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What You Need to Know About 2022 Coaching Changes

By Kevin English 4:05pm EDT 6/27/22

15 teams changed HCs, OCs or both this offseason. Here's a look at all the new guys -- and what they mean for fantasy football values.

Buffalo Bills: OC Ken Dorsey

Dorsey takes over for new Giants HC Brian Daboll. The former college QB star has coached Josh Allen going back to 2019, so we don’t see much changing here.

It’s no surprise, but the early reviews have been all positive on Dorsey.

“It doesn’t feel like we’ve missed a step,” Allen said at OTAs. “Obviously, it’s a different voice in the headset, a different mind, calling the plays. The verbiage is still the same. The protections are still the same. We’ve switched up a couple things here and there with concepts and thought processes, but we’re able to call the same play and understand our players know this play like the back of their hand and it’s just our job to go out there and execute.”

Dorsey’s never called plays, but we’ve seen this Bills offense rank 10th and 12th in pass attempts in Allen’s 2 breakout seasons. Some potential tweaks: More passing to RBs following the arrival of James Cook and more 2-TE looks after the Bills added former Bucs TE O.J. Howard.

Carolina Panthers: OC Ben McAdoo

We came to know McAdoo for his pass-heavy approaches with the Giants. From 2014-2017 (2 years as OC, 2 as HC) his units ranked 9th, 6th, 8th and 1st in attempts. Mid-to-late-career Eli Manning piloted those offenses.

The Panthers field one of the NFL’s most unsettled QB situations. Will Sam Darnold get another crack at starting? Can Matt Corral quickly develop in year 1? And what about trade candidates Jimmy Garoppolo and Baker Mayfield?

The only certainties here are that the Panthers will feed Christian McCaffrey and DJ Moore. Both guys are draftable fantasy targets at cost.

Chicago Bears: HC Matt Eberflus, OC Luke Getsy

The Bears bucked a league-wide trend by hiring a defensive-minded HC in Eberflus. He’ll hand offensive responsibilities to Getsy, a 38-year-old who’s yet to call plays at the pro level.

Getsy’s spent most of the past 8 years on Green Bay’s staff, holding positions like QB coach, WR coach and pass game coordinator. You like that he’s learned under Matt LaFleur. And here was Rodgers over the winter, speaking on Getsy and new Broncos HC Nathaniel Hackett.

“It’s fun coming to work,” Rodgers said, “and it’s because those guys have such a great presence in front of the room. So I think both Hack and Getsy can relate to the guys, they’re younger. They can both lead and be in front of a room and captivate an audience.”

We haven’t had many hints on what this offense will look like. But Bears beat writer Pat Finley wrote in May that this unit will feature “a mix of outside-zone and read-option runs with a vertical passing attack.” They have speed in Darnell Mooney and 3rd-round pick Velus Jones — plus a QB in Justin Fields who’s not afraid to attack downfield. According to Pro Football Focus, Fields’ 15.9% deep passing rate ranked 3rd among 35 qualifiers.

Outside of RB, though, this offense just doesn’t have quality depth. Fields sticks in the middle of QB2 range because of his raw ability and massive rushing upside. Recall that he hit 35 rushing yards in 6 of 10 starts as a rookie.

Denver Broncos: HC Nathaniel Hackett, OC Justin Outten

Hackett earned a head coaching gig following 3 years as Green Bay’s OC. Outten, 38, joins him after spending that same stretch as the Packers’ TE coach.

Hackett didn’t call plays under Matt LaFleur, but that’s expected to be his role in Denver. Across 5 seasons as OC with Buffalo and Jacksonville, Hackett worked with Blake Bortles, Kyle Orton, EJ Manuel and Thad Lewis, so we’re not taking anything from the results. (Spoiler: They stunk.) Still, it's interesting to note that 2 of his units (1 in Jacksonville, 1 in Buffalo) turned up the #1 finish in rush attempts.

Even with Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay, the Packers (under LaFleur and Hackett) ranked 15th, 26th and 16th in pass rate. Nothing outlandish.

