Can a player actually be a "coach killer"? (1 Viewer)

superchuck500

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There has been a lot of talk this week about Vick, spawned by elder Jim Mora’s comments that #7 is a “coach killer.” I have a problem with that whole concept and thought it would be interesting to discuss it here. I’m sure there already has been a lot of it on other threads, but, leaving any particular player out of the discussion (Vick for instance) I wonder what you guys think about the entire concept, in theory, that a player can be a “coach killer.”

I think the whole "coach killer" idea is terribly flawed and I wish people would stop talking about it. The NFL is too complex a game for one guy to be a coach killer- unless that guy is consistently turning the ball over like 5 times a game. (For instance, IMO, Vick is not responsible for the Falcons’ inability to score from the 2 yard line on two separate occasions) And if a guy is playing so poorly that clearly his play alone is the problem, and the coach leaves him in the game- then it’s the coach who is the 'coach killer' and not the player- and that's the way it should be. I thought that the ultimate responsibility rested with the coach- this idea that the buck is passed from the coach's ultimate responsibility to a player is ludicrous to me. If a player isn’t getting it done, he needs better coaching or to be benched for a game or two to get his game turned around. Those, to me are all coaching issues. Players don't kill coaches.

I understand that there is a counterpoint out there, that, these days, owners and fans demand that these marquis players, garnering $100 million contracts, be on the field. I’m not going to make the counterpoint, because I think it too is flawed in theory, but someone else may choose to do so.

It just seems to me that: 1). The NFL is too complex for one player to “kill” a coach; 2) If a player’s performance rises to that level, and the coach fails to correct it by either coaching the player or making a personnel change, then it is the coach who is ultimately responsible and not the player.

Care to discuss? And apologies for any overlap to other threads.
 

Loose Cannon

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Okay, this is not meant to be an Aaron Brooks thread. Please don't start with the debates.

But I do truly think that in a sense, AB killed Haslett's career with the Saints, and possibly his chances of ever being a head coach again.

Most of us believe that if Haslett had started Jake over an obviously broken Aaron in 2002, we would have made the playoffs (the collapse year). Not to say that Jake is the better quarterback... personally I think they're both below average... but Aaron's shoulder was clearly not functioning properly. Haslett's loyalty to AB cost him the players' trust and loyalty, and it was all downhill from there.

Maybe not AB's fault... but it _is_ possible for a coach to be so tied to a player, that his future lives and dies with said player. Herm Edwards and Pennington is another decent example.
 

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See: Brooks, Aaron.

Players like he and Vick show enough talent and win just enough games that it's considered foolish to replace them. Yet they're so inconsistent that they destroy the team's ability to win. Not many coaches have the cojones to bench a player like that. Sometimes they get lucky and Drew Bledsoe gets injured.
 

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Sprewell tried his best, but some dudes pulled him off.

I think QBs can maybe be coach killers in the NFL, because they can expose things like stubborn natures, inability to adapt, poor talent evaluation and drafting, etc. Poor QB play seems like it can be a symptom of poorly run team.
 

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Okay, this is not meant to be an Aaron Brooks thread. Please don't start with the debates.

But I do truly think that in a sense, AB killed Haslett's career with the Saints, and possibly his chances of ever being a head coach again.

Most of us believe that if Haslett had started Jake over an obviously broken Aaron in 2002, we would have made the playoffs (the collapse year). Not to say that Jake is the better quarterback... personally I think they're both below average... but Aaron's shoulder was clearly not functioning properly. Haslett's loyalty to AB cost him the players' trust and loyalty, and it was all downhill from there.

Maybe not AB's fault... but it _is_ possible for a coach to be so tied to a player, that his future lives and dies with said player. Herm Edwards and Pennington is another decent example.

i was gonna go there LC, but i didn't want to start the AB war all over....i agree with what you are saying....i think the point is that, it's not the player himself killing the coach, its the coach's reluctance to make changes that ultimately kills the coach....
 

SaintJ

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When a player is foisted upon a coach, but does not have the overall skills to be ultimately successful at the position no matter how well-meaning and intense the effort by both player and coach, yes.

When the player is foisted on the coach, the player does not report to the coach, but to the GM or owner. When the coach doesn't control the player, the "killer" risk is high.

It's more likely to happen in basketball, where team chemistry is so critical, but only five players are on the floor at once, and a good team's rotation usually has no more than 8-9. Football, you need 35-40 guys every week, and baseball, well, you generally ply your trade individually.

