Tuesday, August 14, 2018
NFC North, Coach Rankings, NFL, Mike Zimmer, Mike McCarthy
Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

2018 NFL Coach Rankings: NFC North

For a four-year stretch between 2011 and 2014, Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers dominated the NFC North. But since Mike Zimmer arrived in Minnesota, the Vikings have won two of the last three division titles.

Philadelphia embarrassed the Vikings in the NFC Championship Game a season ago. However, Minnesota is arguably in better shape than the Packers moving forward.

NFC North, Coach Rankings, NFL

Meanwhile, Chicago is rebuilding and could be close to turning the corner. Detroit isn’t necessarily in bad shape with Matthew Stafford, but they’re a step behind the Vikings and the Packers.

The NFC North should be one of the toughest divisions in the league. Three teams could contend for playoff spot this season, and coaching will be vitally important for each team.

Throughout the month of June, we are ranking the coaches in each division. We’ve already ranked coaches in the NFC East, NFC South and NFC West. At the end of the month, we will rank the top five coaches in the NFL.

NFC North Coach Rankings

  1. Matt Nagy, Chicago Bears

After serving as an assistant under Andy Reid for a decade, Nagy is getting his first head coaching opportunity with the Bears. Chicago is hoping that hiring an Andy Reid disciple will produce similar results to what the Eagles have achieved with Doug Pederson.

Nagy has an opportunity to mold second-year quarterback Mitch Trubisky, and he has a considerable amount of young talent on the defensive side of the ball. The Bears haven’t had a winning season since 2012. So, Nagy won’t be expected to produce a winning team right away. The 40-year-old will have a few years to prove himself in Chicago.

  1. Matt Patricia, Detroit Lions

The longtime New England assistant is getting his first chance as a head coach in Detroit. Patricia served as the defensive coordinator for the Patriots from 2012 to 2017, and he coached under Bill Belichick starting in 2004.

Previous Detroit coach Jim Caldwell led the team to the playoffs twice, but the Lions haven’t won a playoff game since 1991. Patricia has a franchise QB in Matthew Stafford, and the offense has weapons. The defensive-minded Patricia is tasked with rebuilding the team on the other side of the ball.

  1. Mike McCarthy, Green Bay Packers

McCarthy is one of the few active coaches in the league with a Super Bowl. The Packers won the Super Bowl in 2010, but they haven’t made it back in the last seven seasons. Green Bay missed the playoffs last year, but McCarthy gets a pass since Aaron Rodgers was injured. But the team looked lost without Rodgers, and McCarthy didn’t do much to help without the star QB.

Green Bay fans might argue McCarthy should be in front of Zimmer. McCarthy has accomplished more, and he’s had a long tenure with the Packers. Despite the Super Bowl run, McCarthy has also underachieved in several seasons. Rodgers is 34, and if the Packers don’t make another deep postseason run in the next couple of years, McCarthy will be the one who receives the blame.

  1. Mike Zimmer, Minnesota Vikings

For several years, Zimmer was one of the top assistants in the NFL. He is a defensive mastermind, and his defensive prowess has been on full display since taking over in Minnesota in 2014. The Vikings have won two NFC North titles in the last three seasons. They finished 13-3 last year despite losing starting quarterback Sam Bradford in Week 1.

The loss to Philadelphia in the NFC Championship Game will sting, but the Vikings should be a contender again in 2018. Minnesota already has one of the best defenses in the league, and they’ll have Kirk Cousins and Dalvin Cook to help boost the offense. Zimmer might not have a better resume than McCarthy, but he’s been the better coach over the last few seasons.

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