Jump to content

NFL Coaching Search Summary-Includes Falcons


Recommended Posts

Summary: Falcons did good! (Scroll to last paragraph for Falcons)

Now that the Texans have hired Baltimore Ravens wide receivers coach and passing game coordinator David Culley as their next head coach, all of the seven available NFL head coaching positions are filled, thus completing the giant puzzle. When NFL teams decide to fire their coach and change their philosophical direction, they often look for something completely different. They search for something new to correct their past mistakes. The hiring gives us some insight into the organization’s thinking; it becomes a self-portrait with the picture of the man they hired. Who stands before us now tells us what is happening inside our favorite teams’ walls. When Jacksonville hired Urban Meyer, I wrote in detail about why Meyer and Trevor Lawrence made sense for the Jags. Now, it’s time to examine the other six hires.

In the Texans’ case, the hiring of Culley is a clear signal that they wanted an adult in the room to help handle their ongoing Deshaun Watson problem as well as their internal culture issues. This was not a job for a young, inexperienced coach. Even though Culley has not been a head coach, he does bring a wealth of NFL experience when it comes to dealing with players. The fact that he has never called plays is also an indication that the Texans wanted someone who could be more of a CEO or oversee the entire operation. They wanted a real head coach who could address the on-the-field problems in all three areas — offense, defense, and the kicking game — as well as someone who could handle the many off-the-field issues that await the Texans this offseason. Culley will be spending most of his time fixing the player issues, addressing their unhappiness that permeates beyond Watson. Culley can relate to players, and will be able to create the honest relationships that the Texans need. The football “stuff” is not as important as the cultural development. If a leader cannot get the players to “buy-in,” then any offense or defense is not good enough. The Texans hired Culley to fix that area and he’ll hire other coaches, including potentially Josh McCown, to focus on the football side.

Culley has dealt with difficult issues throughout his long coaching career. He was in Philadelphia when they had to deal with the Terrell Owens situation, and, much more seriously, he was hired by Kansas City in 2013, when the team was dealing with the aftermath of the Jovan Belcher suicide in their parking lot. Those two incidents will not help him solve this team’s problems, but they do show his experience in dealing with different kinds of heavy and complicated situations.

While the Texans need someone measured and experienced, the Jets needed to bring someone in who would be an immediate shot in the arm after firing Adam Gase. Gase was awkward at press conferences, stoic on the sidelines, and because of his experience in Miami, he had a short shelf life to show the New York Jets fan base that he was a good coach. Gase should have never taken the position in New York. He needed more time to analyze his past failures in Miami and work hard to improve in those areas. Those failures reared their ugly head in New York, and when Gase didn’t improve the play of quarterback Sam Darnold, his fate was sealed. So the Jets searched for the opposite, wanting someone fan-friendly who could curry favor with the media, bring excitement to their team and help drown out the negativity. Robert Saleh can do all those things. He is emotional, excited and from the Pete Carroll school of positivity. Saleh specializes in defense — the Pete Carroll system of defense centered on having premium talent on the defensive line, aligning in the same front with a secondary playing a zone man concept. The system is simple, allowing players to play fast without thinking, only reacting. The talent makes the system work, not the design, so in order to make Saleh successful, the Jets will need an infusion of talent along the defensive line.

Saleh does bring positivity — genuine positive behavior every day — to a Jets team that has been lacking it for a while. This style works for Carroll because he won many games and a national championship before arriving in Seattle. No one talked about Carroll’s time in New England or with the Jets; they only knew his approach worked at USC. Saleh has to prove he can adapt, adjust and be the problem solver, all while remaining positive, which is not an easy thing to do — just ask Dan Quinn.

