Vikings defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier is likely getting a little frustrated.
Last season, his name arrived on the radar of potential NFL head coaches, via interviews with the Falcons and Dolphins. Though his sit-down with Bill Parcells likely was (in our opinion) a Rooney Rule sham given that the worst-kept secret was that Tony Sparano was getting the job, the sessions gave Frazier experience for this year’s hiring cycle.
Earlier this month, he had interviews with the Broncos, Rams, and Lions.
Despite a sense that his elevation to a top job was inevitable, it didn’t work out. Though he says he isn’t frustrated, he undoubtedly is.
But Frazier’s best approach moving forward would be to close the book on the 2009 hiring cycle, focus on his current job, and not say anything at all about why he’s not a head coach.
Instead, Frazier has said that he heard Rams owner Chip Rosenbloom wanted to hire Frazier, but that G.M. Billy Devaney favored Steve Spagnuolo. (Actually, we’ve heard that Devaney favored Jason Garrett.)
Likewise, Frazier has explained that a “difference of opinion” with the Lions kept him from getting a second interview for the job that went to Jim Schwartz.
“I can tell you this, we had a difference of opinion in how we saw the current Lions and going forward,” Frazier said earlier this week, according to the Detroit News. “That was probably the biggest thing in my interview. We had a different perception.”
Pressed for more details, Frazier said, “I’d rather not get into it.” And then he got into it.
“[W]e had different perceptions of where to go and the length of time to get there,” Frazier said. “We were really far apart in that. . . . I will just say we had a different philosophy and vision for two years from now or a year from now.”
Regardless of how strongly he feels about the reasons for the fact that he’s not a head coach, Frazier’s best approach for ensuring that he’ll eventually become one would be to not talk about why he hasn’t already been hired.
Though NFL coaches are required to handle the media adroitly, part of the challenge is to know what not to say. And the inability of a head-coaching candidate to move on without griping, directly or indirectly, about missed opportunities might cause some owners to wonder whether Frazier will be able to handle interviews and press conferences without saying things that could hurt the team’s broader interests.