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Falcons Defensive Line Coach Bryan Cox Puts Blame On Himself


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Atlanta Falcons defensive line coach Bryan Cox is a no-nonsense guy who speaks his mind with passion.

Such was the case Thursday as Cox reflected on his unit’s performance through 15 games. The Falcons sit at the bottom of the league at 19 sacks with just one game to go. Rather than point to any talent deficiency or misfits for the scheme, Cox put the bulk of the blame for the line’s inconsistent pressure on himself.

"I can coach better," Cox told ESPN.com. "Sometimes I’m too hard on the guys. Sometimes, my expectations are too much for a player. Sometimes I expect more out of them than they expect for themselves. If you’re not careful, that can become divisive. You can want it for them, but they ultimately have to do it."

Cox also regretted the positioning of rookie pass-rusher Vic Beasley. The first-round draft pick from Clemson leads the team with four sacks but hasn’t been dominant. Beasley refused to use playing with a torn labrum all season as an excuse.

"I could have done a better job moving Vic from the right side to the left side earlier," Cox said of Beasley’s transition midway through. "That’s what I’m talking about when I say doing a better job of coaching. I could have helped this guy along a little better seeing it. It took me a little longer to see it than I probably needed to. I think he can utilize his speed better against right tackles in this league than left tackles."

Cox also admitted mishandling veteran Adrian Clayborn, who rushed more inside from defensive tackle than at defensive end.

"I think it was probably dumb on my part, to be honest," Cox said. "I waiting too long to pull the trigger to put him outside. I kick myself with A.C. because I knew what he was. I coached him in Tampa, so I knew he could work outside, but I hesitated too long.

"The plus side of that is Grady [Jarrett] showing up and becoming the player that he’s become. It’s allowed me to have the confidence to move [Clayborn] outside."

Cox has been satisfied with the play of run-stuffers Paul Soliai and Tyson Jackson in the middle of the defense, although Soliai (calf) is now on injured reserve.

"I think the biggest thing is you talk about those guys losing weight, losing 25-30 pounds, and getting down to a weight that they could control, and you could see the athleticism and the power," Cox said. "You could see all the things that we liked about them initially in free agency. You saw it was tough for people to run inside on us for the majority of the year."

Cox noted how Jonathan Babineaux's value extends beyond the field.

"I think the biggest thing is Babs is a calming influence," Cox said. "He’s been a leader. To go in and ask a man to go from being a starter and for him to embrace it and say, 'I’ll do whatever to be a part of it.' He’s been a major contributor to what success we’ve had and possibly will have because he’s teaching the young guys, 'It’s not about me. It’s about us. It’s about the team.'"

One of those young guys who needed to learn was Ra'Shede Hageman, a second-year defensive tackle with tremendous talent and strength who plays out of control at times. Hageman and Cox had a sideline scuffle during a 38-0 loss at Carolina.

"I look at it in terms of No. 1, I would rather you take a punch at me or get into with me than to get into it with the other team," Cox said. "So I look at it as a protector situation. To me, it was no big deal. Whatever was said or made about it, that’s somebody else’s opinion. But that’s how I see it."

Cox is known for his profanity-laced tirades. He realizes not all of them are effective.

"I get on everybody’s *** like that," Cox said. "The best thing about me is I don’t discriminate. But you’ve got players that you don’t have to cuss out, like Babs. Every once in a while, he might get a 'What the f--- was that?' But some of these young players who don’t understand what being a pro player is, they get it in the meetings. At the end of the day, they know I love them and I’ve got their backs. If I give up on you, though, I give up on you. You’re done."

Beasley was one of the guys that giving a tongue-lashing to wasn’t all that effective, as Cox learned.

"He’s a hard guy to get to know, but when you get to know him a little bit and you get to understand him, you get to see what makes him tick," Cox said. "I’m still trying to figure him out because he’s as complex as I’ve ever been around."

Cox was asked why he so openly admitted his coaching flaws.

"You can’t grow unless you’re honest," he said. "There are some things that I can do better to help guys. I’ll get there, but it’s not for lack of knowledge. If you can self-analyze and be honest with yourself -- just like I’m asking the players to be honest when I tell them what they don’t want to hear -- sometimes you’ve got to look in the mirror and give yourself the cold, hard, honest truth. And if you can’t do that, it’s going to catch up to you. By then, you’re going to be out of job.

