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8 NFL Head Coaching Changes & Fantasy Football Impact (2024)

8 NFL Head Coaching Changes & Fantasy Football Impact (2024)

This year’s version of the NFL coaching carousel saw eight head coaching vacancies filled. And while the quantity of new coaches hired was high (25% of the league!), this year’s coaching carousel felt a bit underwhelming aside from a couple of big-name hires.

The question now is how will these new staffs impact things from a fantasy football perspective for their respective teams? While we won’t fully know until the games begin next fall, let’s try and speculate the impact.

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NFL Coaching Changes and Impact on Season (2024 Fantasy Football)

Washington Commanders hire Dan Quinn to replace Ron Rivera

This was perhaps the most underwhelming hire of them all, as Quinn is a defensive-minded retread getting a second shot at a head coaching gig. While Quinn did a nice job in Dallas the last few years, I didn’t think his performance was worthy of another shot as the head honcho. Just look at his final performance with the Cowboys as evidence.

Back when Quinn was Atlanta’s head coach, he had the benefit of a budding coaching star in Kyle Shanahan as his offensive coordinator. Quinn also inherited Matt Ryan as his quarterback, as well as a talented offensive cast featuring Devonta Freeman and Julio Jones. The Falcons offense led the league in points scored in 2016 and was a meltdown away from capturing a Super Bowl title that would’ve changed the careers of everyone involved.

In Washington, Quinn will trust Kliff Kingsbury with leading an offense that has some talented pieces in Terry McLaurin, Brian Robinson Jr., and Jahan Dotson. The problem is Washington doesn’t have a long-term answer at QB as of right now. That should change this spring, as the Commanders are expected to take a quarterback with the No. 2 pick.

Kingsbury faced a similar situation when he became Arizona’s head coach the same year it drafted Kyler Murray first overall. Murray put up more than 4,200 total yards his rookie season and made back-to-back Pro Bowls the following two years.

Kingsbury’s offenses were known for spreading the field by using four wide receiver sets more than anyone else in the league by a wide margin. But Kingsbury wasn’t always a pass-happy coordinator, as his offenses ranked top-10 in rushing attempts each of his first three seasons at the helm.

I’d expect a similar style of offense from Kingsbury in Washington. The Commanders will look to spread the field and play fast, and the hiring of Kingsbury makes me think Washington could be interested in the more dynamic Jayden Daniels with the second-overall choice.

Washington’s offensive success in 2024 will likely hinge on their rookie QB. However, we could see Washington’s fantasy assets see more volume next year based on increased pace of play alone.

Seattle Seahawks hire Mike Macdonald to replace Pete Carroll 

Another defensive head coach, but a hiring I absolutely loved for Seattle. Macdonald did a tremendous job turning Baltimore’s defense into one of the league’s best, and will prove to be an upgrade over Carroll, who the game has passed by.

I also really liked Macdonald’s bold decision to hire former Washington Huskies offensive coordinator Ryan Grubb to fill the same role. Grubb worked under Kaleb DeBoer during his time at Washington, and I believe DeBoer could soon be one of the game’s best offensive minds if he isn’t already.

Led by draft prospect Michael Penix Jr., Washington’s offense was predicated on getting the ball out quickly through short-field passes, allowing Washington’s dynamic receivers to make plays with the ball in their hands. Washington’s offense employed a ton of pre-snap motion, something that’ll look familiar within the NFC West.

What’s even more exciting is Seattle should have the personnel to execute this offense effectively. They have a dynamic trio at receiver in D.K. Metcalf, Tyler Lockett, and Jaxon Smith-Njigba, as well as a talented backfield tandem in Ken Walker III and Zach Charbonnet.

I have my reservations about Geno Smith, but a quick passing game that reduces his need to be accurate downfield could be the style that gets the most out of Smith in 2024. I’m bullish on Seattle’s new offensive approach.

Atlanta Falcons hire Raheem Morris to replace Arthur Smith 

This was another hire that surprised and underwhelmed me. Morris is another coach with a defensive background but was a member of Atlanta’s organization not that long ago.

Morris brought former Los Angeles Rams quarterbacks coach and passing game coordinator Zac Robinson with him to serve as the team’s offensive coordinator. The hope is Robinson will be the latest in a line of ex-Sean McVay disciples to find success outside of L.A. And Atlanta’s offense could be on the cusp of a breakout.

The Falcons have plenty of tantalizing young pieces in Bijan Robinson, Drake London, and Kyle Pitts. However, the Falcons need a quarterback, as well as a scheme that can put all of these pieces together better than Arthur Smith could. Expect Robinson to implement the pre-snap motion and ground game principles that made McVay a coaching star.

If Robinson is the next version of Kevin O’Connell or Zac Taylor, then Atlanta’s offense could go off with the right man under center.

Carolina Panthers hire Dave Canales to replace Frank Reich 

The Panthers set up Bryce Young to fail for a ton of reasons, but the most notable was entrusting Reich. By hiring Canales, the hope is he can help develop Young like he helped Russell Wilson, Geno Smith, and most recently Baker Mayfield at previous jobs.

