I dunno, Caldwell did pilot a TERRIBLE Colts team before getting canned. Granted, he did get them to the Superbowl, or Manning did. One of them.
I'll take that year if Ravens make post season again.
The nature of the league dictates that talent gets spread out across the league. The teams that have the most consistent success have coaching staffs that are able to best set their players up for success.
That's arguably less important when you have HOF-caliber player/leaders on the defense...at least if their leadership ability extends to the point they are basically coaches on the field. We've had that with Lewis and with Reed. So we're going to see what Pees can do when he doesn't have Bellichek (say what you want; the man knows defense) looking over his shoulder, or Ray Lewis in the film room.
Do we blame Pees for the first half and disregard the second half? Do we absolve Pees for the first half and give him credit for the second half? I don't know.
I have a recurring dream where Pees is with us for one more year, then Rex Ryan gets fired from the Jets and comes back to be our DC-for-life, like Dick Lebeau.
It's the players. It's always the players.
Brian Billick was an offensive genius in Minnesota, commanding one of the greatest offenses of all time. He comes to Baltimore and a guy who wasn't good enough to be the #4 WR in Minnesota becomes his #1. He has a string of QB's that make me cry every time I think about them. And suddenly... what, he forgets how to coach? He is no longer an offensive genius? Or he never was in the first place?
-- Bill Belichick's teams have a record of 136-39 with Tom Brady as the starting quarterback. Without Brady, he's 51-65.
-- Tony Dungy, architect of the Tampa 2, turned around a moribund Bucs franchise with his defensive acumen. But then he went to the Colts, who would have won the Lombardi every year he was there if they had been able to muster an even mediocre defense.
-- Then there is the Marvin Lewis Story. Marvin Lewis was a defensive genius in Pittsburgh. He comes to Baltimore in 1996, and he's an idiot We know this because his defense is one of the worst of the league. Then he gets some players around a young Ray Lewis, and he gets smarter again, until he is the the best defensive coordinator in the NFL. Then he goes to Washington, where he quickly forgets how to coach, and the Skins defense is horrible. Then it's off to Cincy, where he continues to be a defensive idiot who doesn't know anything, until they draft a bunch of really good defensive players, and he is known as a defensive guru again.
Coaching of course has an impact. Sometimes a very large impact. In rare cases (Bill Walsh) a coach can be so smart he can turn average players into a great team. But the number one (and two, and three) most important thing is the quality of the players. If Ozzie gets some good players through the draft, if Christian Thompson and Albert McLellan can actually play, if Chris Canty and Marcus Spears have some gas in their tank, if Ngata and Webb and Sizzle stay healthy, then Dean Pees will be a very good defensive coordinator. If not, we could bring in Dick LeBeau or Buddy Ryan -- it's not going to matter.
Give Pees credit. The team was coached to play disciplined in the Super Bowl and not let Kap kill them like way he ran all over everyone else in the playoffs. That isn't just players playing to their ability, there was scheme involved.