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  1. #1
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    Putting NFL Head Coaches in their Pigeon Holes



    Yesterday I heard someone wishing that the Jets would tank so Rex would get fired and the Ravens could hire him as D coordinator again.

    We could debate whether they would do that, if the chance arises.

    It got me thinking about Bisciotti's decision not to offer the Ravens head job to Rex and instead his leaning to Jason Garrett and ultimately John Harbaugh. Maybe with better players Garrett would have been just as successful as John. Or maybe John, who has a bit more of an edge to him, is just better suited to be an NFL coach.

    That got me wondering if you could sort all the coaches by their predominant traits and then see if a certain "types" of coaches are better suited for long-term success in the NFL.

    How you categorize a coach is HIGHLY debatable. I'll stipulate that right off the top. You could argue some guys belong in another category, or in more than one. But here is my attempt to create and fill categories...

    Cerebral & Intense

    (Analytical, thoughtful, but with and old-school attitude that demands hard work and accountability. More pluggers than geniuses.)

    Baltimore Ravens John Harbaugh
    New England Patriots Bill Belichick
    New York Giants Tom Coughlin
    Pittsburgh Steelers Mike Tomlin
    Cincinnati Bengals Marvin Lewis


    The CEO

    (Smart, experienced, respected, controlled; but a little more aloof or arrogant, and a little less intense.)

    Dallas Cowboys Jason Garrett
    Denver Broncos John Fox
    Philadelphia Eagles Andy Reid
    Washington Redskins Mike Shanahan
    Atlanta Falcons Mike Smith


    The Defensive Minded Hard-Ass

    (Not necessarily a guy with a defensive background (Harbaugh) but more of and arrogance and a chip-on-the shoulder attitude that is more often associated with the defensive side of the ball).

    Chicago Bears Lovie Smith
    Detroit Lions Jim Schwartz
    New York Jets Rex Ryan
    San Francisco 49ers Jim Harbaugh
    St. Louis Rams Jeff Fisher


    The Longtime Assistant

    (No particular style or philosophy, or experience enough to make a particular mark. Just a guy whose coached for a long time and has been given a shot. These guys sometimes migrate into other categories after they have held jobs for a while. John Harbaugh did)

    Carolina Panthers Ron Rivera
    Cleveland Browns Pat Shurmur
    Indianapolis Colts Chuck Pagano
    Kansas City Chiefs Romeo Crennel
    Minnesota Vikings Leslie Frazier
    Oakland Raiders Dennis Allen
    Tennessee Titans Mike Munchak


    The Offensive Genius

    Made their mark as offensive coordinators and hired mostly for their X's and O's ability. Cam Cameron was one of these in Miami. May not be as strong with people skills)

    Arizona Cardinals Ken Whisenhunt
    Buffalo Bills Chan Gailey
    Green Bay Packers Mike McCarthy
    Houston Texans Gary Kubiak
    Jacksonville Jaguars Mike Mularkey
    Miami Dolphins Joe Philbin
    New Orleans Saints Sean Payton
    San Diego Chargers Norv Turner

    The College Transfer

    (A little bit of a left-over category for guys who were hired based on success in the NCAA. Kirk Ferentz is often mentioned as a possible NFL hire someday. You could argue that Carroll is just as much a "CEO" type.)

    Seattle Seahawks Pete Carroll
    Tampa Bay Buccaneers Greg Schiano

    Thinking back about Billick, I would say that he could have been called "cerebral intense" or "offensive genius." He sort of started as the latter, at times was the former, but ultimately fell into my "CEO" category.

    I think when he was cerebral and intense (taking charge at the podium in Tampa; kicking down the door and asking where is that bastard) he was his most successful; when he stopped intensely connecting with his players and instead talked down at them like an arrogant genius; he was at his worst.

    As I said, all very subjective. But I do think some categories produce better head coaches than others.
    Last edited by Shas; 10-10-2012 at 12:29 PM.




  2. #2

    Re: Putting NFL Head Coaches in their Pigeon Holes

    Well one thing that has been clear to me is that the college ranks historically has not been a positive springboard for those aspiring to be NFL coaches.

    As for Bilichek you could easily group him into both the cerebral and CEO category.

    By the way what do you mean by "controlled" in the CEO category? I ask because that would definately be Jason Garrett because we know how Jerry Jones likes to micromanage. Andy Reid could be in that category as well now given that Lurie has issued him an ultimatum to make the playoffs




  3. #3
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    Re: Putting NFL Head Coaches in their Pigeon Holes

    By "controlled" I meant that coach's temperament is "under'control" I added it to help separate the guys who have a bit of an edge -- like Belichick and Tomlin -- from the guys who are a little less fiery, like Garrett and Reid.

    You make an interesting point about Garrett and Reid being a bit micromanaged. It probably does take a coach who is politically sensitive to deal with a meddling owner. So the CEO idea still fits for me at least. Jerry is sort of the Chairman of the Board and Garrett the CEO.

    The hardest guy for me to place is Marvin Lewis. I had him in the CEO category and he probably does belong there instead of the more intense cerebral category. The fact that he's had to cope with Mike Brown probably makes it an even stronger case to put him in the CEO category.

    I agree that the college guys have tended not to work. I've long said that the Offensive Genius is a tempting hire that rarely works out.