"And people don't realize how stressful of a job being an NFL coach is. They look at all the glamour, but they don't look at the 6 a.m. to 9:30 nights. They don't realize your job depends on how well a guy does and this guy don't give a **** because he's chasing girls and hanging out all night. It's a stressful job now."

http://espn.go.com/blog/atlanta-falcons/post/_/id/18426/falcons-defensive-line-coach-bryan-cox-points-blame-at-himself

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I love the honesty from Bryan Cox here. It appears that a lot of folks here were putting the blame wrongly on Dan Quinn about Clayborn playing inside until this very last couple of games. That's not surprising considering how folks here operate. I really hope we bring back Clay because he can be a monster for us.

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Well I think we did that because Grady hadn't developed yet, but since he showed that he needed more snaps it provided an opportunity to play Clay more at DE.

"The plus side of that is Grady showing up and becoming the player that he's become. It's allowed me to have the confidence to move Clayborn outside."

I figured that's where the confidence in the move came from.

Edited by ATLFalcons11
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I love the honesty from Bryan Cox here. It appears that a lot of folks here were putting the blame wrongly on Dan Quinn about Clayborn playing inside until this very last couple of games. That's not surprising considering how folks here operate. I really hope we bring back Clay because he can be a monster for us.

I guess coaches have a learning curve too.

I just hope we finish strong Sunday and show that improvement I've been talking about to end the season. Hopefully we can then take that momentum into the offseason and next year.

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I love the honesty and I agree with Cox on his own assessment of himself. Here is my problem as a fan though, why do they wait until the end of the year to figure it out? When we seem to see these problems and point them out on a weekly basis.

You would have thought somewhere along that six game losing streak they would made these changes along the way. I guess they are just scared to second guess themselves much like we all do about our decisions. That is a shame really, at least for this season. I like what him and Shanny have done the last few weeks, just wish they would have taken the blinders off sooner.

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WFW,

Not sure what happened with Clay this year. He rushed extremely well from the interior in preseason so it is understandable to a point why it took a little longer to make a switch.

It is worrisome to me that Cox seems to be struggling with rather slow development of Hageman and Beasley. Always hard to know where to draw the line between player and coach on slow development.

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Also, appreciate his honesty and I hope it helps, but still confused why an NFL coach who has played the game; coached the game and been around different types of players in both 'lives' would take soooo long to figure this out. Dan Quinn is Head Coach of this team. He's learning, I know, but part of being HC is pointing out needed corrections to his staff when things aren't going well. Has he not seen what Cox and Shanahan have finally admitted after 3 games left in a very disappointing season?

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For coaches it's a fine line between experimentation and panic, and I think that is why it takes many longer to adapt than it should. The standard coaching mantra is "we're just going to stay the course and follow the process", which is great from a mentality/preparation perspective, but it can also hinder scheme adjust.

I also think coaches err on the side of "give the players time to adjust to new scheme, team mates, etc".

Edited by brewman
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WFW,

Not sure what happened with Clay this year. He rushed extremely well from the interior in preseason so it is understandable to a point why it took a little longer to make a switch.

It is worrisome to me that Cox seems to be struggling with rather slow development of Hageman and Beasley. Always hard to know where to draw the line between player and coach on slow development.

Hageman can overpower the OL at will it seems, but where are the plays? He has the talent, we need to find the drive. I love what Beasley has done this season, if you throw in the hurries (I think he had 40 +) that is a rookie DE that was a force to be reckoned with.

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Also, appreciate his honesty and I hope it helps, but still confused why an NFL coach who has played the game; coached the game and been around different types of players in both 'lives' would take soooo long to figure this out. Dan Quinn is Head Coach of this team. He's learning, I know, but part of being HC is pointing out needed corrections to his staff when things aren't going well. Has he not seen what Cox and Shanahan have finally admitted after 3 games left in a very disappointing season?

It's possible that your expected timeline on making adjustments is too short.

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I love the honesty from Bryan Cox here. It appears that a lot of folks here were putting the blame wrongly on Dan Quinn about Clayborn playing inside until this very last couple of games. That's not surprising considering how folks here operate. I really hope we bring back Clay because he can be a monster for us.

excellent interview!! and i was definitely one of the ones goin' WTF isn't Clayborn at DE...gotta bring him back!!!

