We mentioned it on the podcast last week and I’ve got round to actually writing this now! Wanted to take a quick look at who are the early candidates for Coach of the Year. Come January, the shortlist may have changed a fair bit but here’s the top five from our point of view
Brian Daboll – New York Giants
The 2022 season was meant to be a rebuilding season for the Giants, and it still is but through five weeks of play, the Giants look like contenders again. Having Saquon back and fit has helped but it’s the play of the two lines that has catapulted the Giants back into the realms of contention. Fans are right to be excited about the future of the franchise.
Mike McDaniel – Miami Dolphins
Granted, the last couple of weeks haven’t been great and the whole ‘Tua concussion’ thing will be a blip on his record this year, but I’ve liked what I’ve seen from the Dolphins in 2022. When all their key players are on the field the offence looks electric. The defence is improving week on week as well.
Sean McDermott – Buffalo Bills
It helps having an MVP calibre quarterback, but it’s not just because Josh Allen is playing so well that this Bills team remains favourite for a Super Bowl berth. Despite a tonne of injuries to the backfield, the defence has taken a huge step up from 2021. Gabe Davis and Isaiah McKenzie are legit running mates alongside Steffon Diggs and whilst doubts remain about the running game, they’re getting just enough from it.
Arthur Smith – Atlanta Falcons
I missed this off my original list but Griff was absolutely right to add him into the mix. The Falcons are 3-3 with a roster filled with players most fans would consider backups at best. Mariota is having a second wind after a few years playing second fiddle in Las Vegas. The defence is doing just enough to stay in games.
Nick Sirianni – Philadelphia Eagles
Can’t leave off the only coach that is currently unbeaten in the league! Jalen Hurts has taken a massive step forward this year which is down to coaching as much as it is to him. The playbook is designed masterfully around his strengths and limitations. The roster is deep and allows for good rotation. They’ve had a couple of weeks of tough matches but they’ve still managed to come out on top – they’re going to be tough to beat this year.
Robert Salah – New York Jets
I was going to stop at five, but I can’t leave Salah out. The Jets are 4-2. Not 2-4, which actually would have been a good record for them at this point in recent years. But they’re 4-2! They beat the Packers, in Green Bay! Salah has the defence playing like he had the 49er defence playing when he was there. The running game is also starting to click with Breece Hall looking like a Offensive Rookie of the Year contender. Salah probably won’t win because I do expect the Jets to regress a little, but it’s been great to see!