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Monday, January 7, 2008

Good Offensive Head Coach Doesn't Mean Good Offense

I've said it plenty of times now, and it's not that I'm getting impatient, I'm just getting nervous.

Rex Ryan should be head coach of the Baltimore Ravens.

Now, out of love for my team, I did some research and you might be surprised at what I found. All of this is simple information displayed in a way that shows an interesting trend: offensive coaching hires have little or no bearing on offensive performance.

I was reading an article the other day on how offensive-minded coaching hires tend to turn out. Results are not good. Let's just put a couple hires out there: Cam Cameron, Bobby Petrino, Steve Spurrier, Norv Turner, Steve Marriucci in Detroit, and Brian Billick himself.

The only decent head coaches in the league right now that I can think of that had offensive backgrounds are Mike Holmgren, Joe Gibbs, Andy Reid and Jon Gruden and Mike Shanahan. Interestingly enough, all of those guys are tenured and all of them except Gibbs falls under the Bill Walsh coaching tree. That doesn't seem to be a coincidence.

Let's delve further - The Top 10 offenses in the NFL this season vs. their head coach's background:

10) Bengals: Marvin Lewis, D-coordinator for the Ravens
9) Seahawks: Mike Holgren, O-coordinator for the 49ers
8) Browns: Romeo Crennell, D-coordinator for the Patriots
7) Jaguars: Jack Del Rio, D-coordinator for the Panthers
6) Eagles: Andy Reid, O-assistant/QB coach for the Packers
5) Colts: Tony Dungy, D-coordinator for the Vikings
4) Saints: Sean Payton, O-coordinator for the Cowboys
3) Cowboys: Wade Phillips, D-coordinator for the Chargers
2) Packers: Mike McCarthy, O-coordinator for the 49ers
1) Patriots: Bill Belichick, D-coordinator for the Jets

There are actually more defensive coaches (6) than offensive ones (4) on the OFFENSE LIST!

Plus, if you look at the bottom half of that same list, you should count 8 coaches (Gruden, Turner, Billick, Petrino, Linehan, Kiffin, Cameron, Jauron) with offensive backgrounds. What are these guys really contributing if their offenses aren't any good?

Alright, maybe that last statement was a little harsh, but what I'm trying to say is that hiring an offensive-minded head coach has little to no bearing on how that offense performs under his tenure. Brian Billick led an offense in Minnesota that set a record for scoring the year before he got hired. His offense finished in the top half exactly once.

Hiring guys like Jason Garrett, Rob Chudzinski, Jim Caldwell, Brain Schottenheimer or Josh McDaniels would be fresh and might get people excited, but first of all, none of those guys have a lot of experience. The only other thing that they bring to the table is offense, and that doesn't always pan out, does it?

The players want Rex Ryan. Maybe "discipline" is not so much the answer as bringing in a figure to respect. We know the players respect Rex Ryan and what he's done for the defense - and proving your worth is important to the clubhouse vets. He doesn't need to do anything more to prove himself to this team.

All I'm saying is that the Ravens are and will be a defensive team. We might as well get a defensive coach, like the Steelers did last year, or the Bears did with Lovie Smith, or the Titans did with Jeff Fisher, or the Jags did with Jack Del Rio. Defensive teams can do well with defensive head coaches.

Just step up and make the guy head coach already. Then step up and hire a big-time offensive coordinator to really get the offense rolling. You can do it, Bisciotti. I know you can.

1 comment:

Dewey Hammond said...

Nice post.

My concern about Rex is that he's too familiar with the players, and that he will have a hard time maintaining discipline.