In the current NFL climate, owners should be looking to hire offensive coaches

San Francisco 49ers v Los Angeles Rams
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We try to avoid advocating specific candidates for specific jobs, because we’re in no position to make a full and fair and complete assessment of candidates. Also, too many others in the media feel compelled to try to help candidates, for obvious access-and-info-related reasons.

But I will say this: If I were hiring a head coach in today’s NFL, I’d hire an offensive coordinator over a defensive coordinator.

The reason is simple. If you hire a defensive coach and the team does well, you’ll quickly be looking for a new offensive coordinator, because he’ll soon be a head coach somewhere else. If you hire an offensive coach, it will take a lot more to lose the defensive coordinator. (Case in point: Saints defensive coordinator Dennis Allen can’t get a sniff.)

Although plenty of defensive coordinators (Tony Dungy is the best example) give off a clear head-coach vibe, plenty of defensive coordinators have a rough-and-tumble air, from the Ryan twins to Wink Martindale and his Kenny Powers mullet to others whose demeanor is less CEO than GFY.

The Falcons, for example, arguably should have hired Kyle Shanahan (pictured) instead of Dan Quinn in 2015; after Shanahan left to coach the 49ers, the team went south and is still trying to recover.

One reason great offensive coaches don’t lose defensive coordinators is that teams lean toward offensive coaches. And for that reason great defensive coaches are more likely to lose their offensive coordinators.

So as the six teams with vacancies look for coaches, it makes sense to look for offensive coaches. Especially if the team has a quarterback who needs to be properly managed and groomed. Otherwise, the person responsible for managing and grooming the quarterback may do it so well that he gets a promotion somewhere else.

9 responses to “In the current NFL climate, owners should be looking to hire offensive coaches

  1. Our coach Zim is a title winning defensive minded head coach . . . year in, year out!!

  2. How about well-rounded coaches that have a strong understanding of all aspects of the game and can hire good coordinators to implement their philosophy? I’ve never understood the idea that a head coach is supposed to be clueless on one side of the ball.

  3. I’m not a Falcons’s fan and have never had dinner with Dan Quinn and am not exactly trying to defend him, but wasn’t it Shanahan who called the stupid plays in the fourth quarter that started the Pat’s brutal comeback and cost the Falcons their chance at a ring?

    It’s been awhile since that happened, but I can still see Arthur Blank on the sidelines looking like he’d just been gutted by Ted Bundy as he watched that world championship slip away. That was awful to watch, and the only time I’ve ever felt sorry for a billionaire owner of an NFL team.

  4. I know the key word is “current”, but the previous two Giants coaches were both offensive coordinators and that didn’t turn out so well.

  5. Lets look at coaches who have been with their team for 5 or more years and have won a Super Bowl. Bill Belichick is the longest tenured coach with 6 titles and was a defensive coach. Mike Tomlin would be the next successful coach who has 2 titles and another appearance and was a defensive coach. Pet Carroll is probably the next most successful coach with 1 Super Win and another appearance who is a defensive coach. That leaves John Harbaugh (special teams coach), Sean Payton and Andy Ried as the non-defensive coaches who have won a title and been with their team for more than 45 years.

    If you wan to keep your O coordinator sure you want to hire an offensive guy. Want to win multiple titles, hire a defensive coach.

  6. Losing defensive coordinators is an issue too. During Ron Rivera’s time in Carolina he lost Sean McDermott to Buffalo and then Steve Wilks to Arizona in back-to-back years, and their defense went through a downward spiral. It’s really about getting a HC who can manage a whole team. People are saying that Doug Pederson’s recent slump is because Frank Reich left. An offensive coach losing his OC.

    When teams have success they lose coaches and players to other teams. It’s called suffering from success and it’s why what the Pats have done is so incredible.

  7. Matt Patricia didn’t work out, but I’m hoping we get Robert Saleh. Both defensive guys. And before that, we had Caldwell (Ravens OC) and Schwartz (Titans DC). And we stunk the whole time.

    In my mind, it’s not about an offensive mind, or a defensive mind. It’s about having a team coordinator, that allows the OC and the DC to run their sides of the ball. The head coach should be, in a sense, a captain of the ship but not the man on the oars.

    John Harbaugh had balanced experience on both sides of the ball, and on special teams, which involves guys from both sides of the ball working together.

  8. This is why most of the league continues to stay bad. At least Christopher Johnson realizes this time that HC isn’t a coordinator job. Maybe they’ll get it right for a change. Gruden was the media darling forever, as this offensive guru and the Raiders still suck because as an HC, you have to deal with the whole team. I can’t believe people are still peddling this nonsense when the top coaches in the AFC the last decade are former DCs in Belichick and Tomlin and a former DB/ST coach in Harbaugh. You’re looking for a leader and organized person at HC who can motivate the whole building. That’s not in a coordinator’s job description.

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