Rookie NFL Head Coaches had Mixed Results in 2019

By Chris Malumphy

There were six rookie head coaches in 2019. Three improved their team's record over 2018 while three lost ground, including one who lost his job. Although four of the six new coaches were selected with the expectation that they would join the next wave of offensive gurus, only one was able to improve upon his team's point total from 2018, and that was the only new coach coming directly from the college ranks.

The Packers Matt LaFleur is headed to the playoffs, surprisingly having improved the team's defense rather than the offense. Even with a healthy Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay failed to score more points than it had in 2018.

The Cardinals Kliff Kingsbury, with top draft pick quarterback Kyler Murray, was the only coach to add more points scored (+136) than his team had in 2018. Of the six new coaches, Kingsbury is the only one who came directly from the college ranks.

The Broncos Vic Fangio won four of his last five contests, albeit against weak competition, with rookie quarterback Drew Lock.

The Browns Freddie Kitchens lost his job as second-year quarterback Baker Mayfield regressed and his team played without discipline.

The Dolphins Brian Flores refused to tank as his front office may have hoped the team would but the team does not yet have a quarterback of the future with aging and erratic Ryan Fitzpatrick clearly being a better option than sophomore quarterback Josh Rosen.

The Bengals Zac Taylor learned that Ryan Finley was unable to unseat Andy Dalton at quarterback but will likely have Heisman Trophy Winner Joe Burrow behind center next season.

Records of 2019 NFL First-Year Head Coaches
TeamCoachW-L-TPctPTSPAChange from 2018
PackersMatt LaFleur13-3-00.813376313+6.50-87+87
CardinalsKliff Kingsbury5-10-10.344361442+2+136+17+119
BroncosVic Fangio7-9-00.438282316+1-47-33-14
BrownsFreddie Kitchens6-10-00.375335393-1.5-24+1-25
DolphinsBrian Flores5-11-00.313306494-2-1361-74
BengalsZac Taylor2-14-00.125279420-4-89-35-54