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Josh McDaniels, Coaching SUPERPROSPECT

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Nov 27, 2010; Englewood, CO, USA; Denver Broncos head coach Josh McDaniels speaks during a press conference regarding the violation of integrity of game policy at Broncos Headquarters. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-US PRESSWIRE
Nov 27, 2010; Englewood, CO, USA; Denver Broncos head coach Josh McDaniels speaks during a press conference regarding the violation of integrity of game policy at Broncos Headquarters. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-US PRESSWIRE

I know in itself the issue is too trivial to merit one and a third posts — not that this has ever stopped a good LGMer before — but since media sycophancy has always been within our bailiwick this I can’t resist the high comedy of this Peter King beaut CF dug up. 

Evidently, there will be some redundancies between my points and his:

Seven job openings. Seven go to offensive coaches. Josh McDaniels has been the offensive coordinator for the Patriots for the past four years. Over that four-year period, New England is the highest-scoring team in football (30.22 points per regular-season game). Josh McDaniels didn’t get an interview.

The Patriots have a great offense, and I would never say that McDaniels doesn’t deserve any credit for that. At the same time, they had a great offense before he got there and they had a great offense during the time he left and they still have a great offense now. In addition, when McDaniels was coordinator in St. Louis he presided over by far the worst offense in the NFL. Admittedly, he didn’t exactly have the ’89 49ers to work with, but they declined substantially, and while you might have expected Sam Bradford to improve in his sophomore year he was terrible even by Sam Bradford standards. It seems like this really is worth mentioning when you’re wondering why nobody wants to turn your team over to him.

McDaniels went 11-17 in his only NFL head-coaching trial. Then he went into coach purgatory for a year and a half. Then he took over as Patriots offensive coordinator, and made whatever contributions he made to the team with the most wins in football (54 regular-season and postseason wins) since 2012.

Uh, it seems you’re yadda-yadding the utter trainwreck that was McDaniels’s tenure in Denver rather too quickly. I mean, when you give a hotshot coordinator a head coaching job with de facto personnel control and he combines Chip Kelly’s personnel acumen with Bobby Petrino’s interpersonal and leadership skills, wouldn’t that give you considerable pause about giving him another head coaching job? He was very young and I’m not saying it’s impossible that he’s matured, but you can’t just dismiss it in a sentence and then go back to discussing how miraculous it is that Bill Belichick and Tom Brady’s offense has been very effective with him as the OC, just as it was when noted head coaching SUPERGENIUS Charlie Weis was the OC.

There are numerous examples of the relationship between McDaniels and Brady, and between McDaniels and Bill Belichick. See the bro hugs between Brady and McDaniels after Brady’s quarterback sneak for touchdown Saturday night? Did you watch the NFL Films special last spring, with Belichick talking about McDaniels’ ideas? The mutual respect in both relationships is obvious. Read about it in my column eight days after the last Super Bowl win.

I should pause here and note that to my considerable misery that McDaniels’s playcalling in the most recent Super Bowl really was a marvel of elegance and discipline. At least in the context of Belichick’s system — a massive qualifier — he is very good at his current job, and I wouldn’t deny that. Norv Turner is a real good offensive coordinator too; that doesn’t mean you want him as your head coach. And McDaniels’s record as a head coach makes Norv look like Tom Landry.

Belichick after the 27-20 win over Kansas City: “I thought Josh [McDaniels] and the offensive staff did a tremendous job this week game-planning and play-calling. Josh was magnificent. I thought he really had everything dialed in. Pretty much everything he called, it came out the way we thought it would. As we were breaking the huddle, we could already see we had what we wanted, and Tom and the offense executed it perfectly.”

Again, I’m not denying that he’s doing a good job, but what the hell else is Belichick going to say? “Josh was just terrible today. 27 points against a team with that feeble pass rush? Christ, if Andy hadn’t followed his usual plan of distributing a cocktail of Ambien and Tito’s Vodka personally prepared by Rick Perry to his offensive players and most assuredly himself as soon as the clock hit the three-minute mark of the 4th quarter, we could have been in real trouble. And calling that pass after the onside kick that was very nearly a pick-6 was almost as dumb as when Darrell Bevell graciously handed me a Super Bowl.” Does King have some examples of head coaches ripping their coordinators after a playoff win?

