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Round table: We discuss as NFL coaching carousel yields surprising results

Bruce Arians

Kliff Kinsgbury? Matt LaFleur? Bruce Arians to Tampa Bay? What’s going on here?

The spinning NFL coaching carousel doesn’t really involve the New York Giants this year. Pat Shurmur is in place and there have been no indications at this point that there will be staff changes. Still, the carousel is interesting to discuss.

With that in mind, we’re trying something a bit different today. We gathered as many of your Big Blue View contributors as we could for a chat about many of the moves that have been made, mostly with yours truly filling what would amount to a moderator role. Here is what we ended up with:

Ed Valentine:

Let’s kick this off.

A generic though to start is that the hirings in Green Bay and Arizona are very surprising to me. They seem like “home run” swings that could either be spectacular successes, or equally spectacular flops.

Dan Pizzuta:

That’s fair, but at this point, especially with these two teams I think that swing kind of has to be taken. For Green Bay, the goal is to get the most out of whatever Aaron Rodgers has left and in Arizona, it’s about getting the best system around Josh Rosen as soon as possible.

Mark Schofield:

I’ll confess to being a bit surprised at the LaFleur hiring. I was hoping he’d get more out of Marcus Mariota. But maybe the lack of production from him was due more to injury than anything else.

That being said, while LaFleur’s offense had a lot of the Sean McVay elements he was probably hired for, it was also more vertical than I expected it to be, which fits with their current crop of WRs. Plus, I think it is a good idea for Rodgers to be in a more vertical offense, and as Dan said it’s all about getting what you can out of Rodgers, and that should be a start.

Joe DeLeone:

The risk for both might payoff, but they are desperate attempts to find the next 30-year-old offensive genius. LaFleur has the strongest likelihood of actually paying off because of his NFL experience and being handed one of the best quarterbacks to build around. Kingsbury on the other hand will be a major flop, considering he has absolutely no experience in the NFL and struggled to win games in the Big 12. While I do agree its is about getting Rosen in the best system as soon as possible, this move seems rushed.

Ed Valentine:

So, I will admit to not even knowing who Matt LaFleur was before he got hired by the Packers. What makes this guy, with less experience as a coordinator than Ben McAdoo had, the right guy to coach Aaron Rodgers? I’d think it would be easier to get buy-in from a strong-willed guy like Rodgers with someone who has more of a track record.

Dan Pizzuta:

I’ll ashamedly answer that with another question, who is really that guy right now?

Offense is the most important thing in the NFL right now and it happens that most of the guys with the most progressive outlooks on that side of the ball are younger. I have no idea how LaFleur will be as a head coach, but if he can communicate and can construct a good offensive system, one that doesn’t count on Rodgers to be magic on his own all the time, he’ll have the quarterback’s respect

Mark Schofield:

Pagano? Koetter?

Dan Pizzuta:

Would either of those guys excite you if your Green Bay? And if it’s Pagano, you’re still looking for someone to run the offense.


Baylor v Texas Tech Photo by John Weast/Getty Images
Kliff Kingsbury

Ed Valentine:

OK, so let’s talk about Arizona. Kliff Kingsbury? I get the “offense is important” and that developing Josh Rosen is critical, but a head coach can’t be just a glorified quarterbacks coach. There’s a lot more to it than that. How does a guy like this manage to “fail up?” He got fired by his collegiate alma mater, a place where he was a hero as a player.

Dan Pizzuta:

Here’s where I’ll take the rationale for a Kingsbury hire making sense: There’s a bigger gap in passing efficiency and run efficiency in the NFL than in the NCAA (where Kingsbury excels). There’s also a smaller gap in the range of defensive talent in the NFL than in college (where Kingsbury struggled). I’d argue his skillset is actually better suited for the NFL than it was in the Big 12 where he couldn’t recruit a defense. Last year Texas Texh was 22nd in offensive S&P+ but 87th on defense. He’s not going to have that problem in the NFL

…provided he can fill out a good defensive staff, which I don’t think will be as big a problem as some make it. That coach will get full control over the defense and Kingsbury runs an air raid, but it’s not like it’s a Chip Kelly hyperspeed offense that’s going to put stress on the defense from getting more time on the field.

