Why has Bill Belichick’s coaching tree as been so barren?

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Head coach Bill Belichick of the New England P...
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As I predicted months ago, Bronco Owner Bowlen fired HC Josh McDaniels this week. This is what I said on this site on March 17, 2009:

The key story is that Bowlen blew it when he fired Mike Shanahan and blew it again in hiring the 32 year old McDaniels. McDaniels is not mature enough to be a head coach in the NFL. It was a bad hire and this is only the first screwup for which McD will be responsible.

That was written before the Broncos went 6-0 to start the 09 season. That start was followed by a 2-8 record to end 09 and a 3-9 start to the 2010 schedule.

It was obvious to me that McD was not nearly ready for the head job. But that is only the latest example of the failures of the Belichick disciples. Here is the major list of NFL head coaches that have come from the Belichick system:

Josh McDaniels – Fired after less than 2 years

Eric Mangini Browns (2009-?) – Was so bad at judging talent that he lost his GM control after a year and now is on the hot seat again.

Romeo Crennel Browns (2005-2008) – You would have thought that after the Crennel disaster the Browns owner would have had more sense than to hire another Beilchick clone.

Al Groh, New York Jets (2000) – Groh was lucky to survive a year.

Nick Saban, Miami Dolphins (2005–2006) – A much better college coach than pro.

Jim Schwartz, Detroit Lions (2009–?) – Schwartz is on the hot seat and will probably go after the season.

Something that should be noted is that after going 36-44 as HC of the Browns, it took Belichick 4 seasons to be named HC of the Patriots. That team was in such disarray that they were looking for someone with some experience that would actually take the job.

The question becomes why does one of the most successful coaches in the history of the league have such a meager coaching tree?

There are a couple of major reasons. The greatest is “Belichick attitude.” The Belichick clones come in with the Hoodie Attitude. That is an attitude of secrecy and take a dictatorial control over the locker room and the players. They are unwilling (or unable) to accept others ideas or adjust their “system” to the current talent available.

That may work with 18-20 year old boys but very quickly loses an NFL locker room filled with veteran players. They will not put up with being treated like children. The attitude only works if you have 5 Super Bowl rings as head coach.

One result of the attitude is the desire by the clone to dump talented veterans that refuse to buy into the system. Both McDaniels and Mangini have done that recently. The result is a steep decline in talent on the roster and generates losses. The NFL stands for Not For Long if you don’t win.

The attitude of “do it my way or else” also inhibits making half time adjustments. Because they are convinced that their system is perfect, they will continue to do the things that have not worked in the second half. Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result is one definition of insanity.

When a clone is questioned by the media or the ownership, they tend to stand firm and refuse to make changes. That tends to irritate the owners and hasten the firing.

Another reason is the lack of preparation. Belichick is by nature a control freak. He is not willing to take the time to teach his underlings. He dictates the game plan and they are only a middle man between him and the team to execute it. The assistants don’t participate in the formulation of the plan or even the research of the opponent upon which it is based. Because they are not involved, they do not learn the reasons behind the strategy.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. His first non-fiction work is at the publisher now and he has also published several novels on

and edits .

Technorati Tags: NFL,Patriots,Belichick,McDaniels,Saban,Mangini,Belichick coaching tree,Broncos,2011 Draft,Browns,Jets,Dolphins,coaching change
  • “Bill Belichick Empathizes With Josh McDaniels, Other Fired Coaches” and related posts (nesn.com)
  • Leading Off: Under the Hoodie, the Patriots Hum (nytimes.com)
  • No shock: Lightning rod Belichick better than ever (cbssports.com)
  • You: Josh McDaniels Fired: Where Will Wonder Boy Coach in 2011? (bleacherreport.com)
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Vegas projects the Browns to win 7 games(???)

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According to the over/under wins list put out by the odds makers in Vegas, the Browns are going to win 7 games but the Bengals are going to win only 6. These numbers look off to me.

The Browns are going to have a new QB, offensive and defensive system, key players on both sides of the ball. They traded their best receiver away and are shopping their only other starting pass catcher on EBAY without a minimum. And their other starting WR is suspended indefinitely by the Commissioner. They also have a new younger version of what they hope is Bill Belichick II in New England and not Bill Belichick I, the guy that they fired in Cleveland.

