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The Master Debate thread: Coaching v. Talent


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 coaches coach, players play.

 

 Putting a player in the best position to win his particular battle. That was Gibbs M.O.

 

 Innovation is one key to success. When Gibbs first got here, he came from San Diego, a high powered passing game where he was the O.C., and he had a vision and knew the key to winning was staying ahead of the curve. He came here and ran a single back formation with 3 WR set, had a tank in Riggins, and built an o-line to help plow the way for him. Teams stacked the box to stop Riggins, and many times THAT wasn't even enough, but when they began to slow him down, Gibbs went to the air.

 

Keeping a defense guessing is half of the battle. If you don't have the top player in a position, you beat them by mis-direction and fooling them. We had a lot of players who weren't the tops in their field, but Gibbs had them believing they were, and utilized them and put them in positions to win their battles.

 

Coaches become good by being creative, and finding good players that best fit their agenda. A coach teaches a player how to do certain things, but its up to the player to take it upon himself to be great. coaches can only do so much, then take his chances with that player. Creativity and innovation are keys to success; when our coach realizes this, he will go to work on it.

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In the majority of cases, i believe great coaching makes talent great.

Occasionally a coach can ride talent to glory, but not very often. Barry Switzer comes to mind with the Cowboys.

Bill bellicheck is an interesting study.

Clearly the guy is a great coach, and frankly, anyone who wants to argue againsty it is just earning my right eyebrow notched way up on my forehead in their direction.

Bellicheck started to turn the Browns around, and in typical Cleveland fashion, he was let go before he could complete the job.

~Bang

 

Shorten the post, because it was way too long.

 

As always, bang come out with a great theory I would nearly agree except for a few details. That Cleveland experiment for Belichick that Coaches, just like players needs to learn their job as well. And that is often undervalued byt owners and fans.

My point otherwise is that, had Gus Bradley been the coach for those patriots he would have turned Brady into what he is, and Gronk as well. He'll probably have used them the way they are right now. But none of them would have turned Ryan Leaf into Brady. The HC's job, in the case of Belichick with Brady at some point is to stand up in front of the GM and say:

"**** you, that kid's got talent, you've got to give him some time and not cut him now because he threw 3 ints last sunday. He'll get over it and get the job done".

Then, it's up to him also, to create a game plan that will allow the QB to grow into the system.

Just like what Kyle and Mike did with RG3 in 2012. They started soft to allow RG3 to grow confidence in the system, allow him to believe in it, and allow other offensive players to believe in him that he can lead them to victory.

That's obviously smart coaching, and somehow, Jay's using Kirk this way right now. Dink and dunk to build confidence, make others believe, and makes it so it can be seen as the boss. Mind you, Brady do Dink and Dunk all the time. He takes a deep shot here and there and that's it. (You've already noticed it as well :P)

 

All the talent in the world cannot make up for a terrible coach, but you can win with terrible talent with the right coach.  It's insane, but they just keep doing it.

 

Winning with a terrible talented team would require one heck of a coach, and those don't grow on trees and are usually employed by the best teams. Still, that wouldn't be enough for them to win. I'll repeat myself, but Mike Shanahan has won nothing without John Elway and Terrell Davis, according to many, so I would believe that this great talent made up for a bad coach no?

 

Agree on all.

 

Bum Phillips referring to Miami Dolphins coach Don Shula "He can take his'n and beat your'n and take your'n and beat his'n.

 

You think Bum knew a thing or 2 about coaching?

 

And while we're talking, Bum's son is quietly coaching the #1 defense in the league again.  Still frosts me he was out there for the taking. Anyone doubt he wouldn't be getting more out of Skins D right now?

 

Maybe, but he'll never make them 1st. Still, the fact that our run D sucks have more to do with injuries in the secondary and TOP going downhill since week 2, but that's another matter.

 

coaches coach, players play.

 

 Putting a player in the best position to win his particular battle. That was Gibbs M.O.

