Player Coach

Posted: June 14th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 78 Comments »

Jason Kidd is retiring as an NBA player. He had a great career and will certainly go to the basketball Hall of Fame. But Kidd isn’t retiring to relax. He is going to be the coach of the New Jersey Brooklyn Nets.

It is a lot easier for basketball players to become a head coach. The game is just much simpler than football. Look at how many NBA coaches are former players compared to how few NFL coaches ever played in the league.

NBA: Mike Woodson, Jason Kidd, Doc Rivers, Byron Scott, Larry Drew, Randy Wittman, Jacque Vaughn, Scott Brooks, Tyrone Corbin, Rick Adelman, Mark Jackson, Keith Smart, Kevin McHale, Maurice Cheeks, Rick Carlisle, Monty Williams

NFL: Leslie Frazier, Ron Rivera, Jim Harbaugh, Jeff Fisher, Mike Munchak, Gary Kubiak, Doug Marrone, Jason Garrett, Sean Payton

There are a few NBA jobs that are open right now so the list could actually grow even more in their favor.

Question for today is…which Eagles could be coaching material?

I’ll just offer up one name…Matt Barkley. The fact he stayed at USC shows me that he really loves football. Matt Leinart stayed for his Senior year, but played on a team full of stars. Barkley had to break in a new LT. He had no stud RB returning. The defense had some holes. Barkley was playing for Lane Kiffin, not the guy who recruited him (Pete Carroll). Barkley made a strange choice by staying. That showed dedication and sense of purpose. It also showed that he’s willing to go against the grain.

Barkley has a tremendous work ethic. He was putting in 14-hour days during the spring so that he could learn the offense and be as ready as possible for the OTAs. Barkley was out there with the #3 offense and already getting guys in position and running the show. He is a natural leader.

Just as important these days, Barkley communicates well. He’s comfortable with the media. He had a great interview at the Combine. His teammates loved him.

Barkley was an X’s and O’s guru at USC. I’m assuming he’ll be one in the NFL as well.

Being an NFL coach is hard. You can’t get by with just brains, just personality, just leadership or just experience/expertise. You must have the right combination of those traits. Being a football coach is also hard work. I think some former players are naive about coaching. It consumes your life.  Bear Bryant once told David Cutcliffe, “Don’t coach because you want to. Don’t coach because you love it. Coach because you can’t live without it.”

I’m going with Barkley.

What about you guys?

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  • shah8

    Most coaches who were players tended to be overshadowed by other players back in the day. Generally the quiet guys who nobody talked to. I mean, who wanted to talk to Jason Garrett when he was a QB? Most star QBs with brains and common sense wind up as commentators. I mean, look at Steve Young, and you wonder whether those concussions made him dumber in the wrong ways such that he’s not confident of being able to coach well. You’d think he’d be a pretty good coach.

    While I have no real expectations of Barkley before I actually see him throw in game situations, I don’t really think I want to think of him as a future coach, because it implies too much of the wrong sort of person than is good for winning football games.

    • TommyLawlor

      Garrett was a backup QB. Kubiak too. Payton only played in the replacement games of 1987.

      Harbaugh was an exception. I could see Barkley following in that way. Or maybe Barkley only proves to be a backup in the NFL and the transition to coach is a natural one.

      You main premise is certainly right. Few star players become coaches. Mostly backups and fringe players.

      • goeagles55

        Peyton Manning is a star QB who seems like a natural fit as a coach.

      • kevinlied

        Is the premise right, or is it just that (1) because of the nature of football (short careers, large rosters, lots of role players), fringe guys outnumber stars even more than in the other major sports, and (2) the ratio of stars-to-scrubs in the coaching ranks is similarly small to the same ratio among players? Former stars, or at least very good players, currently in the NFL coaching ranks include Duce Staley, Pepper Johnson, Jack Del Rio, Mike Singletary, Ike Hilliard, Wilbur Montgomery, Mark Carrier (the DB), Dick LeBeau, Carnell Lake, Kevin Millard, Kevin Greene, Henry Ellard, Earnest Byner, Clyde Simmons, Tom Rathman, and Ken Norton Jr. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_current_National_Football_League_staffs.

        Now, it’s true that few stars elevate to head coach, but again, I wonder if the ratio of stars-to-scrubs who become head coaches is out of line with the ratio in general.

        • Ark87

          Lots of good points. But you do wonder if these guys sort of never achieve their dreams on the field, so when they are forced to hang it up as a player, they will just about do anything to stay with the game.

