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Beware smokescreens and misdirections

New England Patriots offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach O'Brien looks on during the first quarter of their NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills in Foxborough Reuters

Every year at this time, the ever-growing NFL media horde combines with the always-active coaching carousel to create a strong possibility of deliberate smokescreens and misdirections.

It happened last year when multiple reports linked former Eagles coach Andy Reid to the vacancy in Arizona, with some putting the inevitability of a marriage at 95 percent.  Ultimately, Reid became the head coach of the Chiefs.

This year, the first strong-lean-with-wiggle-room comes from Houston, where ESPN has linked Penn State coach Bill O’Brien to the Texans’ head-coaching job.  Ninetieth-percentile predictions have wisely been avoided, but Bristol has pointed an arrow strongly at O’Brien bolting Happy Valley for Energy Alley.

But here’s the question to ask.  Why would someone leak word of a potential deal between the Texans and O’Brien prematurely?

The goal of the leaker could be to help push a deal to conclusion.  The goal of the leaker could be to blow a deal up.  The goal of the leaker also could be, quite simply, to curry favor with the persons to whom the information was leaked.

The goal of the leaker also could be to nudge another candidate (e.g., Lovie Smith) to do a deal first.  No information has been leaked regarding Smith’s candidacy since he interviewed for the job for seven hours more than a week ago.  It’s possible the Texans opted to look elsewhere.  It’s also possible that they quietly have been trying to get Smith to agree to a deal before the land rush for his services officially commences on Black Monday.

What better way to do that than to make it look like O’Brien could be getting the job?

While it remains entirely possible that owner Bob McNair prefers a member of the largely-underperforming Belichick tree with no NFL head-coaching experience over a guy who took the Bears to the Super Bowl despite having a starting quarterback named Rex Grossman, it’s hard to imagine McNair preferring O’Brien strongly enough over Smith to pay Penn State more than $6 million for the privilege of paying millions more to O’Brien.

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20 Responses to “Beware smokescreens and misdirections”
  1. hailskinz says: Dec 28, 2013 5:32 PM

    Im not a Florio fan, but he makes some great points here.

  2. unbridledsexy says: Dec 28, 2013 5:43 PM

    Lovie is a no-brainer in my opinion. But i’m an artist, not a coach, so what the hell do i know.

  3. The Pittsburgh Steelers says: Dec 28, 2013 6:00 PM

    We don’t get the hype around Bill O’Brien. Penn State went 8-4 last year and 7-5 this year. Yeah, he did well in 2011 as the OC for the Patriots, but really anyone could have.

  4. hjb99992013 says: Dec 28, 2013 6:07 PM

    This article is a good insight how lawyers think, not honourable men who believe and actually do the “right” thing

  5. psmith7716 says: Dec 28, 2013 6:43 PM

    I too am not a Florio fan, but he does, in fact, make some good points. However, I would not be at all surprised if O’Brien signs with the Texans in the end.

  6. gojags says: Dec 28, 2013 6:46 PM

    McNair – Please hire Wade

    Signed
    The rest of AFC South.

  7. philrat says: Dec 28, 2013 6:50 PM

    The quarterback problems that Smith had with the bears every year hurts him with a team that has quarterback problems. Smith was never able to fix the quarterback problems with the Bears.

  8. hawkforlife says: Dec 28, 2013 7:04 PM

    And Area 51 really does have aliens from outer space serving spuds at the on base mess hall.

  9. nizzledizzleshizzle says: Dec 28, 2013 7:25 PM

    if you are not a fan then why are you here. golovey!

  10. mrlaloosh says: Dec 28, 2013 7:40 PM

    Texans would suck if they could resurrect Vince Lombardi.

  11. danno1212 says: Dec 28, 2013 7:46 PM

    As a Bears fan I thought it was time for Lovie to go, but I respect him and think the Texans would be smart to hire him. I am sure he has learned his limitations and will let the O coordinator take full control of the offense while he turns the D into a top 5 unit.

  12. ravensbob says: Dec 28, 2013 7:52 PM

    No one wants that mess at PSU.

  13. tubbman27 says: Dec 28, 2013 7:59 PM

    Rigid defensive minded coaches like Lovie Smith are a thing of the past. Unfortunately, the only thing that keeps his name relevant is his minority status. Lovie did a lot of shady underhand things in Chicago to ensure he kept his job. Don’t like him one bit. He will, however, get a second chance and probably a third chance. Could be worse, he’s not Mike Mularkey, Jack Del Rio or Wade Phillips at least.

  14. seahawkgoat says: Dec 28, 2013 8:01 PM

    What a joke

  15. rockislander says: Dec 28, 2013 8:26 PM

    And what exactly did Lovie do WHEN he had a quarterback? Nothing! He sucks. If the Texans hire him he’ll just be another retread head coach. Not sure about O’Brien, but he at least thinks outside the box offensively, and some imagination. With Lovie, you get nothing, literally.

  16. leagueobservr says: Dec 28, 2013 9:09 PM

    Lovie Smith as a defensive coordinator, yes. But as a head coach, no way. This is the same guy who neglected the offense throughout his entire tenure as Bears head coach. It is only now that Chicago, under Phil Emery, has worked to repair the damage, re-stocking the shelf on the offensive line and at wide receiver. If you are going to make Smith your head coach, 1. Don’t give him any say in personnel decisions and 2. Hire a qualified O.C. who can develop a QB…

  17. carpi2 says: Dec 28, 2013 9:28 PM

    “While it remains entirely possible that owner Bob McNair prefers a member of the largely-underperforming Belichick tree with no NFL head-coaching experience…”
    ________________________________
    Florio,
    Thank you for infusing some logic into the O’Brien hype, and reminding us that the Belichick tree has yet to produce a single quality head coaching candidate!

    Worst coaching tree in NFL history. That should tell us something about how good of a coach Belichick really is…

  18. vottorific says: Dec 28, 2013 10:18 PM

    Mr. Florio, I have been reading your blog since John Thornton directed me here. witch was close to your beginning. So I know this post is very true. happens every year. The NFL people are PROS at misdirection. And its why we love it. LET THE GAMES BEGIN!

  19. gavriloprincip33 says: Dec 29, 2013 12:31 AM

    O’Brien will leave PSU this year or next – that’s why he has been negotiating a reduction in the NFL buyout clause…

    The question is where and can he be the first BB clone to actually be a good NFL head coach…

  20. r8dernation says: Dec 29, 2013 12:39 AM

    I would not hire any coach from the Patriots tree unless Brady came with him.

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