I’m not sure who I want to be the next Eagles coach. There’s some good candidates out there with track records. And then there are the coaches who have none, but because they’ve had one good year the media suddenly thinks they are head coach material, because the media is dumb.
These are the coaches I don’t want.
Retreads. I have and will always be against hiring a failed coach. Sure, there are some success stories: Bill Belichick, Tom Coughlin, Tony Dungy, Jon Gruden and Dick Vermeil all won Super Bowls at their second stop. But that’s it, only 5 guys have done it, possibly 6 if the Broncos, Seahawks or Redskins win the Super Bowl this year. It’s a really short list. And other than Belichick (and if he were to win, Pete Carroll) they all had significant success in their first stop. So if you’re going to hire a retread, make sure it’s a really really good one. Which narrows it down to two names, neither one of which is appealing or realistic. Bill Cowher‘s name is always thrown into the ring, but he was Andy Reid before Andy Reid and his ultra conservative ways would leave him behind today. And he really seems to enjoy retirement. Jon Gruden is an even worse fit, he never won a playoff game since winning the Super Bowl with Dungy’s team and he’s absolutely terrible at developing players. Horrific at it. The only offensive player that was drafted and developed under Gruden that has gone to a Pro Bowl is Davin Joseph. Gruden works great with veteran teams, he would be a good fit for the Cowboys, a terrible fit for the Eagles. Just say no to Gruden. Ultimately it’s irrelevant, Lurie is not hiring a retread.
For anyone: player, coach, GM, I need to see them do it two years in a row before I am sold. Anyone can have a good year, and anyone can have a bad year too. Two good years in a row is all I ask. These coaches don’t have it. None of them are impressive in the criteria listed above. They’ve generally had one good year and before that nothing noteworthy, or their past is being seriously over looked.
Josh McDaniels. Are you fucking kidding me.
Bruce Arians. Arians had a tough job taking over for the cancer stricken Chuck Pagano and has done well. Much credit to him for keeping the team together while going through unprecedented waters. That’s a great resume item to be a CEO-type coach like Mike Tomlin (who I think is excellent). But he’s 60 years old and more importantly: the Colts stink. They really do. They have played the easiest schedule in the league and have a negative point differential. Playoff teams should not have that. They haven’t beaten anyone by more than a TD, and they’ve played some horrible teams (Jacksonville and Tennessee twice, Kansas City, Buffalo and Detroit). Their only quality win came when Reggie Wayne had one of the best games of his excellent career. Their defense is awful and the offense is middle of the pack. They do nothing well, nothing unexpectedly good and they will most likely get stomped in the playoffs. Before coaching Andrew Luck, a generational player, Arians apparently had a reputation as a QB developer, but where’s the beef? He was Peyton Manning’s QB coach from 98-00, but Tom Moore was guy running the ship early in Peyton’s career. He took over as Steelers offensive coordinator in Ben Roethlisberger’s 4th year, he was already an established player by then. Before that he called plays for Tim Couch and Kelly Holcomb and couldn’t get blood from a stone. I want blood from a stone from my head coach and you should too. He was never head coach material before this year and one year with a prodigy doesn’t change anything, no matter how great a story it is. Stories don’t win games.
Bill O’Brien. Everyone that I have seen singing his praises is a Penn State fan. Step back from the bias and evaluate him if you can. Outside of the cocoon of Penn State fans (gee, that hasn’t been a problem before…) he isn’t talked about. Like Arians, O’Brien is to be commended for being a steady hand during a tumultuous and unprecedented time. It’s not easy being the eye of a hurricane. And like Arians, that is the only thing on his resume of any note. Yes, I’m completely disregarding his entire tenure in New England. It’s simply not impressive to me. The Patriots had the best offense in the league before he was the OC and they have the best offense in the league again without him. Clearly they function just fine with out him, putting up historical numbers before he called plays and near historical numbers after he called plays. Before O’Brien joined the Patriots he was a no name coach with a bad resume. Being a no name is not necessarily a bad thing, Andy Reid and Mike Smith were nobodies when they got hired and now they’re the most successful coaches in their franchise’s history. But he was a nobody for very good reasons. His offenses at Duke were embarrassingly bad even by Duke standards. Yes, you can win at Duke, see Steve Spurrier and David Cutcliffe. O’Brien’s stops at Georgia Tech and Maryland were mediocre at best. He got the job at Penn State because after PSU spent two months searching for a new coach he was one of the few people actually willing to come there. This year he coached the leftovers from last year’s 9-3 Penn State team, get back to me in 3 years when he’s coaching his recruits. Plenty of coaches start out strong because they’re working with the previous regime’s players. Just look at Charlie Weis, who O’Brien mirrors in a few ways, as we’ve all seen how Patriots assistants fare after leaving New England. Again, stories don’t win games.
Kyle Shanahan. You want the guy who thought John Beck was worth a Top 10 pick? And pair him with Howie Roseman? I didn’t think so.
Dirk Koetter. Another case of looking at one good year out of context. Koetter did nothing worth being a head coach while in Jacksonville, and prior to that was unimpressive as the head coach at Arizona State. And even with the Falcons he hasn’t been all that great. Last year the Falcons were an explosive, downfield passing offense and were ineffective at running the ball, particularly in short yardage. This year the Falcons are a slightly more explosive downfield passing offense and are still ineffective at running the ball, particularly in short yardage. Hard to give Koetter credit for well, anything. Matt Ryan, Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez are excellent players and Julio Jones continued his development. There’s nothing the Koetter has done with the Falcons that should make you take notice.
Jay Gruden. I’ll give Jay Gruden this: to go from coaching the Arena League to the NFL is not easy, they’re totally different games. But he hasn’t done an impressive job in Cincy. His first year was fine. He was new to the league, his QB was a rookie, his #1 WR was a rookie, the rest of the offense was young. They did a good job all things considered. But there hasn’t been any progression from 2011 to 2012. The passing offense was mediocre last year and is again mediocre this year. Andy Dalton’s not that good, and the Bengals offense isn’t either. Dalton has the talent around him to have a top ten or so offense, but they don’t. They win games because they have a very, very good defense and the offense is just good enough. Dalton and Gruden have one win over the Steelers and Ravens the past two years, and in that win on Sunday Dalton didn’t do anything, they won because Roethlisberger crapped the bed. They have had little to no coaching advantage against their rivals. That’s not a good sign.
Somehow these coaches are being considered as legit candidates. It’s understandable, to a degree. There’s going to be a lot of coaching openings this year, and someone’s got to fill those spots. And in a what have you done for me lately league, people have short memories. But they shouldn’t. A year ago, would you have looked at any of these coaches and though “that guy might be a good replacement for Andy Reid”? Maybe Jay Gruden, coming off his first year with a baby faced offense. But the rest would have been a decisive “no.” One year doesn’t change a no to a yes, especially given the context these coaches work in.
Not that it matters, because Howie Roseman will screw it up.