The Final Four in the NFL is set: the Kansas City Chiefs will host the New England Patriots while the Los Angeles Rams will battle the Saints in New Orleans.
But we’re already looking ahead. Our crystal ball has the capability to look waaaaaypast the NFC and AFC Championship Games, beyond the Pro Bowl, and, heck, even further than the Super Bowl. This crystal ball can see the likely outcome for all eight new coaches that were hired.
Below we’ve ranked the new hires, from first to worst.
1. Cleveland Browns: Freddie Kitchens
The fast-rising assistant coach started the 2018 season as the QB coach for the Cleveland Browns, and, now, less than a year later, Kitchens is the head man in charge in Cleveland.
The former interim offensive coordinator quickly proved that the Browns’ talented offense was being held back by Hue Jackson. Kitchens transformed the lowly Browns into one of the most entertaining teams in the NFL, and not because of how laughable they are.
The Browns have blue-chip talent throughout the roster, and a young core that should continue to develop. It’s no sure thing, but Kitchens could be cooking in Cleveland as early as next season.
2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Bruce Arians
Only a year ago, Bruce Arians retired from coaching the Arizona Cardinals and rode off into the sunset as a CBS color commentator. And now Arians has brought the Cardinals to Tampa, the offensive mastermind is tasked with turning around a talented but young offensive squad, while turning the Bucs defense into a playoff caliber group.
Arians, who has dealt with health issues, is a year-to-year proposition in the NFL, but he’s worth the risk — especially if he can help Jameis Winston realize his potential.
3. Green Bay Packers: Matt LaFleur
LaFleur’s first year as offensive coordinator with the Tennessee Titans left a lot to be desired, but there’s no questioning LaFleur’s resume.
The Packers new coach learned under Jay Gruden, Kyle Shanahan and Sean McVay. Green Bay will hope that running the LaFleur will match the success of those offensive masterminds while letting star QB Aaron Rodgers operate the Shanahan/McVay offense.
The success of this hire will depend largely on if Rodgers buys into the young LaFleur as coach.
4. New York Jets: Adam Gase
Gase’s tenure with the Dolphins might not look great, but the former Miami coach continues to get the most out of the talent on his roster.
The Dolphins routinely had one of the least talented rosters in the league, but Gase was able to overperform.
He might not be a player’s coach who gets along with everybody, but Gase should be able to help Sam Darnold reach the next level of his development.
Unfortunately, Gase might be on a short lease, depending on if the Jets are able to have a successful year in 2019.
5. Arizona Cardinals: Kliff Kingsbury
One of the biggest surprises of the hiring cycle was the Cardinals hiring former Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury.
Despite having a losing record in college, Kingsbury is an offensive wizard. He’s been able to develop players such as Patrick Mahomes, Baker Mayfield and Case Keenum while in the college ranks. His next task will be to turn Josh Rosen into a franchise QB.
Although the Kingsbury hire might be slightly confusing, he’s a talented play caller who won’t have to deal with non-NFL talent on defense. Kingsbury is the epitome of a boom-or-bust coaching prospect.
6. Cincinnati Bengals: Zac Taylor
After sixteen seasons as the Bengals coach, Marvin Lewis is no longer in charge in Cincinnati. Rams QB coach Zac Taylor will lead the rebuild for the Bengals.
A big theme this offseason was trying to capture the magic that Sean McVay brought to Los Angeles. Taylor has learned under McVay and the Bengals are hoping that he can replicate that success.
The Bengals are run differently than any team in the league, so Taylor should have some job security but it won’t be easy to win in Cincy.
7. Miami Dolphins: Brian Flores
In charge of the Patriots defense, Flores has rumored to be a hot coaching candidate for years — and the Dolphins love to poach coaches from fellow AFC East teams.
The Dolphins are already reportedly considering tanking the 2019 season to get one of the highly sought after QB prospects.
A talent-depleted team, Flores has a lot of work ahead of him.
8. Denver Broncos: Vic Fangio
Fangio has long been one of the best defensive coordinators in the NFL, and his hiring as a head coach is long overdue.
Unfortunately for the former Bears DC, Fangio has a tough hand in Denver.
The Broncos have an aging defense that’ll most likely improve under Fangio, but it’s the offense — and the staff — that could torpedo his tenure.
Fangio — along with general manager John Elway — will need to overhaul the offense and find a franchise QB. And their offensive coordinator pick, Gary Kubiak, won’t be there to help them.