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NFL Division Round Open Thread

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More about the coaching carousel in tomorrow’s thread. For now, I’m particularly interested in the Jackson’s decision to hire Urban Meyer, the first college super-coach to get an NFL job since Chip Kelly. The case against it pretty straightforward:

Meyer has been an incredibly successful collegiate head coach at Florida and Ohio State, of course. That’s why he’s so utterly unqualified to coach in the NFL. Meyer has the perfect college coaching skillset:

  • Dazzling the fathers of 275-pound 17-year olds on recruiting visits with Tebow Tales;
  • Coasting on offensive ideas from 20 years ago and getting away with it because he has better players; and
  • Spouting high-minded boilerplate gibberish about “values” and being an “educator” while remaining willfully blind to both the inequities baked into the system that makes him rich and famous and the scandals and abuses happening right under his nose.

Everything that makes Meyer successful in the college ranks will guarantee his failure in the NFL. The first time an NFLPA rep tells him he doesn’t have the power of an ancient Mesopotamian emperor-god to force players to do build obelisks to his glory in exchange for college credits, he will balk.

The moment the local media treats him as anything other than a philosopher king, he will sulk. The moment a general manager explains the limits of the salary cap to him, he will be on the phone with every power conference athletic director he knows.

Nick Saban and the Dolphins. Bobby Petrino and the Falcons. Chip Kelly and the Eagles. The marriage of a collegiate supercoach and an NFL team in search of a savior almost always ends in front office friction, locker room grousing and (sometimes) a hastily-written resignation letter slipped under the owner’s office door in mid-December.

The Cardinals are starting to figure out that Kliff Kingsbury runs the team as if he thinks 8-8 is good enough to get them to the Birmingham Bowl. Heck, Marrone himself was a collegiate up-and-comer who walked away from the Buffalo Bills in a huff after two disappointing seasons.

For these reasons, I wouldn’t have done it. Having said that, I think there’s a reasonable possibility that Meyer could be more successful. In particular, Saban’s NFL career was destroyed by his failure to take acquiring a QB seriously. Meyer wouldn’t make the same mistake (and neither, of course, were Saban if he were hired to coach an NFL team in 2021), and since he will have Trevor Lawrence it’s moot anyway. Adjusting to dealing with professionals and not having a massive talent advantage are bigger problems, but you never know; beats recycling another mediocre Belichick assistant anyway.

For today’s game, I wish I had some reason to depart from chalk but I don’t, so Packers -6 1/2 and Bills -2.5.

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