Gus Bradley – Jacksonville Jaguars
Last season the Seattle Seahawks allowed the fewest points per game and the fourth fewest yards per game with Bradley as their defensive coordinator. The most impressive thing about this is that his entire defense was almost all players who weren’t first round draft picks like Brandon Browner, Richard Sherman, Chris Clemons and Bobby Wagner.
Bradley started his football life as a safety and a punter at North Dakota State where he won a Division II championship in 1988. He made the all academic team all four years he spent there. Right after he graduated he became a graduate assistant for his alma mater in 1990. After two seasons there he was quickly given a job at Fort Lewis College from 1992-1995 where he was a linebackers coach and defensive coordinator. After doing a great job there he was given one of the top jobs back at his alma mater, the role of defensive coordinator. From 1996 to 2005 North Dakota State put up great defensive numbers and that led him to his first job in the NFL.
From 2006 to 2008 Bradley served as linebackers coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. For those years he worked closely under defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin. When the defensive coordinator position opened up in Seattle, Kiffin put in a good word for Bradley and Bradley was hired. Bradley’s first two years in Seattle were rough. Head Coach Jim L. Mora was fired because of it. It wasn’t just Bradley, the offense wasn’t producing either. Later, Pete Carroll was hired and he kept Bradley on the staff. That has proven to be one of the best decisions Carroll has made. The defense improved greatly in his first year and then in his second year they allowed the fewest yards in the league.
Because of the great job he did in Seattle, the Jaguars called and offered him the top job. After spending years in the lower ranks of college he did it. Based off what he did with the Seahawks defense, I think that the Jaguars could greatly improve. The Jaguars have drafted in the top ten of the NFL draft for eight years in a row. They may be drafting there one more year, but after that I think they will be a fairly decent team.
Gary Kubiak – Houston Texans
(59-53) Houston Texans, entering 8th season.
Kubiak has had an amazing career. He has been a part of six teams that have made the super bowl, winning three. Kubiak, a hall of fame Texas high school football player, went to Texas A&M where he led the conference in passing yards and touchdowns in his senior year. In 1983 the Denver Broncos drafted Gary Kubiak 197th overall. He was the second QB that they got from the 1983 draft, the first one was number one pick John Elway. For Kubiak’s entire career, he was Elway’s loyal backup. From 1983 to 1991 Kubiak was with the Broncos and he had a career 1,920 passing yards with 14 touchdowns. Elway led the Broncos to three super bowls in that time period. The Broncos lost all three. In the third one, Super Bowl XXIV, he got rewarded with playing time and went 4-4 for 48 yards.
After his playing career with the Broncos he became a running back coach at his alma mater Texas A&M in 1992 and 1993. His running back Greg Hill was drafted 25th overall in the 1994 NFL draft by the Chiefs. That led to the 49ers calling and giving him the position of quarterbacks coach where he worked closely with offensive coordinator Mike Shanahan. In his only season in San Francisco they won Super Bowl XXIX.
The next season, Shanahan was named Broncos head coach. He named Kubiak offensive coordinator and quarterback coach. Kubiak was thrilled to return to Denver and work with John Elway again. Together, they finally won the big one in their fourth appearance in Super Bowl XXXII. Elway capped off his career the next season winning Super Bowl XXXIII. Kubiak now had won three super bowls in his coaching career. Kubiak stayed at offensive coordinator with Denver until 2006 when the Houston Texans named him head coach. He is still in that position today. He has had playoff appearances but has never reached the super bowl. He has a loaded roster and the Texans will be a contender. Most of his good players are on the way down in their career so each year it will get harder and harder.
Mike Munchak – Tennessee Titans
(15-17) Entering 3rd season with Tennessee Titans
Munchak was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania and went on to play three seasons at guard for Joe Paterno and Penn State. In 1982 the Houston Oilers drafted Munchak 8th overall. In 1983 and 1984 the Oilers drafted lineman in the first round as well. They became a great line that would lead the Oilers to seven straight playoff appearances. Munchak had a great career with the Oilers, he went to nine pro bowls and in 1988 and 1991 he was named first team all-pro. In 2001 Munchak was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame. He is the only current head coach who was a top ten pick or a hall of famer.
Munchak has been with the Titans franchise his whole career. The Titans were the Houston Oilers until 1997 when they moved to Tennessee. He retired as a player in 1993 and immediately became an offensive assistant with the team until 1996. In 1997 he was named offensive line coach. He held that position until 2010. He was given the head coaching job in 2011 and is entering his third season as head coach and 31st season with the franchise as a player, assistant coach or head coach.
Chuck Pagano – Indianapolis Colts
Pagano has been a defensive coach since 1985 and every team he has been to he has greatly improved their defense. Before that he was a strong safety for the University of Wyoming. When his playing career was over he spent 16 seasons as an assistant at USC, Miami (two stints), Boise St., East Carolina (two stints) and UNLV.
From 2001 to 2004 Pagano was the Cleveland Browns secondary coach. In 2001 his secondary led the league in interceptions, and one of his rookies led the league with ten interceptions. In 2005 and 2006 Pagano joined the Oakland Raiders as defensive backs coach. In 2006 the Raiders only allowed 151 passing yards per game which was best in the league. Then he went to University of North Carolina for one year as defensive coordinator to work under head coach Butch Davis, who had been the head coach of the Browns and the University of Miami when Pagano made stops with those teams. They only went 4-8 but seven of those losses were by seven or less points.
In 2008 John Harbaugh hired Chuck Pagano in his first season as Baltimore’s head coach. Pagano was the secondary coach and the defensive coordinator. In 2011, which was Pagano’s final season with the Ravens, the defense ranked third in points and in yards. The year before Pagano was named defensive coordinator the Ravens were ranked 21st in pass defense. In Pagano’s first year they improved and were ranked 4th.
Because of the great jobs he did in Baltimore, Oakland, Cleveland and all of his college jobs, Pagano was named head coach of the Indianapolis Colts in 2012. Unfortunately, Pagano was diagnosed with Leukemia and had to miss 12 games. Some of the Colts players and cheerleaders shaved their heads in support of Pagano. Everyone was rooting for him to get better. His assistant, Bruce Arians, who was the head coach when Pagano was gone, did such a great job that he was named NFL Coach of the Year and then was hired by the Arizona Cardinals to be their head coach.
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