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Cowher & Simms - Quarterback or Offensive Coordinator: Which Is More Important


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This is a pretty interesting topic discussed by Simms & Bill Cowher.

 

Who's More Important, the QB or the Offensive Coordinator?

One of those debates is the importance of a quarterback vs. coordinator. The initial thought is that a great coordinator can only do so much to overcome the deficiencies of the quarterback, but a truly great quarterback doesn’t need a good offensive coordinator to reach the heights of stardom. There are arguments for both sides that hold water; the best quarterbacks have been paired with a great coach, but there have been a handful of QBs who succeed despite their head coach throughout NFL history.

Philip Rivers comes to mind as an example, consistently putting up good to great numbers without a like-minded offensive coordinator at his hip for his entire career. Of course, he’s never even been to the big game, much less won a championship. Ben Roethlisberger has been extremely prolific over the last decade with three different offensive coordinators, out of which only Todd Haley would be considered quality. The rings argument remains, however.

On the flip side, there are plenty of examples to show how a good offensive mind can lift up his quarterback, and when paired with the right one, can create something special. We need look no further than Los Angeles, where Jared Goff looked like a spectacular bust of nearly unprecedented magnitude with Jeff Fisher before undergoing a Pokemon-esque evolution to top 10 QB under Sean McVay in the span of precisely one year. Tom Brady and Josh McDaniels have been terrorizing the league together for over a decade. Joe Montana and Bill Walsh were the original shining example of two great football minds coming together and creating a masterpiece.

For Bill Cowher and Phil Simms, the answer is quite easy. While both were in the midst of interviews at NFL on CBS Media Day, Simms dragged Cowher away to enjoy some discourse on this very topic. This is how their exchange unfolded:

Simms: I think I had it last year, before the draft. I said, ‘What’s more important?’ and you laughed, I said ‘Is it the quarterback or the coordinator?’ and you go, ‘You know, that’s a good question. I’ll have to think about that.’

Cowher: It’s the coordinator! I’m just telling you.

 

Simms: Yes! But nobody ever believes it or says it. We didn’t even say it last year, even though we talked about it and we never said it on the air. Don’t worry, Show One it’s coming.

Cowher: The coordinator can put you in the best position possible. The quarterback can be a great quarterback, but if you don’t give him a chance, then you know what? What good is it? If you don’t give him a chance to be successful, because, you know football is the ultimate chess match, it’s move-countermove. How much flexibility are you gonna give the guy? Can the guy get out of a bad play?… Giving him flexibility, giving him options can take away maybe that little thing that he doesn’t have that our guy does have. So what do you do? You play to his strengths, right? Hey, let’s talk about this sometime.

Simms: It’s so funny, we talked about it, and I wrote it down the day I thought of it. And I said ‘I’m gonna bring this up during the year.’ Every week, I keep notes I want to bring up… But we never brought it up.

 

Cowher: I said, when I first became a head coach, the most important hire I made was the offensive coordinator. Ron Erhardt. ‘Fargo’ was awesome. You know what he allowed me to do? He allowed me to coach defense. I know he wanted to run the ball and how he loved play action, and I go, ‘You’re good. We’re good. Let me take care of this side.’

The former coach and quarterback both firmly come down on the same side of the argument you’d think would divide them. Like most things, the true answer to this argument falls somewhere in the middle, because as I said 600 words ago, football is a team game at its core. An offensive genius like Andy Reid could engineer a top-15 offense from scratch, and a quarterback like Patrick Mahomes will make an MVP case with yours truly calling plays.

Most teams are lucky to have one good quarterback or coordinator, much less both. It seems, in today’s NFL, most teams fall on the same side as Simms and Cowher; nearly half of the league will have new signal-callers this season, several of whom stem directly from the McVay coaching tree (which is somehow real after only three seasons as the top dog in L.A.). Great quarterbacks are, and always will be, in short supply. They need to have the once-in-a-generation combination of skills, smarts, and athletic ability. Great coordinators are always extraordinarily smart, but it’s possible to become a great coordinator just by working your *** off. That isn’t the case with quarterbacks.

