NFL Handicapping: New Offensive Coordinator Breakdown, Part 1
by Robert Ferringo - 7/17/2013
The Peter Principle is alive and well in the National Football League.
For those not familiar with The Peter Principle, it’s the belief that people get promoted based on achievement and that eventually they will be promoted beyond their capabilities. In other words, they are promoted to their level of incompetence.
For example, let’s say there’s a new, talented sales associate hired at a company. Because he is smart and talented, he works his way up and is eventually promoted to assistant manager. After a successful stint there, he is then promoted to store manager and serves masterfully in those duties.
But then after serving several successful years as the store manager, our guy is promoted to general manager. But maybe our guy isn’t cut out to be a general manager. Maybe he thrives in the more personal role of store manager. Maybe he can’t quite get a grasp on the more administrative position as general manager, and having to be responsible for dozens of stores instead of just the one he was in charge of before is too much for him.
That’s the Peter Principle. Our man was smart enough to get promoted several times. But eventually he was promoted past his level of competence.
In the NFL, Norv Turner is the embodiment of the Peter Principle. Turner really is an amazing offensive coach. He was behind some of the best attacks of all-time in Dallas in the early 90s as an offensive coordinator. He guided multiple Top-10 offenses in the late 90s in Washington. And his teams in San Diego finished in the Top 5 in the NFL in scoring in five of his six seasons in Southern California.
If you need a potent offense, Norv is your man. But as a head coach Norv Turner was a complete and total loser. For all of his bona fides as an offensive coordinator and leader, Turner could never get it together as a head coach. He was fired this offseason after squandering an enormous amount of talent in San Diego over the past several seasons. And if Turner never coaches another game, he will retire with a lackluster 114-122-1 record in his 15-year career.
Turner was promoted beyond his capability. But now he finds himself back in the comfortable cloak of OC. He will be guiding the offense in Cleveland under new coach Rod Chudzinski and attempting to rebuild a battered Browns franchise.
I think that Turner was an excellent hire for the Browns rookie head coach. And we don’t have to look any further than Wade Phillips’ impact on the Houston Texans defense over the last two years to see that someone that was a failure as a head coach can still have a dramatic impact on an NFL team from the coordinator position.
Below is a look at the new offensive coordinators seizing the reigns of attacks throughout the league. I have given a short analysis of each new OC as well as my “stock recommendation” as to how I feel about the hiring for each team. You can find Part 2 of my NFL offensive coordinator breakdown here.
Nathanial Hackett, Buffalo – Hackett followed new head coach Doug Marrone west from their same respective spots on the Syracuse Orange staff. And, like Marrone, I haven’t seen anything from Hackett to think that he’s ready to perform at the NFL level.
Hackett was only an OC for the Orange for two seasons, and as a Syracuse alum/fan, I can say that nothing about what SU did under Hackett’s guidance overwhelmed me. By all accounts, Hackett’s offense will feature “a little of everything”. But the 33-year-old is working with Kevin Kolb and E.J. Manuel, so no matter what his schemes the Bills offense will probably be a mess this year.
Stock Recommendation: I’m definitely selling early. I will admit that I am at least intrigued by what Hackett is going to bring to the table. But it is more of a morbid curiosity more than a hopeful intuition.
Marty Mornhinweg, New York Jets – The former Philadelphia OC has been one of the best coordinators in the NFL over the past 15 years. (That is somewhat ironic since he was one of the worst head coaches of the last quarter century in his two years in Detroit in 2001-2002. See – it’s the Peter Principle in action!)
Mornhinweg runs a pure West Coast offense, which he learned under Mike Holmgren in Green Bay and crafted at San Francisco (1997-2000) and Philadelphia (2006-2012). Morninweg is the real deal, and his short-passing attack is certain to expose Mark Sanchez once and for all.
Stock Recommendation: This one is definitely a buy because Mornhinweg’s system is proven. But if Sanchez and Ryan flame out this year, things could go haywire at no fault of the new OC.
Pep Hamilton, Indianapolis – The bobblehead media has been touting Hamilton’s reunion with Andrew Luck as a no-brainer and an altogether positive development. Why? Luck benefitted tremendously from Bruce Arians’ tutelage last year. Regardless of what he was able to do in the Pac-12, the inexperienced Hamilton is a step down from Arians.
And that is just one of several reasons why I am sour on Luck and the Colts this year.
I expect Indy’s offense to run the ball more than they did under Arians, and I would think their heavy “under” trend could continue this season after failing to top the total in 11 of their 17 games last year. I am skeptical of Hamilton and his ability to master the pro game. He has very limited NFL experience, only serving as a position coach for various teams from 2004-2009. His longest stint was as the Bears quarterback coach from 2007-2009.
So you have to ask yourself: is the guy who brought us Kyle Orton really the dude you want mentoring and tutoring Luck at this stage of his career?
Stock Recommendation: This is a big-time sell. This isn’t the Pac-12, and Hamilton and Luck aren’t going to be teeing off on Colorado, Utah and Arizona State this year.
Jedd Fisch, Jacksonville –Fisch has to decide between Chad Henne and Blaine Gabbert and then actually rely on one of those two incompetents to run his offense. I don’t even think Bill Walsh could do anything with that duo.
Fisch is just 37 years old, and his only experience calling plays has come at the college level. His offenses with the University of Miami in 2011 and 2012 weren’t exactly world-beaters, so obviously I’m skeptical with this hiring. And, as I mentioned, even if he is some offensive genius, it won’t matter any way because his quarterbacks are pathetic. I just can’t see a scenario where this works out well.
Stock Recommendation: Sell.
Adam Gase, Denver – With Peyton Manning at the helm, the Denver offensive coordinator post is more of an emeritus position. Fun fact: Gase is married to the daughter of New Orleans Saints coach Joe Vitt.
Stock Recommendation: Hold. As in, “pray that Peyton’s neck HOLDS up.”
Doug Pederson, Kansas City –This is Pederson’s first gig as an offensive coordinator. But he has worked with new Chiefs head coach Andy Reid since 2009, so there is plenty of familiarity there. And Reid has already stated that he will call the plays on Sundays, so Pederson’s position is more administrative and developmental.
Pederson, an ex-NFL quarterback, is a bit of a wild card because of his limited experience. But it’s also interesting to note that the Chiefs hired former Nevada head coach Chris Ault, the inventor of the “Pistol Offense,” as a consultant for the year. It will be compelling to see how Reid, Pederson and Ault incorporate aspect of the Pistol into the Alex Smith-led attack.
Stock Recommendation: Buy. Love him or hate him as an offensive play caller, the Eagles finished in the Top 10 in the NFL in scoring four of the past five years and eight of the last 11 years with Reid working the controls. My “Buy” on Pederson is because of the package deal with The Big Mormon.
Robert Ferringo is a lead writer for Doc’s Sport and he has earned over $9,000 in football profit for his clients over the last 15 football months. He is looking forward to another amazing season on the gridiron and has banked five of six winning NFL seasons, two of three winning years and 27 of 39 winning football months. Sign up today and start earning and CLICK HERE to claim a $60 free credit to be used toward the purchase of Robert’s plays.
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