Submitted by Jim Hurley on Wednesday, August 8, 2018 at 8:00 AM
We’ve finally reached the first FULL week of NFL Preseason action in advance of the 2018 campaign. One of the most important handicapping angles every summer involves recognizing how new head coaches will influence their teams.
Coaching changes almost always involve:
*Something that WASN’T working before
*A new guy who can fix THAT
Occasionally a legend will retire…or, just have a falling out with ownership. But, typically, teams making changes are trying to fix something. And that thing getting fixed is a top priority in exhibition games. Sometimes that influences team side results because the new coach wants to set a tone with victories. Other times, it only influences Over/Unders…as offensive-minded coaches increase scoring, while defensive-minded coaches decrease it.
Let’s quickly review the new head coaches in the NFL entering the 2018 season. We’ll take them in alphabetical order of teams…
Arizona Cardinals: Steve Wilks
Most Recently: Defensive Coordinator of the Carolina Panthers
It’s not like Arizona was helpless on defense. This should be a good mix of talent and mindset. And, with Sam Bradford playing quarterback, Wilks knows he’s going to have to win with defense if this team is going to contend for a Wildcard spot. Let’s see if his August skews Under.
Chicago Bears: Matt Nagy
Most Recently: Offensive Coordinator of the Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs were known for moving the ball well while avoiding turnovers. That’s going to be a key issue for Nagy with young quarterback Mitchell Trubisky. The Bears kept Trubisky on the bench in the Hall of Fame game. But, the backup offense did rally to cover the spread with a fourth quarter TD.
Detroit Lions: Matt Patricia
Most Recently: Defensive Coordinator of the New England Patriots
Controversial choice. New England’s defenses were often better than the media gave them credit for. But, the franchise was never a defensive juggernaut. We’ll have to see how the players respond. Patricia’s personal history suggests this could blow up in either direction. JIM HURLEY is currently pessimistic, but open-minded.
Indianapolis Colts: Frank Reich
Most Recently: Offensive Coordinator of the Philadelphia Eagles
A new offensive-minded head coach straight from a Super Bowl championship has been brought in to lead Andrew Luck back from injury. That has “storybook” written all over it. But, it’s debatable how much credit Reich deserves for what the Eagles did last year. And, Luck may still be a bit rusty in terms of regular season form. Study this situation closely so you can stay ahead of the market whatever develops. This could be a Disney movie, or a horror movie.
New York Giants: Pat Shurmur
Most Recently: Offensive Coordinator of the Minnesota Vikings
Minnesota was a “defense first” team last season…so it’s odd that the offensive coordinator made a hiring splash. But the Giants were a disaster on this side of the ball last season. Combine Shurmur with a veteran quarterback in Eli Manning, and the Giants could become a Wildcard contender (and a value team in the market) fairly quickly. Promising combo on paper.
Oakland Raiders: Jon Gruden
Most Recently: Color Commentator on “Monday Night Football”
This has disaster written all over it. The game seemed to have passed Gruden by before he left the sideline for the TV booth. Nothing about his commentary suggested he had jumped back in front of the sport’s evolution. Now, he’s running a team for a maverick owner who’d biding his time until a move to Las Vegas. Maybe an “us against the world” mentality will lead to point spread covers. More likely, a reminder why “TV personalities” don’t make great head coaches any more.
Tennessee Titans: Mike Vrabel
Most Recently: Defensive Coordinator of the Houston Texans
Houston’s defense faded last season because of injuries. It’s important to remember that, when healthy, Houston’s recent history was fantastic on that side of the ball. Tennessee is going to play smash mouth football as long as it has enough bodies.
Quite a mix. Important to note that the only real “journeyman retread” is Gruden. Though, many of those former coordinators have hopped around some. It’s great to see new guys get a chance to lead teams instead of career mediocrities playing it safe for timid owners.
Be sure you read the box scores this week involving these seven new head coaches to see if their teams are placing a priority on WINNING (and covering), or if their strengths are helping to determine whether games go Over or Under the total.
JIM HURLEY certainly has some thoughts about that. You can purchase BEST BETS in both Preseason football and Major League Baseball from this legendary PROVEN WINNER right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions about long term or combination packages, please call us in the office during normal business hours at 1-888-777-4155. The early bird GETS THE MONEY!
Don’t dilly dally! There are a full DOZEN games Thursday night in the NFL. Then, two more Friday and two more Saturday. Week One games can be easy to beat if you have the right information about coaching priorities and quarterback rotations. NETWORK’S exclusive TEAM HANDICAPPING approach creates an information hurricane. That allows JIM HURLEY to isolate a handful of virtual locks for your wagering pleasure.
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