Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 6/11/12
When it comes to the head coaches of the AFC South this is going to be an interesting season.

Mike Mularkey of  the Jacksonville Jaguars will be taking on his second head coaching position, Mike Munchak of the Tennessee Titans will be in just his second year, and Chuck Pagano of the Indianapolis Colts will be taking on his first head coaching job.

This article ranks the four coaches of the AFC South from best to worst, while discussing their strengths or areas they will need to improve on in 2012.

1. Gary Kubiak, Houston Texans
Since their inception the Houston Texans have, for the most part, consistently built a strong football team. Currently the team features players such as Matt Schaub, Andre Johnson, Arian Foster, and Brian Cushing to name a few. All of Houston’s hard work paid off last season as the team scored the franchise’s first division title, and first playoff win.

As if 2012 were not already full of promise because of the team’s talent and finish last season, Houston also employs the best head coach in the AFC South in Gary Kubiak.

Kubiak became the second head coach of the Houston Texans in 2006 and immediately worked to make the team better. In 2006, Houston went 6-10, which was a great improvement on their 2005 record of 2-14.  In 2007 and 2008 the team went 8-8, and went 9-7 in 2009.  Even though the team slipped to 6-10 in 2010, the team bounced back to their incredible 2011 season.

Kubiak is the best in the AFC South because he is currently the longest tendered AFC South coach,  and he coaches his players well, allowing his team to win even when key players are lost to injury. For example, despite having Andre Johnson for seven games last season, and having Matt Schaub for just 10 games last season, Kubiak used the running game and a rookie quarterback to finish getting into the playoffs, and win a playoff game.

Kubiak is another piece of the puzzle pointing to the fact that Houston will be the team to beat in the AFC South and will be a strong contender in the overall AFC.

2. Mike Munchak, Tennessee Titans  
Jeff Fisher was the head coach of the Houston Oilers/Tennessee Titans for part of the 1994 season through the end of the 2010 season, and led the team to a Super Bowl appearance following the 1999 season. After Fisher was let go, Mike Munchak who had been a part of the team as a player or assistant coach since 1983, became the team’s new head coach in 2011.

Behind the arm of Tennessee’s new quarterback, Matt Hasselbeck, and a decent pass defense, Munchak and the Titans went 9-7, scoring wins over quality teams, including the Baltimore Ravens, and division rival Houston.

In 2011 Tennessee finished 31st in total rushing yards, 22nd in total tackles and gave up the 24th most yards to opposing running attacks, meaning the running game and defense need to be high on Munchak’s fix list in his second season.

 3. Mike Mularkey, Jacksonville Jaguars
Jack Del Rio spent eight full seasons and part of a ninth season as the head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars before being fired after the 11th game of  2011. After having an interim coach for the final five games of the 2011 season, Mike Mularkey was named the third permanent head coach of the Jaguars on January 11, 2012.

Mularkey has NFL head coach experience, coaching the Buffalo Bills in 2004 and 2005. Mularkey also has offensive coordinator experience with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Miami Dolphins, and Atlanta Falcons.  

Mularkey will have his hands full as starting quarterback Blaine Gabbert failed to impress in his rookie season, and the team had an almost nonexistent passing game in 2011. However, working in Mularkey’s favor is Maurice Jones-Drew, and a defense that was not half bad in 2011.

4. Chuck Pagano, Indianapolis Colts
Among the several personnel moves the Indianapolis Colts made this offseason, one was the firing of Jim Caldwell as head coach, and the hiring of Chuck Pagano for that position.

Although this is Pagano’s first head coaching position, he has experience in the NFL as an assistant coach. From 2001-04, Pagano was a secondary coach; from 2005-08 he was an defensive backs coach for the Oakland Raiders; from 2008-2010 he was a secondary coach for the Baltimore Ravens; and most recently in 2011 he was the defensive coordinator for Baltimore.

Pagano will also have his hands full this season, as he will be handling the changing of the guard at the quarterback position, while trying to turn around a team that went 2-14 last season, and that ranked 26th or worse in total passing yards, total rushing yards, and average rushing yards allowed per game.

Going for Pagano though is the drafting of quarterback Andrew Luck, and the talent of several good players such as Reggie Wayne, Robert Mathis, and Pat Angerer.  
 

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