    The Defensive Hard-asses tend to be good turn-around artists for franchises, they light a fire under a team when they arrive, but they have trouble going all the way. Teams like the Titans under Fisher, the Bears, the Jets, etc. play really well in short bursts, but are volatile and can't quite seem to win the big game.




  4. #4
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    Re: Putting NFL Head Coaches in their Pigeon Holes

    In response to your first comment about a fan wishing the Jets would fire Rex so he could be the DC... there's a thread on that on about 28 team boards right now. Most fans want him as their next DC if not HC in some cases.
    World Domination 3 Points at a Time!




  5. #5
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    Re: Putting NFL Head Coaches in their Pigeon Holes

    I can see that this is still a work in progress Shaslers, but it is a very good idea.
    "When questioned, the Elders explained that they were in search of magical powers. However, they're actually searching for the whereabouts of a certain ring. This ring is a legendary treasure that long ago was known to exist"




  6. #6
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    Re: Putting NFL Head Coaches in their Pigeon Holes

    Quote Originally Posted by Shas View Post
    By "controlled" I meant that coach's temperament is "under'control" I added it to help separate the guys who have a bit of an edge -- like Belichick and Tomlin -- from the guys who are a little less fiery, like Garrett and Reid.

    You make an interesting point about Garrett and Reid being a bit micromanaged. It probably does take a coach who is politically sensitive to deal with a meddling owner. So the CEO idea still fits for me at least. Jerry is sort of the Chairman of the Board and Garrett the CEO.

    The hardest guy for me to place is Marvin Lewis. I had him in the CEO category and he probably does belong there instead of the more intense cerebral category. The fact that he's had to cope with Mike Brown probably makes it an even stronger case to put him in the CEO category.

    I agree that the college guys have tended not to work. I've long said that the Offensive Genius is a tempting hire that rarely works out.

    The Defensive Hard-asses tend to be good turn-around artists for franchises, they light a fire under a team when they arrive, but they have trouble going all the way. Teams like the Titans under Fisher, the Bears, the Jets, etc. play really well in short bursts, but are volatile and can't quite seem to win the big game.
    Yeah, I think Marvin was probably the only one that I wasn't really sure about. I think everyone else fit where you had them very well.




  7. #7

    Re: Putting NFL Head Coaches in their Pigeon Holes

    Nice post. Takes my mind off of other things that occurred last night.

    Quote Originally Posted by Shas View Post
    It got me thinking about Bisciotti's decision not to offer the Ravens head job to Rex and instead his leaning to Jason Garrett and ultimately John Harbaugh. Maybe with better players Garrett would have been just as successful as John. Or maybe John, who has a bit more of an edge to him, is just better suited to be an NFL coach.
    Well, reports were that the job was Garrett's if he wanted it. That is more than just "leaning" towards one candidate.

    So I think Bisciotti somewhat lucked into Harbaugh - although it was also reported that Harbaugh was very high on Bisciotti's list, as well.

    Also, I think that there is a significant difference in experience/pedigree/temper, whatever you want to call it, between an offensive coordinator and a special teams coach.

    An OC has to deal with the QB, and his position coaches (OL, WR, RB, QB, etc.).

    Whereas the ST coach has to deal with a wider range of players - rookies that are the 40th-45th players on most game days, ST veterans, kickers, punters, etc. I think coaching this group of players requires a different mind-set and skill-set from the offensive coordinator coach. I see a lot of similarities between Harbaugh's experience and Cowher's experience.

    Thinking back about Billick, I would say that he could have been called "cerebral intense" or "offensive genius." He sort of started as the latter, at times was the former, but ultimately fell into my "CEO" category.

    I think when he was cerebral and intense (taking charge at the podium in Tampa; kicking down the door and asking where is that bastard) he was his most successful; when he stopped intensely connecting with his players and instead talked down at them like an arrogant genius; he was at his worst.
    I agree that Billick is a hard one to categorize. What made Billick a very-good to near-great (imo) coach the first half of his tenure was that he came into the organization with a clear vision and plan to turn things around and really challenged the players, especially the veteran leaders, to change the culture of the team.

    One of my favorite stories is of him sitting down with Michael McCrary before the 1999 season. McCrary had been brought in under the Marchibroda regime as a pure pass rusher, and he was very successful and made the Pro-Bowl in 1998 with 14.5 sacks.

    But in Billick's / Marvin Lewis's 4-3 defense, they would need him not rush up-field so much but rather to set the edge on running plays to funnel the backs into the black hole of Siragusa, Sam Adams and Ray Lewis. This type of role would mean that McCrary would have to give up some sacks (a key stat in contract negotiations, by the way). Billick asked McCrary, "Do you want to go to the Pro Bowl, or the Super Bowl?"

    McCrary made the pro-bowl again in Billick's first year, but in 2000, when the defense finally came together, his sack totals slipped to 6.5 and he never did make another Pro-Bowl, but he did get his SB ring.

    Eventually, as the team matured, Billick (as he himself foresaw), "lost his voice" and it was eventually time to move on. One last irony: Billick was infamously snubbed by the Cleveland team when they found out he had the audacity to interview with Modell. I thought at the time, and still think today, that he would be the perfect type of coach to turn around their losing ways. Were he ever to get hired by them, I think the Ravens AFC North competition would get that much harder.




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