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translation:

Atlanta Falcons defensive line coach Bryan Cox is a no-nonsense guy who speaks his mind with passion.

Such was the case Thursday as Cox reflected on his unit’s performance through 15 games. The Falcons sit at the bottom of the league at 19 sacks with just one game to go. Rather than point to any talent deficiency or misfits for the scheme, Cox put the bulk of the blame for the line’s inconsistent pressure on himself.

"I can coach better," Cox told ESPN.com. "Sometimes I’m too hard on the guys. Sometimes, my expectations are too much for a player. Sometimes I expect more out of them than they expect for themselves. If you’re not careful, that can become divisive. You can want it for them, but they ultimately have to do it."

please don't fire me

Cox also regretted the positioning of rookie pass-rusher Vic Beasley. The first-round draft pick from Clemson leads the team with four sacks but hasn’t been dominant. Beasley refused to use playing with a torn labrum all season as an excuse.

"I could have done a better job moving Vic from the right side to the left side earlier," Cox said of Beasley’s transition midway through. "That’s what I’m talking about when I say doing a better job of coaching. I could have helped this guy along a little better seeing it. It took me a little longer to see it than I probably needed to. I think he can utilize his speed better against right tackles in this league than left tackles."

Cox also admitted mishandling veteran Adrian Clayborn, who rushed more inside from defensive tackle than at defensive end.

i'm stubborn,really stubborn

"I think it was probably dumb on my part, to be honest," Cox said. "I waiting too long to pull the trigger to put him outside. I kick myself with A.C. because I knew what he was. I coached him in Tampa, so I knew he could work outside, but I hesitated too long.

but looky! i changed

"The plus side of that is Grady [Jarrett] showing up and becoming the player that he’s become. It’s allowed me to have the confidence to move [Clayborn] outside."

Cox has been satisfied with the play of run-stuffers Paul Soliai and Tyson Jackson in the middle of the defense, although Soliai (calf) is now on injured reserve.

"I think the biggest thing is you talk about those guys losing weight, losing 25-30 pounds, and getting down to a weight that they could control, and you could see the athleticism and the power," Cox said. "You could see all the things that we liked about them initially in free agency. You saw it was tough for people to run inside on us for the majority of the year."

Cox noted how Jonathan Babineaux's value extends beyond the field.

"I think the biggest thing is Babs is a calming influence," Cox said. "He’s been a leader. To go in and ask a man to go from being a starter and for him to embrace it and say, 'I’ll do whatever to be a part of it.' He’s been a major contributor to what success we’ve had and possibly will have because he’s teaching the young guys, 'It’s not about me. It’s about us. It’s about the team.'"

One of those young guys who needed to learn was Ra'Shede Hageman, a second-year defensive tackle with tremendous talent and strength who plays out of control at times. Hageman and Cox had a sideline scuffle during a 38-0 loss at Carolina.

"I look at it in terms of No. 1, I would rather you take a punch at me or get into with me than to get into it with the other team," Cox said. "So I look at it as a protector situation. To me, it was no big deal. Whatever was said or made about it, that’s somebody else’s opinion. But that’s how I see it."

Cox is known for his profanity-laced tirades. He realizes not all of them are effective.

"I get on everybody’s *** like that," Cox said. "The best thing about me is I don’t discriminate. But you’ve got players that you don’t have to cuss out, like Babs. Every once in a while, he might get a 'What the f--- was that?' But some of these young players who don’t understand what being a pro player is, they get it in the meetings. At the end of the day, they know I love them and I’ve got their backs. If I give up on you, though, I give up on you. You’re done."

i'm an ahole

Beasley was one of the guys that giving a tongue-lashing to wasn’t all that effective, as Cox learned.

"He’s a hard guy to get to know, but when you get to know him a little bit and you get to understand him, you get to see what makes him tick," Cox said. "I’m still trying to figure him out because he’s as complex as I’ve ever been around."

i'm sorry Vic

Cox was asked why he so openly admitted his coaching flaws.

