My Coaching List

Posted: January 5th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 80 Comments »

One hugely important thing to understand in the Eagles coaching search is that all of these guys are good candidates. You can make a strong case for each of them. No one here is a ridiculous reach.

It is also important to note that we’re judging these candidates from afar. We’re looking at their histories and track records and then making conclusions (mostly logical) about their ability to be a good coach for the Eagles. The X-factor here is the job interview. Andy Reid doesn’t get the job in 1999 without a great interview where he showed Joe Banner and Jeff Lurie that he was the man for the job.

While I might rank someone low on my list, he could have a great interview that would wildly change things. After all, you’re hiring the man, not the resume.

One of the huge selling points the coach will have is to explain his vision for a coaching staff. Who is he hoping to hire? Is he comfortable with hiring strong, veteran coaches around him? Will the staff be filled with NFL guys, college guys, or a mix? As Eagles fans have seen in recent years, a head coach is only as good as his overall coaching staff. The coach must have a strong plan in this area.

Those of us on the outside don’t know how this stuff will play out in the interviews so we have to focus on stats, records, interviews, and Youtube clips. We can make pretty informed opinions based on how much information is out there.

I’ve done my research. I’ve flipped coins. I’ve consulted Miss Cleo, seer into the future (for just $4.95 a minute). Based on all of that…here is order of preference for the next Eagles head coach.

1 – Chip Kelly
2 – Doug Marrone
3 – Jay Gruden
4 – Mike McCoy
5 – Gus Bradley
6 – Lovie Smith
7 – Pete Carmichael
8 – Bruce Arians
9 – Mike Zimmer
10 – Greg Roman

Kelly is a dynamic leader. He has elevated Oregon from a good program to a great program. He is an X’s and O’s guru, but also someone that understands how to run a program and get people to accomplish special things. I think he’s got the kind of forceful personality that the Eagles could use after the final years of the Reid era.

I think too many people are caught up in his offensive scheme and how that would work. Chip is incredibly smart and would find a way to make the Eagles offense work…not his offense. He is incredibly driven and already has the NFL work ethic. There is risk involved with this hire because he has no NFL experience, but that is less important now than in the past. Previously, the NFL influenced college football. In recent years, it is the other way around. The college game is changing pro football. If there was ever a time for someone to go from college to the NFL, this is it.

I don’t think Kelly is a slam dunk, must-have candidate. I think you have to meet with him and feel that he’s truly committed to the NFL and has the necessary plans to succeed in the NFL. Only after the meeting will you know if this is a guy you’re willing to sell your soul for. As an outsider, I want him. He has a chance to be great. I think you go for greatness when you have the chance.

* * * * *

Doug Marrone is a coach that has grown on me the more that I’ve studied him. That’s always a great sign. I watched Syracuse in their bowl game recently and thought he did a very good job there. Marrone gets a check in basically every box: small college coaching experience, major college coaching experience. NFL assistant, NFL coordinator, head coach in college, can lead a team, can build a program, experience with a great NFL QB, developed a college QB, and so on. He literally has done it all.

The downside to Marrone is that you don’t know if there is anything great about him. While he was the OC with the Saints he was under Sean Payton and coaching Drew Brees. It is hard to know how much of the success goes to Marrone. He’s rebuilt Syracuse from rock bottom, but his record there is 25-25. He’s got the program on solid footing, but let’s not make it sound like they’re BCS material anytime soon.

Marrone knows offense. He’s a former O-lineman. He values the line of scrimmage and the run game. He would love a chance to coach LeSean McCoy and Bryce Brown. He could help develop Nick Foles or find us a new QB to develop. It would be simpler if he could help us kidnap Drew Brees and convince him (some say brainwash) to play for the Eagles as Brew Drees. That plan requires a lot more beer.

As for building a staff, he’s got a couple of former NFL guys working for him at Syracuse. Seems like he knows how to put together a good coaching staff already. Marrone would not be a flashy choice, but in some ways he could be the best one.

