Everyone hates them, but everyone reads them. Power rankings are as big a part of sports as the players themselves. With Training Camp right around the corner, it's worth discussing for a little while longer, so let's get to it. Here's how Elliot Harrison ranked Bill O'Brien.
29) Bill O'Brien, Houston Texans
There are quite a few folks who feel that O'Brien can turn Houston around immediately. Considering the Texans just went 2-14, that could be a tall order for a first-time NFL head coach. O'Brien advocates cite his ability to work with quarterbacks (Tom Brady in New England, Matt McGloin and Christian Hackenberg at Penn State) and his overall character. With J.J. Watt, Jadeveon Clowney and Brian Cushing in tow, he has the horses on defense.
Being 29th sucks, but what can we expect? O'Brien has no NFL head coaching experience, but you get the feeling that most analysts are very optimistic about his chances. If he were a stock, now would be the time to load up.
It's worth noting that O'Brien ranks ahead of the other roo, kie head coaches save for Mike Zimmer (28th, Vikings). Harrison is slightly less optimistic about Jay Gruden (30th, Redskins) and Mike Pettine (31st, Browns). Zimmer's body of work with the Bengals' defense gives him the edge.
As for the rest of the AFC South, no head coach made it into the upper half of the list.
26) Gus Bradley, Jacksonville Jaguars
If you watched the Jaguars play in 2013, you saw a team that improved over the course of the season. Sure, they still finished 4-12, and it's hard to ham up that kind of W-L record. But Bradley clearly is putting his stamp on his team. Also worth praising: The subtle moves GM David Caldwell has made in free agency, picking up Bradley's kinda guys -- which is a reflection of the level of respect the front office has for its head coach.
Consisting of a staff that's very Seahawks-flavored, we might soon be seeing the Glitter Kittens become an apex predator in the AFC South. Jettisoning Blaine Gabbert and getting a sixth-round draft pick in return was a master stroke by their front office.
20) Ken Whisenhunt, Tennessee Titans
One of the more under-reported stories of the 2013 season: The job Whiz did with the Chargers' offense. And it wasn't just Philip Rivers' revival; the running backs were hell on wheels for opponents, as Ryan Mathews enjoyed his most prolific rushing season and Danny Woodhead caught 76 balls. Can Whisenhunt have the same impact in Tennessee? While Kurt Warner gets most of the praise for guiding the Cardinals to Super Bowl XLIII, try to recall who made Warner the starter.
Yes, Whisenhunt is an offensive guru, but Jake Locker will weigh them down for one more year at least. I hope.
17) Chuck Pagano, Indianapolis Colts
Fans and media alike weren't quite sure how to assess Pagano after Year 1, as a fight with leukemia forced him off the sidelines and his offensive coordinator (Bruce Arians) went on to win Coach of the Year honors. However, the former defensive coordinator proved his program was no fluke in 2013, guiding the Colts to an AFC South title and logging an unbelievable playoff victory.
I hate the Colts. I hate the Colts. I hate the Colts. I hate the Colts. I hate the Colts. I hate the Colts. I hate the Colts. I hate the Colts. I hate the Colts. I hate the Colts. I hate the Colts. I hate the Colts. I hate the Colts. I hate the Colts. I hate the Colts. I hate the Colts. I hate the Colts. I hate the Colts. I hate the Colts. I hate the Colts. I hate the Colts. I hate the Colts. I hate the Colts. I hate the Colts. I hate the Colts. I hate the Colts. I hate the Colts.
The AFC South is a pitiful division, but it's ripe for the taking. If everything goes as planned, I expect O'Brien to be shooting up this meaningless list very soon. Read the full rankings and let us know what you think down below.