I’m not saying Mike Mularkey (18-39 as a head coach) absolutely shouldn’t get the Titans job. I’m just saying you’re the last team standing and you don’t interview everyone available who might be a strong candidate to coach Marcus Mariota for the next X number of years? You have a former Patriots scout, Jon Robinson, as the new GM and you don’t even allow him to interview to his strength?

Umm, if someone with a tight connection to the Patriots would rather recycle Mike Mularkey than even give McDaniels an interview, what does that tell you? This is being cited in his favor?

And there’s a final elephant in the room King doesn’t bring up, which is the lack of success of Belichick’s coaching tree. Again, I’m not saying that it’s inevitable that his assistants would fail, and I’d certainly be interested in interviewing Matt Patricia for a head coaching job. But when you hire a Belichick assistant you often seem to end up with a ramped-up, less professional version of Belichick’s dour authoritarianism without his ganeplanning and tactical genius. Nate Jackson’s account of having to play for Eric Magnini is priceless, and his description of his brief account with McDaniels in Slow Getting Up — in which McDaniels meets him, spouts random cliches without making eye contact, and then cuts him without even bring willing to take or return his phone call — is also instructive.

I agree with CF that McDaniels has shown enough to deserve a gig as a non-Belichick OC, and maybe he’s grown enough to be a decent head coach. But the media campaign to make him a top coaching prospect that persists even though teams are passing him over without interview for people that don’t even have overpowering credentials as coordinators is an object illustration of what happens when journalists are dependent on particular sources.

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  • Captain Oblivious

    Overheard at Belichick-McDaniels meeting:

    BILL: Here’s the book of plays Tom and I have worked up over years of dragging this fkn team to … how many Super Bowls?

    JOSH: A lot.

    BILL: Right. Now this here chart, these are the plays we’re going to use this weekend.

    JOSH: Nice chart, coach. Like the colors.

    BILL: Giselle picked them. Now here’s how this works. The columns are numbered 1, 2, 3, 4. That’s one column for each down number. So if it’s first down, you only call plays in column 1. If it’s second down, you only call plays in column 2. And so on.

    JOSH: Right. Got it.

    BILL: Then you see the rows are labeled. That’s how many yards to make a first down. You see the top row is “inches”. Then it’s 1, 2, 3, 4, etcetera up to 10. Then it goes by two yard increments up to 20, and in five yard increments from there up to forty, then the last row is when we need more than forty yards.

    JOSH: Got it.

    BILL: So before each play, you get the down, and you run your finger down that column until you find the row with the right yardage.

    JOSH: Got it.

    BILL: Now here’s how you’re going to pick one of the plays in that box. If there’s only one, obviously, you pick that play.

    JOSH: Right.

    BILL: Otherwise, you roll this dice. [Hands Josh a twelve-sided die take from Bill’s old D&D game]. You roll it until you get a number that matches one of the numbers assigned to each play. Then you call down with the name of that play.

    JOSH: Got it. What do I do with the book?

    BILL: I keep the book. All you need is the chart and the dice and a good pair of binoculars.

    JOSH: Got it.

    BILL: Good. You’ll do just fine here.

    • The thought of Belichick as DM is too chilling for words. He probably thought Tomb of Horrors was too much of a pushover.

      • Schadenboner

        Worse than that: high-placed sources at the Patriots organization confirm he’s a 4e player.

        • I doubt that. 4e is so loose, “cheating” seems meaningless. Not BB’s style.

      • Fats Durston

        Why are you crying? Attached to a character? I don’t understand; I got you a 4/6 Fighter/Thief AND a level 6 sorcerer with Fireball claimed off waivers instead. Look, an 18/78 STR isn’t as cost-effective as 18/14 plus 16 DEX plus 16 CON and a 15 CHA, to boot. And he was only 10 gp/day.