Currently, Denver rosters a FB/TE hybrid in Andrew Beck, which might signal a commitment to the run. Such an approach is easier when you have Javonte Williams and Melvin Gordon, who re-signed on a 1-year, $2.5 million deal in April.

On the other hand, an offense with Russell Wilson, Courtland Sutton and Jerry Jeudy won’t be firing off 40 runs per game. Hackett’s background is with West Coast concepts, while beat writer Nick Kosmider expects an approach heavy on play-action passing.

Wilson was Pro Football Focus #2 graded passer off play-action last year; 5th in 2020 and 2nd in 2019. He routinely ranked near the top of the league in completion rate off play-fakes.

With a deep cast of pass-catchers, Wilson should remain an efficient deep ball thrower.

While the high number of changes for Russ might lead to a slow start, the 33-year-old is fairly valued as the QB8.

Detroit Lions: OC Ben Johnson

Johnson served on the Lions’ staff from 2019-2021, primarily as TE coach. Previously, he spent 7 years on Miami’s staff coaching QBs, TEs and WRs.

Only 36, Johnson earned increased responsibilities late last year. As the pass-game coordinator, he helped Jared Goff complete 69.5% of his passes and toss 11 TDs (to 2 INTs) over his final 5 games.

It’s unclear whether Johnson or HC Dan Campbell will call plays this fall. (2021 OC Anthony Lynn started out calling plays but lost that duty to Campbell in November.) Campbell mentioned putting “stress” on the defense this offseason, something made easier by the additions of deep threats DJ Chark and Jameson Williams.

Johnson echoed that thought — and commented on the importance of tempo — back in OTAs.

“I think the word ‘tempo’ has a few different meanings,” Johnson said. “…We’re not going to go fast. We’re not trying to get 100 plays in a game. That’s not our intent. But we are looking to stress the defense in as many ways as possible. At times we may go fast, and at other times we may let off the pedal a little bit and make sure we’re in the right play. The best way we can do that, get in the right play, is having shorter words, more concise language, and I think that’s really -- when you talk to the guys and there are changes to what we’re doing, it’s more so the verbiage at the end of the day.”

As T.J. Hockenson’s former position coach, it’ll be interesting to see if Johnson can elevate the TE in his 4th season. Hockenson has already complimented the new OC and explained that he’s now allowed to run more WR-like routes. Having deep threats in Chark and Williams figures to open up space underneath. But with Williams coming off a December ACL tear, he’s a candidate to miss early-season games.

Green Bay Packers: OC Adam Stenavich

Green Bay promoted internally with Stenavich, formerly the OL coach and run game coordinator. Prior to that, he coached OL on Kyle Shanahan’s staff (2017-2018).

Matt LaFleur will continue to call plays. But the move to Stenavich — a former OT with the Panthers, Packers, Cowboys and Texans — could signal more reliance on the run. Green Bay’s ranked 18th (2019), 7th (2020) and 17th (2021) in run rate under LaFleur. With Davante Adams in Vegas and a strong backfield duo returning, a repeat of 2020 is possible.

Of course, a lot will depend on how Aaron Rodgers adjusts to an overhauled WR corps featuring Allen Lazard, Sammy Watkins, Christian Watson and others. The future Hall of Famer at least showed no signs of decline last year, ranking top-6 in completion rate, yards per attempt, QB rating and QBR.

Houston Texans: HC Lovie Smith, OC Pep Hamilton

A young Houston offense will receive guidance from a veteran HC/OC duo.

Promoted from within, Smith served as the team’s associate HC and DC last season. That followed a 5-year run at the University of Illinois.

Smith’s background is on defense, so he’ll turn play-calling duties over to Hamilton. The 47-year-old has held many roles on offense, most notably the OC in Indy from 2013-2015 alongside Andrew Luck. Hamilton was also Justin Herbert’s position coach in 2020; Davis Mills’ QB coach (and the pass-game coordinator) in 2021.

As for those Colts squads, Hamilton led units that ranked 15th, 1st and 9th in pass attempts; 14th, 5th and 10th, respectively, in pass rate. They pushed the tempo with situation-neutral pace finishes of 7th, 4th and 11th (per Football Outsiders).