          The other possibility…what do back-up QB’s do? They wear a headset, often with a chart in hand. When the offense comes off the field, they are talking to the starting QB, sharing what they are seeing. They are almost groomed to coach.

      • Jamie Parker

        I think for most star players, the game comes easy to them. For the fringe players, it’s not so easy, so they have to study more and work that much harder just to hang on. I think they learn a lot more of the game than the star players. I think this makes them better coaches. (This is just my opinion.)

      • dislikedisqus

        See my point about concussions. The more you play, the more you’re likely to have, although there are exceptions like Harbaugh. So the lesser players avoid themand are able to coach.

  • John Gurney

    Casey Matthews

    • TommyLawlor

      Only if you eat dinner with his family.

      • John Gurney

        Hahaha I think its actually a possibility for him, might not cut it as a player, has a great football IQ, family tradition. I really can’t see him doing something not football related if it doesn’t work out for him as a player.

        • GEagle

          I hear that Bradley Fletcher has secondary coach aspirations

        • jshort

          High school HC, CM

  • http://igglesblitz.com Sam Lynch

    DeMeco Ryans seems like another possible guy. Commands respect, seems like a scheme smart guy.

    • TommyLawlor

      Totally.

    • Cafone

      yeah, that’s the guy I would go with too. Maybe not a head coach, but seems like a guy that could be a good defensive position coach.

  • Yuri

    Potential future coach that is today’s player is probably getting by with smarts rather than pure athleticism, and has right personality (don’t know exactly what is is, but a very smart player like Asante Samuel doesn’t have it). Let’s look by position. QBs and OL are the more “cerebral”, some LB also. I don’ think we know enough about any rookies to nominate them. Maybe DeMeco Ryans or Jason Kelce?

    • Ark87

      I like both picks. I have an O-line bias, but you can’t argue with DeMeco’s leadership.

  • James Casagrande

    Probability says it’s one of our backup o-linemen. Smartest players on the field (except maybe QB?) with a thankless job. Guys who coast on physical ability on the O-line wash out pretty quickly (unlike, say, WR), so work ethic and attention to detail are mandatory.

    For fun, I’m going to say Kurt Coleman.

    I know, I know, but: despite all his shortfalls, he loves the game and clearly is only on the field because of work ethic and football IQ. Tries hard to be a leader and show heart. Started a lot at OSU. Drafted in 7th round, so he has a chip on his shoulder. He strikes me as the type of person who will continue to learn and work hard enough – and have the desire, after his mediocre playing days are done – to be a coach.

    • John Gurney

      +1 for Coleman

    • TommyLawlor

      Kurt is a good choice.

      • D3FB

        Kurt is a good choice but lets be honest he hit the nail on the head when he talked about OL’s intelligence. Mix in our scary good looks and what owner/GM doesn’t want to hire us?

    • Mike Flick

      That was going to be my guess.

  • OregonDucker

    A good coach is a leader on and off the field. While not the same personality type as Harbaugh, Barkley has the same leadership qualities. People that play with him and coach him all rave about his love of the game and the way he “commands” respect by his actions.

    I see Barkley as not just a student of the game, but someone who loves its intricacies and nuances. His work ethic, personality, and football IQ has always earned him the admiration of his teammates and coaches. For these reasons I see him kinda like the Russell Wilson of TC. If he can learn to perform well at the NFL level, he will be a franchise player, a true leader of the Eagle’s organization, and a great future coach – IMHO.

    • TommyLawlor

      Good stuff.

  • atb124

    Trying to think of a less obvious (to me) candidate, I’m going to throw Barwin’s name out there.

    Granted, I haven’t heard him speak enough to have any feel for him but he’s got a few things going for him.

    *Experience in multiple defensive systems, 4-3, 3-4, hybrid.

    *Learned under one of the best defensive minds in Wade Phillips.

    *Coached by not just Phillips but Kubiak too. Kubiak’s another former player coach who I think is one of the more underrated coaches out there.

    *Has succeeded based more on effort, instincts and smarts than on being stronger or faster than his opponents (afaik).

    • GEagle

      Good call. I can definitely see that. he is a passionate madman and a smart guy. IMO, he is actually a good speaker. articulate and breaks things down well. he has probably been my favorite guy to listen to this summer. he as done about 3 really good interviews since he signed with us. very excited about him on the field and in our locker room. Blue Collar Philly style guy that our defense could have used last year. Plus, I like that him and Meco are reunited here. because Demeco is already established here, I think Barwin might be more comfortable being a vocal leader the first year on a new team.