* * * * *

I’m going to cover Jay Gruden and Mike McCoy at the same time. Both guys are OCs right now, for Cincy and Denver respectively. I think both could be good head coaches, whether this year or in the future.

I like Jay better because of his background. He has been a HC in the Arena League and UFL. He has a winning record in both places. He built big time offenses in both places. The obvious knock is that he’s doing that with lesser competition, but when you can get Brooks Bollinger to lead the league in passing yards, I think you have to get a lot of credit for that. While you don’t want to make too much of Gruden’s lower level coaching, he was good at what he did and has run a team. That is a major plus in my book.

I also value the fact that Jay has developed Andy Dalton into a solid NFL QB. The Bengals have a ton of young players on offense, but Gruden is getting them to deliver. McCoy has the more dynamic offense this year, but has Peyton Manning running the show. How much credit does McCoy get for that?

McCoy is smart enough to let Peyton do his thing, but is keeping the offense balanced. Denver is 10th in passing attempts, but 9th in rushing attempts. I love the fact McCoy isn’t giving in and going pass happy. Would be easy to do that with a Hall of Fame QB running the offense. McCoy biggest strength is understanding his personnel and building around them. He’s done that for a few years.

My concern with McCoy is whether he’s ready to run a team. Apparently Brian Baldinger made similar comments. I didn’t get to hear them, but it is interesting to see we’re on the same page. I’m not anti-McCoy, but in the interview he would have to convince me that he is ready to lead an entire organization and not just run the offense. If McCoy has the right presentation and answers questions the way I want, he could be a coach I’d love to have.

* * * * *

Gus Bradley is the first defensive guy on the list. I would go in with a very biased mindset. He would have to convince me that he can hire the right offensive coaches and help develop a young QB. You cant win in the NFL with just defense. This is a QB league. You have one or you don’t. And you won’t win a SB without one.

That said, I do like Bradley. He’s been a good positional assistant and DC. The Seahawks have been Top 10 in points and yards the last 2 seasons. The complicated part is that they’ve done it in an unusual way. You give Bradley credit for coaching up Richard Sherman, KJ Wright, Kam Chancellor, Brandon Browner, and making them into good (some great) players. The flip side is that you have to ask if this is a fluke at all. Can Bradley duplicate this? I dont question that he’s a good coach, but the Seahawks are getting great returns on some low-level investments. There has to be a degree of luck involved with that.

The Pete Carroll factor also has to be explored. Pete ran successful defenses in NY, SF, and NE before getting to Seattle. Pete is a DB guru. He’s had success with DBs all over the place. I’m sure Bradley has learned from Pete, but how much of the magic is Pete’s vs Bradley’s? That’s a huge and crucial question.

The Eagles have been to 2 Super Bowls. We won those NFC title games 27-10 and 20-7. The Eagles have 3 NFL titles. The Eagles won those games 7-0, 14-0, and 17-13. You must be able to play good defense to win in Philly in January. I would love to hire Bradley as the DC, but clearly that’s not going to happen. He’s staying put or getting a head coaching job.

I think he would be a risky hire, but I’ll admit that part of me would love to hire a defensive HC. It also helps when Monte Kiffin calls you a “once in a lifetime coach”. I would hope that quote is the only thing on Bradley’s resume.

I did note yesterday that Bradley is a very positive guy and reminds me a bit of a younger Pete Carroll. While Pete had success in his first NFL stops, it was marginal success. And things weren’t necessarily headed in the right direction. Carroll’s players took advantage of his player-friendly style. That all changed when Bill Belichick replaced him. I would hope that Carroll has talked to Bradley about the need to balance being positive and supportive and also being tough on players.

Sam found a couple of great things to check out on Bradley.

Best “Do your job” sideline pep talk in a while (you have to get about 2 mins in).

Radio interview where he explains the scheme.

* * * * *

The last 5 guys on the list I don’t feel as strongly about.

I’m a Lovie Smith fan, but his failure to develop a decent offense in Chicago scares me.

