2020 draft. They took QB Zach Wilson who hopes to become a franchise QB in New York. The Jets hired former 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh to become their next head coach. Saleh brought Mike Lafluer, the 49ers passing coordinator in 2020, with him to lead the offense. San Francisco had a ton of success the past few seasons in the run game which Lafluer will look to bring to the Jets. San Francisco utilized a plethora of different RBs in their ground attack and appears the Jets will run a similar scheme. Lafleur’s biggest task will be to develop rookie QB Zach Wilson and allow him to thrive on a team that has not seen a QB play well in a very long time. If the former 49ers can replicate their success from the Golden State, Jets fans will have a lot to cheer about. 

Philadelphia Eagles: Shane Steichen/Nick Sirianni

Although Shane Steichen will take over as the new offensive coordinator, the play-caller will likely be new head coach Nick Sirianni. Sirianni was the Colts offensive coordinator in 2020 and led the Colts to a top 10 offense last season. In addition, Sirianni was a big part in helping Jonathan Taylor develop into a superstar, and is looking to do the same thing with Miles Sanders. Sirianni is coming from coaching Phillip Rivers to Jalen Hurts, so it will be interesting to see how he incorporates the legs of Hurts to his advantage during the course of the season. 

 Seattle Seahawks: Shane Waldron

Last season was a tale of two halves for the Seattle Seahawks. Their first half of the season went incredibly well as Russel Wilson was poised to win his first-ever MVP award. However, the wheels fell off in the second half. Wilson looked awful, the offense never got going, and Seattle lost all the momentum it had built from the first half. They lost a home playoff game and their season ended in the Wild Card round. Seattle brings in former Rams passing coordinator Shane Waldron to take over the playcalling. Waldron and McVay have repeatedly used a very balanced attack one that establishes the run while also allowing the QB to make big plays downfield. That sounds like the perfect recipe for this Seattle team. If Waldron can establish the run with Chris Carson and allow Russel Wilson to air it out downfield to star WR duo Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf, Seattle can be a top 5 offense in 2021. There are holes in the offensive line but the skill players on this team are some of the best in football. Waldron is in a very interesting situation as he has the possibility to turn the Seahawks into a Super Bowl contender.