.As you continue your efforts to become a better fantasy football player by learning each NFL team’s entire coaching system, remember to bookmark these pages. The first article – the AFC East – also includes a full glossary of terms for the different offensive and defensive systems, as well as personnel packages and coverage schemes. But more importantly, these articles should be used as reference points for your in-season work as well. Most fantasy football draft guides offer you preseason fantasy football player rankings, articles for fantasy football sleepers and busts and maybe a few strategy items to get you ready for your drafts. We do that too. And more!

Our FREE fantasy football draft guide gives you everything you see around the industry, plus information that has proven to be extremely valuable throughout the season and helps win championships. This guide will help you manage your teams better, make stronger picks from the fantasy football waiver wire and lead you to important NFL tools to aid in those always-important weekly lineup decisions. Learning these coaching systems is just the beginning, so buckle up and start reading!



In case you missed it:

AFC South Coaching Systems

Houston Texans

Head CoachLovie Smith1st year
Offensive CoordinatorPep Hamilton1st year
Defensive Coordinatornone 
Offensive SystemWest Coast 
Blocking SchemePower/Gap 
Lovie Smith -- HC    Pep Hamilton -- OC   
Category201920202021 Category20192020 (LAC)2021

Offensive Breakdown

The seemingly endless transformation of the Texans continues here in 2022 as the team stupidly fired David Culley after just one season as the head coach. First, they cited the Texans 4-13 record and the fact that the offense finished in the bottom-five of the league while being held to single-digit points in seven games. We’re not sure what they were expecting with the Deshaun Watson situation, not to mention a garbage group of personnel at the rest of the skill positions. 

Then they said it was because Culley didn’t want to make any changes to the coaching staff after the season ended and cited “philosophical differences” moving forward. Culley felt the continuity with the scheme and the coaching staff would benefit the team, but general manager Nick Caserio had a different opinion at the time. More like a different agenda as Caserio looks like an even bigger jackass now after promoting from within -- making Lovie Smith the head coach who, in turn, promoted quarterbacks coach Pep Hamilton to offensive coordinator. It became evident that Caserio simply wanted to get rid of then-OC Tim Kelly who is friends with Watson.

We’re definitely not knocking the hiring of Smith. He’s a great man and a great coach, but altering the offensive scheme once again makes things difficult on a team. Not to mention, Smith is a defensive-minded guy who is going to also be his own defensive coordinator, so he is putting the design of the offensive scheme into the hands of Hamilton is an old-school guy who lacks innovation in the modern era.

The offense will be a run-first scheme with west coast-style passing – short, high-percentage passes to move the chains and set up play-action for downfield looks. They are changing from a zone blocking scheme to a power/gap-blocking scheme which seems to fit the offensive linemen better and we should see a lot of north/south running between the tackles. We’ll probably see a lot of 12-personnel packages, though don’t be surprised to see some 21 and 22-personnel as well, with the tight ends tethered to the line for blocking.

Players Who Best Fit the System: Davis Mills, Brandin Cooks

Defensive System: 4-3 base with a Cover-2 zone

Defensive Breakdown: 

As mentioned above, Lovie Smith will serve as his own defensive coordinator, so the system doesn’t change from last season. He likes the 4-3 base, he likes to bring the pressure and he loves the Cover-2 zone. The scheme is solid. The Cover-2 might be a little archaic, but Smith does an outstanding job with his players and always seems to get the best from them, so we’ll give him a pass on that. The problem is the personnel itself. The Texans were horrible against the run last season and they didn’t really address it properly in the offseason. They brought in DE Jerry Hughes from Buffalo and drafted Alabama LB Christian Harris, but that’s not really improving the run defense. Maybe they bring a little more pressure on the quarterback, but as far as stuffing the run, it’s still going to be a problem.