Pete Carmichael interests me, but I just wonder if he’s ready to be a HC. I do think he’s got a bright future.

Arians helped develop Roethlisberger and Andrew Luck. That’s huge. He’s also 60 and isn’t an offensive guru. Seems like more of an assistant to me.

I love Zimmer as a DC, but I’m not sure he’s ready to run a whole team. Background with dysfunctional teams (CIN, DAL) scares me.

I like Greg Roman quite a bit, but he’s not getting any calls. That means the league knows something I don’t. Or they’ve got the herd mentality and are scared to hire him. I think he could be a good HC, in the NFL or college.

* * * * *

I think you can see that my biggest concern is the offense and QB development.  I think that is crucial.  Tom Coughlin doesn’t win his SBs without Eli Manning.  Belichick doesn’t win without Brady.  Who’s more important in GB…McCarthy or Rodgers?  And so on.  You must be able to acquire, coach, and develop a talented QB if you expect to win a Super Bowl.

* * * * *

Jimmy Bama and I did a new show this morning discussing Andy Reid’s new gig and the Eagles coaching search.


  • Baloophi

    SENIOR BOWL PLEDGE DRIVE!

    Good news! Our very own Tommy Lawlor is headed to Mobile at the end of the month to scout draft prospects, snoop on coaches, peddle his sunglasses, and lay waste to Lower Alabama’s precious PBR and pudding supplies. To help our fearless leader in his quest to constantly inundate us with the latest on high-valued hamstrings, I’d like to help defray his Senior Bowl costs.

    CHALLENGE: If we can generate 15 donations of any value, I will cover the cost of Tommy’s airfare to and fro the Senior Bowl (economy… and he’s on his own for checked bags and 6 oz. Bloody Mary’s). You might be asking yourself, “Does Mrs. Baloophi support this?” I can only assume wholeheartedly.

    Any donation, large or small, will go a long way to helping Tommy out. Think of it as buying him a beer or a case of beers in exchange for his on-the-ground, Eagles-centric reporting. Without him, we’d have to rely on Michael Lombardi, Michael Irvin and “Primetime” for our information. Once you’ve finished cleaning the vomit off your keyboard, simply click on the “Donate” button along the right hand banner of the page if you’d like to contribute. No need to post how much you gave, simply that you have.

    Let’s pull together as Iggles-crazed fans and get Tommy to Mobile!

    • dropscience

      Props, Baloophi. You want us to just donate via the already present paypal link Tommy has set up?

      • Baloophi

        I think that’s the most efficient way! (it’s just under the “Blog Roll” header on the right-hand side of the page)

        • dropscience

          Done and done. Let me know if you want a receipt emailed to you.

          • Baloophi

            Just enjoy the coverage, and thank you!

          • aerochrome2

            Done. Thanks for organizing and thanks Tommy.

          • Baloophi

            Good work, sir!

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Stephen-Bonanni/875160556 Stephen Bonanni

            One more

          • TommyLawlor

            Thank you sir.

          • aerochrome2

            Two more?

          • Baloophi

            Nice job!

        • HoneyGratz

          Count me in.

          • Baloophi

            HoneyGrazie!

    • Baloophi

      SENIOR BOWL ALL-STARS
      (looking for at least 15)

      dropscience

    • http://twitter.com/glenn_jaffe33 Glenn Jaffe

      Done! Shower him with PBRs boys!!

      • Baloophi

        Hats off, sir!

    • P_P_K

      Done. What’s the count?

      • Baloophi

        Thank you, Bond handgun!

        • Baloophi

          (And we’re up to 4!)

    • TommyLawlor

      Thanks for all the support guys.

    • A_T_G

      Done. Great idea Baloophi.

      Tommy, if I start getting strange charges from Ty’s Tied Thai’s like I did after I sent the card info for the in-home LASIK, I am going to be suspicious.

      • Baloophi

        Thanks, A_T_G!

