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ESPN Insider thoughts on good NFL hires

Discussion in 'All Other Team Discussions' started by big3, Feb 11, 2006.

  1. big3

    big3 Cheesehead

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    Only four out of the ten new hires are listed, Minnesota and Detroit made the list;

    At the end of the NFL's regular season, there are always a lot of changes. In addition to player movement, there will be changes to coaching staffs and front offices. However, in recent history we have never seen anything like what happened after the 2005 season. By the time the dust settled, there were 10 head coaching vacancies to be filled.

    To date, nine of those openings have been filled. Some look like great hires. In other instances, you kind of scratch your head and wonder, "What was this team thinking?"

    Any time there is a lot of movement within the NFL, there is going to be a lot of talk. "Was this a good hire, was this a bad hire?" Truth be told, nobody will really know until two to three years from right now.

    As an owner and GM, when you hire a head coach, there are certain things you're looking for. You want a coach who can relate well to players and other key people in the organization. When possible, you would like to find a coach whose philosophies are similar to the personnel you have in place. This will make for a much quicker transition on the field.

    Perhaps most importantly, you want to find a man who is extremely organized and can put a solid staff together. Although the head coach is the man in charge, he can only be as good as those who work for him.

    This is why most coaches having success today came from the Bill Walsh tree. Nobody was better than Walsh in terms of letting his assistants coach. Those assistants have now gone on and formed their own trees, so to speak.

    In looking at this season's hires, I see four organizations that did an outstanding job of going out and getting the right fit. These new head coaches are a solid fit with their organization's philosophies, and they did a good job of finding solid coordinators whose philosophies fit their own.

    Kansas City Chiefs -- When Dick Vermeil retired, the Chiefs new exactly what they wanted to do. Jets head coach Herman Edwards had been linked to the Chiefs' potential opening since midseason. You have to give owner Lamar Hunt and GM Carl Peterson credit for going out and getting the man they wanted.

    Herman Edwards
    AP/Charlie Riedel
    Herman Edwards' Chiefs appear to be only a few tweaks away from seriously contending.

    Edwards will be an excellent fit. He is a defense-minded coach on a team that sorely needs help on that side of the ball. In a perfect scenario, Edwards and the Chiefs would have been able to retain Al Saunders as offensive coordinator, but Saunders felt a little slighted and decided to go to Washington, where he is now the highest-paid offensive coordinator in the NFL.

    The Chiefs should be fine without Saunders, though. They promoted offensive line coach Mike Solari to offensive coordinator. Solari is a veteran coach and has overseen the team's most important unit the past few years. With Solari in place, nothing changes on the offensive side of the ball, which means Edwards can now put his focus on the defense.

    Gunther Cunningham will remain the defensive coordinator, but there will be changes. Kansas City will now become a predominantly Cover 2 defense under Edwards' tutelage. With the Cover 2 scheme, many parts need to be put in place. Kansas City will focus on the front four and the back end.

    In MLB Kawika Mitchell and OLBs Derrick Johnson and Kendrell Bell, the Chiefs have a perfect trio of athletes to play in Edwards' system.

    Up front, the Chiefs will need to find a true nose tackle. Lional Dalton fits the dimensions but is much better suited as a backup. Ryan Sims would be a nice fit if Edwards can light a fire under him. Sims has talent but has either underachieved or been injured for much of his stint in Kansas City. RDE Jared Allen is an excellent player who can fit in any system. Look for the Chiefs to find a true nose tackle this offseason.

    As for the back end, the safeties are in good shape. Although Patrick Surtain is better in man coverage, he can play in the Cover 2. The wild card here will be Dexter McCleon. McCleon was a cornerback with St. Louis when Lovie Smith was the team's defensive coordinator. McCleon was very good in the Cover 2. If healthy, he will be a nice fit in this defense.

    Of all the new head coaches, Edwards finds himself in the best position. He takes over a talented team supported by a front office with which he has a very good relationship. The Chiefs will make a few minor tweaks on defense, but the majority of pieces are in place for this team to challenge in the AFC West next season.

    Minnesota Vikings -- After the Chiefs, no team is as poised for a quicker turnaround than the Vikings. New owner Zigi Wilf knew what he wanted and went out and got it. In new head coach Brad Childress, the Vikings landed the most detail-oriented coach of all the candidates this offseason.

