NFL position coaches to keep an eye on
Scouting departments are only as strong as the team’s position coaches. They can make us look good or can put us on the street quickly. Front offices love words like: “upside” and “high ceiling” but with poor coaching those words might as well be “bust” and “unemployed”. Below are some coaches that either have a proven track record or young up and coming guys who have finally been given their shot to run a position. The NFL is loaded with coaching talent and here are just a few names to keep on your radar:
Jeremiah Washburn, OL Coach, Detroit Lions
Washburn has a very unique background. He has done every job in football. Starting as a graduate assistant in college to working for the Ravens as an area scout. He transitioned from the scouting department to the coaching world and finally got his shot to run the OL in 2013. He also comes from good stock, his father Jim is the Lions DL coach, and is regarded as one of the better coaches in the NFL. Having worked with Jim in Philadelphia, his desire and willingness to be involved in the scouting of his position truly benefited him as a coach – and he has obviously passed this to his son. Jeremiah Washburn has an enormous advantage over most coaches because he can view players from both a scouting and coaching perspective. His knowledge of scouting players, should only benefit him as a coach – in terms of understanding their strengths/weaknesses – then utilizing them on Sundays. If the Lions want to get back to the playoffs, look for their new OL coach to play a key role during this journey.
Matt Nagy, QB Coach, KC Chiefs
Nagy is another coach who has put in his time, starting as an intern to becoming a full time position coach. Being the QB coach for Andy Reid has had a consistent history of success. To name a few: Brad Childress, Pat Shurmur, Doug Peterson (Now his OC in Kansas City). Nagy, a former arena league quarterback, almost made his NFL debut while trying to begin his NFL coaching career with the Eagles. I spent three years with Nagy in Philadelphia, and he had a better arm than every QB we had except Vick. Nagy is a very cerebral coach, who really works at his craft, and fits right in with the culture Andy expects from his coaches. Nagy has seen the ups and downs of QB play in his time in Philadelphia: Mike Vick, Kevin Kolb, Vince Young, and last season with Nick Foles. He has a very good feel for what works and what doesn’t in the NFL. Kansas City is going to win, and be good on offense because that’s just what Andy Reid teams do. Don’t be shocked to hear Nagy’s name being thrown around if KC’s success comes quicker than expected – only this time it won’t be to throw the ball but to run an offense.
Pat Hill, OL Coach, Atlanta Falcons
Hill garnered heavy interest from the NFL when Fresno State released him after the 2011 season. He is known as one of the toughest, no nonsense guys in the game of football. An old school coach who can relate to the modern day player. While the Falcons have struggled to the run the ball over the past couple seasons, the addition of Steven Jackson should be huge for the running game. Jackson is a Hill type runner – a natural downhill physical back who can punish defenders. The Falcons should be much more balanced in 2013, and give Coach Hill a player who can help him establish his desired attitude up front.
Duce Staley, RB Coach, Philadelphia Eagles
I am obviously biased here, but I fully believe Duce has a chance to be the best running back coach in the NFL. Staley garners immediate respect from players because of his success on the field. He is not afraid to get on players and has the unique ability to get them to respond quickly. He also learned from arguably the best RB coach in the NFL in Ted Williams, who happens to still be on the staff. It’s no coincidence that Chip Kelly retained both coaches. Lesean McCoy’s career took off in 2010, when Staley arrived, and he played a key role in Bryce Brown’s development last season. With Chip now running the show, and with the uncertainty at the QB spot – look for Staley to really stake his claim as one of the game’s best young coaches. I’d be shocked if the Eagles don’t have one of the best running attacks in the NFL in 2013, with Staley factoring heavily to that success.
Dwayne Walker, DB Coach, Jacksonville
Remember when Dwayne Walker was one of the hottest names in college football? Not many do. But around 2008/2009 – he was being rumored for several jobs, but just never got the chance. He took a New Mexico State job, which I’d argue is the worst job in the country and realized he was headed NOWHERE fast. But Gus Bradley threw him a life line, and he will now coach a DB group which is very raw but quickly acquired some young talent through the draft (Johnathan Cyprien, Dwayne Gratz, Jeremy Harris). He also works for a defensive head coach who will put a premium on that side of the ball. Don’t be surprised for him to move up quickly either as a coordinator in the NFL or gain some college head coaching buzz if the Jags start winning.
Kevin Greene, OLB Coach, Green Bay
Easily one of the most intimidating players in recent history, he has turned into a very good NFL position coach. Greene has molded Clay Mathews into one of the most feared defensive players in the game. Ted Thompson has trusted Greene with consistent projects, in hope that he can turn them into the next Mathews. While Greene keeps quiet about what he teaches and the secrets he gives his players, the league has taken notice. When a scouting department has an elite coach at a position – they tend to take some shots on players they may not otherwise. I wasn’t the biggest Nick Perry fan, but when you can take an elite athlete like that and hand him to a coach like Greene – you feel good as a scout. Coaches like Greene help scouts look good, and he should get Perry on track this season.
Jim Tomsula, DL Coach, SF 49ers
This is one of the hot names around the NFL. He has developed and worked with some of the better DL in the NFL since coming to SF. The 49ers put a lot of stock in his ability to coach the position, a great luxury to have as an organization; this is evident by their 2013 draft . Everything SF does starts up front on defense, Tomsula being the engine that makes this finely tuned machine run. The 49ers are locked and loaded for another run, so look for Tomsula’s name to get tossed around when heads start to roll in January. The only problem is he may too busy chasing another Lombardi Trophy.