 

 Innovation is one key to success. When Gibbs first got here, he came from San Diego, a high powered passing game where he was the O.C., and he had a vision and knew the key to winning was staying ahead of the curve. He came here and ran a single back formation with 3 WR set, had a tank in Riggins, and built an o-line to help plow the way for him. Teams stacked the box to stop Riggins, and many times THAT wasn't even enough, but when they began to slow him down, Gibbs went to the air.

 

Keeping a defense guessing is half of the battle. If you don't have the top player in a position, you beat them by mis-direction and fooling them. We had a lot of players who weren't the tops in their field, but Gibbs had them believing they were, and utilized them and put them in positions to win their battles.

 

Coaches become good by being creative, and finding good players that best fit their agenda. A coach teaches a player how to do certain things, but its up to the player to take it upon himself to be great. coaches can only do so much, then take his chances with that player. Creativity and innovation are keys to success; when our coach realizes this, he will go to work on it.

 

As much as I like innovation and creativity, it's definately not a require for success. Sometimes, the best plan is the easiest one.

Heard about Joe Gibbs 50 gut?

That's an awfully simple play where you run through the tackle. Still the guy called it 7 times in a row once. And it worked.

Gronkowsky still run that same seam route all the time...

When you're playing O, you don't have to be creative. You just have to find plays that works, and play them until D catch up and finds a way to stop it. If the D just can't stop it, I wouldn't have any problem calling the same play over, and over again, all day long.

Creativity? Innovation? I doubt there's still some place left for those kind of plays. 2 QB sets? I guess that's the only thing left in terms of formations... Otherwise, I believe coaches have seen it all. Same for the D. You won't do a Cover 0 with LB and Safetys standing at 15 yards behind the LOS.

The point is calling the right play at the right time. The one that the other team is not expecting, and make the most out of it.

Example:

<iframe frameborder="0" width="480" height="270" src="//www.dailymotion.com/embed/video/x38kerk" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /><a href="http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x38kerk_redskins-chris-thompson-gashes-eagles-d-for-43-yards_sport"target="_blank">Redskins Chris Thompson gashes Eagles D for 43...</a> <i>par <a href="http://www.dailymotion.com/NFL-Official" target="_blank">NFL-Official</a></i>

That's not really the most creative play in the world... But that's gutsy to call it in this situation.

Note, that if the play failed, our HC would have been killed, there he looks like a genius.

<iframe frameborder="0" width="480" height="270" src="//www.dailymotion.com/embed/video/x3azqw1" allowfullscreen></iframe><br /><a href="http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x3azqw1_redskins-kirk-cousins-hits-jordan-reed-for-a-6-yard-touchdown_sport"target="_blank">Redskins Kirk Cousins hits Jordan Reed for a 6...</a> <i>par <a href="http://www.dailymotion.com/NFL-Official" target="_blank">NFL-Official</a></i>

 

Some kind of creativity here, but not so much. 4  WR on the same side is not something that rare in the NFL.

 

Still, playcalling is something that is judge with hindsight, and that doesn't help us in our matter here. Had both those plays failed, our HC would have been tared and feathered from this community. We called them, but it was up to the players to makes them happen.

 

edit: I'm really having trouble putting in videos... what the hell happened to the feedback forum and the how's to?

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I don't understand how some of you keep undervaluing the head coach position.  I think it's laughable.  Coaches not only game plan and are responsible for the X's and O's but they must keep they're guys motivated.  That's what I loved about Joe Gibbs that Portis eluded to a few weeks ago.

 

You can have great talent but it's up to the coach to draw it out and direct it effectively.  Portis said guys would run through a brick wall for Gibbs while they scoffed at Zorn.  They didn't want to let him down.  They loved how he'd always take the blame in media sessions and people/media would make him look like a joke.  It made the players not want to let him down. 

 

Coaches are also responsible for player development.  Some posters talk about talent, but how much of said talent is due to the coaches.  Many people think Pete Carol's program in Seattle is the reason for the success they've had with respect to player development.  We talk about finding diamonds in the rough every year, but are they found or forged.  Was Richard Sherman great in college or homegrown due to the system.  Bobby Wagner??? Kam Chancellor??? Russell Wilson???  Think about the players that left that system that have struggled elsewhere.