  • Gator90

    Ah yes, Charlie Weis. For some odd reason, he appeared something less than a supergenius OC when the HC was Will Muschamp and the QB was John Brantley.

    • Scott Lemieux

      Is he still cashing paychecks from Kansas?

      • kped

        Is he still cashing paychecks from Notre Dame is the real question!

        • efgoldman

          Is he still cashing paychecks from Notre Dame is the real question!

          No….

          He gets direct deposit.

    • CrunchyFrog

      It should be noted that Weis as OC at Kansas City got the one pretty good season out of Matt Cassel that he’s had since 2008 subbing for Brady.

      And, by the way, the big point in McDaniels’ favor for getting hired by Denver in 2009 was that he was given credit for Cassel’s success in 2008. I get the sense that he was running a derivative of Weis’ system in 2008.

  • Davebo

    But Bill O’Brien is doing such a stellar job in Houston!

    OK, maybe not stellar but still….

    • Scott Lemieux

      Sadly, he would appear to be the crown jewel of the Belichick NFL coaching tree. And he used a defensive end with a groin injury in a goalline wildcat play in a playoff game.

      • kped

        People are trying to shoe horn Nick Saban into the Belichick coaching tree. I know he worked for him 3 years in Cleveland…but dude started coaching in 1973, not sure that Belichick should get credit here.

        (and also find the whole coaching “tree” thing a little silly… Belichick begat Saban, who begat Will Muscham who begat Dan Quinn, or, is Dan Quinn from Pete Carrol? Who gets credit? Who?????…”

        • erick

          Saban is from the Don James tree

          • kped

            Hah! YOu better get working if you want that to be the narrative. Wikipedia has it as Belichick, and if you do a search on Google, that’s the name that keeps coming up. Like I said, it’s all very silly.

            Googling this lead me to an Alabama website, and this gave me a good laugh at work:

            It’s been nearly two decades since Nick Saban and Bill Belichick stared at one another from across a football field. Saban might prefer to forget most of 2006, his final season as the head coach of the Miami Dolphins—save for that beautiful December afternoon when his flagging team made life miserable for the New England Patriots, Tom Brady, and Saban’s colleague and friend.

            This was written Jan 17, 2016…2 days ago. I love calling exactly 10 years ago “nearly 2 decades ago”. Talk about rounding up! Get an editor Al.com!

  • Mudge

    McDaniels and Turner both demonstrate the Peter Principle, where one rises through a system to their level of incompetance. The key point is that a successful offensive (or defensive) coordinator does not necessarily make a good head coach. McDaniels had his chance and failed miserably. King appears to think someone has come and checked that baggage.

    But lets make a comparison. Hue Jackson had to help develop a quarterback (Dalton) and led Oakland (Oakland!) to an 8-8 record. Having read Nate Jackson’s article, then realizing that McDaniel followed Shanahan, it is easy to put McDaniels into a Mangini costume and imagine the stories still circulating about him.

    • Brien Jackson

      This actually seems like a major slight to Turner: McDaniels failed spectacularly, but Turner (and someone like Wade Phillips also comes to mind is this class) was at least a competent if unspectacular head coach who could conceivable do a decent job if there weren’t any obviously better available candidates.

      • Scott Lemieux

        I get the sense that both Phillips and Turner have the opposite problem of someone like Kelly — they’re just too nice to be good head coaches, which limits the upside. You just need a certain amount of distance and ruthlessness to be as good as Belichick. But while they could only win a championship in a Barry-Switzer-in-Dallas type situation, at least they won’t alienate half your roster in the process of leading your team to its 7-9 destiny. When a hardass coach bellyflops it can leave your roster a shambles.

        • I will say one thing for Norv. He’s a Duck. He was Dan Fouts’ backup at Oregon.

          • Scott Lemieux

            I did.not.know.that.

