Coaching is a tricky art. It’s not always clear if improvements on the field are down to new personnel, individual improvements, schemes matching up perfectly or just good coaching. However, given the improvements some teams have made on last season it is safe to say that their new coaches have had a big impact. These are our top five head coaches of the season so far. Who would walk away with our Coach of the Year trophy? Find out!
5 Mike Zimmer, Minnesota Vikings
Mike Zimmer has been a good coach for a long time, but right now he might be doing his best head coaching work. The Vikings have very quietly had a rough 12 months. From seeing a 5-0 start collapse before their eyes to losing Sam Bradford and then Dalvin Cook, there have been a lot of issues for Zimmer to navigate.
It would have been very easy for the Vikings to lose their head again when a strong Week 1 under Bradford evaporated in Week 2 under Case Keenum, or when Dalvin Cook was lost to an ACL tear, but Zimmer has kept them together and kept them believing in each other. While Aaron Rodgers' injury may have opened the door to the NFC North for them, they have been more than willing to kick it in with strong defense and a balanced offense. At 6-2 Minnesota have been an under the radar success story so far this season.
4 Doug Pederson, Philadelphia Eagles
You might expect the coach with the best record (7-1) in the NFL to be higher, but I'm still not overly convinced that Doug Pederson is that good a coach.
The Eagles improvement this year has been fueled by a more talented roster than last season and a fairly soft schedule so far. While Carson Wentz has gotten better in Year 2 in the NFL, as he should with a whole offseason to work on the scheme and more talented weapons to throw to. The defense has improved with Tim Jernigan in the middle and the addition of Derek Barnett on the edge.
While this has been a very good season for the Eagles so far, let's just say the jury is still out on Pederson.
3 Andy Reid, Kansas City Chiefs
Reid has been great in 2017, taking a Kareem Hunt and adding him to a talented offense to make a monstrous passing offense.
Reid has blended his west coast style with some college concepts and a few more vertical ideas to create the #1 passing attack in the country with "game manager" Alex Smith at quarterback.
While a few of the old time management issues are still there, Reid has done an excellent job as adapting to the talent he has and has undoubtedly been getting the best out all involved in Kansas right now.
2 Sean McVay, Los Angeles Rams
There really wasn't much between Sean McVay and our #1 spot.
In 2016 the Rams, and particularly rookie quarterback Jared Goff, were a listless ship that was ready to crash into a rock and break apart. In 2017, under the guidance of first-year head coach, and youngest HC in NFL history, McVay they have become a team that is vying with Seattle for the NFC West crown.
The difference in Jared Goff has been the most remarkable thing for the Rams, with the former Cal man seeing an uptick in every statistic imaginable thanks to the efforts of McVay. It's also important to note that he made a smart decision, along with general manager Les Snead, to bring in Wade Phillips, which has allowed McVay to pour all his efforts into correcting the offense.
The results have been remarkable, and don't be surprised if the Rams are still in the hunt for the NFC West title come mid-December.
1 Sean McDermott, Buffalo Bills
However, our current Coach of the Year is the other Sean, Buffalo's Sean McDermott.
Buffalo seemed ready to hit the reset button hard this offseason, with talk of Tyrod Taylor leaving town. Then New England poached a few players in free agency, Sammy Watkins and Ronald Darby were dealt and it looked like it would be a long season for Buffalo.
Instead, McDermott has come in and radically changed the culture in the Bills locker room, cleansing it of Rex Ryan's stink and creating a place players want to be. LeSean McCoy has flourished and the defense has been revitalized, going from 27th in defensive DVOA to sixth at the moment.
At 5-2 Buffalo are in the thick of the AFC East race, and while they have had arguably a soft schedule and are yet to face the Patriots, enough cannot be said about McDermott's work to rebuild the Bills and give them a sense of pride and self-belief.
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