      • TommyLawlor

        But isn’t your vision better than ever? Your health is most important to us. Sort of.

    • http://www.facebook.com/michael.w.cho Michael Winter Cho

      Done!

      • Baloophi

        Much appreciated, MWC!

    • D3FB

      Done. I need me that Senior Bowl coverage, and considering the amount of time spent here of course I threw in.

      • D3FB

        For the record I’ll be back in the top 10 commenter list sometime between now and the draft… I’m coming for you Anders…

        • Baloophi

          Thank you, D3FB! And we do need somebody to push Anders this off-season…

    • CMR80

      Done!

      • Baloophi

        Thanks, CMR80!

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=565087931 Jeppe Elmelund van Ee

      Done – Thank you for the initiative!

      • Baloophi

        Tak så meget!

    • http://twitter.com/JackfinBauer Jack Bauer

      Done…worth every penny

      • Baloophi

        Thank you for your service, sir.

    • ShadyCrockett

      Done.

      • Baloophi

        Thank you, King of the Wild Frost Beer!

    • damccomas

      done!

  • tad

    You forgot Ray Rhodes

    • http://twitter.com/glenn_jaffe33 Glenn Jaffe

      Isn’t that the point!

  • ACViking

    Re: Doug Marrone & the Payton Connection / College coaches

    T-Law:

    Back in November I thought Doug Marrone was someone to keep an eye on.

    The big question with him regarding his time as the OC for New Orleans — as you noted — is how much was his success the product of Sean Payton and Brees.

    Here’s what I’d say.

    In 1997-98, Sean Payton coached the Eagles QBs. That would include the disastrous ’98 season of Bobby Hoying.

    In 1999, Payton coached the Giants’ QBs. That would include Kerry Collins 2-5 record and 8 TDs / 11 INTs.

    From 2000-2002, Payton was the G-men’s OC. New York’s then-HC, Jim Fassel, pulled the play-calling duties away from Payton. And the Giants went to the SB. Payton never got the PC-duties back.

    From 2003-05, Payton joined Bill Parcells as the Cowboys’ Asst HC / QB coach. Payton’s star pupil in ’03 was the erratic and not particularly good Quincy Carter, who was out of football in ’04.

    In ’04, the Cowboys went with veteran Vinny Testeverde — who played like the VT we remember from that heart-breaking 1991 Eagles loss to the Bucs 14-13 (when Kotite used Brad Goebel as QB). Not well.

    In 2005, Payton had the benefit of 33 year-old Drew Bledsoe at QB.

    The Saints then chose Payton to be their next HC in 2006.

    I don’t think Payton was anything close to a QB whisperer. Not until Drew Brees became his QB (and who wouldn’t be with him).
    _________________

    So the Saints’ success — with Payton and Marrone — seems to be as much about Drew Brees as anyone. But that’s just as true of New England with Brady / Belichick, the Colts with Manning / Dungy – Caldwell, and Pittsburgh with Big Ben / Tomlin.

    With a star QB, it’s not about the scheme. It’s about the player.

    So the question would seem to be more about the “how you run an organization,” who your staff is, what your philosophy is — and not so much who your QB was when you were an assistant coach.

    Heck, Andy Reid looked like a genius in GB because he was coaching Brett Favre. But Favre would have made anyone look good — just as Drew Brees has done in New Orleans.
    _________________

    What I like about Marrone’s Saints experience — whether he gets the job or not — is that Payton brought him to New Orleans from the Jets. That is, they were not buddies from the same staff moving to a new job with each guy getting a promotion.

    Marrone must have developed a pretty solid reputation with the Jets.

    Sort of like Gus Bradley must have had when Pete Carroll kept on him in Seattle after Bradley’s patron, Jim Mora, was canned. (Bradley’s ’09 defense under Mora finished in the mid- to low-20s in yardage and points. So something else was going on there.)
    __________________

    As far as college HC coaches with ZERO experience in the NFL, I remain a skeptic. Jim Harbaugh at least coached QBs in Oakland for 2 seasons before building his HC creds from the ground up in college.