Canales deserves credit for helping Mayfield lead the Bucs to an NFC South title. However, the Buccaneers offense ranked just 22nd in the league in yardage. Tampa also had no semblance of a running game, ranking dead-last in the league in rushing yards and 27th in rushing EPA.

Carolina’s ground game wasn’t much better last season, and the Panthers have a ton of holes on that side of the ball and won’t have a pick in the first round of this year’s draft to land a star talent. Combine that with an underwhelming group of skill weapons and a lackluster offensive line, and it’s fair to say Canales isn’t inheriting the best situation as he tries to jump-start Young’s career.

It’ll be an uphill climb for this offense in Year One, barring some drastic improvements or sorcery from Canales.

Los Angeles Chargers hire Jim Harbaugh to replace Brandon Staley 

Harbaugh was by far the biggest splash of the coaching carousel, and he’ll be tasked with reviving a franchise that flatlined in 2023. Even more interesting was Harbaugh’s decision to hire Greg Roman as his offensive coordinator.

Roman is best known for his work leading the Baltimore offense with Lamar Jackson (alongside John Harbaugh) and the San Francisco offense with Colin Kaepernick alongside Jim, himself.

Make no mistake, the Harbaugh-Roman reunion could mean a major identity shift for the Los Angeles offense.

In Harbaugh’s four years at the helm in San Francisco, the 49ers ranked no lower than eighth in rushing attempts in a single season. None of Roman’s offenses have ranked outside the top-10 in rushing attempts in his 10 seasons as a playcaller.

Conversely, the 49ers ranked 31st, 31st, 32nd, and 29th in pass attempts during the tandem’s four seasons in charge.

In case it wasn’t clear already, the Chargers are going to run the ball far more in 2024. The question is whether they can run effectively after ranking 24th in rushing EPA a season ago. The Chargers also don’t have a proven tailback on the roster, as Austin Ekeler is set to become a free agent.

It will also be interesting to see how Roman handles building an offense around a pocket passer like Herbert, who can run but doesn’t do so often. Los Angeles’ offense is currently built to be an aerial attack with players like Herbert, Keenan Allen, and Mike Williams being the key offensive assets.

I’ll be interested in seeing how the Chargers operate this offseason as they build the roster under Harbaugh’s vision. A potential identity change for the Chargers could be one of the more fascinating storylines to watch this season.

Tennessee Titans hire Brian Callahan to replace Mike Vrabel 

Callahan joins Tennessee after spending the past five seasons as Cincinnati’s offensive coordinator under Zac Taylor. Callahan at least earns some credit for turning Cincinnati’s offense into one of the league’s juggernauts. Although, he also didn’t call the plays for the Bengals and will now assume that role as Tennessee’s head coach.

However, Callahan now goes from one of the league’s best offensive situations to one of the worst. The Titans have virtually nothing to speak of at the skill positions, aside from receiver DeAndre Hopkins. He’ll also be tasked with developing second-year QB Will Levis, who is one of the bigger unknowns at the position.

Cincinnati’s play-calling put practically everything on Burrow’s shoulders while operating exclusively out of shotgun to better support their star QB. It’ll be interesting to see whether we see the Titans operate more often from under center with Callahan calling the shots.

Callahan brought on former Jacksonville passing game coordinator Nick Holz to be his OC. Holz is another unproven name, as he just wrapped up his first season overseeing the Jags’ passing game.

The Titans are a pretty big unknown from a fantasy perspective. Like Canales, Callahan likely faces an uphill battle, and this probably isn’t a fantasy situation you want to buy into.

Las Vegas Raiders hire interim head coach Antonio Pierce 

Pierce deserves a ton of credit for how he turned the Raiders around after firing Josh McDaniels. However, due to his small sample size on the job, he’s still a relative unknown.

Pierce’s hiring of former Chicago offensive coordinator Luke Getsy wasn’t overly inspiring. Getsy struggled in his first opportunity to call plays in Chi-Town.

The Raiders also have a major void at quarterback and have to determine whether to bring back star running back Josh Jacobs. While Las Vegas does have an exciting receiving duo in Davante Adams and Jakobi Meyers, it’s tough to find much fantasy upside outside of that tandem.

New England Patriots hire Jerod Mayo to replace Bill Belichick 

New head coach Jerod Mayo brought in an experienced coach to serve as his first OC. The Patriots hired former Cleveland Browns OC Alex Van Pelt to the same position. With Mayo having a defensive background as a player, the expectation is Van Pelt will have full control of the offense.

Van Pelt has spent nearly 20 years in the league, most recently working under Kevin Stefanski in Cleveland. Lucky for Patriots fans, Van Pelt knows a thing or two about dealing with a bad situation. The Browns managed to rank top-10 in both point differential and yardage differential despite a carousel at QB that ended with Joe Flacco, as well as a rash of injuries along the offensive line and to star running back Nick Chubb.

The situation is somehow worse in New England, but there’s hope. The Patriots should be able to land one of the top three quarterback prospects in the draft. Additionally, New England is projected to have the second-most cap space in the league.

The Pats will have to build a respectable unit around their future QB, or else risk the possibility of a Mac Jones-level disaster. The cupboard is pretty bare at the moment, which means we won’t know New England’s fantasy prospects until we see what they do in free agency and on Draft Day.

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