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The Master Debate thread: Coaching v. Talent


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A talented team even with bad coaching can still win.

 

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It took a literal cast of HOF players... but this is the best example I can think of.

 

EDIT:  But again... when Jimmy left and took his talent skills with him... I mean coaching skills....

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It was basketball, but some of us believe sport is sport.

I think what Zoony is saying is that there isn't the disparity in coaching ability in the pros that there is in youth sports. At that level there are some really strong coaches like yourself who have a good base before they ever start coaching, study, work hard, and then get better and better over years and years of experience. There are also well-meaning dads who have no business being out there other than their good intentions. You see every level of coach in between as well.

 

In the pros, all of these guys know what they're doing.

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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.

 

I think Coughlin is a guaranteed HOF. Probably Tomlin at this point as well. Tomlin gets overlooked because he is still young. But the guys track record is incredible.

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.

 

The year Peyton left the Colts basically lost their OC as well. Peyton was calling like 95% of his own plays.

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A talented team even with bad coaching can still win.

 

A team with no talent will never win even if you have the best coaching ever.

 

Both are important, but its like 75%(at least)talent and 25% coaching.

 

You didn't get the point I was making, though...

 

If--IF--players are supposed to follow and adhere to their coach's instruction and direction, then that instruction and direction dictates everything.

 

Which means the person responsible for the instruction and direction is going to have a larger effect on the team than the person(s) carrying out the instruction and playing according to the directives.

 

HOF player, dumb-ass coaching decision lol:

 

 

 

We need to remember that the head coach does  a lot more than come up with a weekly game plan and halftime speeches.

 

A really good coach can get his players to overachieve, whether mediocre talents or HOF-level talent. They will also play huge roles in developing and maximizing whatever talent the players possess. Many fans think players don't need to be developed, they just need time on the field...and that the good players would have achieved the same level of success no matter what simpy due to their level of talent.

 

By contrast, really good players won't make mediocre coaches improve. They'll just mask his deficiencies for awhile and win some games despite the coach's flaws.

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I think what Zoony is saying is that there isn't the disparity in coaching ability in the pros that there is in youth sports. At that level there are some really strong coaches like yourself who have a good base before they ever start coaching, study, work hard, and then get better and better over years and years of experience. There are also well-meaning dads who have no business being out there other than their good intentions. You see every level of coach in between as well.

 

In the pros, all of these guys know what they're doing.

 

 

And I understand that, but at that level the disparity.....even the smallest will yield differences resulting in wins, making it that much more important. I understand Zoonys overall point, I don't really think he understands mine. And the point he made about QB's some time ago still stands cemented in my mind. I use my personal experiences because that is how I relate. If that kid I spoke of had a head on his shoulders I would not have won 5 of 7 championships, with a decent roster equally matched with other teams, superior coaching, I would have won 7 of 7 in a row. 

 

Not anybody could win with Tom Brady, but many could at the NFL level. The thing about Belichek that is so impressive is that he has moved on from aging vets, injured players, he took on head cases,,,,and usually comes out on top again. Looking at his early career he may have faltered and learned, I can only hope this is what we are seeing in Jay Gruden. 

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2. Coaching matters. Again, the contention is that at the pro level all coaches are about the same. Which is true

Might take some of you a while to finally see it. Others of you never will. Either way doesn't much matter, believe what you want

Obviously you think you are right (nothing wrong with having an opinion), but I'm not sure about why you seem comfortable with equating opinion to fact. Seems like we've seen plenty of evidence that some coaches are clearly better than others (and so not "about the same"), even at the Pro level. The NFL (owners, GMs, players etc.) doesn't seem to agree with your stance as coaches are traded out with a great deal of regularity. I suppose it's possible they just haven't caught up with you yet. Now, if you were saying there's not much disparity amongst the tiers of coaching - ie. there's not much difference between various 'good coaches', or 'bad coaches' - then I'd be much closer to agreeing.

I do agree that talent (and talent evaluators/roster builders) trumps coaching, particularly when you factor in that leadership and motivation can be provided by the players and does not necessarily have to come from coaches. Might even be far more important than coaching.

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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.

Still don't consider Eli great, but middle of the pack. Eli's final drives, dumb luck like David Tyree's catch and Samuels dropped INT, and getting hot behind a great front 4 on D will be what those Coughlin Super Bowls are remembered for. However, he rallied teams out of the doldrums, had them twice overcome being huge under dogs in the SB, he used his knowledge of working with BB before to beat him twice... Including an undefeated NE team that should have gone down as one of the best ever... Etc. I would argue Coughlin is successful despite Eli being an average QB in more games than not.

In 2007 many believe his decision to go toe-to-toe with the Pats in week 17 was the Giants impetus for getting hot in the playoffs. That took guts because I believe it was a totally meaningless game for his team.

I think he is a great example of what a great coach can do... He had an expansion team on the verge of the SB in their early history as well. He won at Boston College. Frankly he has all the qualities that Jay Gruden seems to lack, which is why I would not be surprised if GM SM moves on if the Skins can't out at least a 4-4 showing the back half.

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I don't mean this as a personal attack, so please don't take it that way. But my first thought after reading this was "You've got to be kidding me."

We were #1 in the league before Lauvao went down. We were running left of center almost 85% of the time then. Callahan, our OL coach who is widely regarded as the best in the game, had turned SHAWN FREAKIN LAUVAO into a monster. I don't know if you recall, but he was, uh, not a monster as recently as last year.