  • captain nodar

    Kidd is going directly to head coach without any prior coaching experience, that does not happen in the NFL. A retired player who wants to pursue coaching will usually latch on to a former team as an intern, or some lower level assistant. Coaching in the NFL requires climbing the ranks. From a familiarity with scheme and approach standpoint, it also helps to work for a former coach (Fisher – Ryan, Pederson – Reid to give some Eagles examples)

    • TommyLawlor

      Heck, it is rare for guys to go from playing to just being an assistant coach in the NFL.

      • ICDogg

        Most of the time, they start out as quality control coaches, which is pretty much a euphemism for entry-level coach-trainee, the college equivalent is graduate assistant.

        • D3FB

          Hell most college coordinators are plenty glad to become quality control coaches just to get to the big show.

    • P_P_K

      I actually think it is a mistake to have Kidd jump directly to head coach. He was a great player and I’ll bet will make a great coach, but I would have thought a year or two under someone experienced would have been the better course.

    • Dominik

      I agree with you, but it will be interesting to see what Peyton Manning does after he retires. I can’t imagine a immediate HC job like Kidd, but if he wants, I think he doesn’t have to climb as many steps on the ladder as most other coaches have to.

      I think that Kidd and Manning are kind of similar, with the difference is that the QB position in football is much more important than the PG position in basketball. But Kidd was one hell of a PG, especially in terms of decision making and reading the game. In their Championship year, the Mavericks were at their best when they played their “flow” offense. This wouldn’t even be in the consideration if Carlisle, the HC, didn’t have Kidd as his PG.

  • RIP Worms

    I’d love to see Jason Avant back as a WR or TE coach in Philly in a few years. For some reason, I have trouble seeing him as a head coach, but I think he could be an outstanding position coach. With limited athletic ability he has made a nice career for himself by paying attention to all of the little things.

    As for head coaches, I would have to agree with DeMeco and Barkley, as others have mentioned.

    • TommyLawlor

      Avant could be good assistant. Smart. Leader. Hard worker.

  • Greg

    I think with the NBA, coaching is secondary to talent, while in the NFL it goes either way (you need a good QB, but at the same time look at how quickly Jim Harbaugh turned the 49ers around). Its the reason why Sam Hinkie isn’t in any rush to name a new coach for the 76ers.

  • ICDogg

    Well, he’s no longer an Eagle, but I felt that way about Mike Kafka when he was here. I think he might go into coaching sooner rather than later, actually.

  • illadelphia21

    Would love to have Avant as a WR’s coach

    • jshort

      If they decide to cut him, they should offer him a position on the spot.

      • illadelphia21

        I was thinking the same thing. But don’t know if he’d wanna hang it up if he got cut. Would really wanna see the team keep 6 WRs w/ Avant still here to mentor, teach, and set an example for the young guys.

  • AnirudhJ

    Tommy – all modesty aside, how good of a coach do you think you’d make? You clearly know the positions, the game, etc., but is there something else that separates you from the Bill Belichick’s (or at least the John Foxes) of the league?

    • TommyLawlor

      I don’t know the game like those guys. I watch tape. Coaches and players know it up close and personal. I only played one year in HS and was a fixture on the sidelines, not the field.

      I might get into coaching and prove to be a natural or I could be in way over my head.

      • Ark87

        I think you got the knowledge down pat. You have a good sense for personnel. Atleast good enough for high school or some college programs imo. We’ve seen you display tremendous dedication to your passion. The only things we haven’t seen is Tommy the teacher, Tommy the motivator, Tommy the communicator. Obviously you communicate with us very well, but I get the feeling that communicating with us fans and a bunch of hot shot (possibly rich) young people is very different.

        Ever consider scouting? How does one get into such a field anywho?

        • A_T_G

          Shhhh! What are you, crazy? You want Tommy to fill up his day doing football stuff we can’t read for some other team?

          When you are following an armored car with the door accidentally left open, you don’t flash your lights and kindly suggest options to the driver, you fill up the bed of the pickup and take the back roads home.

  • cliff henny

    Kelce. first, he’s stepping into vocal leader. second, while reid and mudd arent my favorite guys, obviously they have a ton of football knowledge. 3rd, now he has stout and kelly to learn more from. and, dont think he relies on superior athletic ability, which is why often nfl players dont make good coaches, it just come naturally to them.

    • Brendan Ekstrom

      I don’t know about head coach but Kelce was the first name that popped into my head for overall coaching. He has the personality and seems in interviews like one of the most knowledgable people on the team.

    • TommyLawlor

      Jason Kelce would be an awful coach. His whole life he’s done nothing but get by on his movie star looks and incredibly hot body. Typical OL.