The Bengals have a quality experienced QB, the same O and D systems, and a coach that reportedly the players love to play for but is on the hot seat unless they win. My gut tells me that the Bengals are a lot closer to winning 7 or 8 games than the Browns are.

WR Braylon Edwards will have a lot of company when he runs patterns because he is the only deep threat the Browns have. Rookie WR Mohamed Massaquoi has speed but questionable hands. There should be real race to see who drops more passes. After Massaquoi drops more than his share, look for OSU rookie Brian Robiskie or vet Mike Furrey to get into the starting lineup. UFA Robert Royal figures to start at TE by default. He may be the only TE healthy enough to play.

The current depth chart shows turnstile UFA John St. Clair starting at RT. He has gotten QB broken everyplace he has played. Just like last year, the Browns may need 4 or 5 QBs this season if he starts.

The D line still lacks any help for pro bowl NT Shaun Rogers to stop the run. In the AFC North, if you can’t stop the run, you will be on the field a L O N G time. The linebacking corps is anything but settled. It will be a week to week game of who did you sack recently? The backfield looks less strong than it did last year as SS Jones was allowed to leave. Look for ex Jet SS Abram Elam to start. The corner opposite Eric Wright is up for grabs. Don’t look for any great improvement there. Without much of a pass rush, whoever plays will have to cover the opposition long enough to establish voting rights in Ohio on every play.

The best chances for a Browns win will be against Detroit, Kansas City, and Oakland. The rest of their games will be toss ups or worse. For entertainment purposes only BET THE UNDER.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

Technorati Tags: NFL,NFL Draft,Browns,Bengals,Jets,Belichick,Edwards,Vegas,Over/under
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  • Published: Jun 2nd, 2009
  • Category: NFL Football
  • Comments: Comments Off on Mangenious and his Magical Bus trip.

Mangenious and his Magical Bus trip.

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We are starting a new tradition here on Fryingpan Sports—the WWYT Award –What were you thinking?

Browns head coach Eric Mangini “asked” the Browns rookies to “volunteer” their time at his football camp. I’m OK with that.

Oh, by the way, we are going to take a bus to get there and back. I’m OK with that too.

The camp is only a 10 hour ride from the stadium in my old home town and you will do this for me because you love me and for free. WWYT?

You guys go ahead and clime in there. I’ll meet you there. I’m flying to the camp. @[email protected]#[email protected]#

Mangini was originally going to fly both ways. He only relented to take the bus back with the guys when somebody told him that flying both ways made him look worse than Kim Jong il on a bad PR day.

Mangini sees himself as Belichick II. What bothers any Browns fan is that he is acting EXACTLY like Belichick does now, not how Bill did when he was the Browns coach. Even Belichick didn’t go out of his way to snub one of the few stars of the team before Bill drank from the Fountain of Genius. He led the Browns to total disaster that contributed to the team leaving town and wasn’t this much of a butt head.

Belichick gets by acting like a jerk because he has won a fist full of NFL Championships. Mangini hasn’t won squat yet. The way he is going, it isn’t likely to happen in Cleveland either.

Mangini is going to either have to get over himself or win a championship in Cleveland. Since that is not likely to happen in my lifetime, he had better change his attitude. As Lord Acton said all power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. We are seeing that in Washington and in Cleveland.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

Technorati Tags: NFL,Football,NFL Draft,rookie,Browns,Mangini,Belichick,Cleveland

Saturday's Niblets from around the net for 02/28/09

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Fryingpan Sports

Saturday’s Niblets from around the net.

nib

By Bill Smith

Best comment of the week:

By 2009 Taxes on “My impressions of the first 2 days of the NFL Combine.”

It’s good to see Robiskie do well at the combine. He came to Ohio State as a 2 or 3 star recruit out of high school and took over the starting role after Ginn and Holmes left. He’s been underestimated at every stage.

That is an excellent point. Many other great receivers have been overlooked because they didn’t have “elite” speed. Robo will become a top receiver and whatever team gets him will be able to move the chains just as OSU did. He will become indispensable on 3rd down and in the red zone.

