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Don’t Get Lost in the Coaching Carrousel

Don’t Get Lost in the Coaching Carousel

Every year, the offseason brings
us a flurry of coaching changes across the NFL.

 
Each of these new head coaches brings their own philosophy and methods
to their new teams.

 Many fantasy owners
dismiss these coaching changes as having a dramatic impact on the fantasy
values of players in these changing situations; however, ignoring the impact of
a new offensive philosophy or system can be a tragic error for even the most astute
fantasy owner.

  Just ask last year’s
Lamont Jordan owners how much they took into account the arrival of Art Shell
when deciding to pick him in the first round of their fantasy drafts (Yes I
know there were many other problems with Lamont last year including the
offensive line).

There were several head coaching
changes in the 2007 offseason, including the Arizona Cardinals, Pittsburgh
Steelers, Dallas Cowboys, Miami Dolphins, Atlanta Falcons, and San Diego
Chargers.

 

The following will analyze the Arizona
Cardinals and Atlanta Falcons head coaching changes that could have the most
significant impact on fantasy players’ values as a result of their changing
situations:

 

Arizona

Cardinals

New Coach:

 Ken Whisenhunt

Exiting Coach: Denny Green

The arrival of Ken Whisenhunt
should bring a touch of the Steelers power run game to

Arizona.

 
Whisenhunt’s offensive staff includes former Cowboys passing coordinator
Todd Haley as offensive coordinator, former Steelers assistant coach Russ Grimm.

  

Ken Whisenhunt’s system will
bring a change from Denny Green’s pass happy offense over the past few years
that have resulted in significantly inflated receiving numbers for both Anquan
Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald. The new coach should emphasize the run a lot more
in games and gear the offense as a more balanced one.

 Of course, this balance is dependent on the
improvement in the Cardinal offensive line, which was one of the worst in the
NFL in 2006.

As far as impact on fantasy
players, Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin could be in for a drop in
production if the offense indeed becomes more balanced.

  Matt Leinart’s effectiveness as a NFL
quarterback should increase; however, his fantasy production potential should
be less than it was under Denny Green.

 
Edgerrin James should benefit from more of a focus on the run, but this
benefit will largely depend on the improvement on the offensive line this
coming season.

Atlanta

Falcons

New Coach: Bobby Petrino

Exiting Coach: Jim Mora, Jr.

With the arrival of Bobby
Petrino, the era of trying to use Michael Vick in a West Coach Offense quickly
ended.

 The offense will look much different
next season as Petrino has gotten rid of the zone blocking schemes for the
offensive line, and shifted the short timing routes of Mora’s West Coast
offense to more field stretching vertical passing routes.

  The Falcons will try to have the look of more
of a power running game type team, despite the use of two smallish backs in
Jerrious Norwood and Warrick Dunn.

 
Petrino hired Hue Jackson (former

Bengal’s
wide receivers coach) as his offensive coordinator.

 As far as fantasy relevance,
Michael Vick (provided he isn’t suspended or in jail) should benefit from the
change in system as he goes back to running an offense similar to the one he thrived
under Dan Reeves with.

  Both

Norwood and Dunn should benefit as well from the changes in
the run game; however, due to

Norwood’s
superior explosiveness he should emerge as the feature back by seasons end.

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