  • efgoldman

    On the other hand, you have to assume that Josh learned how to tell time and manage a clock from Bill, and unlike Andy Reid and Mike McCarthy, would get more than one play off prior to the two-minute warning, trailing with three minutes left.
    Whether that’s enough for an NFL HC job is another matter. But it’s apparently a fairly difficult skill set to acquire.

    • Mudge

      Assume? To say that is to imply that coaches, especially Reid, learn from past failures. Note that Reid’s offensive coordinator will now coach the Eagles. We will all see what he has learned.

      • Phil Perspective

        Except that Pederson didn’t really call plays. Certainly not in a regular basis.

      • efgoldman

        Assume? To say that is to imply that coaches, especially Reid, learn from past failures.

        Here’s an Andy Reid stat that really says everything (Profootballfocus.com quoted by Boston radio clowns):

        Chiefs took over the ball vs Pats with 6:59 left.
        Since [sorry I missed the year – late 90s] there have been 2,111 drives started under 7:00 by a team trailing by 9 to 17 points.
        The drive by the Chiefs ranks 2,110th out of 2,111 in terms of clock time used.

    • ochospantalones

      Of course assistant coaches don’t necessarily take on the properties of the coaches for whom they have worked. John Harbaugh spent nine seasons as an Andy Reid assistant and he seems to handle game management just fine.

      • Phil Perspective

        Harbaugh was never anything higher than special teams coach under Big Red.

        • ochospantalones

          He was defensive backs coach in his final year with the Eagles, but I don’t think that makes much of a difference. Harbaugh was then hired by the Ravens as head coach without subsequently working for any other coaches, so whatever it is he learned about NFL coaching from direct superiors he learned from Andy Reid. His only other NFL experience was one year as Ray Rhodes’ special teams coach.

  • Todd

    McDaniels was horrible in Denver, but the central blame goes to a Broncos owner who gave a 32 year old first time head coach personnel control. The real argument for McDaniels (and for several other clearly accomplished OC and DCs) is: Dirk Koetter, Doug Pederson, Mike Mularkey and Ben McAdoo. The majority of teams with HC openings operated on some sort of “bring me the nearest barely qualified white man with whom I am personally familiar”.

    If it wasn’t for Cleveland (Cleveland!), the 2016 NFL HC hirings look a lot like the Oscars.

    • Scott Lemieux

      The real argument for McDaniels (and for several other clearly accomplished OC and DCs) is: Dirk Koetter, Doug Pederson, Mike Mularkey and Ben McAdoo. The majority of teams with HC openings operated on some sort of “bring me the nearest barely qualified white man with whom I am personally familiar”.

      Agreed. An OC from several perennially underachieving franchises replacing a guy who went to the Super Bowl with Rex Grossman and seemed to be improving the team, Andy Reid’s clipboard holder, a 2-time loser head coach, and the OC for 2 6-10 Giants teams (admittedly with an Aaron Rodgers connection of unknown importance). I know you can’t really predict which coordinators will be good ex ante but that’s not a compelling group of candidates.

      • Say this for Koetter–Mike Bellotti’s NFL coaching tree is presently larger than Belichick’s.

        • Scott Lemieux

          Yeah, Chip Kelly has had more NFL success than any Belichick-tree head coach.

        • Todd

          Belichick’s tree is getting much more impressive on the GM/Executive side. Tenn/TB/Atl/Det. Many of those guys are just starting out, and Pioli will probably get another shot if Atl. can continue improving.

          Not quite the Ted Thompson tree yet, but pretty good.

          • The Bellotti tree is less impressive there, admittedly.

      • elm

        McAdoo was the heir apparent from the moment he was hired as OC. One argument for keeping Coughlin last year was that they didn’t want to get rid of McAdoo but weren’t yet ready to promote him to HC. We’ll see if it works, but this has been the plan for a couple of years now. And I’d rather McAdoo than any other coaches hired this year other than Jackson.

        • Scott Lemieux

          Given the other candidates, if Mara likes what he sees I won’t argue with him.