 

Not sure if this statement was posted here or if I heard it on the Patriots Skins game broadcast, but Gronk was a nobody blocking tight end in college, but Belichick's crew did the research about one decent game he had as a receiver 2 years prior and drafted him thinking they could develop him as a pass catcher.  He wasn't really the man three years ago.  It was Aaron Hernandez who got the megadeal remember?  Coach or Talent? 

 

Coaches get the talent out of their good players to make them great and great into Hall of Famers, and the great coaches like Belichick or Mike Tomlin or Coughlin (this era) or the greats of the past like Parcells, Gibbs, and Walsh are evidence that coaching weighs more heavily than talent because they induce talent. 

With all respect you named 3 coaches, Bill B, Mike T and Tom C, who have had 3 of the best QBs of their generation for years. Having a great QB on your team takes all the pressure of trying to draft that great QB. Think of all the high draft choices those 3 coaches could spend on receivers or corners or O linemen instead of wasting them on a pos good QB.

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 A coach who can 'reach' his players, get into their heads and make them believe they are better than the person they are lining up against. Gibbs had more coaches per capita than any other, which gave players more of a chance to not be 'grouped into a general goal; players had a closer relationship because of it. Hec, he won 3 SBs with different QBs; that alone should tell you a coach's ability and his success.

 

But just as much, a winner has to have a winning cast of assistants to drive home the mission. We see it all the time; an assistant from a team goes elsewhere and is either going to be successful or a failure, depending on the foundation of that team before he got there, which depends on the previous one's goal.

 

Coaching is a vital aspect of a team's success. I think coaching is split roughly into three levels of detail:

 

Tactics: Coaches have to educate players - ensuring they know how to react in situations they might see (look for one of the Belichick clips where he is grilling a player about seemingly far-fetched in-game scenarios), ensuring they know the basics (tackling, blocking, contain, etc.), and teaching them nuances (like how to execute a reach block properly, etc.). Those things are more the responsibility of the position coaches, but they are critical factors that can give a team the edge it needs.

 

Tactics and Strategy: There is also the chess match aspect of coaching - getting your opponent to expect you to do one thing, then doing another. This is where tactics and strategy intersect. Little details your opponent might look for (OL setting a certain way means they are ready for pass pro) might be used to fool the other team, but also your tendency to do one thing in a certain condition might be changed through adjustments.

 

Strategy: This includes overall game planning - identifying your opponent's weaknesses and planning how to exploit them; identifying your own weaknesses and planning to shore them up or avoid situations where they come into play, etc. It also includes motivation. Some people don't believe in this (or momentum) saying that emotion doesn't contribute to execution. However, a coach doesn't need to be emotional to motivate a team. It's about doing things to make the team want to work harder to succeed. Good coaches figure out how to motivate their guys and they do it.

 

Utilizing players, being different, going against tendencies, is the best option for a team that is struggling. We see Gruden constantly running on 1st downs, because he's trying to establish a base to work off of; but it doesn't work because teams know he will call run on 1st and adjust to it; until success comes from one area of offense, the other will struggle. Once a strong passing game comes, it will open the running game, and vice versa, but until a strength can be grown, going against tendencies is the best option. 

 

Right now Gruden isn't confident in the QB to release him, and I doubt the QB is totally confident; thats where the coach is needed most, to develop ways to get players the ball, but right now he's being very vanilla about it. Not the right way to develop players.

 

 

I agree with paragraph 1 - I don't think Gruden is all that good at the strategic part of coaching, yet. He doesn't seem to realize when the other team has changed their approach, and I think that's a problem. That goes hand-in-hand with what you're saying since he doesn't seem to realize (or care) other teams are going to play us to run on 1st down.