There are a lot of "coach killers" in the NBA, not on purpose. I love Allen Iverson's heart, and yes, he does practice now, and he does try to lead. But you are in a complete no-win situation with your best player and biggest scorer at 5-11 in the NBA. A player doesn't have to be a bad guy to be a "coach killer."
 

keepoursaints

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I think it is true. They overpaid Vick and now are stuck with him as their QB despite the fact that while he is a world-class athlete, he just isn't a QB. They keep playing him because he has that game changing ability, but that's a rare occurance and has been in his career.

I agree with LC on this one too...... sticking with one player rather than going with the best player at the position can cost a coach his job and should.
 

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Sprewell tried his best, but some dudes pulled him off.

I think QBs can maybe be coach killers in the NFL, because they can expose things like stubborn natures, inability to adapt, poor talent evaluation and drafting, etc. Poor QB play seems like it can be a symptom of poorly run team.

I like this one.
 
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superchuck500

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Again, why does the buck pass Haslett to AB? Haslett killed himself with his own stubborness about AB. That's my point. Why is the coach's failure to rectify the situation with either coaching or personnel changes no longer the coach's failure, and now becomes the player's failure?
Fans, analysts, other coaches alike were criticizing Haslett's loyalty to AB for several seasons. Why is AB the "coach killer" and Haslett not responsible for his own failure as a result of his undying loyalty to a bad player?

It just seems to me that "players don't kill coaches- coaches kill coaches."
 

Loose Cannon

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I think it is true. They overpaid Vick and now are stuck with him as their QB despite the fact that while he is a world-class athlete, he just isn't a QB. They keep playing him because he has that game changing ability, but that's a rare occurance and has been in his career.

I agree with LC on this one too...... sticking with one player rather than going with the best player at the position can cost a coach his job and should.

Mora is killing himself with Vick because the offense they run is probably the absolute worst offense you can run with a player that has Vick's portfolio of strengths and weaknesses.

Vick is not a coach killer, at least not with his play on the field. The typical stubbornness of NFL coaches and their unwillingness to adapt is what's killing Mora.
 

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I disagree in the "nfl complexity" argument. It comes down to execution of plays. When Aaron was here, he clearly could not read through his assigned progressions. I think Vick has the same problem in "reading" his progressions. But with Vick, he has the once-in-a-blue moon athletic ability to mask that problem by running. Problem with that is you alienate your WR's to the point that they begin to think " hey the ball isnt coming my way".

Now the HC has a delimma. You have a $100 mil QB who has all the talent in the world. You have pressure from top down to fans to expolit that talent, but that talent is not suited for the "NFL GAME' and the NFL GAME is not ready to change. ( same reason the option/wishbone play does not work) What is a coach to do? Mora tried the "pocket passer" tech. with Vick and it failed. Now they reverted back to the run first, pass second tech. and teams now know how to defense it. As a HC you have no other options. Ergo, coach killer.
 

keepoursaints

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Again, why does the buck pass Haslett to AB? Haslett killed himself with his own stubborness about AB. That's my point. Why is the coach's failure to rectify the situation with either coaching or personnel changes no longer the coach's failure, and now becomes the player's failure?
Fans, analysts, other coaches alike were criticizing Haslett's loyalty to AB for several seasons. Why is AB the "coach killer" and Haslett not responsible for his own failure as a result of his undying loyalty to a bad player?
It just depends on how you look at the situation. AB became Haslett's killer because he would flash moments of greatness that Haslett would fixate on and ignore his normal tendencies to be overly inconsistant. I don't think what Mora or anyone is saying is that Vick is out to kill his coach's career, but rather that the coaches run into trouble when they stick with a player who will show flashes of brilliance rather than go with someone who will just be consistent and not lose the game for their team.

I think that's what Mora meant by his statement, that Vick makes jaw-dropping plays that make Mora Jr and the Atlanta coaching staff want to give him the ball all the time, and at the same time overlook the fact that he just isn't consistent enough to be a leader of their team.
 

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Again, why does the buck pass Haslett to AB? Haslett killed himself with his own stubborness about AB. That's my point. Why is the coach's failure to rectify the situation with either coaching or personnel changes no longer the coach's failure, and now becomes the player's failure?
Fans, analysts, other coaches alike were criticizing Haslett's loyalty to AB for several seasons. Why is AB the "coach killer" and Haslett not responsible for his own failure as a result of his undying loyalty to a bad player?

