Even though the NFL season doesn’t start for another three and a half months, fans and wagering enthusiasts alike love to take a look at storylines they can pencil in when the games begin.
These include which teams figure to contend well into January and February, which rookies project to take the league by storm, and which coaches will do the most with their rosters.
Unlike last year, coaches will have the benefit of using the summary months a little bit more traditionally with regards to preparation.
With that said, the coaching landscape is far from a level playing field, and there will be some who scheme, motivate, and communicate better than their counterparts.
Which head coaches figure to be the early contenders to win Coach of the Year in the 2021 NFL season?
3. Joe Judge
— Joe Judge (@_JoeJudge) November 25, 2020
For the most part, the guys that get the most attention for coach of the year awards are head men who lead teams to great records that the general population expected next to nothing from.
At this moment in time, the New York Giants are viewed as a talented team, but are not written into the NFC playoff picture in pen.
Giants head coach Joe Judge did a solid job in his first year with the team, establishing a competitive culture and keeping the franchise competitive against superior competition.
Their offense received a large jolt of talent this offseason, and if Saquon Barkley can return to his old form, Big Blue will be a force to be reckoned with.
Judge also has the benefit of coming from the New England coaching tree, whose branches always seem to get a lot of attention (see Judge, Vrabel, Flores).
2. Sean Payton
Up-and-down from the grandstand! 👏 pic.twitter.com/M3b1iRUg7E
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) April 21, 2021
There are a select handful of head coach-quarterback tandems in NFL history that just roll off the tongue.
When the New Orleans Saints play their first game of the 2021 season, it will be the first time in 15 years that Payton will lead his team into battle without Brees on the roster.
Sometimes it’s difficult to parse the true value of the head coach when their quarterback is so special, but the 2021 season will be a true test of Payton’s brilliance.
1. Frank Reich
He doesn’t always get the most attention, but Indianapolis Colts head coach Frank Reich is off to a solid start in his head coaching career.
Reich has led his team to a winning record in two out of his three seasons at the helm, and there’s no reason to think that 2021 will result in anything less than another playoff appearance.
Indianapolis is set up nicely to take a jump from their 11-5 record last year.
Talented second-year running back Jonathan Taylor figures to seize control of the backfield from the start of the preseason, and Indianapolis remains strong along the offensive line and defensive front seven.
Reich’s biggest avenue to winning the award will depend on whether he can help resurrect Carson Wentz’s career.
If Wentz can at all resemble the player he was in Philadelphia while Reich was his quarterback coach, it will result in serious consideration of both men for some of the NFL’s most prestigious individual awards.