Ranking NFL’s eight new head coaches going from Worst to First and the Carolina Panthers new man is named the Worst Hire

Ranking NFL’s eight new head coaches
from Aaron Becker, with YardBarker.com/www.yardbarker.com

The 2024 head-coaching hiring cycle has come to an end since the Commanders filled the last vacancy on Thursday. Here are the league’s eight new head coaches ranked from worst to best.

8. Dave Canales, Panthers

This is, by far, the worst job of the eight that were available. Canales is inheriting a team that just had the NFL’s worst record (2-15) and doesn’t have its first-round pick. The main focus should be helping QB Bryce Young, the 2023 No. 1 pick, who threw 11 touchdowns and 10 interceptions as a rookie. And Canales has proven he can do that with his work with QB Baker Mayfield in 2023. But his coaching will be under a microscope without the weapons Tampa Bay has.

7. Jerod Mayo, Patriots

Mayo has big shoes to fill following Bill Belichick and Robert Kraft’s decision to replace the greatest coach of all time with a first-time head coach is a risky one. Mayo has quickly risen in the coaching ranks after serving as the Patriots linebackers coach from 2019-23. But New England fans are hungry to win again. After back-to-back losing seasons, Mayo is far from having a team that can do that.

6. Antonio Pierce, Raiders

Several players in the Raiders locker room publicly supported Pierce following the season. Some, like DE Maxx Crosby, even threatened to request a trade if he wasn’t made the full-time head coach. However, Pierce only led Las Vegas to a 5-4 record during his stint as the interim head coach. That isn’t bad by any means, but in a division with quarterbacks Patrick Mahomes and Justin Herbert, this feel-good story could turn bad quickly. Only time will tell if giving the team’s players what they wanted will pay off.

5. Raheem Morris, Falcons

Morris is already very familiar with the team after previously coaching for the Falcons from 2015-20. He doesn’t have a strong act to follow either after the departure of Arthur Smith, who was highly criticized for his usage of Atlanta’s best players. He knows he must fix the team’s culture and play on the field. But Morris could make quick work in a weak NFC South division.

4. Dan Quinn, Commanders

Quinn is one of the safest hires of the cycle. However, it seems like a little bit of a lateral move for Washington, going from one veteran, defensive-minded head coach to another. Quinn led one of the league’s best defenses in Dallas. He doesn’t have as much to work with on the Commanders, who traded their two starting pass-rushers (Chase Young and Montez Sweat) at the trade deadline. At least he gets to coach against his former team twice a year if that’s even a good thing.

3. Brian Callahan, Titans

The Titans needed an offensive mastermind to get the best out of its offense, which has seen a lot of turnover in the past couple of seasons. QB Will Levis seems like he’ll be the guy in 2024, but he needs some work. It doesn’t get much better than Callahan, who had the Bengals contending for the playoffs without QB Joe Burrow this season. Tennessee lacks playmakers, especially if the team decides to move on from RB Derrick Henry in the offseason. But if anyone can make it work, it’ll be Callahan.

2. Mike Macdonald, Seahawks

Macdonald instantly becomes the NFL’s youngest head coach at 36, which is half the age of the man he’s replacing in Pete Carroll. He has been described as a defensive Sean McVay and many believe he will bring back the “Legion of Boom” to Seattle. Macdonald led a Baltimore defense that allowed the fewest points per game (16.5) and recorded the most sacks (60) and takeaways (31) in 2023. Expect the Seahawks to follow suit in a short time.

1. Jim Harbaugh, Chargers

The Chargers have continuously underachieved for years while having one of the more talented rosters in the league. That will no longer be the case under Harbaugh, who knows how to win. The former head coach of the 49ers has been flirting with a return to the NFL for years. But after leading Michigan to a College Football Playoff National Championship, he simply wants to be known as a world champion, which he just came up short of in San Francisco. Harbaugh and Los Angeles seem to be a perfect match but now it’s time for results.