By Nicole Hansen
With the NFL season having ended less than three weeks ago, most teams that were looking to make some coaching changes have interviewed and hired the new help they’ll need for the 2015-2016 season. The San Francisco 49ers, the Oakland Raiders, and the Denver Broncos were just some of the teams that hired new coaching staffs this off-season.
In the wake of the Jim Harbaugh era, the 49ers were left searching for a replacement for the coach who finally bought some joy back into the lives of San Francisco fans. According to team CEO Jed York, Jim Tomsula, the team’s defensive line coach, seemed fit to lead the 49ers to a much-anticipated (and much needed) Super Bowl appearance. According to ESPN, Tomsula had been with the team for eight years as their defensive line coach when he was offered a four-year contract to be head coach. He hasn’t had any head coaching experience in the United States, but did some coaching in NFL Europe earlier in his career. This didn’t seem to be a concern for the 49ers; maybe it is time for a change, bringing in a new type of coach with a simple plan: to work hard and bring a Lombardi trophy home to Levi’s Stadium.
It’s a wonder why anyone would want to take on “one of NFL’s least successful franchises over the past decade,” according to ESPN.com writer Michael Wagaman, but Jack Del Rio is apparently up to the challenge. The former Denver Broncos’ defensive coordinator took the Raiders’ offer to be their new head coach soon after Oakland, not surprisingly, did not earn a playoff spot. Growing up a Raiders fan, Del Rio aid he’s very excited to start his career working in the program. He was offered a four-year contract and already has a tough road ahead of him with a practically empty coaching staff he needs to fill by September (via ESPN). His previous coaching experience includes nine seasons as Jacksonville’s head coach.
Denver was the only team here who made it to the playoffs this past season but lost to the Indianapolis Colts in the second round. They hired Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak to try and lead the Broncos back to being NFL champions. Kubiak, the most experienced of these three coaches, has 30 years experience in the NFL, including nine years as a player and eight years of head coaching with the Houston Texans. Known for being a determined coach, general manager and the Executive Vice President of Football Operations John Elway said that Kubiak is “all about winning and doing things the right way.” This looks to be just what the Broncos will need to finally pull the trigger and win a Super Bowl, instead of pulling a repeat of Super Bowl XLVIIIhere they got blown out by the Seattle Seahawks in spectacular fashion.
So who’s looking most prepared for September? With key Broncos players such as Peyton Manning and Wes Welker questioning their returns for another season, fans will have to sit on the edge of their seat in anticipation and await the announcements. Both the Broncos and 49ers have their own strengths, with Manning as a bright light for Denvernd the 49ers relying on Frank Gore and their running game to deliver the wins. With both teams showing above average defenses and solid wide receivers, it’s a toss up that could come down to whatever coach delivers the strongest performance their inaugural season.
And Oakland? Well hopefully they’ll find a running back who isn’t as plagued by injury as Darren McFadden, and there may even be good things in the future for Derek Carr as he develops. But if not? Well there’s always next year. And the year after that. And the year after that. And the year after that.