Assistant coach of the year?
Assistant Coach of the Year
Mike Tice, offensive line coach, Chicago
I don't know anyone in the NFL who has earned their money this season more than Tice, the former Vikings head coach who jumped from Jacksonville to Chicago last offseason in order to take on one of the most challenging projects in the league: rebuilding a Bears offensive line that was in tatters. My choice of Tice comes with the acknowledgement that he has not been a miracle worker in Chicago. The Bears offensive line started the season horribly, and quarterback Jay Cutler was running for his life on a weekly basis.
But like any good coach, Tice made necessary adjustments, kept coaching his guys on how to get better, and finally cobbled together a pretty decent unit that has shown improvement as this surprising 11-4 division-winning season in Chicago has unfolded. The raw statistics aren't flattering: the Bears offensive line has allowed a league-worst 50 sacks and its 85 QB hits ranks among the most in the NFL. But I see the essence of good coaching in Tice's performance this season. He took chicken-you-know what, and ended up making chicken salad.
Kudos to: Brian Ferentz, offensive assistant, New England. (A quick footnote: New England doesn't have anyone on staff with the title of tight ends coach, but Ferentz, the son of University of Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz, works mostly with the segment of New England's offense that has produced standout rookie seasons from both Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez.)