New Head Honcho: Part 3
I’m of the feeling that there’s no possibility that Andy Reid is back next season. So, every week I’ll be profiling a potential head coaching candidate for the Eagles. So far Saints offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael Jr. and Bengals’ offensive coordinator Jay Gruden have gone under the microscope. This week we have another relative unknown…
Rick Dennison – Offensive coordinator of the Houston Texans
Rick Dennison began his NFL career in 1982 as a linebacker, where he played in the league for eight seasons with the Denver Broncos. He then returned to the Broncos in 1995 as an offensive assistant and worked his way up the coaching ladder. In ’97 Dennison was promoted to special teams coach, then to offensive line coach from 2001-2005, followed by offensive coordinator from 2006-2008 before moving back to offensive line in 2009. After the 2009 season, Dennison was hired as the offensive coordinator of the Texans by Gary Kubiak, who had played and coached with Dennison in Denver.
Since then, Rick Dennison has taken the Houston offense to an elite level by creating a strong and consistent running game. For example, here’s the Texans rushing stats before and after Dennison was hired.
So, as you can see, Dennison converted a struggling rushing attack into one of the league’s finest. What makes this change more important is the fact that it was done in a way that Philadelphian’s crave: through balance. During Dennison’s tenure, the Texans have averaged 33.3 passes and 31.6 runs per game. That comes out to a 51% to 49% ratio. How’s that for balance?
After evaluating him, it’s hard to ignore that Dennison would be a great fit for Philadelphia. He’s been coaching for 18 years, has knowledge of all aspects of the game, and at age 54 has plenty of coaching left in him. In terms of x’s and o’s, Dennison’s physical, ball-controlling scheme would maximize the talents of LeSean McCoy and Bryce Brown. It would also limit the pressure on next year’s QB who would be in a new system (Alex Smith, anyone?).
On the other side of the ball, Dennison benefits from being with a defensively dominant club. The Texans were the second best defense of 2011 and are currently the 6th best defense this season. Therefore, he would likely bring members of their staff with him such as young secondary coach Vance Joseph.
So, as you watch the remainder of the NFL season keep an eye out for Houston Texan’s offensive coordinator Rick Dennison. He might just be the next head honcho.