"You can’t grow unless you’re honest," he said. "There are some things that I can do better to help guys. I’ll get there, but it’s not for lack of knowledge. If you can self-analyze and be honest with yourself -- just like I’m asking the players to be honest when I tell them what they don’t want to hear -- sometimes you’ve got to look in the mirror and give yourself the cold, hard, honest truth. And if you can’t do that, it’s going to catch up to you. By then, you’re going to be out of job.

please don't fire me

"And people don't realize how stressful of a job being an NFL coach is. They look at all the glamour, but they don't look at the 6 a.m. to 9:30 nights. They don't realize your job depends on how well a guy does and this guy don't give a **** because he's chasing girls and hanging out all night. It's a stressful job now."

whoa is me,football players party,its not my fault,whoa is me,please don't fire me

Edited by 40milesN
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Also, appreciate his honesty and I hope it helps, but still confused why an NFL coach who has played the game; coached the game and been around different types of players in both 'lives' would take soooo long to figure this out. Dan Quinn is Head Coach of this team. He's learning, I know, but part of being HC is pointing out needed corrections to his staff when things aren't going well. Has he not seen what Cox and Shanahan have finally admitted after 3 games left in a very disappointing season?

Preseason is an entirely different brand of football than regular season and practices. You really don't know until you see real games that count over a period of time. That's one of the reasons why rookies don't normally perform as quickly as they used to. There's far less contact and practices (real ones with pads and such) in the offseason and coaches interaction with them. I get player safety and all but it has really stunted the development aspect of the game...

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Hageman can overpower the OL at will it seems, but where are the plays? He has the talent, we need to find the drive. I love what Beasley has done this season, if you throw in the hurries (I think he had 40 +) that is a rookie DE that was a force to be reckoned with.

He has the strength and athleticism, but it's probably his technique that needs refinement. Instead of just pushing lineman backwards, he also needs to learn how to leverage his body to get around them. That way, he conserves strength and stamina and he maximizes his effectiveness.

Just my humble observation.

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WFW,

Not sure what happened with Clay this year. He rushed extremely well from the interior in preseason so it is understandable to a point why it took a little longer to make a switch.

It is worrisome to me that Cox seems to be struggling with rather slow development of Hageman and Beasley. Always hard to know where to draw the line between player and coach on slow development.

Old skool thinking vs new school of doing things.

It's the generational difference in my day playing sport with coaches it was a very regimented thing the coach spoke you do know if's or but's.

These days coaching isn't coaching so to speak it's more of man management situations hence why a lot of ex players in my mind aren't the best coaches in some cases.

Communication being able to get your message across seems to be the secret of success in this era of sport.I mean using our national rugby team the All Blacks for example we had an ex high school principal as a coach in 2011 and they won the rugby World Cup and our latest coach in 2015 was a ex policeman and they also won the mentioned.

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Sorry, my 'Quote ' box doesn't work. I will try to respond to my posts on this thread. First, 'Yes, that is certainly possible, and I sincerely hope that you are right! Second, ' I get your point about new player development, but we aren't talking pre-season ... it's 15 games into a 16 game season and there are coaches who are just now beginning to realize that maybe some players are not being used correctly?

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I love his honesty. Cox gets big kudos from me on this.

This article is proof that the "we don't have any talent" chorus that generally refuses to ackowledge the coaches putting the players in a position to succeed (or fail) is a huge part of things.

All players have strengths and weaknesses. If you line Beasely up against LTs all season, he's most likely not going to be as dominant of a pass rusher than if you line him up against RTs. If you line up AC on the interior, he's most likely not going to be as effective as if you line him up on the outside.

The Falcons have a lot of young, talented players. The coaches are just learning how to utilize the talent we have on both sides of the ball right now. With another offseason where we can cut some players he who just don't fit our schemes well, add some free agent and draft picks who do fit our schemes well, we have a reasonable chance at making a quantum leap next year in how good of a team we are.

This year was a mistake riddled year with coaches and players all struggling to learn each other and their roles and we somehow STILL managed to win at least 8 games. The arrow is up for this franchise, just how straight up is the only question.

We have some HUGE holes on the roster on the interior of the OL and LB, we need another receiver whether it's a TE or WR and a safety, but we also have a lot talent, but a lot of it is young or has been misutilized. Next year these issues will iron themselves out.

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