    • Ark87

      awe crap, this is why I need to read all the comments before commenting, I somewhat second this nomination

  • CampDracula

    Foles is my vote because I hope you’re wrong about Barkley, Tommy. Barkley is currently my biggest hope to be the Eagles future franchise QB. If so, he’s less likely to be a head coach.

    In my dream scenario, Foles is now your man for “future head coach material.” He seems to love the game but lack some of the physical tools. He also has that head coach, deadpan poker face that seems to work so well. And he could be career backup material.

    • GEagle

      What Physical tools exactly is he lacking to play QB? Accuracy? Arm strength? Touch? Intelligence?…just curious

      • CampDracula

        Speed and agility. He’s kind of a lumbering oaf out there at times.

        • GEagle

          Are we talking about WR’s? Lol

      • Neil

        The big question is arm strength. He can’t drive the ball on intermediate routes and his deep lobs have too much hang time. This is going on how he did in his first year in the NFL. Judging by reports from practices this year and people’s impressions of his arm when he was in college, there’s a possibility this will be improved to a functional-good level in his second year. The first year might have been an outlier for numerous reasons: he was nervous adjusting to a new level of speed, trying not to mess up in an offense entirely new to him and way more complex than anything he’d attempted to learn before. Going on my eye test of how he threw, his sequence of motion from his feet to his hand looked very rough compared to any established NFL QB, which would decrease his efficiency producing velocity in his legs. This is a mechanical problem that can probably be fixed. I thought he showed functional pure arm strength throwing on the run, when he didn’t have an opportunity to use his legs to generate power.

        Or his arm just could actually be what it looked like in his first year. I don’t know enough to say definitively.

        As for running speed, it’s tough to say if this will become a problem. It’s bad, and defensive coordinators might figure out a way to take advantage of it. But Foles shows great awareness and confidence in the pocket. He already knows how to make subtle movements to buy time, and he knows when to roll out. I don’t think Brees and Brady are much faster, and Nick shows an advanced level of skill in how to move efficiently for such an early stage in his development.

        • CampDracula

          I agree that he makes up for his lack of speed with awareness. He ran a 5.03 40. That’s offensive lineman speed. Yet, as you note, he moves around and has good pocket presence. That’s a football IQ kind of thing, which is what leads to good head coaches. Who knows, of course. This is all speculative.

        • GEagle

          I have a hard time complaining about his arm strength after watching has college career. It’s not like he had some devastating shoulder surgery or anything like that. It’s really not uncommon for young QBs to need to work on Mechanics the first few years in the league. When under a heavy amount of pressure, mechanics are the first thing to go out the window. just look at all the inaccurate ducks great QBs like Brady and Peyton throw in games when they are under heavy pressure..There were plenty of plays last season that he didn’t even get a second from the Oline to throw the ball. You need I’ve to take the snaps, step and throw with your proper mechanics…and I don’t really think its a question of having to drastically improve the way he throws the ball. I think it’s more of a question about throwing it with the proper mechanics consistently no matter how much pressure you are under…Think of it like a.free throw in basketball. Any decent shooter can make every single free throw he ever shoots if he shoots it with his proper form..But you can tell the minute the ball leaves your hand if it’s not going to go in, because you didn’t shoot it with your best form…Foles knows how to throw the ball with power and velocity, he just needs to throw the right way wi

  • Septhinox

    I’m going to go with the guy who’s most likely to never be a head coach.

    Vick.

    Haha I made this into another Vick thread.

    • Brendan Ekstrom

      Nooooo. Vick could never be a coach. He can’t even read defenses after all this time in the NFL.
      I made this into another “sports fan who doesn’t understand sarcasm thread”

    • TommyLawlor

      Go do 50 sit-ups in your driveway.

  • 76mustang

    I’m going to say Isaac Sopoaga…seem to remember an article stressing the detailed notes he keeps on everything…

    • jshort

      When Reid gets fired, he can tote his notebook for his interview.

  • ACViking

    T-Law:

    History’s on your side if you want to project Barkley as a Super Bowl head coach. QBs have a small lead over Receivers and OLs.

    The Super Bowl has had 47 different coaches on the winning and losing side. All but one played football in college or the NFL. Bill Belichick played lacrosse in college (but started watching game film as a kid, where his dad was an Asst Coach at the US Naval Academy).