 

As for him unleashing Captain Kirk, I think it's not a lack of confidence so much as him worrying that several more 4 interception games would permanently damage the guy. I think he's probably very confident in Kirk, but needs Kirk to demonstrate more consistency before he can open things up.

 

Talent is a factor, but I think coaching is more important (unless you have complete bums talent-wise). Stacking a team with the top talent in a league doesn't automatically guarantee success. It takes coaches who can make those outstanding pieces work together. And if they can get outstanding pieces to work together they can get average or not-so-great pieces working together, which means that for them, talent isn't the main factor in making a team.

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I remember someone asking JJG about his teams domination over the Broncos in the super bowl and Joe said simply, I had better players.

 

And Joe Gibbs is one of the humblest guys to ever Coach in the NFL, he would never take any credit for what he brought. 

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I am a coach and I tend to lean towards the side of talent. They both go hand in hand. But you can ask any coach how much talent means to them. Every single one of them would take talent over anything else. Talent can be molded. Smarts would be second in my book.

 

Now. Talent only gets you so far. Talented players also need to have a good work ethic, be open to criticism and be willing to learn. A talented player that is not willing to get more talented is useless.

 

But the most important thing to me about coaching is making sure your system gets the most out of the talent you have been dealt. Nothing is more frustrating to me then watching a team force a system down a players throat who just isnt a fit for that system. Every single first round draft pick is talented. But the majority are busts. Not always because of a system mismatch (they may have off filed issues or be lazy). As a coach You have to be flexible and let the talent do what it does best. 

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I am a coach and I tend to lean towards the side of talent. They both go hand in hand. But you can ask any coach how much talent means to them. Every single one of them would take talent over anything else. Talent can be molded. Smarts would be second in my book.

 

Now. Talent only gets you so far. Talented players also need to have a good work ethic, be open to criticism and be willing to learn. A talented player that is not willing to get more talented is useless.

 

But the most important thing to me about coaching is making sure your system gets the most out of the talent you have been dealt. Nothing is more frustrating to me then watching a team force a system down a players throat who just isnt a fit for that system. Every single first round draft pick is talented. But the majority are busts. Not always because of a system mismatch (they may have off filed issues or be lazy). As a coach You have to be flexible and let the talent do what it does best. 

 

 

I Coach as well, albeit youth sports, young to old, beginner through competitive Travle/HS. And you are saying you would take talent over coaching? am I reading that correctly. Because all the talent in the world can't overcome a crappy Coach, they lose interest, competitive edge and belief in a system is important. Oh and just Coaching mistakes.

 

And yeah, all Coaches want talent...but developing it is what makes Coaching so much of a challenge. I watch Kids go from zero to hero by pushing and teaching them. Look at what Callahan has done with OL's on two teams in as many years. 

 

Everybody saying that you can win with just talent to me is crazy. Zoony's point is that coaching is fairly equal on the professional level, hard to argue that these guys know what they are doing. My slight counter to that is a good coach can only go so far against a great coach if the talent is similar. 

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Here is the clip I liked that illustrates how Belichick motivates guys.

 

Some of it is general, some is specific. The first clip is specific, and it's one where he knows the guy just needs to be told "you're not very quick." That one made me laugh.

 

Check these:

 

3:27 - no penalties

4:30 - good disguise (recognizing a nuanced play by a player)

4:45 - post game, acknowledging accountability - you guys did it

6:25 - run it again Brady!

6:40 - holding the DL accountable for goal-line weakness

7:00 - a series of "do, don't think" messages to players

7:40 - call it, something else, something else (putting the player through a mental process of finding the right play call)

11:15 - on being prepared for situations - this goes on until 12:48 and illustrates attention to tactical details

 

Sorry it's Belichick (I know he's not the most popular here) but this is really good insight into some of the things a coach does to get his players prepared. Not all of it is Xs and Os.

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I Coach as well, albeit youth sports, young to old, beginner through competitive Travle/HS. And you are saying you would take talent over coaching? am I reading that correctly. Because all the talent in the world can't overcome a crappy Coach, they lose interest, competitive edge and belief in a system is important. Oh and just Coaching mistakes.

