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The NFL season is entering its fifth week, and more than a few head coaches are already on the “hot” seat. Matt Rhule’s time in Carolina appears to be running on fumes while the clock has begun ticking for the Colt’s Frank Reich and the Cardinal’s Kliff Kingsbury. On the opposite end of the spectrum, a handful of coaches have found success, despite unforeseen obstacles and have their squads headed in the right direction. Although the 2022-23 campaign is still young, these ‘Coach of the Year’ candidates are pushing all the right buttons.
Nick Sirianni has Eagles flying high
Most so-called football experts predicted that the Philadelphia Eagles and the Dallas Cowboys would battle for NFL East Division supremacy. But nobody expected the Eagles to be undefeated heading into Week 5. Second-year head coach Nick Sirianni deserves credit for Philadelphia’s red-hot start. Sirianni has a team loaded with talent on both sides of the ball, but the Eagles have found a way to win in various situations. That’s good coaching. Philadelphia outscored the league’s top-ranked scoring offense on the road and dealt the new and improved Minnesota Vikings their only setback.
Mike McCarthy’s Cowboys keep winning
When Dak Prescott hurt his thumb in the Cowboys’ season-opening game, the consensus was that the playoff hopes of Dallas were over. However, Mike McCarthy has the Cowboys standing tall at 3-1 and unbeaten without their $40 million-a-year starting quarterback. While there is no denying that the Cowboys’ defensive unit has played a significant role in the success of Dallas this season, McCarthy is the conductor who has kept the ship afloat despite the loss of his franchise signal-caller, starting left tackle and big-play WR2.
Vikings prospering under Kevin O’Connell
The Vikings went 8-9 under Mike Zimmer last season and hired 36-year-old Kevin O’Connell, who had just won a Super Bowl as the Los Angeles Rams offensive coordinator. The first-time head coach has steered Minnesota to a 3-1 record and is the favorite to win the NFC North title. Minnesota’s offense remains a work in progress, with players still learning the nuances of O’Connell’s zone run schemes. But it’s scary to imagine how the Vikings’ offense will click once everyone is comfortable with the new system.
Mike McDaniel and Dolphins eyeing playoffs
Another rookie head coach, Miami’s Mike McDaniel, has the Dolphins feeling confident with a 3-1 card. Despite the injury woes of quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, Miami has the look of a legitimate Super Bowl contender. Similar to the situation in Minnesota, the Dolphins are still learning their new offensive system. McDaniel is the architect of the league’s second-ranked passing offense that averages 307 yards a game. Miami’s offense will put fear into opposing defenses once everyone is on the same page.
Doug Pederson has Jaguars winning again
Doug Pederson won Super Bowl LII with the Eagles and is engineering a remarkable turnaround in his first season with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Pederson has Jacksonville riding high with a 2-2 record and was just 14 points shy of being undefeated. A former journeyman quarterback, Pederson is an offensive guru who has transformed Trevor Lawrence into a franchise quarterback in a short period of time.
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