For those who didn't see this series last year, I try to take a different approach to fantasy projections than your run-of-the-mill rankings. The basis of my process is that the number one indicator of fantasy success is opportunities to touch the ball. Obviously individual player skill can (and will) affect that, but at the end of the day players are at the mercy of playcalling and play design. Therefore, if we want to make accurate projections, we need to look at each coach's scheme and how they like to spread the ball around.
This kinda felt like a sinking ship the moment Cam Newton walked onto the field to start the season despite clearly still being under the effects of last season's lingering injuries. To Ron Rivera's credit, he did manage to last all the way through twelve games despite benching Newton after two. At the end of the day though, when your entire team's success rests on the shoulders of a single injury-prone player then this is bound to happen sooner or later. Enter Matt Rhule. Carolina brings in Rhule as their new head coach after watching him turn Baylor's program around in just three short years despite following in the wake of a massive scandal. Rhule brings with him his defensive coordinator from Baylor Phil Snow, and hired LSU WR coach and passing game coordinator Joe Brady as his new offensive coordinator.
Head coach Sean McDermott will continue his tenure after taking the Bills to the postseason for the second time in three years, a vast improvement over the 17-year drought preceding him. He will keep both his coordinators on board as well. This is an obvious decision regarding defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier after he helmed a top 3 defense. Offensive coordinator Brian Daboll did not enjoy nearly the same level of success as the Bills' offense ranked in the bottom third of the league in both points and yards. Daboll did continue to coax noticeable improvement out of QB Josh Allen, however, which kept him safe from the chopping block (and almost earned him a head coaching gig in Cleveland).
Safe to say that no one in the Ravens coaching staff is losing their jobs due to poor performance last season. Perhaps more surprising is that none of them left for greener pastures after such all-around dominance. Offensive coordinator Greg Roman commanded the top offense in the NFL while defensive coordinator Don Martindale coached up a top 5 defense despite the mass exodus of star players prior to the 2019 season (earning himself quite the payday as a result). And of course, we can't forget head coach John Harbaugh, who was considered to be on the hot seat just a year and a half ago. There aren't many more secure HC seats going into 2020.
Thanks in no small part to a late-season surge, Dan Quinn keeps his head coaching seat by the skin of his teeth for the second year in a row. Sharp contrast from the Falcons' Super Bowl appearance just a few years ago. He retains Dirk Koetter as his offensive coordinator, but will relinquish his defensive coordinator title to Raheem Morris. Morris was promoted from DB coach, but had been calling defensive plays toward the end of 2019 anyway so there likely won't be a huge change on that side.
Nothing new to see here. Kliff Kingsbury returns for year two of his Arizona rebuild as both head coach and offensive coordinator after some eye-opening improvement on the offensive side of the ball. Defensive coordinator Vance Joseph returns as well, although his seat is likely to be considerably hotter than Kliff's after the defense actually posted worse numbers than they did in 2018.
This year just felt like the physical embodiment of Murphy's Law for the Redskins. The defense regressed, the rookie quarterback did not appear ready for the big league, and approximately everyone was injured. Jay Gruden stood no chance. Taking his place as the new head coach will be Panthers castoff Ron Rivera. Rivera brings with him Scott Turner from Carolina to be the offensive coordinator. His defensive coordinator will be Jack Del Rio, who last coached at the NFL level in 2017.
Maybe the Titans' defense wasn't what it was in 2018, but Dean Pees still did some excellent work with them in 2019. His decision to retire ends a very successful career that featured a top-12 defense in 11 out of his 12 years leading one. In the wake of his retirement, head coach Mike Vrabel has decided to not hire a new defensive coordinator to replace him, opting instead to spearhead a collaborative effort himself. They are keeping offensive coordinator Arthur Smith though after the Titans offense jumped from being a bottom-5 unit to a top-10 one.
Not that the Bucs had a bad offense before, but new head coach Bruce Arians actually turned all those yards into points. Defensive coordinator Todd Bowles also did rather well with a defense largely devoid of talent. Sure he allowed a few more points than you'd normally like to see, but he was put in bad positions rather frequently by a certain turnover-prone quarterback. Both coaches will return for the 2020 season. Offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich will also return, though Arians is truly the one in command of this offense.
The Seahawks were perfectly adequate last season. 11-5 and won a playoff game. Certainly enough to keep all the coaching positions safe, but not enough to start seeing coaches getting poached to lead other teams. As a result, head coach Pete Carroll will return to continue his streak as the 5th longest tenured head coach in the NFL. Offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer and defensive coordinator Ken Norton will return as well.