2023 IDP Football: Four Impact NFC Coaching Changes

by Steve Hungarter (IDPHunter)
2023 IDP Football: Four Impact NFC Coaching Changes

In this post, we will explore the significant influence coaching has on a team. The article "2023 IDP Football: Four Impact NFC Coaching Changes" highlights how certain coaches can elevate their teams beyond their individual capabilities.

A head coach is responsible for managing the roster, scheme changes, and calling the plays, and I hope to capture that below. He is the man with the plan with his controls on the dial. The chess masters call all the shots while the player receives the glory. I have a quick story for you and would like to give you a few detailed examples of coaches in the NFC that have used their talents to build a team and make a Dynasty.

2023 IDP Football: Four Impact NFC Coaching Changes

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History in the NFC has shown us while some coaches can maximize their team's potential, others are unable to do so. A notable example of effective coaching is the 1992 Dallas Cowboys. Before the arrival of head coach Jimmy Johnson, the Cowboys were a struggling franchise with limited talent, particularly in their skill positions.

However, within three years, Johnson transformed the team into one of the greatest dynasties in NFL history. Another contemporary instance worth mentioning is the ongoing work of coach Dan Campbell with the Lions, although its ultimate impact remains to be seen. These examples demonstrate the undeniable significance of coaching, especially in the realm of IDP (Individual Defensive Players).

The construction of a team and the strategic approach implemented by the coach significantly influence the outcomes. Let's now delve into four intriguing coaching changes that I believe could have a profound impact on IDP and the respective teams they manage.

Carolina Panthers

Ejiro Evero, who previously coached the 11th-ranked defense in Denver, heavily relied on a strong secondary and prioritized pass defense. His coaching philosophy favors using 3-4 odd fronts and emphasizes the strategic deployment of nickel-and-dime packages.

Unlike the league average, Evero's defensive approach involves infrequent use of four-linebacker formations, with a higher tendency to opt for single-linebacker formations in clear-cut passing downs. He often prefers to add a cornerback back to the lineup in these occurrences.

Although Evero performed well in Denver, he faced the unfortunate situation of a complete overhaul within the organization, resulting in significant changes.

There has been significant discussion surrounding the Carolina Panthers' transition to a 3-4 base. While the potential for growth should not be overlooked, there are concerns about specific position groups due to the available personnel. These concerns are valid, particularly regarding the edge rusher position opposite Brian Burns and the cornerback unit. Nevertheless, Evero possesses exceptional strategic prowess in placing players in positions where they can excel. Derek Brown being moved to play nose tackle is also a boom-or-bust move.

Moreover, the Panthers boast abundant talent, enabling them to hold their own. If certain individuals demonstrate improvement under the guidance of experienced NFL coaches, Carolina's defense has the potential to surprise the league and establish itself as a formidable unit. Such success could also elevate Evero's profile, potentially leading to him securing a head coaching position in the next coaching cycle.

Something I found interesting was the free-agent signing of Jessie Bates. He won't get much run as a box safety here (that will be Jeremy Chinn). Expect Bates’ deep safety role as less attractive than in previous seasons. It is likely that Xavier Woods will primarily handle deep coverage responsibilities. With this news, look for Jeremy Chinn to be back playing in the hybrid DB/LB4 with some possible slot, and the Panthers Have 'More Roles' for Jeremy Chinn Than Initially Thought - Sports Illustrated Carolina Panthers News, Analysis and More role in this new model, as he did in his rookie season, he will be deployed all over the field.

This team has already been elite here, and the base secondary coverage will account for about 30% of the defensive snaps, with roughly half of the snaps featuring a four-man front. Overall, the defense will exhibit a flexible and adaptable approach under Evero's guidance. If the offense could produce anything, expect this team to turn things around quickly.

IDP to Roster

Target: Brian Burns, Shaq Thompson, Frankie Luvu, and Jeremy Chinn
Specific leagues: Jaycee Horn (CB-required)
Players I am trading: Jessie Bates, and Derrick Brown

San Francisco 49ers

It is unlikely that we will witness significant overhauls from the previous season's approach under Steve Wilks: this team will stay a base 4-3. What we should see is more competence under his tenure.

