Saturday, January 05, 2008

The Coaching Carousel, and Some Weekend Picks

Just after the news came out on Thursday that Bill Belichick had won the AP's Coach of the Year award, another news item came on about a high-profile assistant coach going to a new team. It got me to thinking about one of the more undertalked-about aspects of a thoroughly overanalyzed coach - which is Belichick's ability to identify young, talented coaches and coordinators, and groom them into potential head coaches. We've all heard about the Bill Walsh coaching tree, and we know about the Bill Parcells coaching tree. Belichick is now branching off on his own, with coaching prodigies like Eric Mangini and Josh McDaniels developing under his wing. It's all about who you hire, and Walsh, Parcells, and Belichick all know exactly what they're looking for. That's why it will be fascinating to see what Parcells does in Miami. He's already got his sights set on Tony Sparano (that's not a typo) - the defensive coordinator of the Cowboys - to be his head coach, and reports say the two are actually meeting today to discuss the job.

In terms of coaching arrivals and departures, you knew Cam Cameron was walking the plank as soon as Tuna chum Chris Mortensen broke the news that Parcells was heading to the Dolphins. Poor Cameron. He was literally given Lemons and was asked to make lemonade. Parcells' second order of business - after securing a head coach - is to find a quarterback. Oh, how different things would be in South Beach if Nick Saban had pushed for Drew Brees over Daunte Culpepper when both were free agents.

The Baltimore Ravens also fired Brian Billick earlier this week. Oh, how things might have been different if Rex Ryan hadn't called that timeout, and if Bart Scott didn't have a complete meltdown.

McDaniels had been mentioned as a candidate in both Atlanta and Baltimore, but he came out with a statement this week saying he was pulling his name out of the hat for consideration for any other job and focusing on the task at hand. Whether BB counseled this move or not, it's a wise one. McDaniels is obviously talented, but he's young (31) and no doubt knows he could use a little more seasoning before taking the inevitable step up.

There had been some debate over whether Belichick would win Coach of the Year due to the team's videotaping transgression in Week 1, but in the end, the AP writers did the right thing. 16-0 is a monumental achievement, and as Tom E. Curran from MSNBC articulately put it: I don't want to pick up a sports almanac 20 years from now, see 2007, see the 16-0, and then see that some other coach won the award. We'll see which way UPI goes, but of course none of it matters a lick to the subject himself.

Other than that, January 12th - the date of the first Pats playoff game - can't come soon enough. In the meantime, we've got Wild Card weekend to sit back and enjoy. Three of the games, in my humble opinion, could go either way - while the other should be an easy win for the favorite. Some thoroughly from-the-gut picks:

Seattle 27, Washington 20 - I will never put a dime on the Seahawks for as long as I breathe air (long story), and the 'Skins are the sentimental favorites, but I just think Hasselbeck, Alexander, and the raucous Seattle crowd prove too much for them. Sorry to be a party-pooper.

Jacksonville 24, Pittsburgh 21- Everyone loves the Jaguars, which is always a scary thing, but add me to the bandwagon. I think this team is ready to make the next step, even if it means winning two big games in the span of a month at Heinz Field. This should be pretty entertaining, and for Pats fans we get a chance to watch our likely opponent next week close up. Garrard and the RB's get it done for Jacksonville.

Tampa Bay 21, NY Giants 16 - I give Tom Coughlin a ton of credit for keeping his foot on the accelerator Saturday night against the Patriots. But once the game got into crunch time, and the Pats unleashed their defense on Eli, it was a different story. I'm thinking a fresh Bucs D makes some big plays to help them get to the next round, and Garcia & Co. make just enough plays on offense.

San Diego 30, Tenneessee 20 - I admire the Titans' overall pugnacity - led by feisty, underrated coach Jeff FisherThe Titans and underrated coach Jeff Fisher. I just think the Chargers and LT will emerge victorious from a vicious junkyard battle.

Gostei muito desse post e seu blog é muito interessante, vou passar por aqui sempre =) Depois dá uma passada lá no meu site, que é sobre o CresceNet, espero que goste. O endereço dele é . Um abraço.
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