When it comes down to it, put your money on finding a great coordinator first. The pool is larger and your chances of success are greater, even though it’s only marginally so. Football can be one big crapshoot, but a good coordinator is easier to find and more likely to make sense of the chaos.

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Here is something most will be surprised to learn.  Ryan is worse in Year 2 with an OC.  Puts to be the narrative that Ryan struggles year 1 with a new OC

MATT RYAN, ATLANTA FALCONS

With Dirk Koetter back in year two, Matt Ryan is an intriguing quarterback to examine looking into the 2020 season. Shanahan not only was the coordinator under which Ryan had what is to date his second-best PFF season grade of 92.8 in 2016, but he's the only OC where Ryan's season grade increased in the second year of the system. Ryan led all quarterbacks in three of PFF's signature stats in 2016 . That includes a passer rating on deep passes of 136.1, an adjusted completion percentage when kept clean in the pocket of 84.1 percent and a passer rating of 116.5 when spending less than 2.5 seconds in the pocket.

QB-OC-Matt-Ryan2.png

After posting a grade of 85.6 as a rookie with Mike Mularkey calling the plays, Ryan saw a drastic dip in his second season grade which was 73.8. In his last two seasons with Mularkey, Ryan posted grades of 87.1 and 89.3, respectively. When Mularkey took the Jaguars head coaching job in 2012, Dirk Koetter filled the offensive coordinator position in Atlanta. Ryan saw immediate results under Koetter as he posted his career-best grade of 93.8 in his first season under his tutelage. The second season with Koetter saw a dip to 82.8 which could be tied into Julio Jones having a season ending injury in week five of the 2013 season as Ryan's grade bounced back to 89.3 in 2014. Under Sarkisian, Ryan was phenomenal both years, but in 2017 he graded out #2 overall in the NFL.  His 2018 campaign was great, but not as good as year 1

His overall grades have dropped off in his second season under  Mularkey, Koetter & Sarkisian, Ryan has performed great in his first season under a new offensive coordinator. 

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46 minutes ago, Ians0280 said:

Thats because those two never did anything to change the offense.taems adjusted and the oc didn't.under kyle though he saw how teams adjusted to his offence and adjusted accordingly in year two.

@JD dirtybird21 was correct when he said it’s not Ryan that struggles year 1 of a new OC, it’s the other guys around him that struggle.  Ryan plays well but the offense struggles

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1 hour ago, FalconsIn2012 said:

Here is something most will be surprised to learn.  Ryan is worse in Year 2 with an OC.  Puts to be the narrative that Ryan struggles year 1 with a new OC

MATT RYAN, ATLANTA FALCONS

With Dirk Koetter back in year two, Matt Ryan is an intriguing quarterback to examine looking into the 2020 season. Shanahan not only was the coordinator under which Ryan had what is to date his second-best PFF season grade of 92.8 in 2016, but he's the only OC where Ryan's season grade increased in the second year of the system. Ryan led all quarterbacks in three of PFF's signature stats in 2016 . That includes a passer rating on deep passes of 136.1, an adjusted completion percentage when kept clean in the pocket of 84.1 percent and a passer rating of 116.5 when spending less than 2.5 seconds in the pocket.

QB-OC-Matt-Ryan2.png

After posting a grade of 85.6 as a rookie with Mike Mularkey calling the plays, Ryan saw a drastic dip in his second season grade which was 73.8. In his last two seasons with Mularkey, Ryan posted grades of 87.1 and 89.3, respectively. When Mularkey took the Jaguars head coaching job in 2012, Dirk Koetter filled the offensive coordinator position in Atlanta. Ryan saw immediate results under Koetter as he posted his career-best grade of 93.8 in his first season under his tutelage. The second season with Koetter saw a dip to 82.8 which could be tied into Julio Jones having a season ending injury in week five of the 2013 season as Ryan's grade bounced back to 89.3 in 2014. Under Sarkisian, Ryan was phenomenal both years, but in 2017 he graded out #2 overall in the NFL.  His 2018 campaign was great, but not as good as year 1

His overall grades have dropped off in his second season under  Mularkey, Koetter & Sarkisian, Ryan has performed great in his first season under a new offensive coordinator. 

Correlation is not causation.  I know you are more in to 49ers, But you need to watch some falcons games. 
 