The Texans did beef up the secondary which, if you’re going to run the Cover-2, you need high-quality defensive backs. Adding first-rounder Derek Stingley out of LSU and then Baylor safety Jalen Pitre in the second was a great start. They also brought in Steve Nelson and Tavierre Thomas via free agency while also locking in Terrence Brooks for another year. Smith routinely does well in building secondaries, so when looking for guys to start against the Texans in fantasy, focus on the backs more than the receivers. Obviously, the Texans will have their issues defending the pass as well, but the real hole is up the gut. 

Players Who Best Fit the System: Christian Harris, Christian Kirksey, Derek Stingley, Jalen Pitre

Indianapolis Colts

Head CoachFrank Reich
Offensive CoordinatorMarcus Brady
Defensive CoordinatorGus Bradley
Offensive SystemWest Coast Offense
Blocking SchemeInside Zone w/ mix of Power
Franck Reich -- HC    Marcus Brady -- OC   
Category201920202021 Category201920202021
Points1699 PointsQB COACHQB COACH9
Pace142331 PaceQB COACHQB COACH31
Pass Attempts252027 Pass AttemptsQB COACHQB COACH27
Passing Yards301126 Passing YardsQB COACHQB COACH26
Rushing Attempts5105 Rushing AttemptsQB COACHQB COACH5
Rushing Yards7112 Rushing YardsQB COACHQB COACH2

Offensive Breakdown

While fantasy owners immediately think of Jonathan Taylor when discussing the Colts, the key to this scheme, like any other, is having a quarterback who can effectively and efficiently run this offense. Head coach Frank Reich likes a west coast base and in traditional west coast style, he likes to use the pass to set up the run. He has his offense get to the line quickly where they can get an initial read on the defense and then use verbal commands and pre-snap motion to figure out exactly what they want to do in response to what the defensive reads are giving them. This requires a lot of heads-up work from the quarterback, so having someone who understands exactly what Reich wants/needs is paramount. Enter Matt Ryan who has thrived in similar systems throughout most of his career.

With the confidence of playing behind a strong offensive line, Ryan should have little trouble pushing the ball downfield using short, high-percentage passes. He’s got big receiving targets in Michael Pittman and rookie Alec Pierce which, as they march downfield, should keep the defense from stacking the box to stop the Colts superstar running back. Once they do fall back into coverage, you’ll see Ryan hand the ball off and let Taylor do his thing.

Two areas to watch during training camp will be the usage of versatile, pass-catching running back Nyheim Hines and the battle for the top tight end spot. Reich doesn’t want to overwork and abuse Taylor, so don’t be surprised to see a little more of Hines than fantasy owners would like, especially down inside the green zone where they could show pass and then dish it to Hines. As for the tight end, it’s going to be tricky. With Jack Doyle retiring, the Colts need to find someone who can handle the blocking assignments for their inside zone scheme but also has the versatility to come off the line and run a quick route. Mo Alie-Cox has been reasonably effective, but keep an eye on both Kyle Granson and rookie Jelani Woods. As Andrew Cooper routinely discusses in his tight end breakdowns, just because you are listed as the TE1 and play the most snaps, doesn’t mean you are going to see the majority of targets. If you’re tethered to the line because you are the superior blocker, the coach will keep you there and the other guys will be the ones to run the routes.  

Players Who Best Fit the System: Matt Ryan, Jonathan Taylor, Michael Pittman

Defensive System: 4-3 base with a Cover-3 zone

Defensive Breakdown: 

With defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus landing the head coaching job in Chicago, Reich was tasked with replacing him with someone who likes to run a similar scheme and maintain a lot of the positives we’ve seen from the Colts defense over the past few seasons. They’ve been my favorite for fantasy as they usually generate a lot of pressure without needing to blitz heavily and create a ton of turnovers. Last season the front four did start to wear down, but with Gus Bradley, who runs a very similar scheme, rotating in the personnel better, they should return to form. Bradley also likes to blitz a little more, so look for sack totals to increase.