    Since 1970, exactly 2 college HCs have won a SB . . . the 2 college HCs plucked by Jerry Jones: Jimmy Johnson and, with Johnson’s players, Barry Switzer (fulfilling Jerry Jones’ prediction that ANYONE could win a SB with the 1995 Cowboys).

    That’s it.

    In 1971, the Packers reached for Missouri HC Dan Devine. He was 1-and-done in the 1972 playoffs and, after just one winning season, was back in college at Notre Dame in 1975 (winning a national title with Joe Montana in the NCAA’s version of the “Ice Bowl” in the 1978 Cotton Bowl).

    That same year, the Rams hired a guy you and I’ve exchanged comments on: Tommy Prothro from UCLA, who replaced the great George Allen. Prothro was gone from the Rams after 2 seasons and landed with the Chargers. He never made the playoffs.

    In 1972, the Oilers hired Rice-U head coach (and former FSU HC) Bill Peterson. He went 1-18 before being fired five games into the ’73 season by Bud Adams.

    Also in ’72, the Broncos hired Stanford HC John Ralston, coming off back-to-back Rose Bowl upset wins over Ohio State and Michigan (preventing both from winning the still mythical National Championship). Ralston had a great offensive mind — and actually served as the Eagles OC in ’79 under Dick Vermeil. Ralston was fired after going 9-5 in ’76 because he’d missed the playoffs all five years in Denver. But he set the table for the Broncos’ SB run the next season under new coach Red Miller (who was the guy who coached HOF OG John Hannah and All Pro OT Leon Gray at New England).

    In 1973, the Patriots hired Oklahoma-U HC and offensive guru Chuck Fairbanks — who ran the wishbone in college. He had a great eye for talent, had a couple winning seasons, and of course never ran the WB in the pros. No SB though.

    Also in 1973, maybe the greatest offensive mind since Sid Gilman, Don Coryell, was hired by the Cardinals. He turned that team around and made a journeyman QB name Jim Hart into an All Pro. He moved onto SD, reaching the AFC title game twice. But no SB. (That said, I think Coryell had a tremendous impact on the NFL. As much as Bill Walsh. Coryell’s offense was run by Cowboys ran under Jimmy Johnson via OC Ernie Zampese, a Coryell acolyte. It’s all about getting the ball out on time and down field. Sounds very much like the current version of AR’s WCO.)

    In 1976, the expansion Tampa Bay Bucs hired USC’s longtime HC John McKay . . . who ran everything in college from the I-formation. But with the kind of balance you’d expect in the pros. His highpoint was beating the Eagles in the 1979 NFC division playoff. No SB.

    Also in 1976, the Jets hired Lew Holtz from NC State. Didn’t make through his first season in NYC.

    In 1978, the Cards went back to the college well to hire perhaps the greatest of all college coaches, Bud Wilkinson — he of the record 47-game unbeaten streak. Wilkinson’d retired from Okl-U after the ’63 season. He went 9-20 in the NFL. [That sounds like a long time between HC stints . . . but Dick Vermeil left the Eagles after the '82 season and returned to the NFL sideline in '97. The difference between Coach Vermeil and Wilkinson is BW never coached in the NFL before going to STL. And he broadcast college games after his retirement -- whereas Coach V stayed around the NFL during his retirement.]

    In 1985, the Lions hired Arizona State HC Daryl Rodgers. Gone less than 4 years later, with his best season being 7-9.

    In 1995, the Seahawks hired Miami coach Dennis Erickson. Gone in 4, never finishing better than 3rd. Erickson got a second chance with the 49ers and was out after two seasons, again never finishing better than 3rd.

    And — last but not least — in 2007 the Falcons hired Bobby “3-10, I quit” Petrino from Louisville.