Updates on previous articles:

Introducing the United Football League:

The UFL has raised another 30 million in seed money to go with the first 20 mil put in by the primary investors. The group now includes a familiar name Paul Pelosi—husband of the Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.

My Advice: That should give the league enough money to get started. But to field 6 teams, they will need another 50-60 million. The league should keep politics out of their way. I will try to keep you up to date on the league.

Will Vince Young ever be an NFL quality QB?

Evidently, the Titans believe that Young is not an NFL starting QB yet because they announced yesterday that they had resigned Kerry Collins to a 2 year deal. He wasn’t signed to be a backup. He had said that he would retire unless he was given assurances that he would be the starter.

My Advice: Give Young some wild cat work to get him involved in the O. That will help you find out for sure if he will ever be capable of taking over the position.

Niblets fresh off the cob:

Jerry Jones implements a gag order on the Cowboys.

Don’t think he did that to prevent leaks about the team. Don’t expect the Boys to be the HBO Hard Knocks subject this year. But don’t worry. Jones says everything in Cowboy land is just peachy.

My Advice: Jer, gag orders don’t work on teams in the 7-9 year old league, so don’t think for a minute they will work for the Boys. You lose in December because your team is a soap opera titled “As the Stomach Churns.” You don’t think that team chemistry is important and every year it blows up in your face.

NT Shaun Rogers wants out of Cleveland

According to several sources, Cleveland Browns DL Shaun Rogers has had his feelings hurt. He is so hurt that he wants the Browns not to pick up the $6 million option-bonus payment due to him next month. Rogers is owed $15 million more in guaranteed money.

He is hurt because new head coach Mangini ignored Rogers twice at the Browns practice facility in Berea. The Browns have no intention of releasing Rogers due to the hit they would take against their salary cap of more than 9.7 million.

My advice to Mangini: You need to stop the Belichick act. You haven’t won anything yet. When you have a collection of Super Bowl rings, you can snub your best players. Until then, the only thing you have in common with Belichick is that you were both fired from your first head coaching job.

My advice to Rogers: You played like a pro bowler last year and led by example. Having skin this thin below you. Forget about Mangini, the Browns fans love you and respect how hard you played last year.

Tiger Woods drops his second match.

Tiger is coming back from a really tough surgery and a 8 month break. It could be that it will take him some time to get his stamina and touch back.

My advice: Fear not Tiger fans, he will be a force come Masters time.

The Patriots are still shopping for talent at the dollar store.

The Pats added more leadership to their team (as if they needed it) by signing former Jag RB Fred Taylor. Given the injury history of Laurence Maroney this was a great move at a usual great value for the Pats. The rich get richer.

The Redskins sign Haynesworth to a 100 million dollar deal—kind of.

DT Albert Haynesworth got a 7 year 100 million deal from Redskins owner Daniel Snyder to start the free agency period off with a bang. Snyder’s record with high dollar free agents has been more thuds than bangs.

My analysis: This is not going to be typical of the deals made in the free agency period. It is a giant risk with very little up side and a huge downside. Snyder wanted to make a splash and he did. Only time will tell if his bet will pay off or if it will not.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

My email is [email protected]

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Are teams better off with first time coaches?

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Fryingpan Sports

Are teams better off with first time coaches

By Bill Smith

Up until a couple of years ago, NFL owners that were in need of a coach overwhelmingly chose older guys with previous head coaching experience. Then in 2007 things seemed to change. First time HCs seemed to be in vogue.

Mike Smith was the defensive coordinator of the Jaguars from 2003-07. He was not exactly a young first time HC but a first time HC none the less. He was 47 when he was selected as head coach for the Atlanta Falcons. In his first year he led the team which had been 4-12 to the playoffs in 08 and a 11-5 record. He and rookie QB Matt Ryan also helped erase the stain that Mike Vick had caused to the franchise.

In January of 2008, the 1-15 Miami Dolphins hired Tony Sparano as head coach. He had coached the O line for the Cowboys and had 3 years as assistant head coach. He led one of the most inept teams in NFL history to 11-5 and the AFC East championship. Sparano had help. Bill Parcells joined the team as the Executive Vice President of Football Operations for the Miami Dolphins and helped transform the roster.