Now, they clearly don’t have a QB of Luck’s caliber. But a steady drumbeat of buzz has followed 2nd-year passer Davis Mills since the end of last year. And it continued with the Texans passing on a potential upgrade in the draft.

Lovie Smith came out with an endorsement of Mills even before the draft. Just don’t expect this offense to be carried by the Stanford product — not with a host of unproven pass catchers behind Brandin Cooks.

“If you go and just look at the analytics, look at the data… I think it’s important that you have balance in your offensive attack if you want to be a successful team in this league,” Hamilton said at minicamp.

Cooks, as usual, remains a fine target with a WR22 ADP. (He currently sits 13th in our WR rankings.) In the backfield, though, we’re unlikely to see a true workhorse emerge from Marlon Mack, Rex Burkhead and rookie Dameon Pierce.

Jacksonville Jaguars: HC Doug Pederson, OC Press Taylor

Taylor spent 5 years on Philly’s staff alongside Pederson, coaching QBs and coordinating the passing game. So there’s a clear set of expectations for the just 34-year-old OC.

In June, Taylor complimented 2nd-year RB Travis Etienne’s speed, calling it “very real.” Taylor continued: “We’re throwing him in all different positions just to see what he’s comfortable with, what he needs to work on as we move forward, give him plans moving further into summer coming back for training camp. But he’s been really receptive to everything.”

A diverse role is what should excite fantasy owners. He showed clear pass-catching ability at Clemson, racking up 102 career catches. Even with a rising ADP, we’re excited about Etienne’s PPR upside. James Robinson’ recovery from an Achilles tear will play a role in Etienne’s ultimate rush volume.

Note that It’s Pederson who'll call plays— hardly a surprise given his experience.

His units — mostly led by Carson Wentz — ranked 17th, 22nd, 9th, 17th and 11th in pass rate. So there’s no reason to be worried about volume for Trevor Lawrence, who’s getting such a huge upgrade in leadership (and decency) from Urban Meyer.

Pederson’s offenses haven’t shied away from targeting TEs. In fact, as 5 seasons as a HC, Philly’s TEs averaged a 32.3% target share — way up from the ~20% league average. Of course, having strong talents like Travis Kelce, Dallas Goedert and Zach Ertz helped. But if you can set aside your distain for Evan Engram, you’ll likely turn a profit on a TE22 ADP.

Las Vegas Raiders: HC Josh McDaniels, OC Mick Lombardi

McDaniels has spent the better part of 2 decades coaching offense under Bill Belichick. He’s held the OC role for 13 seasons, orchestrating 12 top-8 scoring offenses.

Sure, Tom Brady played a pretty big role for 11 of those seasons. But McDaniels should be given credit for helping Mac Jones lead the way to a #6 finish in scoring.

His sample size outside of New England simply isn’t large. He spent 2009-2010 as Denver’s HC and steered an offense that ranked 9th and 7th in pass attempts. And that was with Tim Tebow and Kyle Orton under center…

As the Rams’ OC in 2011, his unit ranked 16th in pass attempts but last in scoring. The QBs? Sam Bradford, AJ Feeley and Kellen Clemens.

At bottom, this Vegas offense should look a lot like the Pats did under Brady. And that means spread formations and a quick-strike passing game to utilize the talents of Davante Adams, Hunter Renfrow and Darren Waller.

Lombardi arrives after serving as New England’s assistant QB coach in 2019 and WR coach from 2020-2021. Only 33, Lombardi has a chance to grow his stock as a potential HC alongside an experienced play-caller like McDaniels.

“Mick sees the game very similarly to myself in terms of the passing game,” McDaniels said last season. “He identifies coverages very well. He handles a huge responsibility in terms of reporting on red zone and prepares our team offense for that area of our game plan.”

Los Angeles Rams: OC Liam Coen

Sean McVay will continue calling plays, but he’ll do so with another familiar face after losing Kevin O'Connell to Minnesota. Coen, 36, spent 2018-2020 splitting his time in L.A. as assistant WR coach and assistant QB coach.

