June 19, 2009

Fruit of a poisonous tree

by Dan Bilicki In: Football

It’s a common assumption that how great a NFL coach is measured by his record and his Super Bowl rings. I think one factor of a coach’s greatness is how successful the coaches in his “tree” are. And right now, looking at how a guy like Josh McDaniels is mangling the Denver Broncos, how can we consider Bill Belichick one of the best ever?
 
Granted, since taking over the New England Patriots, Belichick has put together a juggernaut team on offence with a defence full of veterans that can still get it done. He’s taken bad seed players and washed-up has-beens and got them to put up numbers as if they were in their primes. For those accomplishments, he should be praised, but for the horde of shoddy coaches he’s unleashed onto the league as his protégés, he should be ashamed of himself.
 
Look at the likes of Charlie Weis, Romeo Crennel, Eric Mangini and now Josh McDaniels. One has destroyed a once-proud college program, two have been fired (one has been hired to take over the other’s failure) and the other hasn’t coached a game, but has already traded away his Pro Bowl QB, nearly pushed his All-Pro receiver out the door and overspent on a long-snapper. Plus, he intends on starting Kyle Orton this fall. What exactly did Belichick teach these guys when they were in New England.
 
Weis, now at Notre Dame, has compiled a record of 29-21, which may sound nice in terms of winning percentage, but realistically is a failure for a coach earning $2-million a year. Last year, he finished at 7-6, sadly, it was a huge improvement over the pathetic 3-9 the previous year, but still sad at the college level. At least he finally a won a bowl game, even if it was against an inferior Hawaii squad. He also managed to tear his ACL standing on the sidelines during a game, somewhat of a rarity for a bystander.
 
Crennel looked like he was actually in a coma on sidelines this past season. He would just stare, blankly, out towards the field during key moments of games and watch his team choke things away. After many questionable decisions that culminated in 4-12 season for the Browns, he was fired and I’m sure Browns fans rejoiced.
 
Mangini, who has now taken over for Crennel in Cleveland, may have come the closest to being called successful and even will go down in history as the guy who turned on his former mentor and brought around SpyGate. With a 23-25 record coaching the Jets, you could argue that the “Mangenius” didn’t deserve to get his pink slip, but missing the playoffs two straight years doesn’t exactly cut it with the New York media.

Now, when 23-25 with one playoff appearance is the best of all your protégés, maybe it’s time that you re-evaluate how you’re going about tutoring your underlings. If only he could’ve taught them with the skill he teaches his assistants with video cameras….

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