Also in January 2008, John Harbaugh, another first time coach was hired in Baltimore. His background was 9 years as special teams coach and one season as secondary coach for the Eagles. He inherited a winning team that fallen to 5-11 in 07 from a 13-3 record in 06. When the starting and back up went down QB, Harbaugh turned to a rookie 1st round choice Joe Flacco. The two led the Ravens to 11-5 record and a wild card spot in the playoffs.

On Jan. 14, 2007 Ken Whisenhunt was hired as the head coach of the Arizona Cardinals. In 2006 the team had been 5-11 and last in the weak NFC West. In 08 he got the team to 8-8 and second place behind the Seahawks. In 2008 he led the team to 9-7, a NFC West championship and 2 playoff wins. He had been the offensive coordinator of the Steelers for 3 years.

These 4 have had significant success in most cases with a less than quality team. However, two things must be mentioned. First, the record of this group of first time head coaches is not the norm. In total, first year HCs have had a pretty lack luster history. Second, while quick success is nice, will it last? All NFL coaches will be fired at some point. Even those in the Hall of Fame like Paul Brown have been sent packing at some point.

The newest round of hirings of head coaches include both first time HCs and retreads. The Browns hired Eric Mangini who had been fired by the Jets a few days before. My crystal ball tells me that Mangini will do OK and OK will be a great improvement over Romeo Crennel who had no head coaching experience before taking the Browns even further down the tubes. But there are a number of retread coaches with HC experience that are looking for work. Those names include Jon Gruden, Mike Shanahan, and Brian Billick all of whom have won Super Bowls. But these 4 teams decided to go the rookie HC route.

t Tampa Bay picked Raheem Morris yesterday one day after firing Jon Gruden. Morris who is 32 was discussed yesterday morning on this site. My guess is that Tampa will struggle. Morris had just been selected to be D coordinator and went to get a hair cut for his news conference. When he arrived back at 1 Buccaneer Place, he was the head coach. The Glazer’s said in a press conference that one of the primary reason they selected Morris was that he could relate to the players. That is not the question. The real issue is does he have enough experience to get the respect of the players. Players can tell in the first 10 minutes of the first practice if a coach knows his stuff or not. If Morris isn’t up to the job, the veteran team will eat him alive whether they like him or not. I think Tampa fans are in for a disappointment.

T1 The St. Louis Rams hired Giants DC Steve Spagnuolo as their first time HC. Reportedly, Rex Ryan DC of the Ravens was the teams first choice but owner Chip Rosenbloom decided not to wait for Baltimore to be eliminated from the playoffs. Rosenbloom was also worried that Ryan might opt for the Jets job over that of the Lambs. Spags deserved a lot of credit for the victory of the Giants over the Pats in the Super Bowl. But Spags has only one year of DC experience. Prior to that he had spent 8 years as a defensive position coach with the Eagles. Again I am not convinced he can turn the 2-14 St. Louis Lambs around. While Spags was the top candidate for several jobs, he just doesn’t have the depth of experience to get the most out of a team in desperate need of rebuilding.

t2 Perhaps the best bet to keep his job for more than 4 years is the new head coach of the Lions, Jim Schwartz the Titans defensive coordinator. Schwartz can only hope that the Ford family will give him as many chances as they did for Matt “watch me mess up a franchise” Millen the former GM. Schwartz takes over a team that was historically horrible. It was the only team in NFL history to go 0-16 in a regular season. The biggest problem Schwartz has is the lack of talent both on the field and in the upper management positions of the team. The new executive leadership of the Lions is now in the hands of Tom Lewand and Martin Mayhew. Mayhew was the former assistant GM and Lewand was promoted to executive vice president and chief operating officer February 1, 2003. His duties included football administration and player development. In the last 5 season, there has been very little of either. Both of these guys were there while Millen was allowed to run a muck with the roster. That is not a good sign for all 26 Lions fans. Neither of these guys seemed to have enough guts or power to convince the Fords to dump Millen years ago. Millen’s Lions produced the worst 8 year record in NFL history. Those long term problems are not going to be solved by those that were accessories to the carnage. Schwartz has an excellent reputation around the NFL. He was DC with Tennessee for 6 years leading the team to a top 10 finish statistically in almost all those seasons. The Titan defense ended up second in scoring D this season. Defense will be an entirely new concept in Detroit. They haven’t had one in years.

