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  • The instant reactions to head-coaching hires come every winter, and they seem to keep getting worse.
By Conor Orr
December 28, 2018

Take it from the guy who wrote this back in 2016: When it comes to the wave of coaching hires coming down the pike, it might be best to analyze outside the box.

Maybe it’s because we’re living in the era of Old Takes Exposed. Maybe it’s because the current sports media algorithm rewards the most outrageous praise for a hire, and of course, shines equal light on the outrageous contrarian viewpoint. But it certainly seems like there has never been a time when the disconnect between coaching hires that we believe will be successful, and coaching hires that actually are successful, has been greater.

Obviously, you can find a positive thing written about almost every new coach. Everyone deserves the benefit of the doubt (unless they’ve left a path of destruction behind them in the past). But think about our recent history. Doug Pederson was an afterthought in 2016. Anthony Lynn and Sean McVay were not the crown jewels of the 2017 class, either. In 2018, we thought the Colts were sinking after they lost out on a Patriots assistant coach, when in reality they may have landed the coach of the year in Frank Reich.

Believe it or not, this year might be stranger. As we head into the final days before pure coaching carousel insanity, just look at how the market has already shifted. From Hire an offensive guru! to Ah! There are no offensive gurus, maybe look in college! to Ah! The offensive people in college don’t want to leave! Quick! Interview Jim Caldwell and sign John Harbaugh to a 13-year extension!

Mike Shanahan’s name has surfaced again. Chuck Pagano. Joe Philbin. Meanwhile, Brian Kelly still has a playoff game to prepare for, so that bomb has yet to detonate. (Lincoln Riley seems to have ended the speculation on his end).

The truth is that, organizational stability, patience and relationships between the incoming staff and front office dictate so much of what ends up happening down the line. We can all agree that the practice of instantly sharing an opinion on a coaching hire is silly, though maybe not as silly as instantly grading draft picks (both of which I’ll do in the coming months). But when we do look at the coaching class of 2019, it might be valuable to remember that, sometimes, the obvious slam-dunk hire is anything but. Maybe there’s a reason everyone has been talking about a certain candidate, and not about the person who is priming to put the NFL in a stranglehold next season with something we never saw coming.

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1. Lincoln Riley again says he’s probably not coaching in the NFL next year.

2. Giants fans are claiming their first amendment rights were violated when they were arrested for telling players that they f---ing sucked during a 2017 game.

3. Will Rob Gronkowski play next season?

4. Eric Weddle can earn $1 million in incentives by beating the Browns on Sunday.

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THE KICKER

Forty-four minutes and nine seconds of beautiful, ambient music to get you back on track after a turbulent stretch of holiday giftwrapping, travel and seeing people from high school you wish you hadn’t at the CVS near your parents’ house.

Question or comment? Email us at talkback@themmqb.com.

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