I feel like it would be unfair to our newer coaches to rank them now without showing their work on the field. If I have put someone in the wrong spot or if someone has been here longer than I think that is my ignorance. Here are the guys that will be in the hunt this year--
Nick Laramie (Condors), Corey Davis (Red Dragons), Roberto DeMoura (Black Knights), Austin Briley (River Hogs), Levant Mercer (Conquistadors), Josh Rummel (Marshalls), Christian Bacigaluppi (Crusaders).
15.) Frankie J- Dreadnoughts
In his first year as a coach, Frank had little success. The 7-9 season was full of growing pains. Malcolm Buchanon and Aiden Mihill were good pickups this off season but there were no super moves. This team has a long way to go so it will be up to the coach to get the best out of his players.
14.) Noah Reiger- Lancers
This spot could look really silly at the end of the season. The signing of Risean Gary could flip the narrative right on its head. But it could also look like a big flop if they don’t win and/or look a lot better than NO3. Reiger needed a big splash after going 5-7 and Gary could be it. They also got Deandre Caiyon was also a huge pickup although trading with a football-god in man form isn’t a great idea. Reiger went all in and it should pay off in an arguably weaker division. If it doesn’t he could be in trouble.
13.) Roland Woods- Barons
Woodsy is one of the biggest talkers in the league but it really hasn’t produced much besides people paying attention. A 8-8 season will be hard to bounce back from but there is a lot of optimism with the team. Getting Joe Johnson and Rashad Turner show they want to win now and most of their other signings are fairly young so they should be there a while. And trading for Ryan Brinker, while confusing to me at first, makes sense considering they had an extra 2nd from Sanchez Lawrence. It might take a bit to start winning but Woods has the talent now.
12.) Marshall Law- Elks
The Elks and Coach Law are in an interesting spot this season. On paper, they should be really good but with this team, it really hasn’t worked out. They are coming off a 9-6-1 season with few high points. They traded their top CB to get a first-round pick which is concerning since they signed a lot of 1-year deals and missed out on most of the top talent. They must have a lot of production come out of their young players if they are going to compete.
11.) Ge’Rell James- Gunners
The Gunners were very quiet this season. This is concerning since Jabre Jackson Is starting to regress a bit and may not be able to carry them for much longer. They lose their bell cow in Lester Gadsden and replace him with two young and inexperienced backs. The drafting of Marcus Young may have been the best thing they did but he might have to fight to get playing time. If the Gunners turn in another underachieving season, fans should be upset.
10.) Will Hooks- Desperadoes
The interesting case of the desperado's off season starts with the QB position. They brought in Chase Mason to the fold basically giving up and the much younger Eric Fisher. Mason is 35 and wasn’t spectacular before so this is a very risky move. But on a positive note, Hooks brought in the biggest fish in the pool with Te’Veon Hall. The star RB jump starts what was a huge position of need. Although I’m not super excited about the team as a whole, their run at the end of last year and the signing of Hall puts them here for me.
9.) Justin Jones Sr- Steamers
Justin is attempting to rebuild a 9-7-1 team from the bottom up. This team still might be bad next year but what Justin did in the draft was just crazy. They got Nahshon Richardson, Bob Stevens, and Diego Lizzaraga Jr, all of whom could win DROY. Pair that up with Reed Wagoner and “El Camion” (Miles Kerrigan) on offense and this team could be a sneaky good team this year.
8.) Steve Forsey- Shamrocks
The Shams brought in some big pieces to Dublin this season. Their run last year was nice but they want to win now. Craig Chatman and Lester Gadsdsen will get you there. An otherwise simple defense now has someone to rally around in Chapman which can only mean big things for the team. Roland Woods could take another step forward in his development and make this team even scarier. Big things could be coming to the town of Dubs.
7.) Jeff Melinyshyn- Bulls
Coach Jeff gets the most out of his players. Layne Kerney was an MVP. David Jones was one of the best RBs and took an underrated team to the number 1 seed in the AFC. It didn’t lead to much playoff success but that should make them even harder to stop this year. They weren’t able to get any high profile talent but they still have a solid roster and should be back in the hunt again.
6.) Mitchell O’Brien- Snowhawks
Mitch is a good coach. We know this. He has proved it time and again. But he made a mistake that will make things a lot harder on the championship quest. He won’t have his starting QB and some others for the first few weeks so the question becomes is the team good enough to win without him and some of the stars.
5.) Rob Roby-Cougars
Coach Roby is still new to Chicago but is already bringing a winning culture into the building. He was able to add Superstars Denard Locker and Sedrick Friedman to a young and hungry Cougars team. This is a team that made a deep playoff run with middling QB Rob Slater. And they have come back even better. If you aren’t scared of what Rob has put together, you are kidding yourself.
4.) Tor Armstrong- Sentinels
The Sentinels and Coach Armstrong have a lot of expectations to live up to. The window is closing without a retooling of the team so DeAndre Wilkins must step up. A great draft steal, Wilkins is the reason the Sentinels got where they did but he will be the most important part of their success. Tor has gotten the best of him so far so can he keep it going?
3.) Bill Nicholson- Explorers
The Explorers are on the verge of greatness. With a very deep roster full of young talent, Bill has built a team ready for now and the future. Trading for young talents like Henry Dockett and Darius Young is genius in my opinion. The only real test is if he can scheme around Latavien Worrell and turn him into a championship-worthy QB. Everette Bradley has looked shaky recently so the window may be closing for them if they can’t find a great QB. This is the year for them to win it but they still have to go through a lot of hard teams.
2.) Mark Chizz- Huskies
He is the Champ. That’s all you really have to say but I will say more. The Huskies made it through a tough AFC and did something some thought impossible by taking down the Thunderbirds. He turned Corey Leonidas into a starting RB. He has one of the best Defenses in the game and he has brought in some young guys to be the stars of tomorrow. His team is aging but he can definitely keep them going for a while longer.
1.) Mark Kozyra- Thunderbirds
The Evil Lord from up North has made his team even better than before. He has put together the greatest D-Line in RFL history with the addition of Carl Bodine. He showed off what he can do with lower-level runners last year so now he wants to show what he can do with an all-pro talent at RB in Cornell Mickens. Coach Mark scares everyone in the league and now with a missed opportunity at the crown, he will be the mad Canadian we all know he is. Good luck to the Explorers, Barons, and Tigers. You get to play an angry Mark twice this year.
There you have Noah's latest list. What did you think of his assessment? Let us know in the comments below. As always, make sure you join the website and also follow all of our social media's to stay up to date with all of the RFL action!