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fredtoast

What makes a good head coach?

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I an guessing that we will end up hiring a guy with no previous head coaching experience, but even if we do hire a former NFL head coach it will be a guy who failed at his last head coaching position.

 

I've been an NFL fan for over forty years, and I have seen a lot of head coaches bounce around from spot to spot.  My general impression is that coaches somehow know how to coach better when they have more talent around them.  The same guys that fail at one job will succeed somewhere else.  And it isn't just the talent level of the players.  Bill Parcells won 65.7% of his regular season games and 2 Super Bowls in the 9 seasons he had Belichick as his DC.  In the other 10 years of his head coaching career he had a losing record.

 

Some people seem to think that a Head Coach has to be "fiery", but I think that is much more important on the high school and college level.  I don't think grown men should need anyone to "fire them up".  But again, Bill Belichick is not known for his emotional speeche, sideline tirades, or losing his shit in press conferences.  Tom Landry had a calm demeanor, and Tony Dungy, the second best coach of the least two decades does not even use curse words.

 

Being a brilliant "X's and O's" is crucial to being a good coordinator, but we all know that great coordinators sometimes suck as head coaches (Dick Lebeau, Buddy Ryan).  Mike Martz created one of the greatest offenses ever as a coordinator, but when he was made head coach he could not sustain the success.  A head coach has to have a great "football mind", but that alone is not enough.

 

To me a great head coach has to be a manager and understand human nature.  He has to be able to build a staff to support him.  He has to be able to realize which players are motivated by screaming and which ones are motivated by pride or even money.  He has to be able to work well with the front office without being a puppet.  But mainly he has to lead by example and earn the respect of his players.  Every team is going to face adversity, and that is when the head coach is most important.  He has to be able to adapt to changes in personnel. He has to keep the faith of the team.  He has to be able to make them believe they can win because they have done everything they need to to win.

 

The logic is kind of circular.  The players have to believe the the coach knows how to win, but thy have to win before there is any proof that the coach is a winner.  Marvin had no head coaching experience when he came here, but he had a solid reputation for building one of the greatest defenses ever and winning a Super Bowl.

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1.  Know your personnel:  Coaches and players.   Weaknesses and strengths.

 

2.  Know how to use those personnel:  Effectively and efficiently.

 

3.  Know how to manufacture luck.   Know when to take chances.

 

Being able to combine all ingredients together and become a force and not merely "competitive."

 

This is not a complete list.

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I think Number one on Number's list is important, especially when you conceive your offensive and defensive game plans according to your strengths and to disguise your weaknesses. Structure your scheme around the players you have, not the ones you wish you had, nor force a scheme on a team just because you're Chip Kelly. 

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