It just seems to me that "players don't kill coaches- coaches kill coaches."
I don't think AB and Vick are comparable. Vick is a coach killer because he seems to be unable to be coached in the first place. Brooks was always a passer and could be decent at times. Him being benched or nto has nothing to do with his coaching. Mora can't coach Vick and its killing him. Vick also doesn't seem to want to be coached. He wants to play his game.
 

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Okay, this is not meant to be an Aaron Brooks thread. Please don't start with the debates.

But I do truly think that in a sense, AB killed Haslett's career with the Saints, and possibly his chances of ever being a head coach again.

Most of us believe that if Haslett had started Jake over an obviously broken Aaron in 2002, we would have made the playoffs (the collapse year). Not to say that Jake is the better quarterback... personally I think they're both below average... but Aaron's shoulder was clearly not functioning properly. Haslett's loyalty to AB cost him the players' trust and loyalty, and it was all downhill from there.

Maybe not AB's fault... but it _is_ possible for a coach to be so tied to a player, that his future lives and dies with said player. Herm Edwards and Pennington is another decent example.

Think about what you're saying. It's the coach's decision to stick with guys when they know they probably shouldn't. I think the argument can be made that Haslett killed Brooks' career by not urging and demanding him to become a complete QB, one that goes through progressions, reads defenses, and makes better decisions with the ball. He did not hold Brooks accountable for mistakes.
In Vick's case, I don't think he is a coach killer. I think that the organization needs a complete overhaul in its coaching staff. As much as I love the Saints, and I know we're playing well, how in the you know what do the Falcons not score from the 2 yard line, with 3 tries? The playcalling was terrible. They brought in an 80 year old kicker. They refuse to make adjustments to their rushing attack because the media says its the best in the league, and we stuffed it minus Vick. WRs are terrible, and probably not being coached up.

My point is that you have to have the guts to tell a guy - "you're not the guy anymore, I'm putting Jake in, or I'm putting Shaub in, I'm putting Romo in, or like Mike Shannahan(sp?) just did, I'm putting Cutler in". It's on the coaches and the leaders of the organization to decide that winning is more important than hurt feelings and fan favorites.
 

Loose Cannon

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Again, why does the buck pass Haslett to AB? Haslett killed himself with his own stubborness about AB.
If that's the crux of the question, then it's a really good question.

SaintJ made a good point with basketball. It's much easier in the NBA to be a coach killer. See: Bryant, Kobe or Carter, Vince.

With AB, I think it was a combination. Haslett obviously had a ridiculous stubborn unwillingness to see Aaron's faults. Aaron also failed to rally the team around him, and have them come together as a cohesive unit.

If Brees went down, and Payton played him even though he was hurt, and we lost, I doubt the Payton would lose the team like Haslett did with Aaron. The team seems to have our QB's back through thick and thin, which could not be said for the AB/Haslett Saints. Aaron's lack of leadership skills led to a very hair-trigger mutiny when we collapsed in '02.

In my specific example, I think it's a little of both. In the Pennington/Edwards example, it was all on Herm Edwards, because Pennington by all accounts is a great guy and good leader. Then you can look at a guy like T.O., and the blame falls pretty squarely on the player.

I think it's specific to the situation.
 
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superchuck500

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It just depends on how you look at the situation. AB became Haslett's killer because he would flash moments of greatness that Haslett would fixate on and ignore his normal tendencies to be overly inconsistant. I don't think what Mora or anyone is saying is that Vick is out to kill his coach's career, but rather that the coaches run into trouble when they stick with a player who will show flashes of brilliance rather than go with someone who will just be consistent and not lose the game for their team.

I think that's what Mora meant by his statement, that Vick makes jaw-dropping plays that make Mora Jr and the Atlanta coaching staff want to give him the ball all the time, and at the same time overlook the fact that he just isn't consistent enough to be a leader of their team.
Yeah, I understand that point for sure. I guess its just the idea that it is now the player's fault and not the coach's that bothers me. If the coach sticks with the player when he's not getting results, that's the coach's problem. I just don't see how it is any other way. Thus, the player doesn't kill the coach, the coach's own shortcomings kill the coach.

And about Mora- I personally think that Jr.'s decision to take a timeout after the first play of our posession that yielded the hail mary touchdown was vastly more damaging to the Falcons' chance to win that game than anything Vick did.
 

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