The Drive with Jody Oehler

The Drive with Jody Oehler

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Ranking the HC/QB Duos in the NFL

What a difference a year makes. Thinking back to this time in 2019 feels like we all lived on a different planet. Unprecedented change has swept through our world in the blink of an eye and no one knows what the new normal will look like.

The same is actually true for the NFL's landscape as well, albeit without the real life consequences.

The NFL watched as a young buck toppled the old king in the Super Bowl and then a dramatic chain of quarterback and head coaching changes in the offseason further shuffled the NFL's deck.

A year ago Belichick/Brady are comfortably on top of any ranking of the HC/QB rankings for the league and Kliff/Kyler are nestled at the bottom.

Like I said, what a difference a year makes.

But the more things change, the more they stay the same as the combined might of the two most important positions on a team, its head coach and quarterback, still largely determines who's contending for a ring and who's left watching.

After all the offseason changes, here is how I'd rank the most important power couple for every NFL team from 1-32.

32. Los Angeles Chargers - Anthony Lynn/Justin Herbert

  • The award for ugliest power couple in the NFL goes to...<drumroll please>...the Los Angeles Chargers. Anthony Lynn feels like the safe bet for first coach fired and Justin Herbert underwhelmed at Oregon.

31.New York Jets - Adam Gase/Sam Darnold

  • The Jets win the coin flip between them and the Chargers for the worst power couple. Adam Gase is dead last amongst head coaches on my list but at least Sam Darnold has a whiff of potential that hasn't been fully destroyed by Gase's sheer incompetence.

30.Carolina Panthers - Matt Rhule/Teddy Bridgewater

  • Rhule worked miracles at Rutgers and Baylor but how much of that program building magic translates to the NFL? I'm dubious. Bridgewater is fine but not enough to answer questions about Rhule's fit.

29.New York Giants - Joe Judge/Daniel Jones

  • I don't know why the Giants aren't lower, its my list after all, but there's something charming about Daniel Jones dorkishness.

28.Washington Redskins - Ron Rivera/Dwayne Haskins

  • Ron Rivera is too solid of a coach to be this far down but with a quarterback in Haskins that's likely only still the QB because Daniel Snyder wants him to be, it where Rivera needs to be for now.

27.Cincinnati Bengals- Zac Taylor/Joe Burrow

  • If Zac Taylor moved in next door to you, would you have any idea? There is still much unknown about the Bengals second year HC but Joe Burrow's potential is enough to elevate them beyond some other known quantities.

26.Miami Dolphins- Brian Flores/Tua Tagovailoa

  • If we were drafting head coaches, where does Flores end up? It feels like no head coach possesses the potential he does in NFL right now and Tua isn't far behind, although Tua's injury history prevents them from rising too far, too quickly in this ranking.

25.Jacksonville Jaguars- Doug Marrone/Gardner Minshew

  • Doug Marrone coached Blake Bortles to the 2017 AFC Championship game. No matter how many times you say it, it still doesn't sound possible. But its true. Meanwhile Gardner Minshew threw more TD passes, fewer INT's and won more games as a rookie in 4 fewer starts than Kyler Murray. Also true. But still, its Jacksonville.

24.Chicago Bears- Matt Nagy/Mitchell Trubisky

  • Combined, these two have won 19 games over the last two seasons. So why are they at #24? Because it feels like everyone in the organization, fan base and collective Planet Earth knows that Trubisky is not going to work out. While no one knows what tomorrow looks like, let alone a year from now, feels like a certainty Trubisky won't be on this list in 2021.

23.Detroit Lions- Matt Patricia/Matthew Stafford

  • Stafford has gone from #1 overall pick, to underrated, to overrated to forgotten in his career. But there's no denying he's at minimum a solidly slightly above average starting QB. Matt Patricia once coached defense under Bill Belichick. He'd join Gase on my list of least desirable HC's.

22.Denver Broncos- Vic Fangio/Drew Lock

  • There has been less written or discussed about Vic Fangio and Drew Lock than any other power couple of this list. Lock was gifted with a treasure chest of weapons this offseason in Melvin Gordon/Jerry Jeudy/KJ Hamler to join Courtland Sutton and Noah Fant so he's likely to get a lot more scrutiny going forward.

21.Oakland Raiders- Jon Gruden/Derek Carr

  • You know that couple that you go on a double date with and everything is great? They get along, have fun and everyone has a good time but you know the relationship is privately a wreck? Thats Gruden/Carr. Still capable of putting up some fun numbers but barreling towards a divorce.

20.Cleveland Browns- Kevin Stefanski/Baker Mayfield

  • This is all about Baker Mayfield. I'm still buying all your unwanted Baker Mayfield stock. Stefanski is in place to get Mayfield back on track and if he does, they could be a top 10 power couple next season.

19.Buffalo Bills- Sean McDermott/Josh Allen

  • It might feel low for a duo thats combined for 15 wins in two years together and a playoff appearance but the Bills feel destined to top out every year at 9 wins and a playoff loss.

18.Tennesse Titans- Mike Vrabel/Ryan Tannehill

  • This duo had good enough chemistry to reach the AFC Championship game in Year 1 together. But unless Derrick Henry counts as a QB, I'm not giving Tannehill and his 35 completions in three playoff games much more credit than this spot.

17.Indianapolis Colts- Frank Reich/Philip Rivers

  • This feels like it SHOULD work; but then I hear Reich talking about Rivers needs to improve his accuracy and pocket presence entering Rivers's 17th NFL season and I'm not so sure.

Teams 1-16 to be continued tomorrow....

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