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Who deserves to be the All-NFC West head coach?

San Francisco 49ers v Los Angeles Rams Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

Last week, we asked you to vote on who the best general manager in the NFC West was, and 74% of you chose John Lynch. John Schneider came in second with 18% of the vote, with Les Snead of the Rams getting 5% of the vote and Steve Keim of the Cardinals getting 3% of the vote. That poll had just under 1,300 votes.

Today, we’ll discuss the best head coaches in the division. For some, it’s black and white: you are what your record says you are.

While that statement ignores all context, there’s some validity to it. Sure, you might not get off to a hot start — in most situations, coaches aren’t taking over for a playoff-caliber team — but that doesn’t mean you can’t win right away, which brings us to Sean McVay.

My money is on McVay

McVay burst onto the season in 2017 after he was Washington’s offensive coordinator for three seasons. McVay, who was the youngest NFL head coach in history, did not disappoint in Year one on the offensive side of the ball as the Rams were hitting on all cylinders.

With Jared Goff at QB during his first year, the Rams scored 27 points or more 11 times. Los Angeles would go onto win 11 games before losing in the Wild Card round to the Falcons.

That became the trend under McVay as he went 13-3 and made the Super Bowl during his second season, before coming back down to earth and going 9-7 during the ‘19 season and 10-6 last year. McVay found ways to maximize his offense despite being handcuffed at quarterback.

He’s won 67% of his games in four years and has a conference title under his belt. If we’re going by success, McVay is the answer to the article’s title.

Don’t forget about Pete

Pete Carroll gets a bad wrap for not letting his quarterback cook, but Russell Wilson overcooked everything when his quarterback had an opportunity. So this whole time, maybe, just maybe, the head coach who has had one losing season in the past decade may know what he’s talking about.

The Seahawks and Carroll haven’t been without luck, but they’ve consistently won double-digit games. If we’re going based on Carroll’s merits since 2017, when Shanahan took over, he’s won 65% of his games and has one playoff win.

Carroll’s philosophy is old school and more of the traditional variety, but it works.

Can Kid Shanahan find some consistency?

Kid Shanahan is a prime example of why your record comes with an asterisk.

6-10. 4-12. 13-3. 6-10.

One of these regular-season records is unlike the other. In three seasons, the 49ers have flirted with the worst record in the NFL. In one season, they looked like the Avengers.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but 2019 was an anomaly. I’d be shocked if we saw a version of the 49ers that dominant this decade.

That’s not to say the Niners won’t win double-digit games again, as that could happen this season, but the level of kick the you know what out of other teams San Francisco played with that year was as close to flawless as it gets.

So, how does Shanahan recreate that magic? Well, he has to outrun the injury bug, which feels impossible based on how 2021 has begun. As a decision-maker, he has to share some of the blame.

That also goes with personnel handling and everything in between. For example, Brian Allen playing against the Dolphins and allowing 124 yards and a touchdown in 14 passing snaps is a Shanahan thing. It’s not on Robert Saleh for not playing Ahkello Witherspoon. That’s on the head ball coach.

Then, you look at the roster in 2020 and wonder how in the world they won six games and were competitive in seven others. How on earth did the offense that was without the majority of their stars finish fifth in explosive passing plays for the season? That’s Shanahan’s offensive genius.

More like Princebury

When Kliff Kingsbury was named the head coach of the Arizona Cardinals, many people had their doubts. I was not one of them. Despite a lackluster coaching record, Texas Tech’s offense always kept them in games.

What we didn't know was Kingsbury would come to the NFL with his version of the Air-Raid and hang his QB out to dry with his pass protection schemes and make some boneheaded in-game decisions — namely in the clutch.

Kingsbury improved to 8-8 after winning five games in his first season. Arizona went all-in on a few big-named veterans in hopes of putting them over the top this season. Their defense impressed last year, but Kliff needs to start holding up his end of the bargain.


Who is the best head coach in the NFC West?

This poll is closed

  • 12%
    Sean McVay
    (109 votes)
  • 24%
    Pete Carroll
    (209 votes)
  • 61%
    Kyle Shanahan
    (521 votes)
  • 0%
    Kliff Kingsbury
    (5 votes)
844 votes total Vote Now