Connect with us

NFL

Ranking NFL’s new coach-quarterback duos for 2024: Chargers, Falcons headline teams that underwent big change

The 2024 NFL offseason saw plenty of big names swap places at the most important spots: coach and quarterback. In fact, 12 different teams — almost 40% of the league — are set to open the new season with a new pairing there.

So which new duo is most promising? We’re ranking all 12 as the summer draws near. A few clarifiers:

  • A team needs just one new starting quarterbackΒ orΒ coach to qualify (i.e. Justin Herbert has been the Los Angeles Chargers‘ signal-caller for four years, but he’s paired with Jim Harbaugh for the first time). Last year, for reference, there were three teams to have both. This year, there are four.
  • Who qualifies as a “new” quarterback? Any projected starter who didn’t start Week 1 or multiple games for his team the year prior.
  • We’re ranking duos, not their respective teams. That said, quarterback-coach duos can be a good indicator of a team’s standing. Chances are, if your favorite team’s pairing is high on the list, they’re better positioned to overcome other weaknesses on the roster.

Now let’s get to it:

*New on team

Brissett is well regarded as a spot starter, showing a steady hand in unsteady situations. He’s also never posted a winning record in a top role. His conservative approach may pair well with Mayo’s defensive direction, but the ceiling feels inherently low here, which just makes No. 3 overall draft pick Drake Maye all the more intriguing. Could he take over sooner rather than later?

Pierce has already earned rave internal reviews for restoring the Raiders’ culture, but we’ve only seen him lead nine games as interim coach, and he’s working with the definition of an “in-progress” quarterback situation: Whether it’s the gutsy journeyman Minshew or the old-school young incumbent Aidan O’Connell, Las Vegas once again feels as if it’s treading water under center.

10.Β Broncos:Β Bo NixΒ (QB)*, Sean Payton (HC)

The rookie Nix isn’t guaranteed the Week 1 gig, but at 24, with extensive college experience, he’s got the edge over Jarrett Stidham and Zach Wilson. All indications are his ultra-efficient approach aligns with Payton’s short-area attack. But he’s a projection, and Payton’s peak New Orleans Saints days of calling a dominant offense feel like an increasingly distant memory.

Daniels oozes athletic upside, giving Washington arguably its most dynamic dual-threat passer since early-career Robert Griffin III. But durability is a concern, as it was with RG3, and Quinn may be an even bigger wild card: His defensive background is impressive, but he hasn’t overseen a winning team since 2017, when he deployed Matt Ryan and Julio Jones in their prime.

Young was two steps behind NFL speed in a listless 2023 debut, and his smaller frame remains a concern, but the former No. 1 overall pick has a more inspiring advocate this time around. After maximizing Geno Smith and Baker Mayfield in separate stops, Canales could be just the energizer needed to lessen Young’s burden and restore the quarterback’s pocket poise.

As a “generational” talent and No. 1 overall pick, Williams is doing a lot of the heavy lifting here, considering Eberflus went 10-24 — and never steadied the exiled Justin Fields’ setup — before his arrival. But Eberflus did oversee a defensive rejuvenation late in 2023, and Williams’ supercharged gunslinging should be aided by an upgraded group of skill weapons.

At 35, Wilson is no longer the ever-elusive big-play artist of his Super Bowl-winning Seattle Seahawks days, but he’s probably slightly steadier than he showed in his tumultuous Broncos stint. Working with an old-school, ground-and-pound leader like Tomlin feels like a perfect match. But the more tantalizing gifts of the youngΒ Justin FieldsΒ loom large in the background.

5.Β Titans:Β Will LevisΒ (QB), Brian Callahan (HC)*

A big, bruising second-round rookie in 2023, Levis was erratic in nine starts to open his NFL career, but he’s got unteachable juice as both a power thrower and runner. Not only does he have improved weaponry going into his first full year as “the guy,” but a new coach in Callahan who had a direct hand in Joe Burrow’s confident start with the Cincinnati Bengals.

This is far too high for Darnold by himself; the ex-New York Jets prospect has only flashed in spurts, and first-round rookie J.J. McCarthy — a potential play-action savant — could usurp him sooner rather than later. But O’Connell got Grade-A stuff from Kirk Cousins, and his positive leadership is felt in that building. Minnesota is primed to compete regardless of who’s under center.

At 33, coming off a so-so, injury-dotted season, Smith may or may not be the long-term answer in Seattle. But he’s had a knack for timely darts since reviving his career with the Seahawks and still boasts solid weapons. Macdonald, meanwhile, should help give Smith and the offense some long-awaited defensive support after overseeing the fast, physical and versatile Baltimore Ravens.

Atlanta’s surprise top-10 pick of Michael Penix Jr. proved the club isn’t necessarily as sold on Cousins as we all thought back in March, but even approaching 36, coming off a torn Achilles, the ex-Minnesota Vikings captain brings much-needed stability to the focal point of a growing offense. Morris, meanwhile, is a likable leader whose defensive prowess should balance the lineup.

1. Chargers: Justin Herbert (QB), Jim Harbaugh (HC)*

Questions about Herbert’s reassembled supporting cast aside, this is easily the most talented and/or accomplished pairing of the bunch. While big-stage questions remain, Herbert has all the physical tools and early-career marks of a perennial Pro Bowl pocket passer. And Harbaugh, despite a nine-year hiatus from the NFL, has led triumphant programs wherever he’s gone. The former Michigan and San Francisco 49ers coach should bring added discipline and old-school toughness to Los Angeles, helping Herbert and Co. attack the AFC West with a new level of confidence.

Go to Source
Author: Cody Benjamin
June 4, 2024 | 6:15 pm

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

More in NFL