Wilks is an outstanding quality coach, and his play call is straightforward. He works his defensive schemes that put his best players to excel and make significant contributions, with a particular focus on generating turnovers. His familiarity with the 49ers' defensive system further enhances his strategic approach. Sometimes simpler is good, and being familiar is great. Expect elite options to continue in IDP.

IDP to Roster

Target: Nick Bosa, Fred Warner, Dre Greenlaw, Drake Jackson, and Talanoa Hufanga.
Specific leagues: Javon Hargrave

Good for DT required leagues, but will be great in any format as DL3.

Players I am trading: Arik Armstead, Tashaun Gipson
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Minnesota Vikings

Coach Brian Flores, previously with the Dolphins from 2019 -2021 and the Steelers as a defensive assistant and linebacker coach in 2022, implemented a significantly different defensive scheme compared to the Vikings' previous year. Let's dive in.

Expect Flores to utilize what is known as a "Tite" defensive front, which is mostly seen in College and Highschool Football due to the ability to redirect plays toward the perimeter. This strategy aims to shift the action to the outside, allowing linebackers and defensive backs to converge and make tackles. In Tite fronts, you will worry less about assignments, rather than securing the middle of the field and pushing the action to the outside of the field.

Another key aspect of Flores' approach is his emphasis on utilizing linebackers. LB2 saw 56% of the snaps, but Flores has a tendency to distribute playing time among multiple players and adapt their roles accordingly. His defense often relies on man-heavy coverage, and this may not be good for your IDP teams as Man-heavy defenses tend to have fewer tackles overall and can be prone to coverage breakdowns.

Flores showed a fondness for blitzing safeties, notably against the Ravens, as social media won't let you ever forget it, comical tweets from his heyday when he exposed the Ravens. If you learn anything, these tweets were legendary.

IDP to roster

Target: Danielle Hunter, Harrison Smith, Jordan Hicks, Brian Asamoah
Specific Leauges: Marcus Davenport

Davenport here is a fun case study; remember when the Saints gave up two first for him? He will log many snaps in Minnesota by default, so I will take a shot on him as a DL36 type can make that and exceed that value. He is an excellent candidate for 11 on-11 leagues.

Players I am trading: DJ Wonnum

No disrespect, but Wonnum is a good real-life player at times, just not a good IDP prospect. Trade before the injuries.

Arizona Cardinals

The addition of former Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon and linebacker coach Nick Rallis will work miracles with a comprehensive overhaul in their first year. Going forward, the team intends to continue utilizing four-man fronts, which accounted for nearly 60% of their defensive formations previously with Philidelphia.

However, they also plan to incorporate odd fronts more frequently, surpassing the league average in that aspect. It's crucial to acknowledge that this analysis is based on a single play from one season, but it offers a glimpse into the anticipated configuration of Arizona's defense. While specific alignments may vary, the core principles of their defensive strategy will remain unchanged.

The green dot duties were Zaven Collins last year, but with his promotion to Defensive lineman and Isiah Simmons playing secondary duties, it appears that Kyzir White could be an excellent fit for the based on how things unfold. Owen Pappoe has the potential to be a sleeper pick at linebacker.

Unfortunately, the edge group seems weak, so I would avoid drafting them. Personally, I wouldn't draft Budda Baker as he is ranked in the top 5-6, which is too high for my liking. (it's just the way I draft; I usually punt DB for later, and both will be too high) Jalen Thompson is also a bit too high for me, despite coming off a strong season.

BJ Ojulari could be a suitable option worth considering. While I won't touch anyone else, there will inevitably be candidates who will step up and play significant snaps(Myjai Sanders/L.J. Collier). These are the most likely contenders to keep an eye on.

IDP to roster

Target: Budha Baker, Jalen Thompson, Kyzir White, BJ Ojulari, Owen Pappoe
Specific leagues: Isaiah Simmons

Check your league's IDP format. Simmons may have the LB/DB, and Collins might have the DL/LB right to be worth rostering. I am not unless it's deeper or hybrids are deemed usable.

Players I am trading: All

This season should be bad for Arizona. Expect a rebuild outside of rookies in 2024, particularly with eh Cardinals having the Texans' first-round pick and their own, which is likely two of the top picks next year to draft impact players with.

If you have any questions about any of the players I've mentioned in this article, then be sure to check out my IDP rankings.


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