The MSP Cowboys Annual has a great section on the Cowboys coaches, with in-depth reviews of JG, Ryan and his defensive staff, Woicik and Jimmy Robinson (great work by our BTB bloggers BTW).
This got me thinking - how does our staff stack up against the rest of the NFC East?
I won't be going through the basics on any of the key coaches, as being on BTB, I am sure you are familiar with all of them. But I will share some thoughts and some interesting tidbits from the MSP Annual articles by rabblerousr.
- Nick Saban on Jason Garrett: 'He was 100 times better than the other 10 guys we interviewed'.
- Troy Aikman: could be President if that's what he wanted to do.
- Offered a job on the spot by JJ (exact job TBD).
- Declined 2 HC roles because he felt he wasn't ready.
Winning a SB is a tough gig - needs a bit of serendipity as much as great coaching and players (see helmet catch). It took Tom Landry over 10 seasons to win his first Championship as HC - somehow I don't think its going to take JG that long.
There is one trait more than any other that gives me confidence he will be a SB-winning HC - (which rabblerousr focuses on in his article) - his commitment to learning.
Rob Ryan - while not quite Robin to JG's Batman (hard to picture him in that skin-tight green and yellow suit...) - he has a very similar football foundation to JG. He is the fire to Garrett's ice, much in the same way as Jimmy and Norv. DLine and LB's coaches he has brought in look like the goods too.
Jimmy Robinson has got great production out of solid but not spectacular receivers. Of more interest is why would a coach quit a SB-winning team, with great depth and great prospects, for effectively a parallel move? In large part because of his confidence Garrett can create something special.
Mike Woicik - 6! 'nuff said (other than noting that like Robinson he also made a parallel move from a highly regarded and successful program to work with JG - notice a pattern here?)
Coughlin has always had a reputation for ruling with an iron fist. I believe this type of approach has limits with today's modern player. While a strong, disciplined framework is essential (Wade), fining players for being 2 minutes early for a meeting because they should have been 5 minutes early is autocratic bs and will wear thin. Interestingly, the great run they had in 2007 came after Coughlin relaxed his approach during the season. This can be done if the tough ground-rules are already laid but only works once.
The difficulties with Barber, more recently Osi and Bradshaw and losing Smith to the Eagles indicates that Coughlin isn't a coach that inspires loyalty.
Spagnola - The essence of the Giants has always been defence. Its was an amazing run by Spags D that got the Giants SB win - and him a HC job. While Perry Fewell is a solid DC, he is not Spags and this D has simply never been the same since he moved on.
Andy Reid is a great coach and currently the longest tenured coach in the NFL. But winning a SB is tough. With now 5 "so close but yet so far" seasons he is in danger of becoming Almost Andy - like Maybe Marv. The psychological hurdle of that final step has grown immense and not made any easier by the "dream team" talk (as Cowboys fans well know).
Juan Castillo - Like the Giants, the Eagles D had never recovered from losing a great DC in the legendary Jim Johnson who tormented Cowboys and other QB's for 10 years.
But what shocked me was that while Castillo started out on the defensive side of the ball, he has not coached defense since he was DC for Kingsville HS back in 1989. Maybe they think after going against JJ's schemes for most of his 12 years as OLine coach that he is the best one to try to recapture what they had. To me this is more about Reid showing loyalty to a long-time coach - but this seems like a huge risk in this "all in" season.
Mike Shanahan is a two-time Super Bowl winning coach. But in my view he rates as the worst coach in the division. It is extremely difficult to bottle lightening twice. No SB winning HC has won again as HC of another team. I don't like Shanahan's odds of being the first - particularly with Beck/Grossman instead of Elway (not to mention Snyder).
Not a guy I liked but I did at least respect him - until watching some of his decision-making at the Skins. To bring in THE best 4-3 DT in the league and then switch him to 3-4 Nose was just plain nuts and extremely poorly handled. Then to trade for McNabb and then treat him like he did made no sense either - particularly replacing him with a cold Grossman with 1:45 to go in a game.
To me its clear: he doesn't have it any more.
But the bottom-line - this probably won't be the year:
- JG needs another season to mold the team with his "RKG's"
- RR needs a proper off-season for the team to learn his complex schemes
- Woicik needs a proper off-season to get to know his players and customize his programs for a big Dec/Jan
But I am confident it will be soon after.