 

 

 

Yes. I would prefer to have talented players over non talented ones for sure. But I just love coaching. And like you I am just coaching youth ball. I enjoy every one of the kids on our teams. But it is really nice to have that shiny, new and fast RB at the beginning of the season :)

 

Like I said earlier they go hand in hand. Talent only gets you so far. That statement would apply to players and coaches both.

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I think ownership plays a huge part in this.  Look at Joe Gibbs with Jack Kent Cooke compared to Joe Gibbs with Dan Snyder. There's other factors involved, but even Joe Gibbs couldn't have any sort of sustained success here.   Neither could Mike Shanahan or Marty Schottenheimer--both for different reasons.  Snyder has consistently shown he makes bad decisions with coaching, with free agents, with front office, with fans, with the media, etc.  He knows how to make money, but not run a successful business.  Maybe with GMSM it will be different.  But, I doubt it.  He has a whole ingrained culture to change. 

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I think ownership plays a huge part in this.  Look at Joe Gibbs with Jack Kent Cooke compared to Joe Gibbs with Dan Snyder. There's other factors involved, but even Joe Gibbs couldn't have any sort of sustained success here.   Neither could Mike Shanahan or Marty Schottenheimer--both for different reasons.  Snyder has consistently shown he makes bad decisions with coaching, with free agents, with front office, with fans, with the media, etc.  He knows how to make money, but not run a successful business.  Maybe with GMSM it will be different.  But, I doubt it.  He has a whole ingrained culture to change. 

 

I mentioned this in a few places as well as in that case study thread I did a few weeks back about elite QBs... 

 

I have the factors a franchise needs for success prioritized in this order: 

 

1- Stability at Ownership and upper management (Team President, Execs, etc...)

2- Stability at GM/Scouting Department (and, therefore, player personnel)

3- Stability at QB

4- Stability at coaching

 

And stability here means a consistent level of production that either verifies the potential of those in their relative positions or allows for sustained success (in other words, earned stability, not just keeping a failed method or philosophy for the sake of it). So, stability at ownership level would be tied to their ability to properly implement solid hiring processes (and consistently so) since they're at the top. It starts there, of course, and with that they should be able to replace anyone. Stability at GM/Scouting Department would be their ability to continuously bring in talent that can be developed and fits an overall vision. Etc, etc...

 

LKB made that thread about McCarthy and Aaron Rodgers that touched a lot on this topic. There's plenty in there related to this thread, as well. 

 

For me, I don't care how great the coach is, if the above three aren't at least good he's going to struggle. Or at least two out of the three. He can be as creative, innovative, brilliant, blah blah as he wants to be, but opposing teams will be able to overcome it pretty quickly and expose the weaknesses of the roster. And once one team does it, the rest of the NFL follows suit. This is what we're seeing almost every time a team gains a spark from a new coach, only to falter after some time. We saw that ourselves with Zorn and the super old roster Gibbs left us with Vinny running the show and bringing in new talent.

 

After '08 we knew what weaknesses we had and where. We knew we sucked in terms of our inside pass rush. We sucked at QB. We sucked at getting separation as a WR corp. So what did Dan and his genius sidekick do? Sign Haynesworth, try to trade for Cutler, assume our young guys in Mal the Comb Kelly and Devin Thomas will improve, almost totally fail in the draft of 2009 outside of Orakpo, etc...

 

All bad moves in hindsight. As unlikely as it is, even a weak coach like Zorn would've been able to have a chance to grow into the job had things been handled properly that offseason. Like, maybe more than two moves. Haynesworth did actually improve the pass rush a bit, though he wasn't anywhere near worth his salary. Orakpo was very good with his hands in the dirt on 3rd downs. Outside of that, everything else failed, and miserably so. The draft in 2008 continued to look even worse and gave the team next to no production (though the comb did actually have a decent season). A lot of players continued to regress (some just out of old age) and they proceeded to do nothing anywhere else in the league when they were eventually let go by Shanahan. That roster was ****.      