The key to the secondary is going to be the coverage. The Colts have solid corners in Kenny Moore and former Patriot Stephon Gilmore, but in a Cover-3 where you have two safeties and one linebacker playing back, you need guys who are not only fast but have the instincts to get to the ball on every play. Keep a watchful eye on the performance of Rodney McLeod and Nick Cross, because if you see them struggling at all in their coverage assignments, the opposition is going to start beating them on deeper plays.

Players Who Best Fit the System: DeForest Buckner, Yannick Ngakoue, Darius Leonard, Stephon Gilmore, Kenny Moore

Jacksonville Jaguars

Head CoachDoug Pederson1st year
Offensive CoordinatorPress Taylor1st year
Defensive CoordinatorMike Caldwell1st year
Offensive SystemWest Coast Offense 
Blocking SchemeInside & Outside Zone 
Doug Pederson -- HC    Press Taylor -- OC   
Category2019 (PHI)2020 (PHI)2021 Category20192020 (PHI)2021 (IND)
Pass Attempts810N/A Pass AttemptsQB COACHPGC/QB COACHOFF. ASST.
Passing Yards1128N/A Passing YardsQB COACHPGC/QB COACHOFF. ASST.
Rushing Attempts724N/A Rushing AttemptsQB COACHPGC/QB COACHOFF. ASST.
Rushing Yards119N/A Rushing YardsQB COACHPGC/QB COACHOFF. ASST.

Offensive Breakdown

It’s time to wipe the Jaguars’ entire 2021 season from your mind. Just get rid of it. The travesty that was the Urban Meyer regime is over and the team went with a proven NFL coach in the form of Doug Pederson. Now I may not love Pederson for fantasy reasons which we will get to, but he stems from the Andy Reid coaching tree and utilizes a traditional west coast-style offense in which the pass sets up the run and will cater to the strengths of second-year quarterback Trevor Lawrence.

Creating an air of familiarity to the system Lawrence ran back at Clemson, Pederson will have this offense run primarily out of the shotgun formation, use a heavy RPO scheme and throw early. He likes to use the short, high-percentage passes on the early downs while also deploying a receiver deep to stretch the field and possibly exploit some single-coverage mismatches. That will keep the defense on its heels and make the RPO work that much more effective. It should also get Lawrence into more of a comfortable groove, something he lacked all year in 2021. 

The Jaguars loaded up on receivers in the offseason, adding Christian Kirk and Zay Jones to a group that retained veteran Marvin Jones and potential slot-guy Laviska Shenault. They also brought in tight end Evan Engram. Pederson and offensive coordinator Press Taylor ran a lot of two-TE sets back in Philadelphia and having Engram joining Dan Arnold seems to indicate a repeat of those personnel packages.

While we know Pederson likes to rotate in his running backs, we’re going to have to watch and see how things play out in camp with both James Robinson and Travis Etienne coming off major injuries. Etienne seems to be doing well in his recovery and is expected to play a significant role right from the start. It may take Robinson a little more time in camp to get ready for the season. That doesn’t mean you should lock down Etienne and pencil him in for 20 touches per game. It means the door is open a little wider for rookie Snoop Conner who could find his way into some early touches. The running scheme dictates a lot of outside zone work and the Jaguars are also likely to employ some wide zone formations. All three backs are capable of thriving in this system, so expect the unexpected, especially near the goal line.

Overall, this offense should be more effective than what we saw last year. It’s pretty tough to look worse, amirite? If everything falls into place according to plan, fantasy owners just might have a solid pond in which to fish. Save for Etienne, no one has an ADP that seems inappropriate so keep this group in mind when sifting through the mid-to-late rounds.     

Players Who Best Fit the System: Trevor Lawrence, Travis Etienne, Christian Kirk

Defensive System: 3-4 with multi-front looks and a Cover-2 Zone

Defensive Breakdown: 

New defensive coordinator Mike Caldwell has his coaching roots stemming from the Tampa tree which means they want to bring a lot of pressure but need strong shutdown corners and even better safeties to allow the front seven to work its magic. Darious Williams and Shaquill Griffin should be able to hold down the edges, so keep an eye on the performances of Rayshawn Jenkins and Andrew Wingrad in camp. If they struggle, the Jaguars will be susceptible to the deeper routes down the middle of the field.  