          • efgoldman

            Given the other candidates, if Mara likes what he sees I won’t argue with him.

            Given also, that the Maras, like the Krafts and the Rooneys, value continuity and won’t croak a coach every two years just to be seen as flailing.

      • kped

        And on that note:

        http://deadspin.com/new-eagles-coach-doug-pederson-immediately-grilled-abou-1753842206

        Gotta love it. “Hey new head coach, why did you call such a slow offence at the end of that game”. I love it!

    • CrunchyFrog

      I don’t want to hammer the McDaniels point any more than I already have, but I’ll correct something here. Bowlen, the Broncos owner, didn’t intend to give McDaniels personnel authority. In fact he intentionally separated personnel from coaching as he thought that contributed to Shanahan’s descent to mediocrity. (The Broncos were never bad under Shanahan. At the time of his firing he was 24-24 the previous 3 years, with 7-9 being the low point.)

      The problem was that the person he picked for GM, Brian Xanders, really wasn’t suited for the job. He’d been assistant GM for one year under Shanahan and prior to that had worked a long time in Player Personnel for Atlanta. He knew the ins-and-outs of the draft and free agency and contracts and trades, but he was used to executing orders of others, and his relationship with McDaniels quickly became exactly that – him following McDaniels’ orders.

      After McDaniels was fired Elway kept Xanders around for a year to show him the ropes, then let him go – Xanders is now in Detroit doing the job he’s best suited for.

      And while this was a bad set of decisions by Bowlen, also give Bowlen credit for recognizing just that. When it came time to find new people he stepped aside and brought in Elway, who has performed very well in that position. We know now Bowlen is suffering from Alzheimer’s, and having a parent who went through that I know it’s very hard for someone with that condition to recognize it and make the necessary adjustments.

      • Scott Lemieux

        One interesting thing about Jackson’s book, in light of how badly Shanahan’s tenure in D.C. ended up, is that he speaks very highly of Shanahan, and feels he treated players very well and very professionally.

        • I was hoping the Fins would hire Shanahan, rather than yet another guy who’s never been an HC.

          • CrunchyFrog

            Well, I’m skeptical of the Gase hire but there are a number of good points about it. First, he was generating a lot of interest from a lot of teams. Second, although I’m not as enthused about his OC experience as a lot of the media are (being OC to Manning is kinda like an assistant – and making Cutler mildly less likely to throw interceptions isn’t that big a deal), his overall experience is promising. He’s been on great teams and horrible ones, he’s worked in all kinds of systems and under all kinds of coaches. That’s exactly the kind of background you want of a wunderkind hire – as hopefully (for Miami) he has a good, educated view of how he thinks a team should be coached.

            One thing that does surprise me a bit, given that the NFL is usually a copycat league, is that there still seem to be two kinds of hires: the mid-30s wunderkind who they hope will be the next Shula, and the recycled former head coach. I guess this year we now have the promoted-from within coordinator (twice) and the we-got-lucky-with-an-obscure-hire-who-had-never-called-plays-once-before-so-lets-try-again, but I suspect that last one is a one-off kind of thing. But what I’m not seeing is teams trying to find that circa 60 year old lifetime assistant coach who has never had a shot at an HC position but really deserves it – i.e. Arians. I suspect there are more of him out there.

  • MikeJake

    Is Romeo Crennel really a dour authoritarian? He always seemed just happy to be there to me.

    • Scott Lemieux

      Crennel is definitely the exception; he was a player’s coach type.

  • CrunchyFrog

    I’m glad that Scott has taken up this issue that I’ve been obsessed with (thanks!). I won’t say any more now except to compare McDaniels to Tebow – ironically, someone who McDaniels traded up to get in the first round. With Tebow, the entire NFL has given up on him and passes him over even when they are down to a 4th string QB late in the season yet still in the playoff hunt. Every couple years someone gives him another chance in training camp and he fails. And yet, the Tebowites are convinced there is a grand conspiracy against him.

