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Ravens coach John Harbaugh should be a coach of the year candidate. He has emphasized fundamentals and the importance of practice and working hard. He and his coaching staff cover all the details leading up to a game.

Tennessee's Jeff Fisher has also done well, and it takes a great effort to remain undefeated, or just lose one game, during a season.

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Both are outstanding candidates.

But my choice for coach of the year is Alanta's Mike Smith, former linebackers coach for the Ravens. Fisher and Harbaugh already had a base on which to build, and they had good players on the roster.

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Smith was basically starting from scratch. Atlanta had become the joke of the league last season when quarterback Michael Vick was sentenced because of his involvement in an illegal dog fighting ring.

The Falcons also had their head coach walk out on them last season when Bobby Petrino left to become the head coach at Arkansas, of all places. To be a rookie coach and build a competitive team around a rookie quarterback, and to basically start from scratch, is remarkable.

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