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  1. #1
    RamWraith's Avatar
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    Coach Search About Leadership

    By Howard Balzer
    Monday, January 05, 2009



    Watching the playoffs this weekend gave a perfect illustration of just how important talent is when it comes to competing and winning in the National Football League.


    The Baltimore Ravens are a case in point. Ravens defensive coordinator Rex Ryan is being considered for the Rams' head coaching job, and I'm not here to debate Ryan's potential pedigree as a head coach. Having said that, it's clear Ryan is a candidate for one simple reason: He has great players.


    It's why I've always believed NFL teams need to be circumspect when limiting their coaching candidates to coordinators on very good teams. Coordinators, whether it's on offense or defense, put together the overall plans for their units. Obviously, those plans can be more creative and effective when the players are excellent.


    Does anyone wonder what Ryan would do with this Rams' defense? With no Ray Lewis. Or Ed Reed. Or Bart Scott. Or Terrell Suggs. Or Haloti Ngata.


    I remember during the summer how I related what Bears general manager Jerry Angelo told me when I asked him what he saw in Lovie Smith when he hired him as the team's head coach. As a refresher, Angelo said, "When I'm hiring a head coach, I have three priorities. No. 1 is leadership. No. 2 is leadership. No. 3 is leadership. And Lovie Smith is a natural born."


    Being a head coach is about so much more than X's and O's, and who has been a good coordinator. It's about leadership, personality/charisma and presence. It's why I wanted the Rams to interview Mike Singletary when they were in the process of hiring Scott Linehan three years ago.


    It's also why I'm thrilled to hear general manager Billy Devaney talk about those same qualities as he decides who will be the Rams' next head coach. It's why I believe Jim Haslett will be a good choice. But I also believe Devaney has the instinct to recognize the leadership and personality traits in the people he will interview.


    The key decision at the end of the day will be that he already knows Haslett has those qualities and has experience dealing with the adversity of the NFL., while it is only a projection how a new coach will react when the proverbial crap hits the fan.


    The odds are, however, that Devaney will make a good choice. And, then he will have to get to work getting this team to the level seen in the games this past weekend.


    KEY RECEIVERS MISSING
    How the Giants and Cardinals play this weekend could very well revolve around how each team deals with the absence of one of their best receivers. The Giants haven't been the same offensive team since the suspension of Plaxico Burress. It was Burress that made the difference in the Giants' win over Green Bay in the conference championship game last season, and he caught the winning touchdown pass in the Super Bowl win over New England.


    The Giants' passing game hasn't been as effective since Burress has been out, and that enables defenses to pay more attention to the running game.


    For Arizona, it's possible Anquan Boldin won't be able to play because of a hamstring injury, and even if he tries to play, cold weather will be a deterrent, and he likely won't be at full strength. Boldin suffered the injury on a 71-yard pass play against Atlanta Saturday, and quarterback Kurt Warner struggled after Boldin left the game.


    Warner had nice numbers in the game, but 113 of his 271 yards came on a 41-yard touchdown pass to Larry Fitzgerald that highlighted Fitzgerald's amazing ability, and the play to Boldin, on which about 63 yards came after the short pass.


    After Boldin left the game, Warner completed 14 of 20 passes, but for just 119 yards (8.5 per completion). Ten of the completions were for 10 yards or less and eight were for six yards or less.


    SCIFRES THE MVP
    If there was ever a game where a punter should be the Most Valuable Player, San Diego's win over Indianapolis Saturday night would be it. While running back Darren Sproles was electric with 328 all-purpose yards and the winning touchdown in overtime, Chargers punter Mike Scifres had a profound effect on the field position throughout the game.


    Scifres punted six times, and all ended up inside the 20-yard line. His overall average was 52.7 and his net was an astounding 51.7. The Colts' starting field position after his six punts were the following yard lines: 10, 19, 3, 7, 9, 1.


    Here were the results of his six punts: From the 39-yard line, 51-yard punt to the 10, fair catch; from the 27-yard line, 58-yard punt to the 15, 4-yard return; from the 47-yard line, 50-yard punt to the 3, downed; from the 28-yard line, 67-yard punt to the 5, 2-yard return; from the Colts 47-yard line, 38-yard punt to the 9, fair catch; from the 47-yard line, 52-yard punt to the 1, out of bounds.


