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Jim Trotter
August 01, 2011
THIS YEAR, A TOUGH JOB—ROOKIE COACH—IS EVEN HARDER
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August 01, 2011

Welcome To The Jungle

THIS YEAR, A TOUGH JOB—ROOKIE COACH—IS EVEN HARDER

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GETTING A TEAM PREPARED after a lockout that canceled workouts and minicamps, prevented personnel moves and pushed back the start of training camp won't be easy for any of the league's coaches, but it will be especially hard for the eight first-year bosses. Here's a look at the task each is facing, from toughest to easiest.

1 Ron Rivera, Panthers

Carolina had two victories last season, might lose running back DeAngelo Williams to free agency, must resolve the trade demand of wide receiver Steve Smith and has to choose between a rookie (Cam Newton) or a second-year pro (Jimmy Clausen) at quarterback. Not an easy first job for the former defensive coordinator of the Chargers and the Bears.

2 Mike Munchak, Titans

After jettisoning Vince Young and losing Kerry Collins to retirement, Tennessee has no veteran QB; star running back Chris Johnson has all but announced he will hold for a new contract; and big-play wide receiver Kenny Britt has all sorts of off-the-field distractions. And, oh, by the way, Munchak must fill the shoes of the most successful coach in franchise history, Jeff Fisher.

3 Hue Jackson, Raiders

Free agency could cost the Raiders cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, their best defensive back; guard Robert Gallery, the most dependable member of the offensive line; and free safety Michael Huff. Then there's owner Al Davis, who is always prone to doing the unpredictable. What if he brings in QB Vince Young? How would that affect chemistry?

4 John Fox, Broncos

Fox loves to run the ball but lacks a bell-cow back. Knownshon Moreno has dropped 15 pounds and is talking the talk, but he has had injury and fumbling problems. The Broncos are also thin on the interior of their defensive line and face questions about their secondary, where safety Brian Dawkins is a free agent and cornerback Perrish Cox is facing sexual-assault charges.

5 Jim Harbaugh, 49ers

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