7. Whomever Al Davis picks - Raiders - The problem with this coaching change is it was the one that had no reason to happen. A smart owner would not fire a head coach after he went 6-0 in the division. There was a lot to build on for the Raiders with Tom Cable there, but who knows if the next guy (rumored to be current offensive coordinator Hue Jackson) will be able to get the players to play hard in Raiderville the same way Cable did.
6. Pat Shurmur - Browns - This was a hire that made even the hardcore football fans ask "Who?" I get that there has been success with the young coaches in recent years but 9 years as Philly's QB coach and just one year as the Rams offensive coordinator isn't that impressive. Philly had Donovan for his whole tenure there and I wasn't as impressed with the Rams offensive design as I was Ram QB Sam Bradford.
5. Jason Garrett - Cowboys - The Cowboys performed much better with Jason Garrett as the head coach. I'm not sure whether that impresses me or not. Their offense seemed to come alive in the second half of the year but I believe that had to do with the more consistent play they were getting at QB with Kitna in and Romo out. I don't know that this team isn't looking for a new head coach again soon. I doubt Garrett will live up to Jones' expectations of him.
4. Ron Rivera - Panthers - Now while I think John Fox is a great coach (Hint hint) he needed a change of scenery. Fox is a guy who is loyal to his veterans but when you're in a place too long that leads to things like Jake Delhomme in 09. Rivera will bring a similar attitude and philosophy to that locker room but won't be attached to guys. Rivera is a coach who has only had success as a coordinator everywhere he has gone and I'm surprised it took this long for him to get a head coaching gig. He should be good in Carolina, you just can't trust ownership to support him with players.
3. Leslie Frazier - Vikings - This is a classic case of addition by subtraction. The Viking players loathed Brad Childress. You could tell by the marked difference in energy level around that team once they got rid of him. Fortunately the Viking management noticed this even through the Brett Frave debacle that was the last four weeks of the Viking regular season. This team went to the NFC champtionship last year and if they get good quarterback play should contend again this year.
2. Jim Harbaugh - 49ers - Harbaugh has a lot of things going for him. He showed at Stanford that he was a quality head coach and his brother has proven to be a quality NFL head coach. Jim has also shown to be capable of developing and working closely with a Quarterback, which is something they need in San Fransisco. They know Alex Smith is not the answer so expect them to give Harbaugh time to develop the new quarterback. The only question mark is the inherent risk you take whenever you hire a college coach, you never know how he'll translate to the pros.
1. John Fox - Broncos - John Fox has a proven track record everywhere he has gone. His defenses in New York were always quality and he went to the Super Bowl with Carolina. Now in a new place with an owner who's proving just by hiring Fox (while still paying McDaniels 3.5 million) hes willing to spend money, Fox should be able to make this team contend. While it's unfortunate that McDaniels won't get to see it, he was just turning the corner on building the team in Denver after trading away Cutler. McDaniels was the guy who believed enough in Tebow to draft him in the first round, unfortunately he handled himself the wrong way at times and was let go. Fox is walking into the best situation out of any of these teams because he has, in my opinion, the best quarterback of any of the teams. I expect this team to make some noise this year and be a contender in 2012 because of the John Fox/Tim Tebow combo.