2009:- The Sophomore Qb slump, tough schedule and Over weight  and injured Turner. The QB sophomore slump isn’t that uncommon. Look at Baker Mayfield last year with same OC. 
 

2013: The OL had third string players with dumpster defense.  If you actually watched the games, Ryan was running for his life. 
 

2015: A brand New offense, players and QB learning the offense. KS brought in Henkerson to replace Roddy. Never really planned out. Ryan never really was comfortable outside first read, and was feeding Julio.

2016: New Offensive talent in Sanu, Mack and players comfortable in second year. 
 

2017: Sark learning new offense, And those fluke Drops to interceptions didn’t help.

2018: Sark gets comfortable, Offense gets better. 
 

2019: DK who never called WCO, which is hard for players and coaches to learn has to learn the new offense.

2020: Ryan thinks DK has better understanding Of scheme and players. In NFL players and OC need to be on same page and be comfortable. 
 

You can’t just throw some random generic observations and make conclusions. 

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2 hours ago, falcons007 said:

Correlation is not causation.  I know you are more in to 49ers, But you need to watch some falcons games. 
 

Oh my...nice burn.

Curious why you are throwing personal insults as though I wrote the article myself

Do better.  Try harder

And clearly you didn’t read the article.  Read it again and you’ll see why your post makes absolutely no sense

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OC. All day. So many decent QB's that can prosper. And yes SF is mediocre at QB, but has some good piece and obviously a brilliant OC mind. So, Matt Ryan with an average OC. Not going to get us far. I think Defense is a factor with this decision. 

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2 hours ago, FalconsIn2012 said:

Here is something most will be surprised to learn.  Ryan is worse in Year 2 with an OC.  Puts to be the narrative that Ryan struggles year 1 with a new OC

MATT RYAN, ATLANTA FALCONS

With Dirk Koetter back in year two, Matt Ryan is an intriguing quarterback to examine looking into the 2020 season. Shanahan not only was the coordinator under which Ryan had what is to date his second-best PFF season grade of 92.8 in 2016, but he's the only OC where Ryan's season grade increased in the second year of the system. Ryan led all quarterbacks in three of PFF's signature stats in 2016 . That includes a passer rating on deep passes of 136.1, an adjusted completion percentage when kept clean in the pocket of 84.1 percent and a passer rating of 116.5 when spending less than 2.5 seconds in the pocket.

QB-OC-Matt-Ryan2.png

After posting a grade of 85.6 as a rookie with Mike Mularkey calling the plays, Ryan saw a drastic dip in his second season grade which was 73.8. In his last two seasons with Mularkey, Ryan posted grades of 87.1 and 89.3, respectively. When Mularkey took the Jaguars head coaching job in 2012, Dirk Koetter filled the offensive coordinator position in Atlanta. Ryan saw immediate results under Koetter as he posted his career-best grade of 93.8 in his first season under his tutelage. The second season with Koetter saw a dip to 82.8 which could be tied into Julio Jones having a season ending injury in week five of the 2013 season as Ryan's grade bounced back to 89.3 in 2014. Under Sarkisian, Ryan was phenomenal both years, but in 2017 he graded out #2 overall in the NFL.  His 2018 campaign was great, but not as good as year 1

His overall grades have dropped off in his second season under  Mularkey, Koetter & Sarkisian, Ryan has performed great in his first season under a new offensive coordinator. 

It’s coincidence...interesting, but coincidence.

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3 hours ago, FalconsIn2012 said:

Here is something most will be surprised to learn.  Ryan is worse in Year 2 with an OC.  Puts to be the narrative that Ryan struggles year 1 with a new OC

MATT RYAN, ATLANTA FALCONS

With Dirk Koetter back in year two, Matt Ryan is an intriguing quarterback to examine looking into the 2020 season. Shanahan not only was the coordinator under which Ryan had what is to date his second-best PFF season grade of 92.8 in 2016, but he's the only OC where Ryan's season grade increased in the second year of the system. Ryan led all quarterbacks in three of PFF's signature stats in 2016 . That includes a passer rating on deep passes of 136.1, an adjusted completion percentage when kept clean in the pocket of 84.1 percent and a passer rating of 116.5 when spending less than 2.5 seconds in the pocket.