He spent last year as Kentucky’s OC, guiding them to top-25 finishes in yards per play and scoring. Coen coached potential 2023 Round 1 QB Will Levis, who broke out after transferring from Penn State.

At bottom: There’s no reason to expect a meaningful change to this offense.

Miami Dolphins: HC Mike McDaniel, OC Frank Smith

Smith’s background is with the OL and TEs. He’s worked alongside Brandon Staley, John Gruden, John Fox and Sean Payton, so he’s supplying an experienced voice.

But I’m burying the lede here. McDaniel, 39, is the one who gives this unit some much-needed optimism.

McDaniel has worked alongside Kyle Shanahan for most of his coaching career, starting in Houston (2006) and culminating over the past 5 years in San Francisco. Along the way, McDaniel’s held roles from run game coordinator and WR coach to OC. He hasn’t called plays, but he’s expected to fill that role in Miami.

Clearly, he made a lasting impression in San Francisco.

“Mike’s awesome. He really is,” QB Jimmy Garoppolo shared over the winter. “I don’t want to say he’s the mastermind behind everything, but he’s kind of that guy in the background that doesn’t say a whole ton to a lot of people, but his mind is always moving. The ideas he comes up with are so fresh and new. He’s a cool guy to have on the staff. He’s a lot smarter than most of us. He dumbs it down for us and kind of gets us all on the same page and it’s just a good combination with him and all the rest of the coaches.”

So McDaniel — a Yale graduate — is a brainiac. Cool. But how will that translate to the field?

Traditionally, the Shanahan offense has relied on pre-snap motion, quick passing and a zone-blocking scheme that allows for big plays from RBs. (Hello, Chase Edmonds.)

As for the results: Shanahan’s units have ranked 1st, 11th, 3rd, 9th and 16th in yards per attempt. And that’s with 36 games started by Nick Mullens, C.J. Beathard, Brian Hoyer and rookie-year Trey Lance.

Bullish for Tua Tagovailoa. And, by extension, Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle. Note that Deebo Samuel ranked 1st in YAC per reception last year; Brandon Aiyuk ranked 11th. And that’s in a sample of 90 WRs with 50+ targets.

We’ll see on the pass volume, though. The 49ers have ranked 20th, 29th, 16th and 29th in pass attempts over the past 4 seasons. Plus, per the rbsdm database, San Francisco ranks 29th in early-down pass rate (48.4%) under Shanahan.

Minnesota Vikings: HC Kevin O’Connell, OC Wes Phillips

Phillips spent last year as the Rams’ TE coach/pass-game coordinator. His history with O’Connell goes beyond that, as the pair served together in Washington (2017-2018).

O’Connell’s spent the past 2 seasons as OC under Sean McVay. At his introductory press conference, the former NFL QB said the Vikings offense will contain a lot of McVay’s principles.

ESPN’s Courtney Cronin highlighted the main points:

- Pre-snap motion and movement

- Play-action passing

- 3-WR sets

- Zone running game

O’Connell also described a desire to field an “attacking, aggressive” offense.

That was the case over the past 2 years alongside McVay. That stretch includes a pair of top-12 finishes in pass attempts and situation neutral pace.

The Vikings have a veteran QB to orchestrate such a unit. Kirk Cousins even has a history with his new HC, as O’Connell coached Washington QBs back in 2017.

On the personnel side, Minnesota will trot out Justin Jefferson, Adam Thielen and K.J. Osborn in 3-WR sets. Expect to see that trio plenty, especially after the Rams led the league in 11 personnel last season (83%).

The change really has 3rd-year superstar Justin Jefferson fired up.

"Our offensive style, it's not a run-first offense anymore," Jefferson shared in June. "Just us being able to put different people in different positions and distribute the ball, really. I'm so excited in this offense. Us just being in OTAs, learning the plays, going through it with our defense, and stuff. We're all excited. We're all happy to have (O'Connell). It's definitely a different vibe, a different connection in the building with him there. We're just excited to start it up, really.”

Dalvin Cook will remain a clear-cut workhorse. And the whispers out of team headquarters are that Cook might even seen an elevated role in the passing game. Only an injury figures to ruin his RB1 outlook.

New England Patriots: OC (??)

