Can Brian Flores buck the trend of the Belichick coaching tree?

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Some great coaches also have great “coaching trees,” a list of assistants who became successful head coaches in their own rights.

And then there’s Bill Belichick.

Belichick has had one of the most successful careers in NFL history, but his coaching tree has laid an egg. Of the five Belichick assistants in New England who have gone on to become NFL head coaches, none has had a particularly impressive record. Here are those five coaches:

Bill O’Brien: 42-38 (1-3 in playoffs)
Eric Mangini: 33-47 (0-1 in playoffs)
Romeo Crennel: 28-55 (never made playoffs)
Josh McDaniels: 11-17 (never made playoffs)
Matt Patricia: 6-10 (never made playoffs)

(Three other coaches — Nick Saban, Jim Schwartz and Al Groh — became NFL head coaches after working under Belichick in Cleveland, but none of those coaches got their head-coaching jobs on the strength of their work for Belichick, so we’ll set them aside here.)

And now Patriots linebackers coach Brian Flores is expected to become the next head coach of the Dolphins. Just because Belichick’s previous assistants haven’t done particularly well as head coaches doesn’t mean that Flores can’t. But he’s going up against a trend that may make some Dolphins fans nervous.

59 responses to “Can Brian Flores buck the trend of the Belichick coaching tree?

  1. Unfortunately for Redskin fans…Jay Grudens coaching tree is better than Jay Gruden…We can’t win for losing…

  2. Fins keep looking to guys to rebuild their program that have no experience rebuilding programs. Great coach? Yes. Great head coach? Where’s the evidence of that?

  3. Usually successful coaches have successful coaching trees unless the head coach is successful because of special treatment and cheating. Belichick is a great example of this.

  4. Well McDaniels inherited Jay Cutler, who was a promising young QB at that point. And then he quickly ran him out of town & tried to go at with Kyle Orton. And then decided Tebow was worth a first round pick.

    These teams are right not to touch this dude based on his Denver QB fiasco alone. Add in all the other crap he has pulled & he should be unhirable.

    And most jobs don’t come with a ready made QB because the coach that developed him rarely gets fired. It’s on the new coach to develop a QB. That’s part of the job. And Belichicks guys have failed to do that.

  5. Is this a Parcells coaching tree since Belichick coached under him winning 2 SB’s. Crennel was also on Parcell’s staff.

    Sean Payton, too. Tom Coughlin… quite a few others. I’m just naming the ones that have won the big dance.

  6. There is some question as to just how much autonomy Belichick’s coaches have, especially defensively. That is important in figuring out how seasoned they really are. Perhaps a subtraction of 20% syould be employed.

  7. Kris Richard or Brian Flores. Lucy pulled the ball away right as we were about to kick it. …AGAIN.
    We HAD to hire Flores. We cant stay mediocre if we go hiring someone who might breathe a little life into this franchise.

  8. I wonder what tree all the fired coaches fell from.Bill walsh,NFL GREAT,was 7-4,4-7,3-7-1 at stanford after he left 49ers.Jimmy Johnson,great at dallas..miami not so much.The list is endless…Phil Jackson in chicago was great butttt in NY he lost.Barry Switzer won a SB for crying out loud..do you think that he was a good coach.Coaches get fired on bad teams and coaches get hired to coach those teams.They basically inherit nothing and are supposed to turn it around in under 3 years with no money to spend to get quality players and crapshoot in the draft hoping you don’t pick a bust.Good luck with that.Hey Dan Quinn…not easy is it,on paper he has a talented roster..go figure.

  9. You can look further if you want at all the failures that have been give GM jobs because of BB and TB. Pioli and Quinn come to mind

  10. These assistants don’t get the benefit of the cheating infrastructure, such as the “Football Rain Man” guy HBO Real Sports delved into.

  11. Maybe the smart thing would be for Flores and McDaniels to stay where they are and continue to coach on a team that (sadly) is in the thick of it every year. They can move on after BB retires – which I’m betting is the same time TB12 does.

  12. And then you look at the Andy Reid coaching tree and they have turned their new teams around and won in a very short period of time. I just think the owner of the Dolphins wants to lose and loves to be at the top of the draft every year. The Dolphins could have satisfied the Fritz Pollard people and hired a winner by hiring Eric Bieniemy of the Chiefs.

  13. Unless you have QB it doesn’t matter what tree your on. Most new coaches are hired because the coach he is replacing has got the boot so he’s taking over an average team at best. If he doesn’t get a decent QB either in the draft or free agency or happen to be in the right place at the right time with an emerging young guy already on the team that only needed time,he pretty much has every chance of getting the 3 strikes and your out. So unfortunately Flores might be heading in the same direction as Gase, Philbin, Sporano to name but 3. But if he gets the team improving slowly and not taking leaps forward and then big leaps back, finds a decent QB who knows. It not impossible and he might buck the trend.

