In 2014 Bill O'Brien will be in the company of the newest coaches in the league in the AFC South. Two of the four teams hired a new head coach this month, while the other two have hired within the last two years. The Texans will be competing in a young division where the head coaches have a combined three years of experience with their respective teams.
Heading into the 2014 offseason, Chuck Pagano now has the longest tenure with two years as the head coach in Indianapolis. Like the Texans, the Colts earned the first-overall NFL draft pick after their 2-11 finish in 2011. The following year, the Colts recorded an 11-5 season with a playoff berth under Pagano. The nine-win improvement was the tied for the third largest one-year turnaround in NFL history.
Gus Bradley, 47, and general manager David Caldwell both just finished their first season with the Jaguars. Jacksonville finished 4-12 after starting out 0-8, with three wins against AFC South opponents. Under the duo, the Jaguars roster was overhauled, with 231 roster moves made from the time of Caldwell's hiring to the end of the season (via www.jaguars.com).
Now on the heels of disappointing finishes in 2013, both Houston and Tennessee will be starting fresh with new coaches. While both Indianapolis and Jacksonville selected defensive coordinators for the position, Houston and Tennessee went the route of offensive minds in O'Brien and Ken Whisenhunt, respectively.
The AFC South coaches and roster have seen dramatic changes since 2011.
Chuck Pagano (Indianapolis Colts)
- Named head coach in Indianapolis on January 25, 2012.
- Took a leave of absence for three months while he battled leukemia. Returned after missing 12 weeks during the season.
- Led Colts to two playoff appearances in two seasons, 2-1 record in postseason
- Finished 11-5 both seasons.
- Was formerly the Ravens defensive coordinator 2011, spent four seasons on Ravens coaching staff.
Gus Bradley (Jacksonville Jaguars)
- Named fifth head coach in franchise history on January 17, 2013.
- Was formerly the Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator that saw 284 roster moves under then first-year head coach Pete Carroll.
- Passed on quarterback with the second-overall pick in the NFL Draft in 2012 and could address with the third-overall pick in this year's draft.
Ken Whisenhunt (Tennessee Titans)
- The San Diego offensive coordinator accepted the head coaching position just one day after his team's season ended in the AFC Divisional playoff game.
- Improved Chargers offense from 31st to 5th in the NFL in 2013.
- Head coach in Arizona from 2007-2012
- Led Cardinals to back-to-back NFC West titles in (2008-2009) and one Super Bowl appearance (2008). *Twitter.com/DeepSlant*