    Childress is a disciple of the West Coast offense, and a lot of the pieces are in place to make the offense go. Starting QB Daunte Culpepper has played in a form of this offense under head coaches Dennis Green and Mike Tice. Although Childress is more apt to run the offense's original version, many of the concepts and terminology will be similar. Culpepper's backup, Brad Johnson, likely will begin the season as the starter due to Culpepper's knee injury. Johnson played in this exact system in Tampa Bay, so his learning curve will be minuscule.

    Offensively, Minnesota will need to find a running back who fits the West Coast offense. The Vikings have a plethora of backs, but Michael Bennett is an unrestricted free agent, Onterrio Smith is coming off a one-year ban and Mewelde Moore is injury-prone. Look for Minnesota to try to find a back in the mold of Philadelphia's Brian Westbrook to complete the offense.

    On defense, Childress hired one of the brightest young stars in the NFL when he lured Tampa Bay defensive backs coach Mike Tomlin to Minnesota. Tomlin will coordinate a defense with a lot of players who fit his system.

    Up front, Pat Williams is a perfect fit at nose tackle. With Williams eating up blocks, it will free up Kevin Williams to become a Warren Sapp-type playmaker.

    Some upgrades will need to be made at linebacker. In Tomlin's system, E.J. Henderson might be a better fit on the strong side than in the middle.

    In the secondary, DC Antoine Winfield will make a smooth transition. Despite his lack of size, Winfield is as physical as they come.

    Although all the parts aren't in place, this is a talented team with a disciplined head coach. Look for the Vikes to make a quick turnaround and challenge in the NFC North.

    Detroit Lions -- In Rod Marinelli, the Lions found something they have been looking for. He is a fiery kind of guy who is not in the mold of former head coaches Marty Mornhinweg and Steve Mariucci.

    Rod Marinelli
    Marinelli
    They also got a guy who has never been a defensive coordinator at the NFL level and has no head coaching experience. Are GM Matt Millen and the Lions' organization going out on a limb a little bit? Yes. Could Marinelli have been a defensive coordinator in this league had the Buccaneers let him interview? Yes.

    The bottom line is the guy can coach. His defensive lines in Tampa were some of the best we have seen in the modern NFL.

    Give the Lions credit. Marinelli is a defensive coach who doesn't know a lot about offense. How do they fix that? By hiring a great offensive mind like Mike Martz. Sure, Martz might have been a little off-the-wall as a head coach, but you cannot dispute the fact that this man knows offense.

    RB Kevin Jones should be healthy next season and will fit nicely in his scheme. WR Roy Williams fits well in any scheme.

    However, some things need to be ironed out, and the quarterback position heads the list. We don't know how Martz feels about Joey Harrington. We do know he can coach quarterbacks. He took Kurt Warner out of the Arena Football League and made him a superstar. Marc Bulger was a sixth-round pick out of West Virginia and has led the Rams to a lot of victories. If Harrington has any chance to be resurrected, Martz can get it done.

    The other glaring thing missing from this offense is an inside receiver. That guy currently would be Mike Williams. Ideally, Williams would move into a starting role and Martz would find a No. 3 in the mold of Az-Zahir Hakim or Kevin Curtis.

    Although Marinelli won't mess with the offense, he has his hands full on the defensive side of the ball. First and foremost, he must motivate a unit that has talent but underachieves.

    To make the system go, Marinelli will need to add a middle linebacker. Earl Holmes and Wali Rainer lack the speed and range to run the deep middle of the field. Upgrades also need to be made at cornerback.

    Marinelli might lack experience, but he will bring something this team has needed for some time -- a nice swift kick in the backside. That alone should get this team going in the right direction.

    St. Louis Rams -- New Rams head coach Scott Linehan has had a lot of success in a short period of time. He was the mind behind the Vikings' potent offense in 2004 and was part of a Miami team this past season that won its last six games to finish a solid 9-7.

    Now he has the chore of rebuilding the Rams. An offensive coach, he has a lot of weapons to work with. Bulger is still a solid QB when healthy, RB Steven Jackson is a star in the making and WR Torry Holt has been relatively healthy and still has some good years left. So Linehan inherits an offense with a Big Three and will be able to build on that unit.

