December 9, 2012; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Redskins defensive coordinator Jim Haslett talks on the sidelines against the Baltimore Ravens at FedEx Field. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

NFL Coordinators Under the Gun In 2014

Head coaches always get the brunt of the blame in the NFL, but coordinators are just as liable.  Which ones need a productive season in 2014?

Jim Haslett – DC – Washington Redskins

It came as a slight surprise that Jim Haslett was retained as defensive coordinator for the Washington Redskins when Jay Gruden took over as head coach.  The prevailing belief is the unit suffered less from bad coaching and more from injuries and limited talent.  Hopes are high he can turn things around if both are rectified.  If they aren’t, Gruden will do what he chose not to when he took over.

Mel Tucker – DC – Chicago Bears

Perhaps the only other surprise survivor of the coaching cuts after last season was Mel Tucker.  In his first season with the Chicago Bears he inherited a unit that was ranked 5th overall in 2012.  By the end of 2013, it had completely tanked to 30th, ranking dead last in rush defense and sacks.  Instead of starting fresh with somebody new, head coach Marc Trestman believed a better solution was to give Tucker more scheme control than he had last season when he was asked to run the classic system Lovie Smith had employed to such great effect for years.  Together with some staff changes and upgrades along the roster, early NFL predictions hint of a Bears rebound to credibility in 2014.  If they don’t though, Tucker may not survive the axe twice.

Brian Schottenheimer – OC – St. Louis Rams

After enjoying some success in New York with the Jets, Brian Schottenheimer was lured to the St. Louis Rams in hopes of turning around their offensive fortunes.  It’s safe to say through two seasons that has not happened.  Despite considerable upgrades in talent the Rams offense has not placed higher than 23rd overall under Schottenheimer and it sunk to 30th last season.  Part of that can be attributed to the loss of quarterback Sam Bradford, but it doesn’t excuse responsibility from the offensive coordinator.  After another productive off-season, St. Louis has high expectations.  Failure will not be met lightly.

Greg Olson – OC – Oakland Raiders

One can say the effort put forth by Greg Olson his first year as offensive coordinator for the Oakland Raiders was commendable.  Despite so much turnover at quarterback and running back, he managed to field a group that finished 23rd in 2013.  The source of mounting pressure for him isn’t so much failure as it is heightened hopes.  With a new quarterback in Matt Schaub and a talent influx at every position group, it rests with Olson to improve on what he started a year ago.  The Raiders want to win very badly and have shown little patience for coaches who can’t get it done.

Danny Crossman – ST – Buffalo Bills

Special teams is a third of the game in the NFL, no matter what old school enthusiasts might say.  Teams that excel at it tend to win while others that don’t simply make life harder on themselves.  That was certainly the case for the Buffalo Bills.  At times they looked like a team that could win in 2013 but were regularly hampered by their special teams.  For the season they ranked 32nd and 23rd in kick and punt returning while their kick and punt coverage units both ranked 28th respectively.  That is not good by any stretch of the imagination, and the responsibility for fixing it fall squarely on the shoulders of special teams coordinator Danny Crossman.  He will have some leeway with it being his second year, but another underwhelming campaign like last season may compel the Bills to seek an upgrade.

Tags: Buffalo Bills Chicago Bears NFL Oakland Raiders St. Louis Rams Washington Redskins

  • James Schroeder

    I don’t know how you could say the Raiders have shown very little patience for coaches who haven’t got it done. If you’re talking about the Raiders of old, the Al Davis ran Raiders than perhaps towards the end of his illustrious life he was going through coaches quite a bit. Since his passing and the beginning of the Mark Davis/Reggie McKenzie era the Raiders have held onto the same head coach going on three years now, and brought back all of the coaches from last year. The Raiders of new preaching continuity as the basis for winning formula. The only mistake they made since this began was hiring Gregg Knapp as the offensive coordinator. Since they are still in the rebuilding phase I really am not sold on the whole “Greg Olsen on the hot seat”. I think he did a fabulous job last season especially rushing the ball with no O- line, and basically no quarterback. So I’m not really sure how you could even mention his name as being on the hot seat but whatever that’s your opinion I suppose

    • Erik Lambert

      I wrote in my explanation that Olson did a fine job with what he had, James. Don’t misinterpret. At the same time, expectations are raised now. The one thing he can ill-afford at this juncture is a regression. Throw in the fact that he might lose his job if Allen is ousted after another losing season and I believe the spotlight is valid for his needing a good year.

      • James Schroeder

        Eric, I don’t believe I misinterpreted what you wrote. I get that you realize he’s done a fine job with what he had to work with but it was the way you ended your comments that laid out the basis for you outing Greg Olsen. According to you the Raiders have a history of not having any patients with the coaching staff and therefore you think if he doesn’t have a great year he will most likely be replaced. I merely pointed out that the new regime is different in that regard. This is the first year of the rebuilding phase and the new raiders regime believes in coaching continuity and I believe will afford him another opportunity, especially given who they are competing against with the hardest schedule in the NFL this season and all the turnover on the offensive side of the ball. Now, if your argument is strictly he will be replaced with Dennis Allen is replaced well 9 times out of 10 that’s a no-brainer because coaches like to bring in their own guys so yeah that could be a possibility. But it would hardly be because of what Greg Olsen’s has done. I expect he will be able to do some pretty great things finally having decent pieces to work with.

        • Erik Lambert

          I’ve always believed continuity is key and the Raiders at least seem to have embraced that. I’ve just seen them change things up so much for so long that I’m having trouble trusting what they’ll do if the offense or the entire team struggles again. Based on projections, Olson is among the safest of the names I listed, but I stand by what I wrote in that he can’t afford a regression.

    • Rees Britton

      If I ever hear the name Gregg Knapp again itll be too soon!!! How did we not can him half way through the season?

      • James Schroeder

        I still ask myself that same question, lol! I think we have a pretty good coaching staff now. Can’t wait to see what they can do now that they finally have a decent team to work with.

    • Demarkus Tramail Swan

      Stop making EXCUSES,, knapp got one season & was CANNED. That MISTAKE stymied the only zzz thing positive for NOW THE RAIDERS STINK IN ALL 3 PHASES.

      Either Olson gets it done or he, Curly, Moe & Shemp will ALL BE SHOWN THE DOOR…

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