 

The teams that have been consistent contenders year in and year out shuffle through assistant coaches like it's nothing. Some will point and say "well that's because of the Head Coach". No, it's the stability above the Head Coach and the ability to continuously replenish the roster with solid talent (and usually they happen to have a great QB as well) that allows for it. Those assistants who were successful go to these other unstable environments and suddenly can't replicate their success. 

 

That's what overwhelmingly happens and it has very little to do with their own coaching abilities. These guys don't suddenly stop knowing how to implement their schemes and teach players how to have the success they had while coaching on their previous teams... they simply get put in untenable situations with unstable FOs who fail at personnel acquisition (usually because they fail at hiring the right guys who can acquire said personnel and let them do their jobs) and they end up surrounded with crap.

 

You get the rare exception where a stable environment up top begins to develop and the coaches concurrent to that don't get to benefit from the fruits of it, so when they're fired the new guy comes in and looks like a genius (Jim Harbaugh and Andy Reid fit this imo, recently). We might actually have that happening right now with Gruden. I suspect we'll continue to lose more games than not and he'll end up losing his job for it, only for the new guy to come into a situation where Scot has continuously added solid pieces the previous years and then puts the final touches in the new guy's first offseason. He looks like a genius. The fools will say "see, I knew Jay sucked". :lol:

 

I don't care if that happens, I'm all for it. I do hope that, if we are to fire Jay, the new guy comes into a stable and successful environment up to and can actually breathe in his role. I'm just tired of the coach-hating that Snyder has made acceptable to us. That's not even tied to how often he fires them or not (he doesn't really, though he has undermined coaches while they were still here, which may be even worse). What I mean is that we've gotten so used to coaches coming in here and struggling that we've begun to think we can truly identify their "issues" and judge them with finality while mostly ignoring the environment with which they're in that has more to do with their failures than anything else. It's not even close. Instead, we're addicted to that offseason high of hope that a new face, a new Head Coach brings. Only to see that guy end up hated and blamed as well, every time.    

 

It's exhausting. God willing, the organizational structure is set up in a way that will finally end this vicious cycle. I'm hoping Gruden gets to benefit from it himself. If not, I hope the new guy does and we finally get to have some real stability there. 

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Winning with a terrible talented team would require one heck of a coach, and those don't grow on trees and are usually employed by the best teams. Still, that wouldn't be enough for them to win. I'll repeat myself, but Mike Shanahan has won nothing without John Elway and Terrell Davis, according to many, so I would believe that this great talent made up for a bad coach no?

 

 

 

This leads more to the arguement that there are very few great HC in the NFL right now.  Seriously, how many active NFL HCs outside of BB are a sure in HOF candidate right now?  And Shannahan's run game philosophy is second to very few, that stuff works (look at how many running backs he's made into monsters or just flat out had an eye for to him plug and play). 

 

If he just had the humility to allow himself to not have to be the guy in charge of personnell as well, dude would totally have Super Bowls post-Elway.  Part of what makes great coaches is knowing when something isn't working, cutting their pride, and trying something that does.  So Shanny isn't terrible, but that's the main thing that kept him from being great.

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Yes. I would prefer to have talented players over non talented ones for sure. But I just love coaching. And like you I am just coaching youth ball. I enjoy every one of the kids on our teams. But it is really nice to have that shiny, new and fast RB at the beginning of the season :)

 

Like I said earlier they go hand in hand. Talent only gets you so far. That statement would apply to players and coaches both.

 

I had a kid, 15, could put up 30 points, had nine threes in a game once. Dribble, run guard if you needed him, inside out. Would get techs at the worse time. Could have played HS Varsity Freshman year, but the Coach wouldn't tolerate his attitude,,,winning school btw. I tried to help this kid, he had the desire to play and win, but was difficult to coach and bad for team morale...I bench him twice, and told him the last time his next Tech. to just keep heading to the exit doors. He was so talented, but so difficult to coach. Talked to his Dad, Talked to him, come to jesus meetings, I felt like Dr. damn Phil. 