QB-OC-Matt-Ryan2.png

After posting a grade of 85.6 as a rookie with Mike Mularkey calling the plays, Ryan saw a drastic dip in his second season grade which was 73.8. In his last two seasons with Mularkey, Ryan posted grades of 87.1 and 89.3, respectively. When Mularkey took the Jaguars head coaching job in 2012, Dirk Koetter filled the offensive coordinator position in Atlanta. Ryan saw immediate results under Koetter as he posted his career-best grade of 93.8 in his first season under his tutelage. The second season with Koetter saw a dip to 82.8 which could be tied into Julio Jones having a season ending injury in week five of the 2013 season as Ryan's grade bounced back to 89.3 in 2014. Under Sarkisian, Ryan was phenomenal both years, but in 2017 he graded out #2 overall in the NFL.  His 2018 campaign was great, but not as good as year 1

His overall grades have dropped off in his second season under  Mularkey, Koetter & Sarkisian, Ryan has performed great in his first season under a new offensive coordinator. 

how did i know this was gonna click bait into yet ANOTHER matt ryan thread?

 

Reaction gif tagged with Robert De Niro, laugh

 

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7 hours ago, falcons007 said:

Correlation is not causation.  I know you are more in to 49ers, But you need to watch some falcons games. 
 

2009:- The Sophomore Qb slump, tough schedule and Over weight  and injured Turner. The QB sophomore slump isn’t that uncommon. Look at Baker Mayfield last year with same OC. 
 

2013: The OL had third string players with dumpster defense.  If you actually watched the games, Ryan was running for his life
 

2015: A brand New offense, players and QB learning the offense. KS brought in Henkerson to replace Roddy. Never really planned out. Ryan never really was comfortable outside first read, and was feeding Julio.

2016: New Offensive talent in Sanu, Mack and players comfortable in second year. 
 

2017: Sark learning new offense, And those fluke Drops to interceptions didn’t help.

2018: Sark gets comfortable, Offense gets better. 
 

2019: DK who never called WCO, which is hard for players and coaches to learn has to learn the new offense.

2020: Ryan thinks DK has better understanding Of scheme and players. In NFL players and OC need to be on same page and be comfortable. 
 

You can’t just throw some random generic observations and make conclusions. 

Not just that

Julio missed 13 games

Roddy was hurt for 10 games

Jackson was hurt most of the year.

I think of the 11 projected starters on offense ....Only Ryan and Gonzo played all 16 games.

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9 hours ago, falcons007 said:

2017: Sark learning new offense, And those fluke Drops to interceptions didn’t help

 

 

I think there is a solid point this thread makes. But for now...

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EYlJg2cXkAYNIeh?format=jpg&name=large
 

Yeah, Ryan had the sophomore slump for sure. I believe it and 2019 have been his worse performing years in “year one” scenarios, but to be fair why are the Falcons even bothering moving systems?

Lol.

Year 1 of a new OC is definitely an entire group of players thing rather than just the QB.

2017 as you said...if the WRs don’t drop the ball we avoid a half dozen INTs and Ryan leads the league in EPA for two straight years and as the tweet mentions; that may have net a second straight MVP.

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29 minutes ago, Ergo Proxy said:

I think there is a solid point this thread makes. But for now...

EYlJg2bXkAIyt34?format=jpg&name=large
EYlJg2cXkAYNIeh?format=jpg&name=large
 

Yeah, Ryan had the sophomore slump for sure. I believe it and 2019 have been his worse performing years in “year one” scenarios, but to be fair why are the Falcons even bothering moving systems?

Lol.

Year 1 of a new OC is definitely an entire group of players thing rather than just the QB.

2017 as you said...if the WRs don’t drop the ball we avoid a half dozen INTs and Ryan leads the league in EPA for two straight years and as the tweet mentions; that may have net a second straight MVP.

Boom!  Ryan was very good in 2017.  Had the fewest number of interceptable passes.  Just bad luck

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On 8/7/2020 at 8:16 PM, falconsd56 said:

Not just that

Julio missed 13 games

Roddy was hurt for 10 games

Jackson was hurt most of the year.