    Oddly, a lot of the media types who are supporting McDaniels in this have experienced the full wrath of Tebowites on social media. But like the Tebowites they are convinced that every NFL GM is wrong, wrong, wrong and that their guy just needs one more chance before he’ll be the second coming of Vince Lombardi.

  • Phil Perspective

    Scott:
    Have any comment on the Iggles new hire? Since you were so interested in them before. Will your post be called “Jeff Lurie: owner SUPERGENIUS”?

    • It’s a really laughable hire. I wonder how much Lurie would pay if he could rehire Andy Reid and his clock management skills.

    • Scott Lemieux

      I mean, with the caveat that it’s nearly impossible to predict which coordinators will be good, I can’t say that an OC without playcalling responsibility would ever be my first choice (the fact that it worked with Ried notwithstanding.) And if there would ever be an exception, it certainly wouldn’t be someone who is responsible for quality control but not playcalling in Andy Reid’s offense, which seems like hiring Chip Kelly as a GM and not coach.

      As I said in the last thread, the bigger problem with the Eagles is that their roster is one of the worst in the league — the core of the team is old except Cox, and every element of the team except the front 7 is below-average. If they don’t have a really good draft and free agency cycle, how good the coach is will be a moot point.

  • jeer9

    McD’s contribution to the offense’s success has been and continues to be overstated. The offense was successful before his arrival and will be after (pray!) his departure, as the key factors remain Brady and Belichick. That Brady may enjoy working with his best buddy doesn’t mean similar production numbers weren’t attainable with an OC (O’Brien) screaming at him.

    With seven minutes left, up two touchdowns, and the ball recovered on downs at the 50, instead of two runs and a pass on third (maybe) to use up the clock, we get three passes, two incomplete, and 35 seconds gone by. (We do not change strategery regardless of game context. We got here by passing 80% of the time and, dammit, we will throw even it it helps the opponent.) Perhaps he was factoring in Reid’s clock mismanagement but leaving a minute on the board even for a nincompoop can be disastrous. (And Reid saying after the game that his lackadaisical approach was planned borders on black comedy.)

    Add in the deflected pass call with a minute and a half left and it’s not hard to imagine an alternate universe in which that ball is a pick six, with the Chiefs pulling off a miracle win in overtime. On such thin reeds do coaching legends hang.

  • NYD3030

    I was extremely worried that my beloved Lions would fire Jim Caldwell and install Josh McDaniels as head coach. That tells you precisely how little I think of Josh McDaniels.

    • Scott Lemieux

      That made particularly little sense. Caldwell isn’t a great coach, and I know he screwed up a playoff game, but…he’s a coach who took the Lions to playoff game, and they were probably better than their record this year. You’d fire him to a guy who hasn’t even been a successful coordinator when not working for a Hall of Fame coach who has taken over both OC and DC responsibilities at times when coordinators have left?

      I don’t really get the Bucs firing Lovie, either, although at least it was an internal promotion so they may know something.

      • CrunchyFrog

        The firing of Lovie took me by surprise as well. When he was hired there was talk by Tampa management of the great reunion in Tampa Bay of many of the people who built the team that eventually won the Super Bowl – Smith had been LB coach there for 5 years before getting promoted to DC in St Louis.

        We do know from his time in Chicago that he had no clue how to coach offense, and this may have become obvious to the Tampa GM. There are a lot of HCs who were DCs who have this problem – I call it HCDC syndrome. Often they cling to dreams of ground and pound and few turnovers, which as DC is what they’d prefer their offense do as it uses up clock, rarely leaves them with short fields to defend, and thus makes the DC’s job easier. After that fails they’ll start trying different experiments to get the offense going, but with at best mixed results. Maybe they adopt the run-and-shoot (Fontes, Pardee), or flit from one scheme to the next (Glanville, early Cowher – anyone remember “Slash”?). In Lovie’s case he generally delegated, but to the wrong people – Turner’s less talented brother for years, then in desperation Martz and, as a last gasp, OL coach Tice who despite a gig as HC had never been an OC.

