There are less than 72 hours left in the Andy Reid era, assuming he can’t pull out a Super Bowl win somehow. I’m thinking about coaches 24/7. Megan Fox and pudding are feeling very jealous right now and that’s something I’ll have to answer for later on.
I was doing some research on Chip Kelly when I read some comments he gave at a coaching clinic a few years back. Boy was this interesting to read.
Do not be the coach who runs a play offense. That coach constantly adds plays that he likes and sees on TV or at a pro football game. Before he knows it , his offense is a mile wide of nothing but plays. He has nothing in that mass of plays to hang his hat on.Your players cannot say, “This is what we are.” I suggest you take a long look at your program and identify what you want to be.
Clearly Chip Kelly wasn’t talking about Reid back then (no reason to), but boy does that comment hit home. Andy and Marty are in love with their playbook. They are constantly trying to outsmart the other team and coaching staff. Too often, they seem to outsmart themselves.
I’m still not in love with Kelly as a candidate, but I do love his mentality here. There was a long stretch of time where NFL coaches brought in players and made them fit their schemes. That has changed in recent years. Is this the right thing? I’m not sure.
We see RG3 and Russell Wilson playing in college style offenses. We see Colin Kaepernick playing in a system that was adjusted for him. Even Alex Smith played in a simplified attack both last year and this year.
More than ever, coaches are adapting to their personnel. The question we have is whether this can win a title or lead to sustained success. Had you asked me this summer, I’d have said no. I thought for sure the Niners would be “exposed” this year. That didn’t happen.
I’m still hesitant to think that the simplified offenses can work in the postseason. Some of this is a reflection of Martyball. No, not Mornhinweg, but Schottenheimer. Marty S. believed in running the ball, playing defense and doing a great job with penalties/turnovers. He played not to lose. That style caught up to him in the postseason. He never reached the Super Bowl, let alone won it.
The Falcons have played a similar style to this in recent years and we’ve seen that even with a gifted QB and some good weapons the team falls flat in the playoffs. The Atlanta offense was shutout last year (the Falcons did manage a safety for their only 2 points).
Look at the number of passing attempts for some of the QBs of these offenses. Alex Smith has only thrown 35 or more passes 3 times in the last 2 years. Wilson has 10 games this year with 25 or fewer passing attempts. RG3 has 7 games with 27 or fewer attempts.
Life is simple when you can run the ball and throw play-action passes. That formula simply hasn’t worked for winning the Super Bowl in recent years. Eli Manning was 4th in passing attempts last year. Smith was 20th. Think about the NFC title game. Manning took an ungodly beating, but did just enough to win. Smith completed just 1 pass all game to a WR. He had to live and die with his TEs and RBs. You can’t win like that. With a better passing game, SF would have won that game. Their defense was great.
Aaron Rodgers won the SB in 2010. He was 14th in attempts, but missed almost 2 full games. If healthy, he’d have finished 9th. Ben Roethlisberger was the other SB QB. He finished way down the list, but missed 4 games. With a full season he would have been right around 10th.
The 2009 SB was Peyton vs Brees. Both finished Top 10.
You have to go back to 2008 when Roethlisberger was 14th in attempts to find someone clearly outside the Top 10. He had the luxury of the #1 defense (Pts and Yds). And Big Ben had receiving weapons. Santonio Holmes was very good back then. Hines Ward was the workhorse receiver. Nate Washington was a very good #3 guy. And you had Heath Miller at TE. The Steelers could throw the ball when they wanted to.
Has all of this changed? Can you win with a college type offense now, where QB runs and simple pass plays complement a standard running game?
We won’t know the answer until the postseason.
The point isn’t that you must throw the ball, but rather that you have a good QB and use him as the center of your offense. Wilson, RG3, and Kaepernick are all weapons as passers and runners. Previously coaches feared having the QB run due to the possibility of injury. Has that changed? Will these offenses change over time, as the QBs get more experienced and become more comfortable as pocket passers?
I’d love to give you definitive answers, but the game of football is constantly changing and I’m not sure what is temporary and what is permanent. Anyone with access to a crystal ball please let me know so I can tell the Eagles who to hire.
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Set aside the question of who for a minute and instead ask: what should the Eagles look for in a coach? That was the subject of my SB Nation Philly column.
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Bruce Arians is a hot name right now. Should the Eagles have interest? Maybe.
I’m hesitant to fully buy in. Arians has done a great job, but there are several reasons to be very cautious with him. The Colts are 10-5, but aren’t really a good team. They basically throw the ball well and that’s about it. You’d love to give Arians a ton of credit, but he’s working with a special player in Andrew Luck. This isn’t Christian Ponder or Jake Locker we’re talking about.
The team has played a soft schedule and beaten a bunch of crappy teams (BUF, JAX, KC, CLE, TEN-2, etc.). I give the Colts credit for winning, but let’s not mistake that for them being a good football team.
Arians has been a gameday coach, but didn’t have to do the offseason stuff that can often make a team so successful. Chuck Pagano is the one who hired the staff. He worked with Ryan Grigson to figure out who to sign and draft. The coaching that takes place from August to December in some ways is the easy part. That’s just football.
The Colts do have a special vibe this year that seems to help them. Arians would not have that in a future job. Win one for Chuck would not be an effective rallying cry for the 2013 Eagles. Over the years we’ve seen interim coaches have success. Jason Garrett took over Dallas in 2010 when the team was 1-7. They were 5-3 for him. Since then, the Boys are 16-15. In college, I’ve seen a coach leave for a job and one of his assistants has coached the team through the bowl. That assistant does well and gets the full time job, only to be a disastrous hire.
Bruce Arians is also 60. Coaches age like dogs when running an NFL team. What kind of a toll would that take on him?
I hope Bruce does get a job and proves me wrong, but I would not hire him. Too many things about him make me nervous.
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