  14. Buck the trend? Do you mean show up on time and keep your word? Or, do you mean win without Tom Brady? I don’t know about Belichick’s personal habits, but he never won without Brady either. Out of all the coaches who were fired this year, I’ll bet all of them would be regarded as the greatest coach of all time if they had had Tom Brady as their QB the last 15 years.

  15. 5 data points make a strong trend. I wish the guy luck, but, I expect him to be completely figured out by the halfway mark of next season. It’s what happened to Joshie. Hopefully, Joshie didn’t give him any video tips.

  16. annes22 says:
    January 12, 2019 at 10:45 am
    “If you don’t have a QB who cares who the coach is?“
    ——————————————————————————
    Another fan who thinks a QB can sprinkle pixie dust on a team and they magical start winning.

    It takes Coaching, leadership, culture, and a formula to win games consistently.

    Bill Walsh had an impressive coaching tree because he taught his coaches everything they needed to know. He wanted to see his coaches succeed at a high level. That’s what he’s the greatest coach of all time. He shifted the NFL paradigm and advanced the game like no other.

    Bill Belichick is guarded with his knowledge and only teaches his coaches what they need to know. He doesn’t open the vault of knowledge to them. Which I would probably do myself. I would only give my assistants a start-up kit to run with, I would not give them the whole formula so they can compete against me with it in the future.

    But yeah, that’s the difference between the great Bill Walsh and The Belichick coaching trees.

  17. In one word, no.
    The Belichick coaching tree is deadwood.

    Don’t forget the great Charlie Weis college experience (ND and Kansas sure haven’t).

  18. If Belichick is a tree then Tom Brady is the sun. Forget about branches.The tree itself would have withered and died a long time ago with Brady.

    I think Belichick might have won a SB without Brady but he never would have been in the conversation as a GOAT,that’s for sure.

  19. Not for nothing but both Charlie Weis and Romeo Crennel started with Bill Parcells with the Giants and followed him to New England, then NYJ, and then back to New England with Belichick. To claim they’re part of Belichick’s coaching tree based on 4 years or so with him as HC rather than under the 10 or so they spent with Parcells as HC is a little disingenuous.

  20. Belichick’s winning record as a head coach is largely tied to having had the greatest quarterback of all time during his tenure. Belichick’s head coaching record pre-Brady was 44-56. So the lack of success of his assistants might be because Belichick isn’t that great of a coach in the absence of a truly franchise-changing QB.

  21. charliecharger says:
    January 12, 2019 at 10:43 am
    Buck the trend? Do you mean show up on time and keep your word? Or, do you mean win without Tom Brady? I don’t know about Belichick’s personal habits, but he never won without Brady either. Out of all the coaches who were fired this year, I’ll bet all of them would be regarded as the greatest coach of all time if they had had Tom Brady as their QB the last 15 years.

    ———————————-
    BB needs to get some credit for drafting Brady in the first place, and then starting him over an All Pro (Bledsoe).

  22. Unfortunately, none of the head coaches got to bring the entire NE organization, and NE coaching staff with them.

  23. oscarxray says:
    January 12, 2019 at 11:40 am
    If Belichick is a tree then Tom Brady is the sun. Forget about branches.The tree itself would have withered and died a long time ago with Brady.

    I think Belichick might have won a SB without Brady but he never would have been in the conversation as a GOAT,that’s for sure.
    ———————————————–

    Well he won 11 games with Matt Cassell

  24. alaric411 says:
    January 12, 2019 at 11:47 am
    Belichick’s winning record as a head coach is largely tied to having had the greatest quarterback of all time during his tenure. Belichick’s head coaching record pre-Brady was 44-56. So the lack of success of his assistants might be because Belichick isn’t that great of a coach in the absence of a truly franchise-changing QB.

    6 6 Rate This——

    ———————

    he was a 6th rd pick, had a horrible combine and bb drafted and developed him

    brady was an abover average game manager who was clutch from 2001-2006.

    Bill Polian and Dungheap are the ones who are overrated

  25. Bill can’t win without Brady, he’s not a great coach-he’s got a great quarterback. Let me ask you who will win more games, a great coach with an average QB or a great QB with an average coach?

  26. Bill Walsh won 30% of his games his first two years, McDaniels 40%.

    McDaniels was right about Cutler and traded him for a boatload. He was wrong about Orkin and Tebow.

    As for Belichick, anyone knocking or minimizing his success is just foolish.

  27. In Miami, with that QB & current supporting class, the answer is clear, NO HE CAN’T….
    If Miami is willing to invest time, 4-5 years, then yes he will…. the question is : Can Miami be patient in a WIN NOW OR ELSE coaching environment???!!!