Joe DeLeone:

Kingsbury’s circumstance is that of the Cardinals trying to recreate what they have in LA. Now that one team has created success with young talented quarterback and a young charismatic coach, it’s clear they think this is the new standard for breeding a good environment. The reality of it is that McVay was the exception and a rare coincidence. Other teams have attempted to bring in younger coaches, like with Josh McDaniels on multiple occasions, but this one is easily the most risky.

I do agree he is a good offensive mind, but wouldn’t he be better suited as an offensive coordinator rather than a head coach in foreign territory?


Ed Valentine:

So, let’s talk about Bruce Arians. Has he lost his mind? He left Arizona claiming health reasons, and now he is going to go coach Jameis Winston? That can’t be good for anyone’s health!

Joe DeLeone:

Well I think him leaving Arizona was mainly because he hates working with rookie quarterbacks and did not want to build a team from the ground up. Despite him admitting to drinking paint as a kid, I’m sure his health is fine.

Mark Schofield:

I love that fit.

He’s got his staff in place, and Winston is a great fit for his offense. If you truly live the “no risk it no biscuit” lifestyle he’s the right QB for it. Good vertical threat in Evans, decent TEs to work around who can be vertical threats as well, and maybe this offensive system convince DeSean Jackson to stick around, as he’d thrive in it.

Dan Pizzuta:

I love that hire. On and off the field Arians hasn’t been afraid to take risks. He could potentially be a good mentor for Winston, a player he has consistently praised while he was coaching. Like Mark said, that offense is a perfect match. Per Next Gen Stats, only Josh Allen threw a deeper average pass than Winston this season and Arians loves the vertical game. And if it doesn’t work, there’s only one year left on Winston’s deal and Arians can hand pick his next quarterback

Joe DeLeone:

As long as they attack the defensive side of the ball in the off season, they probably have the best chance for a quick turnaround. The major obstacle standing in the way is if Winston doesn’t do something dumb to jeopardize his career. Arians was the best available guy to keep him in check.

Mark Schofield:

…from what could be a great QB class.

Dan Pizzuta:

Good point there, Mark.

The defensive side is going to be taken care of with this hire, too. Arians had his full staff in place — pretty much his entire Arizona staff — and Todd Bowles coming in as defensive coordinator is just as big as Arians at the helm

Joe DeLeone:

Honestly, the most intriguing part of the hire is him bringing Bowles in. He might not be a great head coach, but the performance of Arizona’s defense when he was there is a clear indication of what we can expect.


Ed Valentine:

Last one. The New York Jets. They haven’t hired him yet, but would Mike McCarthy be the right guy to develop Sam Darnold? If not McCarthy, who?

Joe DeLeone:

Right now he appears to be the best available for their situation. Before Rodgers starting eating up all of the Packers cap space, McCarthy produced some elite teams that were well balanced on both sides of the ball. Now that he has a quarterback that is far less outspoken in coaching and personnel decisions, he can spend the money he needs to fill the Jets remaining holes.

Dan Pizzuta:

I really don’t like that fit at all. His offensive scheme has a lot of isolation routes, which put a lot of stress on the receivers to win one-on-one and the Jets right now don’t have the skill players for that to work and when it doesn’t, that puts a lot of stress on the quarterback to make something work out of structure. That wore down Rodgers eventually and I can’t imagine that’s the best setting to put Darnold in during his second year.

Mark Schofield:

Similar to the Arizona situation, the Jets job is all about developing Darnold and maximizing the window of his rookie deal. When he was coming out I thought a west coast offense might make sense for him, and well….that’s McCarthy.

The one hang up I have with this potential pairing is this: McCarthy’s offense got stale and as we know relied too much on Rodgers creating on his own. Almost no pre-snap movement or shifting, minimal creativity near the end, etc.

Those are all things you can do as a coach to help your QB, and those are things you can do to help a rookie like Darnold. How set in his ways is McCarthy?


Editor’s note: We hope you enjoyed this! We enjoyed putting it together, and intend to do this occasionally going forward.

Original article: https://www.bigblueview.com/2019/1/9/18175363/round-table-we-discuss-as-nfl-coaching-carousel-yields-surprising-results-bucs-arians-kingsbury

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