Technorati Tags: NFL, Football, Broncos, Patriots, Titans, Browns, Smith, Ryan, Jaguars, Falcons, Dolphins, Miami, Belichick, Parcells, Harbaugh, Flacco, Ravens, Whisenhunt, Cardinals, Steelers, Brown, Mangini, Crennel, Gruden, Shanahan, Billick, Morris, Spagnuolo, Giants, Rosenbloom, Rams, Eagles, Schwartz, Millen, Lions

t3 The Broncos replaced Mike Shanahan with Pats offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. McDaniels had been the Pats OC for only 2 seasons. McDaniels helped fine tune the Pats 07 offense into the highest scoring teams in NFL history. I am sure that having Tom Brady as your QB and Randy Moss and Wes Welker at WR really helped. However, he did have a direct effect on Matt Cassel’s success this season. Of the newbies, I think McDaniels might have the best chance. Unlike when Mangini was hired by the Jets, Bill Belichick gave McDaniels a glowing public reference and wished him the best. However, I am sure that does not include games against the Pats. I expect McDaniels to be fairly successful. However, the Broncos are going to have to get a lot better on defense and more consistent play from their offense to get back to the playoffs.

There are a lot of factors in turning a bad team around. One of the most important is getting the maximum performance out of the talent a coach has. Only time will tell whether the teams that hired first time HC made the right decision. If I am wrong, I will let you know. If they are wrong, it will set their franchises back years.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for NFLDraftDog.com and edits fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

  • Author:
  • Published: Jan 16th, 2009
  • Category: NFL Football
  • Comments: Comments Off on The Browns got 3 former Pats coaches, now can they get the success?

The Browns got 3 former Pats coaches, now can they get the success?

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Technorati Tags: Mangini,Browns,patriots,Jets,Daboll,Ryan,Asomugha,Raiders,defense,offense,Branch,Johnson,Belichick,Pennington,Favre

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Rob Ryan Brian Daboll

The Browns got 3 former Pats coaches, now can they get the success?

By Bill Smith

I discussed my thoughts about the Browns new head coach Eric Mangini. While he has previous head coach experience, he has a mixed record at successfully developing some of his high draft choices. Now Mangini has named his OC and DC–Brian Daboll and Rob Ryan respectively.

Ryan is a good choice. He was able to put a more than respectable defense on the field for the most dysfunctional franchise in NFL history—the Raiders. Under Ryan’s direction the pass defense became one of the best in the league. CB Nnamdi Asomugha (1st round 31st pick) has become the best shutdown corner in the league. Safety Michael Huff is on the verge of stardom. Ryan resurrected the career of former Browns mistake DT Gerard Warren helping him finally begin to realize his potential. He also helped turn NT Tommy Kelly into an acceptable NFL player.

Despite the record of the Raiders, the D played hard under Ryan. He has the reputation of being a no-nonsense guy that help get control of a sloppy tackling team like the Browns. He learned at the hand of his father Buddy Ryan and under Bill Belichick. Those credentials added to the Raider experience make this an excellent move by Mangini in my opinion.

I do not have the same warm and fuzzy feeling about Mangini’s selection of former Jets quarterbacks coach Brian Daboll. First, he has never had the OC responsibility. That is not good. We have just suffered through the learning curve of a couple of position coaches getting their first taste of the OC responsibility. Daboll was the WR coach in New England from 2002-2005. While he was given credit for developing WRs Deion Branch (2st round 2002) and former seventh-round (2002) pick David Givens into NFL grade receivers, he failed with Bethel Johnson (2nd round 2003).

In 2007 Daboll became the QB coach for the Jets. He inherited an experienced QB in Chad Pennington but failed to help him have a successful season. When Pennington went down, the Jets shuffled QBs through the lineup like a card shark at a poker game. None of the replacements even came close to success. In 2008, he stood by while head coach Mangini and Bret Favre battled over the offensive play calling. That is not exactly a recommendation.

But for better or worse, Daboll is the guy. Let’s hope for the fans sake it is not for the worse.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for NFLDraftDog.com and edits fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

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