The addition of Foley Fatukasi bolsters the defensive line, but the key to Jacksonville’s success is going to be in the linebackers. They should have little to no trouble creating pressure from the outside but will need to have Devin Lloyd push up to help nose tackle DaVon Hamilton close the gaps up the middle so they don’t just become a run-funnel up the middle. It’s a work in progress, but Caldwell has a nice base to work with for now.  

Players Who Best Fit the System: Devin Lloyd, Travon Walker, Darious Williams

Tennessee Titans

Head CoachMike Vrabel5th year
Offensive CoordinatorTodd Downing2nd year
Defensive CoordinatorShane Bowen2nd year
Offensive SystemWest Coast Offense 
Blocking SchemePower 
Mike Vrabel -- HC    Todd Downing -- OC   
Category201920202021 Category201920202021
Points10415 PointsTE COACHTE COACH15
Pace22427 PaceTE COACHTE COACH27
Pass Attempts313025 Pass AttemptsTE COACHTE COACH25
Passing Yards212324 Passing YardsTE COACHTE COACH24
Rushing Attempts1021 Rushing AttemptsTE COACHTE COACH1
Rushing Yards325 Rushing YardsTE COACHTE COACH5

Offensive Breakdown

When former defensive coordinator Arthur Smith left for Atlanta, head coach Mike Vrabel simply promoted tight ends coach Todd Downing and had him maintain the same offensive scheme as the Titans were finding tremendous success utilizing this west coast system. The passing game is that of a traditional west coast style in that they use short high-percentage passes to help set up deeper shots downfield, but in the Titans case, they use the run to set up the pass. Ryan Tannehill has had tremendous success working out of play-action and having a running back like Derrick Henry makes it an easy gameplan to pull off. You can also expect them to continue using the RPO work they folded into the scheme last year. 

The real question for the Titans this season will be how the offensive line works with the personnel changes. Losing both Rodger Saffold and Davis Quessenberry is a big deal, especially when you are mixing inside zone blocking with the power-duo runs. You need the size and strength to push forward, but also the lateral agility to shift east-west when necessary. You can probably expect the Titans to sit in 12-personnel formations early on as the two-TE sets should help bolster the line. 

Overall, you probably won’t see much difference in this offense, especially if Henry stays healthy all year. Tannehill has really blossomed in Tennessee and this offense caters to his strengths. He does much better in a three-step drop where he can get rid of the ball quickly, the play-action helps him a ton and the RPO work gives him added options. The rushing attack being center-stage helps take some of the pressure off of him and the offense’s efficiency really shines.   

Players Who Best Fit the System: Ryan Tannehill., Derrick Henry, Austin Hooper

Defensive System: 3-4 with multi-front looks and a mix of man and zone coverage

Defensive Breakdown: 

Don’t expect much to change in this defense as Vrabel continues to dictate using the same scheme, he and legendary defensive coordinator Dean Pees installed four years ago. Shane Bowen, who is in his second year as the defensive coordinator was the linebackers coach under Pees so the continuity is there. The defense will be based in the 3-4 but we’ll see plenty of multi-front looks as well. The addition of Bud Dupree last year gave this front seven a much more versatile look and that allowed them to switch up the looks and keep the offense guessing. Bowen will reinforce the aggressiveness of his defenders and look to keep that turnover count nice and high. 

As for the secondary, one of their biggest weaknesses in recent seasons, it’s going to take a lot of patience and a lot of work by Bowen. Caleb Farley was a great addition last season, but there is still a lot of youth and inexperience in this group. Former Auburn cornerback was a nice pick-up in the second round of the draft and he should help, but I’m not a fan of the Buster Skrine add. The guy had one good season and was a sieve the rest of his career, so watch where he is deployed throughout the year. We may want to start targeting against him in DFS once again.

Players Who Best Fit the System: Denico Autry, Bud Dupree, Harold Landry

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