        But one thing Lovie was known for was not fiddling with the offense too much. Which is why it surprised me that Tampa dumped him and promoted the OC. Maybe they found other problems with Lovie. We do know that he and his DC Rivera clashed in Chicago, and he dumped Rivera after their lone Super Bowl year only to have his defense play much worse the next several years. Maybe he had control issues on that side of the ball. There is also evidence that he clung to his defensive schemes long after they had transitioned from innovative to hopelessly obsolete.

      • kped

        I wonder if that’s a “owner became great friends with coordinator, then worried that his new buddy would get hired elsewhere” move. Koetter isn’t exaclty a young guy either, 56 to Lovie’s 57.

        • Scott Lemieux

          Yeah, my guess is that the owner was OK with Lovie and Koetter, but thought the latter could get hired (not implausible, given the underpowering credentials of some of the people who did get jobs), and if forced to choose he went with the OC. If he worked well with Winston, I guess it’s not unreasonable.

  • SamInMpls

    Norv Turner is a real good offensive coordinator too; that doesn’t mean you want him as your head coach. And McDaniels’s record as a head coach makes Norv look like Tom Landry.

    Ugh.

    The problem with Norv as an offensive coordinator isn’t with his play design or even with his play calling. He’s clearly excellent at both. Norv is used to teaching guys his system and making small adjustments to hide their strengths. Teddy just isn’t one of those guys with every club in his bag and Norv has done an admirable job of adapting his system to deal with Bridgewater’s limitations.

    The problem, as I see it, is that the last franchise quarterback under Norv who didn’t improve after he moved on was Aikman. Brees got better a New Orleans. Rivers was Comeback Player of the Year in 2013.

    Andy Benoit at MMQB wrote about the Vikings in November and the ways that Norv limits the scope of his Bridgewater’s decision making process and by extension his ability to improvise. As a Vikings fan, this is distressing for a few reasons. The first is that I think it contributes to situations like the loss in Arizona. Norv called a play with 13 seconds left, gave Bridgewater no flexibility in running it, and said this afterwards: “It’s a good play. There’s no reason to check out of it.”

    It isn’t that he’s wrong. As he went on to say, Teddy had an outlet. For me it isn’t about second guessing Norv’s play call in one particular case. For me it is that Norv’s philosophy uses aggressive play calls and also limits his player’s options. If those plays are well-defended and the player doesn’t react as Norv anticipate, he responds with: “It’s a good play. There’s no reason to check out of it.”

    When I watch Darrell Bevell succeed in doing with Russell Wilson what he tried to do with Tarvaris Jackson from 2006-10, it really sinks in that while older offenses like Norv’s version of the Air Coryell can still succeed with the right personnel, they aren’t worth utilizing in most cases. In the Vikings case it might be actually defensible, at least for as long as they are going to keep the NFL’s highest paid RB on their roster.

    The other teams still running the system — the Lions, Saints, Cowboys, Rams and Cardinals — each have their reasons for sticking with it. While it is certainly true that Arians and Goodwin are innovating with it in Arizona, the QBs in AC systems tend to hold onto the ball longer than West Coast QBs and that tends to translate into getting hit more.

    • shah8

      Eh, Teddy has limitations…

      This is just one of those sort of weird ideas that take hold. These days it’s talking about how black quarterbacks who don’t have absolute cannons have “weak arms”. Not just with Teddy, but also at the beginning of the year, people were trying that with Jameis. Practically, there are only about fifteen serious QBs with stronger arms than Teddy. Not the best, but certainly not the worst.

      What Teddy has a problem with is making accurate lob-balls, especially closer to the sidelines. Any time he doesn’t have to loft the ball, he’s shown plenty, if not outstanding, of arm strength. As it is, it’s debatable whether Marcus Mariota has a stronger arm than Teddy. Their issues are the same–accurate if they can throw with low arc. Not so much if they can’t.

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