    (I left out Spurrier because he was a HC in the USFL and Mike Riley, who left Oregon State to coach the Chargers, because he’d been an HC in the CFL.)
    _______________

    Getting the right HC is catching lightning in a bottle — in the best of circumstances. Yes, the college game has changed a lot since Dennis Erickson’s hiring in 1995.

    But I think all the concerns you’ve raised, T-Law, were as true in 1971 and they are now. Football’s about executing blocks and making tackles, whatever the scheme (since DCs eventually catch up to all schemes).

    Even more so, winning in the NFL now is about having a great QB coupled with a great administrator.

    At this point, while Chip Kelly may be a “mad scientist,” I’ll take my chances with a coach who’s been seasoned in the NFL.

    It’s hard to bet against history. And I don’t have the faith that either Kelly or Roseman will be able to duplicate Jimmy Johnson’s amazing good luck at inheriting a HOF WR in Irvin, get a HOF QB in his first draft in Aikman, then trade down to 17 in Rd 1 to get a HOF RB. Just too hard to see that happening again.

    • austinfan

      Great list, and it backs up what I’ve concluded (so I know it’s brilliant!)
      I don’t think SB victories are the right metric, but on that whole list, there are two success stories, Jimmy Johnson and Coryell. Now if you think Kelly is at their level as a football mind, he’s worth a gamble, but a number of other college coaches on that list were also highly innovative, and failed in the NFL.

      Marrone is the safe pick, but what is his upside? On the other hand, I think he’ll do a solid job rebuilding, and he may end up a “Dungy,” not quite good enough to get over the hump the first time.

      McCoy to me is a slightly more experienced version of Clements on GB, they may not be successful as HCs, but they’re a good bet to leave a solid QB behind for the next HC.

      Bradley is intriguing, but the player’s coach issue is serious, given how the inmates were running the asylum, but given it was mostly on the defensive side, one suspects he wouldn’t cut anyone slack the first season.

      • ACViking

        I think you’re spot on about Marrone — a safe (and also solid) choice. Like the comparison to Dungy a lot.

        With the right assistants, and some good luck in the draft, he could be a big-time winner. (Without the offensive talent collected by Johnson and Coryell, they’d be as forgotten as John Ralston and Tommy Prothro.)

        Look at Reid’s pre-2009 Eagles years. Great staff. Repeat GREAT staff. He inherited some great talent. And the team added McNabb, Westbrook, Shel Brown, T-Cole, Runyan, J-Jax, Buck (and others).

    • Julescat

      what about Dick Vermeil on your list?

    • TommyLawlor

      Great stuff, AC.

      The one big thing to keep in mind is that in the past the college game was very different than the NFL. Think about how many of the college coaches ran offenses that had no chance in the NFL.

      The point we’re at now is just the opposite. The NFL is embracing the college game. The Skins offense is closer to Oregon’s attack than the true WCO. I think that makes a huge difference.

      Also, Chip works like an NFL coach even though he’s in college. Oregon doesn’t win because of superior talent. They’re good, but they play good football and out-work the competition. Chip can motivate players.

      Thanks for providing the anti-Chip case. Well done, as always.

  • ACViking

    post deleted by commenter.

    • http://www.facebook.com/matthew.verhoog Matthew Verhoog

      best post of the thread

  • nopain23

    I know we are all focused on who the HC will be and believe me that’s what is most paramount at this time. But let’s not forget that the WORSE part of out team is the defense( o.k may the ST too..yuck). I think we’re gonna hire an offensive minded coach BUT in the end I think the key to success will be who the HC hires as our new DC. Think of AR without JJ..uggg..barf!! When JJ passed it was ALL downhill from there.
    I’ve been saying if for a while now.I’ll take Mccoy over Kelly.( give me the guy who has game planned against NFL defenses). I think he can make Foles into an efficient QB. I just worry that while there are many offensive gurus out there most of the guys that could probably fix our defense are already DC for other teams and the only way we get them is to hire them as our HC( i’m looking at you Zimmer and Fangio). Also I’m just not a fan of the Gruden bros’

    • deg0ey

      “Also I’m just not a fan of the Gruden bros'”

      Not even if we hired both of them and had them dress like this for gameday http://bitly.com/x2QfLU ?!

