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NFL's new head coaches aiming for influence in first season

Four of the league's six new coaches have never been the head coach of a professional team.

July 30, 2012|By Sam Farmer
  • The Colts' Chuck Pagano is one of four rookie coaches in the NFL this season.
The Colts' Chuck Pagano is one of four rookie coaches in the NFL this… (Joe Robbins / Getty Images )

NAPA, Calif. — Dennis Allen is an NFL head coach for the first time, but he's got plenty of company.

Four of the league's six new coaches have never held that position with any pro team, the others being Tampa Bay's Greg Schiano, Miami's Joe Philbin and Indianapolis' Chuck Pagano.

Mike Mularkey, Jacksonville's new coach, coached Buffalo for two seasons, and St. Louis' Jeff Fisher is heading into his 17th season as a head coach — two years shy of Mike Shanahan's total experience and tied for second with Bill Belichick.

Rams quarterback Sam Bradford said of Fisher: "His natural vibe, his calmness, his confidence just rubs off on everyone. When you're around him for three, four months in the off-season and then you're around him in camp every day, I think everyone just kind of feeds off that. It takes over the team."

The less-seasoned newcomers are aiming for that same type of influence with their teams.

Pagano and Philbin have the added challenge of bringing along rookie quarterbacks, with Andrew Luck in Indianapolis and Ryan Tannehill in Miami.

Luck, the No. 1 overall pick, put on an impressive performance Sunday in his first full-speed workout. He completed 27 of 32 attempts.

Watching the practice was former Colts coach Tony Dungy, now an NBC analyst, who told reporters: "I think that's what impressed me the most, to see the decision-making and the lack of any indecisiveness. He looked like a third or fourth-year guy in this first practice."

That's good news for Pagano, but surely he isn't reading too much into it. After all, the Colts were 3-13 in Peyton Manning's first season.

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