Here’s a shocker: New England hasn’t named a new OC following the departure of Josh McDaniels.

(It’s almost July, by the way.)

Maybe Bill Belichick passes on announcing a formal replacement. In May, though, ace beat writer Mike Reiss observed Joe Judge and Matt Patricia appearing to share the job.

Yes, the same Joe Judge with a special teams background that lasted 2 years with the Giants. And yes, the same Matt Patricia with a primarily defensive background that survived 3 years in Detroit.

The uncertainty is tough to sell as a positive for Mac Jones, who clearly benefited from McDaniels’ tutelage. Consider it a huge accomplishment for the ’21 Pats to finish 6th in scoring.

Added RB and WR depth should help smooth the transition for Jones — particularly DeVante Parker. But at least early on, the deeper unit makes it tough to trust any Patriot as a reliable starter.

New Orleans Saints: HC Dennis Allen

After serving as HC since 2006, Sean Payton retired in January. The Saints promoted from within by elevating Allen, the team’s DC since 2015.

More importantly, Pete Carmichael steps into a play-calling role after 16 season on the Saints’ staff — 14 as OC. He’s handled play-calling duties here and there, but only once has he taken the job over a full season.

Remember Payton’s full-season suspension due to Bountygate? That year, the Saints fielded a loaded offense of Drew Brees, Mark Ingram, Darren Sproles, Marques Colston and Jimmy Graham. So it was no shock how this unit ranked 2nd in pass attempts, 1st in passing yards and 3rd in points.

The 2022 Saints’ offense certainly isn’t on that level. But the WR corps looks much-improved following the arrivals of WRs Jarvis Landry and Chris Olave. There’s just a fair share of uncertainty, too: QB Jameis Winston is coming off an ACL tear, LT Terron Armstead left in free agency and RB Alvin Kamara might get suspended.

Oh, and WR Michael Thomas — who missed all of 2021 — has yet to practice as he rehabs a nasty ankle injury.

Ultimately, we’re not thrilled about loading up on pieces of such an uncertain offense. If you can stomach the risk, though, you can buy Thomas at a severe discount. He’s currently an 8th-round pick in most FFPC best ball drafts.

New York Giants: HC Brian Daboll, OC Mike Kafka

Daboll’s held OC gigs with Cleveland, Miami, Kansas City and most recently, Buffalo. He even spent 1 season as Alabama’s OC (2017).

The big takeaway from Daboll’s overall body of work: He’s adapted to his surrounding talent. His first 5 seasons as an OC turned up finishes of 30th, 28th, 28th, 29th, 28th and 24th in pass attempts. But they came with the following QBs under center:

Brady Quinn

Derek Anderson

Colt McCoy

Jake Delhomme

Seneca Wallace

Matt Moore

Chad Henne

Matt Cassel

(Pre-breakout) Josh Allen

Over the past 2 seasons — with MVP-quality Allen — the Bills have ranked 11th and 5th in pass attempts. They’ve been top-12 in pass rate both seasons. Allen, of course, has taken off with 2 straight overall QB1 fantasy finishes.

Daniel Jones is clearly several tiers away from Allen. But it’s not crazy to think that he’s the second best QB that Daboll’s coached.

It’s unknown who’ll call plays. Kafka, 35, doesn’t have play-calling (or OC) experience. Still, he’s been around one of the game’s best minds following 5 years in Kansas City.

Now, his #1 job is to get the most out of Jones in year 4. It sounds like Kafka’s style will carry a player-friendly label.

“(Jones) loves having so much flexibility at the line of scrimmage with the protections, with checking stuff at the line of scrimmage, just with the ability to get on the same page with the receivers," Kafka said. "Receivers have some flexibility with routes ... you know, be able to work in different voids and spaces.”

We’re certainly not out on Jones. He’s only 25, and it’s tough to overstate the move from Jason Garrett (and Joe Judge) to Daboll/Kafka.

In the backfield, you can worry about Saquon Barkley’s injury history if you want. But the contract-year back is healthy now and should be an unchallenged workhorse. An improved O-line only boosts Barkley’s outlook as a rebound RB1.

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