      • TommyLawlor

        I’m in.

    • TommyLawlor

      We do need a strong coach to run the defense (unless we go that way at HC). Hiring the right staff will be a critical part of the new coach getting off to a good start.

  • deg0ey

    Chip Kelly as HC and Brian Kelly as DC. People already get them confused, why not get them both on the same team and make it even harder to keep track ;)

  • ACViking

    Re: Jay Gruden

    Watching the Bengals v. Houston . . . reminds me of the Eagles v. Carolina in 2003.

  • xeynon

    Just lost any interest I might have had in Jay Gruden after watching him dial up a go route to the end zone on 3rd and 11 from the opponent’s 35 with 2:50 to go in a six point game. There’s a time and place to take shots down the field but that is not it – a six or seven yard completion gets them in range for a makeable 4th down, or a FG attempt. What they got lost them the game. I want a coach who understands the difference between strategic aggressiveness and dumb aggressiveness.

    • TommyLawlor

      Fair enough.

    • http://www.facebook.com/matthew.verhoog Matthew Verhoog

      It was wide open because the Defense expected them to go for the sticks, that play works on 3rd down, but probably not 4th. you play to win the game.

      • xeynon

        1.)It wasn’t wide open. The receiver had a step or so, but completing it would have still required a pinpoint 40 yard throw, which is a difficult play under the best of circumstances. On the road, against a defense with a pass rush that has been getting into the backfield all day, with a not particularly gifted deep thrower as your quarterback, is not “the best of circumstances”. There is MAYBE a 10% chance that play succeeds in that situation.

        2.)Given that the deficit was six points, and they were just outside FG range, they needed to be thinking about setting themselves up to cut it to 3 if they couldn’t get a TD on that drive. An incompletion on 3rd down there forces you to go for it on 4th and long, rather than giving you the option to kick the FG and play to get the ball back needing only another FG (they still had all three timeouts). If it had been second down, or they’d already been in FG range, I’d have had no problem with that call. But in that exact down, distance, and field position, it was idiotic.

        You do indeed play to win. But smart coaches understand that that means making the high percentage call and understand the difference between calculated aggression and recklessness. Watch Belichick coach an endgame sometime. He’s aggressive, but not stupidly so. That’s the kind of strategist I want.

        • http://www.facebook.com/matthew.verhoog Matthew Verhoog

          You have good reasons.

  • SteveH

    I didn’t realize how terrible Andy Dalton was. 3 yards passing in the first half is just awful. He missed AJ Green on open deep balls twice (not easy to do throwing to AJ Green) and repeatedly forced the ball to Gresham in tight coverage. I don’t know much about Jay Gruden but if he managed to doll up Dalton to look respectable for most of the season thats a pretty good job.

    • TommyLawlor

      The playoffs can expose some guys. Looks like that happened to Dalton.

      • SteveH

        Yeah I was thinking while I was watching the game that the Bengals didn’t really look like they belonged there. Even their defense really didn’t live up to the hype, they barely pressured Schaub all game.

        • xeynon

          I thought that when they played the Eagles… only game of theirs I watched closely all season but they didn’t look like a playoff-caliber team to me.

      • austinfan

        It also exposed for both teams what happens when you build an offense around a top tier WR, at least Houston has Daniels, Gresham was doing his best Warrick Dunn imitation.

        Foles knows how to use multiple targets and is much bigger than Dalton, though he does need to improve the deep ball.

    • xeynon

      Dalton’s pretty mediocre. I’d say he’s a reasonable comp for Foles if Foles doesn’t improve his ability to throw the deep ball.

      • SteveH

        Just going off this game I’d say Foles has better pocket presence and better touch on his throws than Dalton does. Deep balls look about equal. Dalton maybe a little stronger arm.