I think of the 11 projected starters on offense ....Only Ryan and Gonzo played all 16 games.

Definitely. HD was 1000 yard WR. I remember Pats game, BB triple covered TG.

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On 8/7/2020 at 10:13 PM, Ergo Proxy said:

I think there is a solid point this thread makes. But for now...

EYlJg2bXkAIyt34?format=jpg&name=large
EYlJg2cXkAYNIeh?format=jpg&name=large
 

Yeah, Ryan had the sophomore slump for sure. I believe it and 2019 have been his worse performing years in “year one” scenarios, but to be fair why are the Falcons even bothering moving systems?

Lol.

Year 1 of a new OC is definitely an entire group of players thing rather than just the QB.

2017 as you said...if the WRs don’t drop the ball we avoid a half dozen INTs and Ryan leads the league in EPA for two straight years and as the tweet mentions; that may have net a second straight MVP.

The problem was offense as a whole didn’t do well against good defenses. It was Jekyl and Hyde. 

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On 8/7/2020 at 10:13 PM, Ergo Proxy said:

I think there is a solid point this thread makes. But for now...

EYlJg2bXkAIyt34?format=jpg&name=large
EYlJg2cXkAYNIeh?format=jpg&name=large
 

Yeah, Ryan had the sophomore slump for sure. I believe it and 2019 have been his worse performing years in “year one” scenarios, but to be fair why are the Falcons even bothering moving systems?

Lol.

Year 1 of a new OC is definitely an entire group of players thing rather than just the QB.

2017 as you said...if the WRs don’t drop the ball we avoid a half dozen INTs and Ryan leads the league in EPA for two straight years and as the tweet mentions; that may have net a second straight MVP.

Great post. It is why I always call the MVP award more of a team award. Ryan had a great season in 2016 but his supporting cast is what made the difference. Everyone across the board had career seasons.

I get so tired of Ryan getting discredited because of his supporting cast. A QB cannot be successful in this league without a supporting cast. People love to say that Rodgers succeeds without any help, but it is a lie. The guy has played behind great offensive lines and has had plenty of weapons.

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16 minutes ago, Ergo Proxy said:

Yeah, Sark has trouble calling in year 1 as an OC. Doesn’t mean Ryan did poorly. :shrug:

I thought Matt was every bit as good in 2018 as he was in 2016. Trouble was, the rest of team (and coaching staff) was pretty awful.

Matt thrives in WCO. It was a huge mistake Bringing Koetter back and taking Matt away from the offense he excels in.

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12 minutes ago, Vandy said:

I thought Matt was every bit as good in 2018 as he was in 2016. Trouble was, the rest of team (and coaching staff) was pretty awful.

Matt thrives in WCO. It was a huge mistake Bringing Koetter back and taking Matt away from that offense he excels in.

Yeah, we probably were better off letting Sark grow and investing for his year 3 by addressing the OL and run game needs rather than scrapping the work put in the previous 2 years.

DC hasn’t been stable since Quinn got here. Maybe that changes with Morris.

Are they making Koetter develop/call pass plays off of wide zone looks/snaps from under C now?

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22 minutes ago, Ergo Proxy said:

Yeah, we probably were better off letting Sark grow and investing for his year 3 by addressing the OL and run game needs rather than scrapping the work put in the previous 2 years.

DC hasn’t been stable since Quinn got here. Maybe that changes with Morris.

Are they making Koetter develop/call pass plays off of wide zone looks/snaps from under C now?

Not sure it means anything at all, but Pro Football Reference says after analyzing last year, we are no longer really a WCO.  They now list us as Air Coryell

Offensive Coordinator: Dirk Koetter

Defensive Coordinator: Dan Quinn

Other Notable Asst.: Greg Knapp (Quarterbacks), Raheem Morris(Asst. HC/WR Coach/Passing Game Coord.), Mike Mularkey (Tight Ends) and Bob Sutton (Senior Defensive Asst.)

Principal Owner: Arthur Blank

General Manager: Thomas Dimitroff

Offensive Scheme: Air Coryell

Defensive Alignment: 4-3

Preseason Odds: Super Bowl +3000; O/U: 8.5

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