The change from Lovie Smith to Marc Trestman saw the Bears dip from 10 wins in 2012 to eight this season, one of only two teams to post a lower win total with a new head coach in 2013.
The other one — Rob Chudzinski — was fired by the Cleveland Browns. But that's not happening in Chicago. Trestman in fact was one of the five, out of eight, new head coaches getting their teams either into the playoffs or within a game of them.
With the firings of Leslie Frazier in Minnesota and Jim Schwartz by the Detroit Lions, the two “defensive” coaches in the NFC North are gone, a year after Smith was out in Chicago. Smith may be in the discussion for the Lions’ vacancy if the Tampa Bay Buccaneers don’t bring him back, as hinted at by veteran NFL reporter Rick Stroud at the Tampa Bay Times.
But the NFL has tilted increasingly toward offense, from its rules-making on up to its coach hirings. It is difficult to see the trend line changing direction, although defensive coaches are in very much in play: Smith in Tampa, Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator Todd Bowles in Cleveland, and Seattle defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, also in Cleveland, according to reports.
Bill O’Brien’s hiring to replace Gary Kubiak in Houston continues the pattern of preferring offensive backgrounds for head coaches; O’Brien held various offensive posts on Bill Belichick’s staff from 2007-11.
The year-one track records of the 2012 coaching hires:
Bruce Arians, Arizona Cardinals in playoff contention until final week, finishing 10-6 after 5-11 in 2012;
Rob Chudzinski, fired by Cleveland after slip from 5-11 to 4-12.
Mike McCoy, San Diego Chargers in the playoffs at 9-7, after 7-9 in 2012;
Andy Reid, Kansas City Chiefs in the playoffs at 11-5 after 2-14 in 2012;
Marc Trestman, Chicago Bears in playoff contention until final minute, 8-8 after 10-6 in 2012.
Chip Kelly, Philadelphia Eagles in the playoffs at 10-6 after 4-12 in 2012;
Doug Marrone, Buffalo Bills repeat 6-10 mark after 2-2 start.
Gus Bradley, Jacksonville Jaguars a little better (4-12) after 2-14 in 2012.