 

Finally let him go for the team, he was wrecking the atmosphere. I would rather lose with winners then win with losers. I think many believe that the grown men at the pro level don't have these types of issues, I disagree on that. That is why I think Coaching just may give the talented teams the edge to beat team as good or better then they are. 

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Bad coaches will let players like that run wild for the sake of keeping their talent or appeasing upper management.  I don't know if I see that as much in the NFL level (large roster so less chance of having players that's deemed "worth it").  But I see that all the time in the NBA.  All the talent in the world doesn't matter if they don't listen to the coach.

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Both are important, saying that talent doesnt matter, or coaching doesnt matter in my mind is just foolish.  Good coaches elevate poor talent, and poor coaches drag down good talent.

 

If coaching doesnt matter, explain Matt Cassel.  If talent doesnt matter explain the Colts the year Peyton was out.

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 This is a bit off topic, but it does have something to do with coaching.

 

The single most bothersome thing that really burns my ass is getting down to the 1-2 yd line on a first down, then sending in the heavy beef with a FB and RB, THEN trying to run through not only our 11, but theirs as well, and of course failing; then 2nd down comes, and most of the time its the same thing, especially when our line is depleted.

Our line isn't good enough [ yet ] to dictate those types of plays, but every time it happens, resulting in either a 3rd or 4th down score via alternative methods.

 

If our linemen and RBs are plowing through defenses, that's one thing, but they don't have enough chemistry/duration together to work as a full functioning unit in those scenarios. As I mentioned before, why not go against tendencies, put a 3WR set down there and see what happens? Spread the defense out and make them honor the WRs; if they don't, then its a pitch & catch for a TD.

 

Maybe its just me, but it seems like an offense, featuring a single back and 3 WR set, in mostly the same formations on every down, but running different routes on every down, would draw a defense back and keep them guessing; a WR running one type of route, then lining up the next play and running the opposite way, would cause confusion, thus having an open guy on every down, as long as they don't run the same exact play down after down.

 

I was lucky to have been spoiled by being an adult [ age-wise ] in the 80's while Gibbs did his mastery, and the Posse was an effective unit; not the fastest, not the biggest, but they got the job done, mostly through scheme, going against tendencies, and dedication; that's where Gruden needs to do his homework. It seems that defenses know what routes are being run and it boils down to who is the better athlete, but confuse a defense and you've won.

 

Apologies for hijacking the thread, but it does have to do with coaching.

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Actually in 1981 when Gibbs started with us, coming from San Diego, he envisioned a Redskins version of "Air Coryell."  He tried it the first 5 weeks of the season going with 3 WRs and Joe Washington as his RB.  He was thinking Theismann could be Fouts, Monk, Charlie Brown and Virgil Seay could be his Joiner, Chandler, Winslow and Joe Washington was his James Brooks. 

 

We went 0-5.

 

Gibbs quickley realized that the personnel he had wasn't a good fit for that.  So, being the genius he was, he went to more TEs and a strong running game.  Joe Washington was still the starter for most of the season, but you could see Riggins getting more carries as the year went on.  He saw that Joe T didn't have Fouts arm.  He saw that while our WRs were good, they weren't going to be effective running "go routes" all the time. He saw a larger and nastier OL then he had in SD. 

 

Joe changed the offense to fit the personnel.  And with the other 2 SBs, you can see a change in philosophy based on the personnel he had.  The season of SB 22, George Rogers/Timmy Smith were actually faster versions of Riggins and Kelvin Bryant became his Joe Washington.  With the additions of Didier, Clark and Sanders, the receivers got faster which allowed him to open up the offense a bit more.  In the season of SB 26, he saw the rifle arm and pinpoint downfield passing of Rypien.  We played (to me anyway) and version of what is now the modern "spread" offense during that season.  Gibbs was great at doing this.  Hell, look at his 2nd stint here.  He got the most out of a nothing team by playing to the strengths of his personnel.

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