A lot of talk and activity around this team. Different ideas and plans on how the boys should proceed. The team head guys have issued a "things are going to need to change" approach and we have seen some of that (read, pacman) but until JG's situation is settled it going to be a coaching situation in flux. Not to mention the coaches that may leave to take promtions to other programs (herring, sherman). The overall plan to change how the team operates will take its lead from JJ and WP. I know there is a lot of talk about how shanahan is a possiblity due to JJ having a good relationship with Shanahan. I will take what JJ said at face value, WP is the head coach next year and will be given the standard 3yrs that JJ usually gives a coach. There are many questions for this team but one that will be a big question is how will WP change his approach, can he change.
Personally I do not expect him to become like BP, it's not him. I think that what he will change is how he treats the players, have a harder TC to improve their focus for the year, he may have been too worried about having injuries to work them a little harder. I remember Nate saying after this season was over that he remembers asking Brad Sham back when they were covering TC: "when are these guys gonna really start practicing". He noted a slow tempo, no crisp or fast pace to the practices. Raf do you agree with what Nate observed, did it seem like a TC that may have lacked that tempo that Nate was talking about? WP may also needs consider not worrying about keeping players happy or hurting their feelings. If a player has a problem with not being the starter then WP needs to tell him that his play has to improve. If a coach is not getting WP message across to the players then he needs to talk to that coach. I think WP style the last two years was to set the guidelines of what he wanted to accomplish and manage the coaches to see the plan carried out. The players and the coaches had to put the plan into motion and he would step in to check on things, but he probably was not as hands on as he should have been.
The two units that had WP hands on approach were mainly the def, and to some part the ST. The def finally started to resemble what we expected to see from this team when WP took over. WP also tried a more hand on approach with ST when he assigned more coaches to help read, and brought in PS guys like carlos polk and tra battle who made good contributions to ST. Last year and the begining of this year it did not seem that WP wanted to commit starters or a lot of detail to ST and this year it hurt this team more than last year. I think that WP brining in Joe D was a step in that direction, the word is that this guy will get them in line and probably get WP to let him use more starters if he feels that they can contribute. The off never seemed to have any consistency, whether it was penalties, turnovers, or lack of execution. I do not feel that WP had any real say in the Offense. Not to say that he did not know what JG was running but I doubt he was giving much input to JG. I think the situation that JJ put WP may have left him in a position to where he was not comfortable getting too hands on with the offense because the guy who was running it was JJ guy. Does anyone here believe that WP did not hear the talk about how that at the end of this year he would proabably be out and JG would take over, he was getting paid almost as much as WP. With that situation WP probably did not feel that he could say too much, or maybe he knew if the offense struggled it would not be on his head because JG ran the show.
If JG stays on the team WP has to talk to him and find a way for them to work on the same page, this year it looked like WP did not know which direction the offense was going. WP needs to understand how JG is going to approach things and see if he agrees with his philosophy. WP also needs to make sure that JJ cannot bring in guys that he is not completely on board with (I do not think he wanted Pacman) and tell him what he needs if the opportunity presents itself. WP needs JJ to understand that regardless of contract or star power the players who execute and can play the position with proper focus are the ones that should play. I.e. not letting pacman start in the pitt game after he was coming back from suspension without making sure that he was ready. I still feel that pacman played in that game fresh off a suspension because JJ brought him in to be a PR and help the secondary. WP needs to be able to tell a vet like ellis that spencer is going to get the starter position, instead of having ellis listed as the starter just to keep ellis happy.
If JJ is genuine about giving WP a chance to run things his way, to give him enough lattitude to run the team his way is a big risk on JJ part. According to everyone outside the organization he should not do this, he should fire wade. JJ is entering the 1st year of his new stadium and with most of 2009 seating wrapped up he is taking a risk and ruining the trust with those fans that buy the seats and purchase the merchandise. I know more than likely that will not have a catastrophic impact, he is probably aware that the support will not disintergrate. But by staying with WP and not heeding the mobs call for WP head, he is taking the chance at losing out next season when he makes a change and the fans will be upset at him because they felt that he threw that year away and the team will have to start over. Remember this stadium has about 35,000 more seats, and more luxury boxes to sell. If the team is not a viable contender the tough economic times could mean tough times for JJ as well. So for those who think that JJ is okay with tossing the following seaon away, think again, I think he is serious about WP ability to turn things around. For an example of a guy that no one thought much of, look at Norv, everyone (including myself) though we had dodged a bullet when norv signed with SD because he had shown that he was a mediocre head coach but a very good coordinator. Now look at him, playoff success, a team that plays hard for him; it is not out of the question that WP could do the same. JJ is putting a lot on WP and is hitching his 2009 hopes to him, count me in, for better or worse this team is in WP hands. I also think that JJ stand on this is something the players need to see, because as Raf had pointed out, if they feel that WP is a lame duck they will flub on him.
Well gotta run, enjoy the rest of the playoffs, go cards, go ravens.