1. - Greg Roman, 49ers offensive coordinator - Roman should be generating far more buzz. He has juggled completely different quarterbacks and offenses under Jim Harbaugh in San Francisco, succeeding with both Alex Smith and Colin Kaepernick. The Niners are 36-11-1 since Harbaugh and Roman arrived from Stanford.
2. - Ken Whisenhunt, Chargers offensive coordinator - The former Cardinals head coach had a big hand in Philip Rivers' resurgence in San Diego and the Chargers' march toward the playoffs this season. With Kurt Warner, Whisenhunt was able to make two playoff appearances and a run to Super Bowl XLIII in the desert. Give him a competent QB and he will produce at a high level.
3. - Jay Gruden, Bengals offensive coordinator - Most of the innovation in offensive football is going on outside the NFL in places like college, the Arena Football League and Canada. Jay Gruden, the younger brother of Jon, spent over 10 years in the AFL and was a part of six ArenaBowl champions while devising ways to create space and teaching QBs about decision-making and the importance of accuracy. He arrived in Cincinnati at the same time as Andy Dalton and the Bengals have made the postseason three consecutive times for the first time in franchise history.
4. - Mike Zimmer, Bengals defensive coordinator - Zimmer has spent the previous 14 years as a defensive coordinator in Dallas, Atlanta and Cincinnati, putting together some impressive units along the way. Universally regarded as head-coaching material, Zimmer is hurt by just how quickly the NFL has morphed into an offensive league and the fact that most franchises looking for new coaches want offensive-minded guys.
5. - Darrell Bevell, Seahawks offensive coordinator - Bevell's first job as an offensive coordinator in the NFL came in Minnesota as Brad Childress' yes man, hardly a resume builder. But, he's turned it around in the Emerald City by building the Seattle offense around the unique skills of Russell Wilson, who is 15-1 at home as the starter in his first two NFL seasons.
6. - Jack Del Rio, Broncos defensive coordinator - Del Rio won 68 games during eight-plus years in Jacksonville, including two playoff appearances, a resume only bolstered by that franchise's drastic decline since he left. Denver is obviously about offense but Del Rio has done a nice job cobbling together a unit besieged by injuries. If the Broncos are able to complete a Super Bowl run without Von Miller, that would be another feather in Del Rio's cap.
7. - Vic Fangio, 49ers defensive coordinator - Fangio spent 25 years in the NFL before jumping to Stanford with Harbaugh in 2010 and then following him back to the league with the Niners. The veteran coach took over a nondescript group and has turned San Fran into a top five defense in all three of his years in the Bay Area. He's also hurt, however, by the bias toward defensive guys and the fact he's never been a head coach at any level despite being 55.
8. - Lovie Smith, ex-Chicago Bears coach
9. - Adam Gase, Broncos offensive coordinator
10. - Todd Bowles, Cardinals defensive coordinator
11. - Dan Quinn, Seahawks defensive coordinator
12. - Josh McDaniels, Patriots offensive coordinator
13. - Harold Goodwin, Cardinals offensive coordinator
THE COLLEGE GUYS:
1. - David Shaw, Stanford
2. - Bill O'Brien, Penn State- Texans
3. - James Franklin, Vanderbilt
4. - Kevin Sumlin, Texas A&M
5. - Art Briles, Baylor
[ Edited by Ronnie49Lott on Dec 31, 2013 at 8:20 PM ]