    However, the Rams need to address the defensive side of the ball. With Linehan being an offensive-minded coach, he made an excellent hire at defensive coordinator in Jim Haslett.

    Sure, Haslett's team underachieved in New Orleans, but he does know defense. He has a fiery temperament, which is just what the Rams' underachieving defense needs. Under Haslett, the defense will improve, and the players will know that if they don't their services will no longer be needed.

    Linehan and Haslett's first order of business will be to shore up the front seven, especially up the middle at defensive tackle and middle linebacker. They need a run-stuffer and playmaker inside.

    The secondary is OK when healthy, but that has been an issue. The Rams need to re-sign SS Adam Archuleta, who is a team leader; they also must find a shutdown corner.

    Linehan is a great offensive coach and has a lot of talent on that side of the ball. However, the key to how the Rams perform in 2006 will be whether Haslett can get the defense pointed in the right direction.

    Jeremy Green has been an NFL scout for 10 years. Most recently, he was director of pro personnel for the Cleveland Browns.
     
  2. big3

    big3 Cheesehead

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    no one even has an argument for this? Must mean they agree.
     
  3. Greg C.

    Greg C. Cheesehead

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    Hey Lion Fan, I drove through Brighton many times on my way from Ann Arbor to Howell, when I was going to U of M and had an internship in Howell in 2001. Okay, it was just on the freeway, but I did occasionally go into the town itself.

    Marinelli is an interesting hire, and it was a real coup for the Lions to get Mike Martz. I am still skeptical of Matt Millen until he proves me wrong, however. I do think he is learning as he goes, and is not as awful a GM as he was when he started. But he seems kind of pigheaded to me, which is not a good personality trait.

    As a Lion fan, you do have reason for hope, although I will say that if things don't work out you will have the potential for a real explosion, with so many strong personalities in your organization. It will be interesting, at the very least. Do you think Harrington will stay?
     
  4. P@ck66

    P@ck66 Banned Banned

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    Big3

    YOu can put a silk hat on a pig...

    (and you still get Matt Millen....the guy just doesn't know what he's doing...)
     
  5. cheesey

    cheesey Cheesehead

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    (I didn't know Millen wore a silk hat!!!)LOLOLOL!!! :wink: :lol:
    Can't make a silk purse out of his ear, either! :wink:
     
  6. gopackgo4

    gopackgo4 Cheesehead

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    ok some people may think that rodmarinelli may be a good hire but come on who hired him matt millen so he must suck
     
  7. Zero2Cool

    Zero2Cool I own a website

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    Don't have the time to read it all lol
     
  8. big3

    big3 Cheesehead

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    It sounds like Harrington will stay. But they have to replace Garcia so hopefully they can get someone to fight for the job with him. I'd hate to waste another season waiting for Harrington to develop.
     
  9. Raider Pride

    Raider Pride Cheesehead

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    BEWARE Art Shell.

    The man has a great deal to prove.

    RP
     
  10. TOPackerFan

    TOPackerFan Cheesehead

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    Fact is, no one will know whether these hires are any good for a couple of years. It's all speculation right now.
     
  11. NDPackerFan

    NDPackerFan Cheesehead

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    Mike McCarthy will be named coach of the year next year! He's the best hire!

    (ok, I don't know if I believe that, but it was fun to type)
     
  12. gopackgo4

    gopackgo4 Cheesehead

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    I just got to say 2 things Lions suck. Rod Marnelli is going to suck worse than kyle orton
     
  13. big3

    big3 Cheesehead

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    worse than Kyle orton? I don't think Marinelli is going to play qb for us. Do you even watch football?
     
  14. arrowgargantuan

    arrowgargantuan Cheesehead

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    hehehe...that did come off a bit special-edish.
     
  15. gopackgo4

    gopackgo4 Cheesehead

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    yeh i know. It was a simile cuz kyle orton sucks he sucks thats what i was comparing im not stupid i live for football
     
  16. arrowgargantuan

    arrowgargantuan Cheesehead

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    like or as buddy, like or as!!!
     
  17. gopackgo4

    gopackgo4 Cheesehead

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    Yah i know or its a metaphor sorry i thought i used like wont happen again but its pretty truue what I said bout marnelli and orton
     

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