By Steve Silverman-
(CBS) Marc Trestman has plenty of company among first-year head coaches.
Not counting Andy Reid, who has moved from Philadelphia to Kansas City, seven new coaches have taken over franchises, and all of them are expected to provide turnarounds for their employers.
Some may have as long as three years to get to the playoffs or better, but all need to show improvement in 2013 over their team’s performance last year. Trestman is diametrically opposed from his predecessor Lovie Smith, and his intellectual and often verbose approach to coaching is unique among NFL head coaches.
Trestman is trying to buck tradition in that he is charged with the responsibility of changing the Bears from a defensive-oriented franchise to a team that can play with the best offensive teams. For that to happen, the Bears will need to get steady play from the offensive line for the first time in years and quarterback Jay Cutler must avoid careless mistakes.
If both of those things happen, Trestman will have a chance to work his magic. If not, he’ll have a difficult time transitioning from the Canadian Football League.
Here’s a quick look at the other six first-year head coaches.
Bruce Arians, Arizona – Arians was forced to take over as head coach of the Indianapolis Colts last season as Chuck Pagano underwent intense treatment for leukemia. Arians may be a more conventional version of Trestman. He is excellent in developing quarterbacks, and has a great understanding of play-calling. The Cardinals may not be talented enough to take advantage of his skill.
Chip Kelly, Philadelphia – Make no mistake about it, the Eagles are going for it with the hiring of Kelly and his “attack” offense. Early returns are quite good as Michael Vick has taken to this offense and the Eagles offensive line appears to have the conditioning to make this work. If Kelly has problems early on, it could be from officials who will not increase their own pace just because Kelly wants to run one play after the next.
Gus Bradley, Jacksonville – Bradley is the example of the hot assistant who got his chance. Bradley did a sensational job as defensive coordinator of the aggressive Seahawks. Of course, it didn’t hurt that he had the best secondary in the league, led by cornerback Richard Sherman. He doesn’t have that kind of talent in Jacksonville and he has not shown any kind of offensive know-how.
Rob Chudzinkski, Cleveland – He may have the best long-term future of any of the first year coaches. Chudzinski is very creative in his gameplanning and his play-calling, and he combines that attribute with excellent teaching skills. Nobody did more to help Antonio Gates become a game-changing tight end than Chudzinski.
Doug Marrone, Buffalo – Like nearly every other aspect of the franchise, Doug Marrone is under the radar. Marrone was able to turn around a sleepy Syracuse program, but that does not seem to be enough to earn him a head-coaching slot in the NFL. He was a decent offensive line coach, and he’s probably better than predecessor Chan Gailey, but the Bills may be years away from becoming a playoff team.
Mike McCoy, San Diego – McCoy has acquired the reputation of a quarterback guru because he won in Denver with Kyle Orton and Tim Tebow. It’s hard to give him credit for helping Peyton Manning, since he is one of the all-time greats. However, he was smart enough not to get in Manning’s way. McCoy has to bring Philip Rivers back to form if he is going to be successful in San Diego. Most expect the Chargers to struggle this year, but don’t underestimate McCoy’s ability to get the most out of a temperamental quarterback.