At a time when most league observers are assuming that the 2010 coaching “A” list will consist primarily of men with Super Bowl rings on their fingers, we can’t overlook the dynamic that unfolds during every regular season.
In multiple cities, coordinators get hot.
This year, two of the hottest quarter-pole coordinators also are former head coaches.
In New Orleans, Gregg Williams instantly has transformed a previously pathetic Saints defense, triggering over the past two weeks a dramatic shift in the manner in which the team has been winning its football games.
Last year, zero touchdown passes from quarterback Drew Brees in two games would have been presumed to equate to two losses. This year, the Saints still came away with two wins.
As Peter King of SI.com points out, the Saints were 26th in scoring defense last season. To date in 2009, they’re seventh.
In Denver, Mike Nolan’s defense has allowed only 26 points in four games. Given the quality (or lack thereof) of the roster that he inherited on that side of the ball, the performance is a step above remarkable.
Williams coached the Bills from 2001 through 2003, and Nolan was the man in San Fran from 2005 through seven games of the 2008 season. If they keep it up, they both could get a second chance.
Here’s another important angle: Money. With a bad economy, a work stoppage on the horizon, and young (i.e., cheap) coaches doing very well, the salary scale has shifted. So if the Lords of the Rings will be asking for $8 million or more per year, why not consider guys like Williams or Nolan, who’ll surely settle for far less?
So, yeah, if the Saints and the Broncos continue to produce surprising results on defense, both of these guys will be in play — even if they serve only as leverage to get the big-name guys to take a lot less money.