    Here’re the positions of the 46 coaches (some had more than one):

    QB: Jon Rauch, Weeb Ewbank, Tom Flores, Sam Wyche, Bobby Ross, Mike Shanahan, Mike Holmgren, Dick Vermeil, Jim Fassel, Jon Gruden, Bill Callahan, Tony Dungy (but a DB in the NFL), Sean Payton, Jim Harbaugh

    RB: Dan Reeves (QB in college), Marv Levy, Tom Caughlin

    E: Hank Stram (also a PK!), Bud Grant, George Allen, Bill Walsh (QB in JUCO), Mike Ditka, Raymond Berry, Brian Billick, Mike Martz, Mike Tomlin, Ken Whisenhunt, Mike McCarthy

    OL: Vince Lombardi, Don McCaffery, Chuck Noll, John Madden, Red Miller, Ray Malavasi, Forrest Gregg, Joe Gibbs (also played some TE, LB), George Seifert, Andy Reid

    DL: Jimmy Johnson

    LB: Bill Parcells, Bill Cowher, Lovie Smith (one season at DB)

    DB: Don Shula, Tom Landry, Jeff Fisher, John Fox, Jim Caldwell, John Harbaugh

    • CTAZPA

      Thanks, that”s cool to contemplate

    • Yuri

      Todd Haley did not play in college at all. I am sure there are others…

  • jshort

    I see Doug Pederson as an NFL HC . Does he count? Stars have made their money, They have the athletic ability, things came easy to them, no need to understand the intricacies of the game. On the other hand, the fringe guys have to work for everything they get. Moving to different cities, fitting in different schemes, they have to understand the x’s and o’s, or their gone. They also get a very good idea of what works and what doesn’t, both on the field and the personality needed to succeed. IMO

  • ACViking

    T-Law:

    Sticking with QB’s, I think GJ Kinne has coach written all over him.

    • TommyLawlor

      Definitely could.

  • TommyLawlor
    • CTAZPA

      Nice game. In 5 minutes and 27 secons of video. I counted 31 “Yes sirs an won no suh. funn gam,

    • cliff henny

      anyone who plays drinking games with maddog 20/20 has serious issues, lol. college, we had the 20/20 club, drink the big jug, one with the handle, think it was a half gallon, in an hour, then keep it down for an hour, then not passout for another hour…i gave up after 3rd try. guarenteed blackout, at best, often jail time.

      • TommyLawlor

        It would be awesome if MD put “jail time” as a potential problem on the side of their bottles.

        • cliff henny

          no lie. got to point each ‘hopefull’ had a sober spotter for the night. literally losing guys in different counties, jail, one got lost in woods for the night, lol, good times. names were the best, orange jubilee, grape, kiwi banana strawwberry.

          • D3FB

            You can literally tell the guy who has had too much MD, the look in their eyes is more than the regular blacked out person, there is also a very distinct look of I’m going to do some extremely stupid and highly illegal shit in the next hour.

          • cliff henny

            extra belligerent in a super aggressive hostile way. but the next day stories were the best as they inguire about the lumps all over their heads and other assortive bruises on body.

  • Mike Flick

    I would not have picked Duce as a coach, but I like seeing him out there.

    Someone else mentioned Coleman which was my initial thought.

    Next on my list is Kelce, which someone else mentioned.

    How about Foles? He is the Barkley of last year. He seems to be a kind of guy who fits the Doug Peterson coaching mold. Plus I don’t think anyone picked him yet.

  • Ark87

    I don’t know enough about barkley. I can list a dozen guys that would make great coaches at a lower level or as an assistant coach. I’ll go to the brains of every football team, the O-line. And I’m gonna go with….never mind they’re all goofballs. Kelce is still very young, depending on how he matures, I could see him having the mind to be a coach.

    • D3FB

      You hit on the only two thing you need to know about O-linemen. We’re smarter than we look, and we are a strange goofy group of people.

  • CTAZPA

    Barkley has great measurables, but I’d rather he turn into a great QB, which diminishes his candidacy. Avant for position coach is genius. DeMeco and Coleman are favorite possibilities for me too.

    I submit Mathis. Under the radar, but excellent at his craft. Great with PR (Seeing an IRS agent about a horse notwithstanding). He’s smart, not rich enough to retire and used to learning a variety of systems. Mostly, I figure the press conferences would be totally entertaining.

  • McMVP

    I think you nailed it with Barkley. I wasn’t sure where you were going, and I was already thinking of him before I got to that part of your post.

    My other, honorable mention, would be Avant.

    But as I rack my brain…I find it sad that I can’t think of more on the current roster that would fit in this category. There should be one or two others…

  • dislikedisqus

    I suspect the concussions make it a lot harder for an NFL player to succeed as a coach.