  28. Plenty of college coaches and executives have been stars(no , you can’t put them aside). Also, I think Vrabel is a rising star, and may have learned a thing or 2 from the great BBELICHICK

  29. I hope they pass on Flores – he’s a unknown coordinator compared to Richard.
    At least Kris Richard has a proven resume – Flores doesn’t even have a real job title!

  30. “Well McDaniels inherited Jay Cutler, who was a promising young QB at that point. And then he quickly ran him out of town”

    McD didn’t “run Cutler out of town”. All he did was make a comment that as the new HC he would review the roster and nobody was safe until he’d done so. Cutler had a childish meltdown and refused to take calls from either Josh or the owner who had paid him many millions. Cutler ran himself out of town and didn’t turn out to be particularly good over the years he had left in his career

  31. Can’t say Flores would have been my first choice given the info. fans had access to but I can see why they went that direction. He seems to have experience on both sides of the ball and his players loved him. They have tried the offensive minded coaches the last 4 times and they all failed for various reasons. Hopefully they can get him in soon and get some decent coordinators with experience and lets see what happens.

  32. txpatsfan says:

    BB needs to get some credit for drafting Brady in the first place, and then starting him over an All Pro (Bledsoe).

    ———————————–

    The Patriots had 2 guys they were considering for a back up QB in that draft. Brady and Tim Rattay. Allegedly BB asked QB coach Dick Rehbein to make the call and Rehbein chose Brady. Coincidentally the only guy to go see Lloyd Carr about Brady at UM was Patriots scout Bobby Grier, father of Chris Grier.

    Also the only reason BB turned to Brady was because Bledsoe got hurt in the second game of 2001 after signing a 10 year contract. We’ll never know when Brady might have eventually got his chance without that injury to Bledsoe.

  33. Check out this coaching tree from Bill Parcells staff with the 2006 Dallas Cowboys:

    Head Coach: Bill Parcells
    Offensive Coordinator: Sean Payton
    Defensive Coordinator: Mike Zimmer
    Todd Bowles (Secondary Coach)
    Todd Haley (WR Coach)
    Anthony Lynn (RB Coach)
    Chris Palmer (QB Coach)
    Freddie Kitchens (Tight Ends Coach)
    Tony Sparano (OL/Running Coordinator)
    Paul Pasqualoni (LB Coach)
    Kacy Rodgers (DL Coach)
    Mike MacIntyre (DB Coach)

    That’s what i call a “successful coaching tree”, nine out of 12 of those coaches listed ended up being head coaches in the league, some of them very successful, that Belichek tree looks laughable compared to the Parcells tree.

  34. charliecharger says:
    January 12, 2019 at 10:43 am

    Buck the trend? Do you mean show up on time and keep your word? Or, do you mean win without Tom Brady? I don’t know about Belichick’s personal habits, but he never won without Brady either. Out of all the coaches who were fired this year, I’ll bet all of them would be regarded as the greatest coach of all time if they had had Tom Brady as their QB the last 15 years.

    ***************************

    “…never won without Brady either?”

    The Patriots drafted Matt Cassel in ’05, as a career backup at USC(his ONLY start wasn’t even at QB, it was at running back believe it or not). They groomed him and then managed to go 11-5 with him starting 15 games. Congrats to Cassel for still being in the league and making a nice career for himself, but he’s NEVER had the same success he had with Belichick and the Patriots.

    Oh, and he made the playoffs with Vinny Testaverde in ’94 with the Browns. Not to mention the fact that he’s gone against popular wisdom on two occasions– moving from Bernie Kosar to Testaverde (Kosar was a local icon in CLE), and again shifting from the highest paid QB in the league at the time in Bledsoe to a 6th rounder in Brady. Guy seems to know what he’s doing with the QB position.

  35. It’s hard for Bill’s flock to prosper once they leave the pasture as no other team has the highly advanced cheating protocols and systems that NE has. Playing clean ball is a challenge for his assistants.

  36. Well here we are again where Mr. Ross feels a major change must happen. He’s right about that. He was right 3 years ago too. Must change the coach… again.. and before that and before that too. Each time picking a guy he knows will need time to learn as 1st time head coaches. They learn here and become successful somewhere else after he fires them. Replacing Gase with Flores is a mistake. Fins needed a new Defensive Coordinator and hire an Offensive Coordinator. Burke and Tannenbaum had to go and Gase and Grier needed to continue rebuilding the team. coaching change sometimes is good but not over and over again and again.

  37. Yes beachside, bring back the head coach whose Road losses averaged over 20 points and whose teams ranked in the bottom five offensively and defensively each year, that’s almost as funny as your Vikings game prediction.

    Gase lost the locker room, the team completely quit on him.

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