  • bentheimmigrant

    I liked what I’d read of Gruden, but letting Marty M guest call the final drive tonight took him off my list pretty quick. I don’t need those kind of flashbacks, thank you very much.

    • TommyLawlor

      Not a great day for Jay. Or Andy Dalton.

  • nickross23

    I’m really liking Coach Marrone more and more as well. Tommy you do such a awsome job informing us about these coaches,players, draft, ext. I’m excited to the idea of a return to a more physical balanced attack on offense. I not sure what kind of D we would be running but i just get the idea he would want an all around physical brand of football. Now my question to Tommy and you all is if coach Marrone where to be named our next HC do you think he would bring in Ryan Nassib as comp for Foles? Nassib being Marrone’s qb at SU, and many scouts believe have a chance to really develope into a good qb

    • TommyLawlor

      Nassib is a guy that could be of interest, with or without Marrone. I’ve got a lot of tape study to do on him. The fact Nassib knows the offense and played well in it could help his value if Marrone is our guy.

  • BobSmith77

    Joe Webb is one terrible QB. Hard to believe that he was effective to beat the Eagles 2 years ago.

    • TommyLawlor

      Boy, you aren’t kidding.

      • BobSmith77

        I thought he flat out missed several throws tonight that even quality D-I starting QBs would make.

        Worst throw had to be that deep ball to Simpson through in the 2nd quarter. Overthrow a wide-open Simpson by at least 6-7 yards.

    • shah8

      I still think well of him. He got his mechanics together after the game wasn’t really in doubt. Remember, I watched the Mn season, and Ponder has had worse games. On the whole, the only reason there was any reason for much hope for a backup QB who hasn’t thrown a pass all year to win was because Webb has been effective enough before. Broadly speaking, I still think he’s much more worth the time to develop than Ponder, but I’m reminded of just how raw he is.

      • BobSmith77

        He was put in a tough spot but he utterly failed. If it wasn’t for that last meaningless TD drive late, his numbers would have been even more horrendous.

        I haven’t seen much at all of Ponder but it is hard to believe he would have played as poorly as Webb did.

        If I knew Webb was going to be the QB, I would have dropped some money on this game even with a line of +7 for the Vikings.

        • shah8

          Ponder has had multiple sub-100 yard games, and believe it or not, Webb’s day today at QB rating 54 is better than four of Ponder’s games. Ponder has had a Y/A better than Webb’s 6 Y/A today in only 6 games. Ponder does look better at not making horrific pass attempts, but it is debatable whether he’s truly better than Webb. Would he have played better, given that he’s played all year and has a nice, full playbook? Eeeeh, depends on whether you think his last game against GB at home was something to work on. I, personally, think that is very doubtful, especially assuming the same production today from AD.

          Broadly speaking, it does require a miracle when you have the backup QB in the playoffs. Frank Reich got one, as has been said in the broadcast, but I don’t think I can think of many other than Doug Williams, who was a vet. If Graham Harrell was to be the QB, would you expect very much production, even from Green Bay’s WRs?

  • D3Keith

    The latest thing on the wires is that the Eagles’ meeting with Kelly is running long Saturday night, meaning the Browns couldn’t do their scheduled second interview with him. If Lurie and Roseman think he’s the guy, maybe they are trying to wrap it up before he walks away.

    It also said the Browns are trying to decide between Kelly and Marrone, which reinforces my belief that they are two of the three most coveted guys available, with Mike McCoy being the other. The Browns/Eagles mutual interest heightens my interest in both guys.

    • D3Keith

      Lunch meeting that went past midnight with Kelly. At least they are giving it a serious run.

  • ShadyCrockett

    I want Chip Kelly for one simple reason:

    If we hire him, there is a shred of hope we bring back the Kelly green jerseys. And that is reason enough for me.

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  • BlindChow

    Wow, in the Bengals 6-point playoff loss yesterday, Green-Ellis was averaging over 5 yards per run; yet, he only had 11 carries. Jay Gruden’s playcalling is suddenly looking verrrry familiar.