The NFC South is a wildly talented division when it comes to offensive and defensive personnel. However, the most important group is the coaching staff that puts it all together in regards to developing their players and building a culture. The difference between a great coaching staff and a bad one is what’s made the AFC East so unbalanced for years.
This division is also full of talented coaches. The Falcons have made some changes to the staff and added some good coaches on the defensive side of the ball. After those additions, where do the Falcons rank in the division?
1. New Orleans Saints
HC - Sean Payton
OC - Pete Carmichael
DC - Dennis Allen
STC - Darren Rizzi
Reminder: it really pains me to say this. However, Coach Payton is currently the best offensive mind in the division. Add the aggressiveness of DC Dennis Allen, and collectively, the Saints have the best staff in the division. All coaches know how to use the talent they have, they have a culture that’s fully engrained and they have been division champions 3 consecutive years from 2017-2019.
They’ve been booted from the playoffs early each of those seasons, but it doesn’t dismiss the fact that they’re still at the top of the division until someone dethrones them. Rizzi turned out to be a great hire a year ago.
2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
HC - Bruce Arians
OC - Byron Leftwich
DC - Todd Bowles
STC - Keith Armstrong
The Buccaneers have been showing consistent improvement since Coach Bruce Arians has taken the helm. Going from 5-11 in 2018 to 7-9 in 2019, the team has taken strides to being a contender. Adding Tom Brady to the mix has certainly opened some eyes.
Coach Arians is a very good motivator and X’s and O’s Coach, Byron Leftwich is slowly coming into his own at OC, and Coach Todd Bowles is an aggressive DC that knows how to utilize his players. Not to mention there’s a level of continuity considering most were together in Arizona. Armstrong hasn’t had a lot of success just yet but might turn things around with more time and better personnel. Year 3 could see a big bump in the team’s competitiveness and success.
3. Atlanta Falcons
HC - Dan Quinn
OC - Dirk Koetter
DC - Raheem Morris
STC - Ben Kotwica
What’s the main reason I have the Falcons listed at 3? It’s definitely inconsistency through Coach Quinn’s tenure.
This team has been the model of inconsistency, and that falls squarely on the coaching staff. Many asked why Coach Raheem Morris is just now getting a shot at DC. Unfortunately, no one knows the answer to that question. Also, the questionable play calling of Dirk Koetter brings a cloud over the talent they’ve accumulated on offense. Although Quinn has led this team to a Super Bowl appearance, I truly have no idea how this team will perform from week to week. Could that change this coming season? Sure, but there’s no way to be sure of that, not in June with so many strange things happening.
4. Carolina Panthers
HC - Matt Rhule
OC - Joe Brady
DC - Phil Snow
STC - Chase Blackburn
The Carolina Panthers have gone through a overhaul with their coaching staff. They have 2 major newcomers in HC Matt Rhule and OC Joe Brady coming from the college ranks. Coach Rhule also brought Phil Snow with him from Baylor. Coach Snow has experience coaching in the NFL, but this also will be his first stint as a DC in the NFL.
Completely unproven to this point at the professional level, this staff will certainly stumble coming out of the blocks and will have to earn their keep in the NFL.