 

When Dan Campbell exploded at the introductory press conference announcing his hiring as the Lions head coach, it was fairly easy to understand what the Lions wanted. Campbell’s noticeable excitement, willingness to engage the media, and explain his life as a former player and now coach was a clear signal the Lions hated every minute of the Matt Patricia regime. Patricia was never genuine; he attempted to become Bill Belichick without really understanding how Belichick behaves. Belichick might be gruff and unfriendly with the media, but he never corrected their posture. Patricia went “all in” on becoming an actor, and the Lions, by hiring Campbell, went “all in” on finding a genuine leader who is not copying anyone.

If you talk to anyone who knows Campbell, his behavior when introduced is not an act. He brings that same energy each day, which means players can expect him to be consistent. Campbell’s experience as a former player was a huge plus for the Lions, as they wanted someone who could understand what the players had to deal with each day and be respectful when having interactions, something that was not as frequent with Patricia. The Lions run their team much like they run the Ford corporation — which they own. They wanted a team’s CEO, who would hold players accountable in a respectful manner. Campbell fits the bill.

The Chargers surprised everyone by hiring Rams defensive coordinator Brandon Staley. Staley was spectacular with his multiple fronts, coverages, and maximizing his talent in his first-ever coordinator role. The Chargers were perceived as a good defensive team under Gus Bradley, who runs the Pete Carroll system of defense, yet when you examine the numbers, the Chargers, for all their talent, were not productive on defense. They ranked 22nd in allowing third downs, 23rd in sacks per play, and 16th in yards per play and allowed 26.6 points per game. Injuries hurt their defensive unit at times; however, their biggest issue is their non-diverse scheme. They never created confusion on the opposing quarterbacks and made the game too easy. Rams head coach Sean McVay felt the same way last offseason, which led him to hire Staley — because his scheme creates confusion. The No. 1 job a defense must do before tackling is be proficient at disguise. They can never allow a great passer to know before the snap what coverage they’re in and what blitz to expect. When great quarterbacks can read the defense’s mail, they become even more dangerous. The Chargers knew this, so they made Staley the head coach, and surprisingly to me, allowed him to change the offensive staff.

With Justin Herbert under center, the Chargers have a potential generational talent who could become an elite quarterback in the league. With a better offensive line and a defensive unit that can create turnovers, the Chargers can compete with any AFC team. Staley’s hiring addresses their main concern of defense, knowing that Herbert in any scheme on offense will work.

The Eagles’ hiring of Nick Sirianni seems directed at fixing the Carson Wentz problem. It might appear to be cut and dry, but I don’t think that is the case. The Eagles know they have problems, cap problems and talent problems that cannot be solved in one year. They saw this opportunity as a chance for them to hire a smart young coach who understands the passing game and will grow into becoming their kind of head coach. The Eagles don’t want the head coach to carry their organization; they want their organization to carry the head coach. They want to supplement the head coach with their ability to use analytics in every setting, including game planning and during the game. The Eagles needed a coach who will follow their lead — be willing to be on the cutting edge of progressive thinking related to every aspect of the football team. Most successful coaches who have called plays or run an offense would not be attentive to their input. They might listen, then behave differently during the week or the game. The Eagles needed an intelligent young coach they could mold — which is why they chose Sirianni.

The Falcons know they have serious cap trouble heading into next season and an aging quarterback in Matt Ryan. Solving the Ryan issue was at the forefront of their thinking; knowing they cannot move on from him until 2022, they wanted a coach to maximize his aging skill set. Arthur Smith solves that problem for today and offers hope for finding tomorrow’s quarterback. He understands how to run the ball effectively and become a balanced offense, not placing all the pressure on the passing game, which could help the defense. Smith was a coup for the Falcons, as he solved many of their issues and had other offers from other teams. Smith chose Atlanta, he was one of the hottest candidates available, and his talents match perfectly to what the Falcons need.

All seven men face great challenges and their ability to succeed will depend on understanding why they got hired. Once they do, they can start working on how to best fix the myriad problems.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • falcndave changed the title to NFL Coaching Search Summary-Includes Falcons

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...