  2. #2
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    Re: Coach Search About Leadership

    It'd be great to have a coach with gonads like Mike Singletary. Someone that will tell it like it is and strive for cohesion within the team.

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    Re: Coach Search About Leadership

    I totally agree about the leadership "it" being the biggest quality of a head coach. The x's and o's are the coordinator's domain, and execution belong to the assistants. It's the head coach that motivates the coordinators and assistants to reach outside the box, and be innovative and enthusiastic in the face of long hours and putting up with spoiled athletes. There should be a healthy dose of fear derived from respect toward a head coach, but at the same time the coach can't be aloof or make no attempt to understand and relate to his players as well.

    While I agree you need talented players, they don't have to be stars. Character of the individual and chemistry of the team as a whole are critical.

    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

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    Azul e Oro is offline Registered User
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    Re: Coach Search About Leadership

    I've heard this stuff about Haslett's leadership & other intangibles so many times without ANY proof. The Katrina season was probably impossible adversity to overcome but he didn't come even close. Apparently, The Saints agreed cuz they fired him. And his team was quite talented in the prior years and failed to be any better than mediocre except in the first year.

    And where is the proof that The Rams were inspired by this guy? We had our butts handed to us repeatedly. Forget the two wins. Aberrations,in my book. And isn't a coordinator leading his unit? Explain away all the Rams failures on D with talk of injuries,bad players,etc, if you want- all valid but not enough to exonerate him totally over THREE seasons- and I see no evidence that he had any positive influence.Except that the players like him...except for key guys like Incognito whom he apparently couldn't lead anywhere except the bench and that belatedly.

    He had no contingency plan if SJ couldn't go vs Cards & left us totally without a run game. He could have shuffled the o-line earlier & didn't. The team as a whole came out flat at the start and 3rd qtr in many games. he kept SJ in The Dallas game far too late. Etc, etc...

    And if he couldn't convince Limpehan & the Shawgmunt team to get different players or change strategy,what does that tell you about his personality/charisma/leadership?

    Sure, The Rams put him in a deep hole but jumping up & down & talking tough didn't get them climbing out,did it?

    Just because he was a better leader than Limpehan doesn't mean he's a good one.
    Last edited by Azul e Oro; -01-05-2009 at 08:34 PM.

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    Re: Coach Search About Leadership

    Quote Originally Posted by Azul e Oro View Post
    The Katrina season was probably impossible adversity to overcome but he didn't come even close.
    Sad!

    Many had no homes, not to mention they had no home field. Friends and loved ones suffering. Yet somehow Haslett got them on the field for 16 games. They even won 3. Personally, I seriously doubt that a natural born miracle worker like yourself or any other head coach could have possibly done any more.


    Quote Originally Posted by Azul e Oro View Post
    And where are the proof that The Rams were inspired by this guy? We had our butts handed to us repeatedly. Forget the two wins.
    I'd say the two wins is proof. So easy for some to forget how low this team was under linehan before those two wins and the gutsy performance at the pats the week following. The petition the players signed is also proof. Most fans make the petition out to be some kind of negative, yet I don't recall any of these same players begging for linehan to return at the end of the 07 season.




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    Re: Coach Search About Leadership

    Quote Originally Posted by bigredman View Post
    I totally agree about the leadership "it" being the biggest quality of a head coach. The x's and o's are the coordinator's domain, and execution belong to the assistants. It's the head coach that motivates the coordinators and assistants to reach outside the box, and be innovative and enthusiastic in the face of long hours and putting up with spoiled athletes. There should be a healthy dose of fear derived from respect toward a head coach, but at the same time the coach can't be aloof or make no attempt to understand and relate to his players as well.

    While I agree you need talented players, they don't have to be stars. Character of the individual and chemistry of the team as a whole are critical.

    So Red...having said that, how do you feel about Haslett?
    "the Heart Lies and the Head Plays Tricks with us, but the Eyes See True".

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