NFL Handicapping: Profiling the New Coaches
by Robert Ferringo - 7/27/2009
Not For Long.
As Jerry Glanville famously espoused, that phrase is not only a cute anachronism for the National Football League's call letters but also the amount of time that a head coach can expect to hang around while dueling with the slings and arrows of professional football. But then again, what did he know? Glanville is an alleged necrophiliac and the patriarch of the Chris Miller-Steve Broussard Era in Atlanta.
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Glanville did not endure but his quote did. And for the 11 new coaches that will be taking the reigns this year they would be wise to heed Glanville's prediction. The men that they each replace, at one time, were also full of the same optimism and nervous excitement that our rookie coaches are enduring now. But then somewhere along the line things went horribly wrong for them, just as it will, someday, for most if not this year's entire batch of fresh meat.
If you count Mike Singletary and Tom Cable, two men that finished out last season as interim head coaches, nearly half of the headmen in the NFL are being replaced this season. The incoming coaches will take over for some of the most accomplished head coaches of the last 30 years of pro football (Mike Shanahan, Tony Dungy, and Jon Gruden) as well as some of the worst NFL coaches that I can remember (Romeo Crennel, Rod Marinelli and Scott Linehan).
I will cover each of these head coaches in more depth throughout training camp as I unveil my divisional previews and I will discuss these coaches in terms of preseason NFL betting. But below are my snap judgments about the 11 new Head Men of Sunday Here as we enter this year's training camp:
Eric Mangini - Cleveland
Remember when this guy was the "Man-Genius" because he fluked his way to a Wild Card loss in 2006? Actually, it wasn't a fluke because that same team was in the playoffs two seasons earlier before an injury-plagued 2005. Mangini has the benefit of taking over for one of the worst coaches I've ever seen (Crennel), inheriting some solid Pro Bowl talent, and sliding into a club that is somewhat familiar with his Patriots-based offensive and defensive systems. Good times. But is this guy a winner or a fraud?
Todd Haley - Kansas City
Going to be interesting to see how a guy who has gotten into heated public altercations with Terrell Owens, Anquan Boldin and Kurt Warner (Warner? Who the hell could get into a fight with Kurt Warner?) handles a locker room with Larry "Diapers" Johnson in it. What's hilarious is that if the Cardinals had lost in the first round of the playoffs last year I think Haley might have been fired. Instead, his team gets hot, hits the Super Bowl, and now Haley is a headman in Kansas City. Riiiiiiiight.
Raheem Morris - Tampa Bay
Morris is the quintessential mailroom clerk that applies for a sales job and gets made V.P. Morris was interviewing for the vacant defensive coordinator job when Jon Gruden was canned. Morris, with all of five years' NFL experience as a defensive backs coach and quality control specialist, was named head man. He's now a new coach with a whole new staff in a loaded division with Josh Freeman, Luke McCown and Byron Leftwich as his options at quarterback. Yeah, this is going to end well.
Jim Mora - Seattle
Let's see, last time we saw Junior he was the head cheerleader for the Mike Vick Fan Club (though Vick was dissing him), he was publicly stating his lust for Ty Willingham's job, and he was engaging in a series of contentious and bizarre altercations with local Atlanta media. But other than that he's cool. That is, as long as you overlook his 4-13 mark in November and December and his 0-17 record when trailing after three quarters. Mora is a dickhead, but he's in a good situation with a veteran team.
Jim Caldwell - Indianapolis
Is it racist that the Colts didn't interview a white candidate for this job before hiring Caldwell? Caldwell has had the B.S. titles of assistant and associate head coach before his official hiring in the offseason. Which is kind of like saying that the slob making your sandwich at Subway is really a "sandwich artist". This guy lost a lot of assistants and it's going to be pretty clear pretty quickly that he's Peyton Manning's bitch. But as long as the front office stays in place Caldwell will still have great ingredients to cook with.
Josh McDaniels - Denver
McDaniels already screwed the pooch, in my opinion, with the way he handled the Jay Cutler Affair. He was completely bailed out by his general manager, who raped Chicago in a trade that will give McDaniels instant firepower in the draft and at quarterback. All I know is this: the last few guys who left Bill Belichick's staff for new gigs have been pathetic. That's all I'm saying.
Tom Cable - Oakland
Is there a worse job in sports than being the head coach of the Oakland Raiders? Maybe the guy who administers Alex Rodriguez's weekly STD tests or the guy who has to be Damon Stoudamire's drug mule through the airport. Other than that, this one is all Cable. This franchise is a god damn debacle so we will probably never know if this guy can coach or not.
Mike Singletary - San Francisco
This guy is an absolute maniac. I love him, because I'm a Bears fan and his eyes peering through the opponent's soul, pre-snap, is one of the most vivid images of my childhood. But this guy is "let's kill a hooker and then drive around with her body riding shotgun" crazy. He won four of his last five games last year and I think that he thinks that gives him carte blanche to, I don't know, proclaim his lust for Mike Vick while simultaneously endorsing Shawn Hill at quarterback. Not sure how this is going to end but I know it will be entertaining.
Steve Spagnuolo - St. Louis
This is one of the few guys on this list that I'm actually excited to see as a head coach. The guy was a wizard in both Philadelphia and New York and his blitz-happy defensive philosophy just might breathe some life back into St. Louis football. It won't happen immediately but I think that Spags will have this team headed in the right direction sooner rather than later. Doesn't hurt that he's now in the NFC Worst.
Rex Ryan - N.Y. Jets
Ray Lewis might have gotten all of the accolades and the indictments but Ryan was the architect behind the Best Defense Of This Generation. His energy will be a plus for the Jets - especially after Mangini, the dud - but Ryan is still an unproven game manager. His resume might have bought him 10 minutes of leeway in New York. But that's it.
Jim Schwartz - Detroit
Schwartz certainly has the pedigree. He was an assistant under Bill Belichik and Jeff Fisher, two of the top coaches in NFL history. He's an accomplished defensive coordinator but that doesn't guarantee anything at the head coaching level. Schwartz has the benefit of taking over a 0-16 team that played for the joke that is Marinelli. Expectations will be low and he'll have at least three years to prove whether he's the right man for the job or not.
For the record, I think that Mora and Mangini will be OK. I think that Spagnuolo and Schwartz will stick and have some success. I'm on the fence about Ryan and McDaniels, who both have high boom/bust potential. I'm not sure what to make of Caldwell but I think he'll be a mediocre coach with very good talent. I think that Singletary, Morris and Haley will each be a disaster in his own right, and Cable just has no chance in Oakland.
Robert Ferringo is a professional handicapper and you can purchase a full season's package of his football selections for just $25 per week! Click here for details.
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