Then Steiger went down. And both our RBs who averaged over 5 YPC in the first eighth of the season suddenly look very pedestrian...mainly because our master OL coach is now shaping something else that's soft and brown besides clay. We have repeatedly proven that we can no longer run the ball, so passing to move the chains is our only option.

I don't take it that way at all! This is what master debates is all about. 'Bating til you come to a satisfactory conclusion.

So, having a hard time with this. Two go down causing our whole o-line to forget how to run block? We're nearing LEAGUE record numbers in terms of running ineficiency with one of the best backs in the league in terms of production and a rookie back who is probably BETTER than him. And you're saying our two replacements are that bad that we can't make any adjustments or get any production from them at all?

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Again, the contention is that at the pro level all coaches are about the same. Which is true

Might take some of you a while to finally see it. Others of you never will. Either way doesn't much matter, believe what you want

 

Right! Jim Zorn = Joe Gibbs. I finally see it!!! ;-)

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So then, was Jim Zorn at the same level as Joe Gibbs?  Then the contention is the main difference between the two was simply the players.  If you want to go stick by that reasoning, you are welcome to it, but I doubt you will find many followers.

 

EDIT: I noticed I was not the first to think of the same comparison...

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I actually think the vast majority of coaches in the NFL are pretty much equal. You have a few really good ones at the top, and some really bad ones at the bottom. The rest are pretty much in that middle area and their success lies largely in the talent they have and the organizational support they receive.

 

Take Mike Tomlin for example. He's a great soundbite, but Xs and Os wise he makes a lot of mistakes. But he coaches a franchise that is incredibly stable, with a FO that is great at drafting talent year in and year out. You put him on, say, the Detroit Lions and he's probably fired after 3 years.

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You guys are focusing way too much on zoony's statement about coaches in the pros being very similar.

 

The great Joe Gibbs winning percentage here during his second stint = .469

 

The great Jim Zorn's winning percentage = .375

 

What a massive difference between the two!

 

And before anyone chimes in with some snarky comment, I know there is actually a significant difference. I know that Jim Zorn does not compare to Joe Gibbs as a coach. The point here is, both struggled with the talent deficit they had to deal with. They struggled to where there wasn't a significant difference in their winning percentage even though there is one in their coaching abilities.

 

Basically, the difference in Gibbs' coaching acumen versus Zorn's should've resulted in a much larger difference in winning percentage, if the theory is that coaching means more than talent.   

 

I think it's pretty clear. The comparison actually adds to our point. I don't think zoony is trying to say Gibbs and Zorn are on the same level (he's talking about the majority of coaches, doesn't mean he thinks there are no exceptions). One coach, in this case, is definitely better than the other, but you can see how little it mattered when the talent was poor.

 

And Zorn got the worst of the talent, by the way. Gibbs left him with one of the oldest rosters in the league and the dynamic duo of Snyder and Ceratto running the personnel.

 

Gibbs took us to the playoffs in 2005 with some basic old school schemes and a dominant defense under Williams. Then they proceeded to fail miserably in talent acquisition the next offseason and we saw what happened... a miserable 5-11 season with one of the worst defense's in the league. Same coaching staff, outside of Saunders who was a stud with the Chiefs previous to being hired. Then they make some changes, bring in guys like Fletcher and Smoot, have Todd Collins fill in for a pedestrian Campbell after he got hurt... suddenly things are a lot better and they go 9-7 under the same coaching staff in 2007.

 

Gibbs' second stint is the perfect example of how much more important talent is. We literally get a year-to-year case study proving the theory. Just a quick summary (this isn't a detailed analysis of what went on every year, so don't assume the "key adds, losses" are all there is):

 

2004, bad (transition year, defense was good, however, coinciding with a bunch of solid additions in Sean Taylor, Cornelius Griffin, Marcus Washington, and Shawn Springs).

2005, good (key add: Santana Moss).

2006, bad (key losses: Ryan Clark, Antonio Pierce; failed adds: Adam Archuleta, Brandon Lloyd, draft picks traded like it was fun).

2007, good (key adds: Fletcher, Smoot, Landry; addition by subtraction: Archuleta, Holdman, Lamar Marshall, Ade Jimoh, Wynn).

First half of 2008 under Jim Zorn with much of the same roster Gibbs left him with, good. Rest of Zorn's tenure as those guys aged and Vinny/Dan failed miserably at personnel-acquisition? Bad.      

 

We have bad, good, bad, good under Gibbs. If coaching means more, why the lack of consistency? Why does that lack of consistency happen to tie into bad personnel decisions?    

 

The whole Jim Zorn to Joe Gibbs comparison actually adds to the argument that talent matters so much more. As long as you're comparing Gibbs' second stint with Zorn's time here, which would be the fairest comparison considering the very similar rosters, ownership/staff, as well as the differences in personnel-acquisition during Gibbs' first stint and pre-salary cap era (getting to keep all your players, using the IR to stash guys, rules benefiting offense, etc...).  

 

Now, maybe some will argue that Gibbs wasn't the same guy during his second stint. He wasn't great anymore. I disagree with that. I think he was. I just don't think his greatness could overcome the talent deficiency on the roster at times, and those bad years showed it as opposed to the good. Talent is significantly more important.   

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