With every new season, the NFL has fresh batch of head coaches. 2019 is no different, as eight new head coaches aim to lead their teams to success. Zac Taylor (Bengals), Vic Fangio (Broncos), Freddie Kitchens (Browns), Bruce Arians (Buccaneers), Kliff Kingsbury (Cardinals), Brian Flores (Dolphins), Adam Gase (Jets), and Matt LaFleur (Packers) are looking to become the third-straight first-year head coach to win the Associated Press NFL Coach of the Year. Sean McVay of the Rams won in 2017, while Matt Nagy of the Bears won in 2018.
Behind Nagy in the 2018 voting were Anthony Lynn (Chargers), Frank Reich (Colts), Andy Reid (Chiefs), Pete Carroll (Seahawks), and Sean Payton (Saints). Along with the likes of Bill Belichick, Mike Tomlin, and John Harbaugh, there is no shortage of talented coaches in the NFL. 2019 is shaping up to be another exciting season.
Today’s Question of the Day is:
Who will win Coach of the Year in 2019?
My answer: To win the Coach of the Year award, there are a few precedents to consider. Since 2000, only one Coach of the Year winner posted single-digit wins, which was Bruce Arians in 2012 at 9-3. However, Arians was merely an interim head coach in Chuck Pagano’s stead—that Colts team finished with 11 wins. All-in-all, winning this award with less than 10 wins is rare.
The next thing to consider their division results. Since 2000, only three Coach of the Year winners did not win their division: Bruce Arians’ Cardinals in 2014, Bruce Arians’ Colts in 2012, and Mike Smith’s Falcons in 2008.
Bruce Arians has appeared a lot in this article, which could bode well for his chances. However, his Buccaneers do not appear to be contenders in 2019, hurting his odds of Arians winning his third award.
While I expect (and hope) that the Lions improve under Matt Patricia, I do not expect the Lions to hit double-digit wins and win the division. I certainly have bias, but the NFC North is one of the most competitive divisions in the league, and I’m not sure that the Lions are ready to take that step. However, should the Lions manage to usurp the Bears, Packers, and Vikings atop the division, it would certainly warrant an argument for Patricia.
My pick for Coach of the Year is Freddie Kitchens. After a promising rookie season from Baker Mayfield, the Browns went and added Odell Beckham Jr., Sheldon Richardson, Olivier Vernon, and Kareem Hunt. Looking at history, Kitchens appears to be a likely candidate to win the award. They look primed to improve upon their 7-8-1 record from a year ago, and 10 or more wins is achievable. Considering that the Steelers might regress after losing Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell, the Ravens are experiencing growing pains with Lamar Jackson, and the Bengals are the Bengals, it would not surprise me if the Browns won their division. Going from a sub .500 team to the playoffs would reflect well upon Kitchens.