Ranking the rookie head coaches following the 2021 NFL season | You Pod to Win the Game

Yahoo Sports’ Senior NFL Writer Charles Robinson and Yahoo Sports’ Columnist Dan Wetzel discuss the 2021 class of rookie head coaches. The Eagles Nick Sirianni was the only rookie head coach to take his team to the playoffs. Does he top the list? Hear the full conversation on the You Pod to Win the Game podcast. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher or wherever you listen.

Video Transcript

CHARLES ROBINSON: So @ksc1957 asked, could you guys spend a bit of time ranking the rookie head coaches this year. I will just say we can toss out Urban Meyer, OK? Because he was last. He was terrible, it was abject failure in every way. Like so let's not even get into Urban. Like--

DAN WETZEL: Urban was either going to be first or last, but it certainly was last. OK, so he's out. Last place is taken.


DAN WETZEL: And Sirianni he's got to be number one, right?

CHARLES ROBINSON: [? He ?] only want to made the playoffs. Nick Sirianni with the Eagles, I would say, you know, had a chance to talk to some executives and we were sitting in the office with the guy. And he had a really good read on it, he said, look, you know, we're-- like, look at our lines. Defensive line, offensive line. He said, if we can pull it together there, I'll bet you we're going to be a team that's over 500, maybe not gangbusters, but we'll be over 500 and we will compete for a playoff spot. And that's absolutely what happened.

I think he's handled Jalen Hurts really really well in terms of, you know, it's been a roller coaster with Jalen Hurts. Sirianni has been a pleasant surprise. He is someone who, over the course of the season, I have gained a lot of respect for.

DAN WETZEL: Great job with the development of Jalen Hurts. Jalen has done a great job. That team played well, their defense got good. Obviously was a rocky start, but then the schedule was just great at the end. You know, they beat a lot of bad teams to get in there. But they did it. You know, like that's the thing.

We were talking about Minnesota should have got there if they just won the games they should have won. You're in the playoffs and you all have a job. So he's number one, no question. You know, I mean, I think there were two and five at one point this season. Well, they ended up making the playoffs. And thye get Indie's first round pick for getting rid of Wentz. So they've got to be pretty happy.

So much of this league is like just win the games you're supposed to win. We talked about Indianapolis, they blow it against Jacksonville. That's cost them the whole thing. And [? yeah, ?] so he took care of business.

CHARLES ROBINSON: I'm going to surprise people with my second pick. I think David Culley with the Texans did a far better job than anybody realizes. I think they have no clue whatsoever what it could have been like to coach a roster that, the way I put it, it was like Nick Caserio turned the pale upside down and tapped the bottom to try and get everything out of it. Like let's just go out and empty this out.

And for him to win four games, be competitive, Davis Mills, a quarterback who, frankly, when the season started they did not expect for him to even see the field. They were like Tyrod Taylor is going to be our quarterback. And deal with all the Deshaun Watson mess. Keep those guys together, be as even keeled as he possibly could.

And again, once again, competitive in a lot of games. I think it's unbelievable that they got four wins out of the season. I thought for sure this was a probably one win team, and somehow he was able to scratch out four wins this season and be competitive.

DAN WETZEL: All right, so Culley is def-- that's fine as two. This also shows this is a pretty weak list. I mean, he won four games, and two of them were against Jacksonville Arthur Smith, what about Arthur Smith?

CHARLES ROBINSON: I think Arthur Smith with the Falcons did a really good job.

DAN WETZEL: Yeah, I thought-- I mean--

CHARLES ROBINSON: Falcons were another-- it's another roster that's in a complete overhaul. By the way, lost Calvin Ridley, it's like nobody even brings that up really when they talk about Arthur Smith. You lose your number one wide receiver. It's one of the sunsetting years of Matt Ryan. He's not going to be in the league much longer.

You know, I thought he acquitted himself really well. I thought Arthur Smith was--

DAN WETZEL: Can I pick second to worst? Brandon Staley. He's got a playoff team and they aren't in the playoffs. Simple as that. It's a playoff team. He's got a great quarterback. The in-game management cost a playoff team a playoff spot. There's other games as well. None of these guys have anything to work with except Brandon Staley. He's got a playoff team and one of the best quarterbacks in the league and they're sitting at home. Bad job.

CHARLES ROBINSON: The one thing I will say is Staley made some mistakes that I think are mistakes of first year coaches, and you go one of two ways. You either learn from it and you augment some of your decision making or you keep in that canal and it ends up getting you fired eventually. And what I mean by that canal, I do think it's the fourth down canal.

I do believe there is an element of understanding in-game situation, it's just, [? it's ?] that, situational awareness and knowing when it's time to remove yourself from maybe what your norm is. Let's get to Campbell then. He's the last one on the list we haven't talked about. And the only point I will make about Dan, great awesome three-win season. If you follow this up, if you follow this up with a five-win season you're done.

DAN WETZEL: Everyone knows they had no players. Everyone knows Jared Goff is not the answer long term. And at least this guy is fun, he's respectful, he's exciting, he gives them an identity.

CHARLES ROBINSON: Oh, he's all those things.

DAN WETZEL: He's in the damn Lions. Another team? Sure. There's not a single star on the team. They have nobody. What's the identity of the Detroit Lions? OK? They've got a couple of good rookies--

CHARLES ROBINSON: It's Dan Campbell.

DAN WETZEL: It's Dan Campbell.


DAN WETZEL: So they love him. You know what he does, he's excited to be in Detroit. He-- no, no, he wants-- nothing in Detroit. The people of Detroit get crapped on nonstop. Why the hell do you live there, all this stuff. Dan Campbell wants to be in Detroit.