Tag Archives: Chicago Bears

Coach This! A Chrystal Ball Guide To Who’s Coming & Going!

9 Dec

Perhaps only the Pittsburgh Steelers, Utah Jazz and Atlanta Braves have truly learned the value of continuity.  Every other pro sports franchise these days either can’t find the right guy to hire or doesn’t give that guy enough time and support to really turn things around.

With that volatility in mind, here’s some quick thoughts on various pro coaches, their futures and recent pasts:

Marty Schottenheimer– Romeo Crennel and Phil Savage, the current coach/GM combo for the Cleveland Browns are in a lot of hot water.  One year after their breakthrough 10-6 campaign, the word is one or both of the two are likely goners.  And who’s rumored to take over?  None other than Marty Schottenheimer, who started his long and distinguished regular season career with the original Browns back in the ’80s.

Marty is a winner and has been everywhere he’s been, except for the playoffs.  The Browns may have overachieved last year, but they do have talent.  Wouldn’t it be something to see Marty Schottenheimer bring his career full circle by wrapping things up in Cleveland with the Super Bowl title he’s chased so long?  Stranger things have happened!

Wade Phillips– He’s got to be done now, right?  This past Sunday is a perfect example of Phillips’ head coaching legacy.  Up ten with nine minutes to go and he lets Offensive Coordinator/HC in Waiting Jason Garrett start winding down the clock way too early.  What should have been a huge road win and boon to Dallas’ playoff hopes ends up as another crushing defeat and Dallas will likely miss the playoffs.

Phillips is apparently a great defensive coordinator.  And, if he wants to stay in the NFL, that’s what he’ll be next year.  He’s finished running Jerry Jones’ squad.

Norv Turner – He’s Phillips’ flip side.  Turner is a great offensive coordinator who just can’t get it done as a head coach.  San Diego has way more talent than their record shows.  With Turner at the helm that’s not a surprise.  By now the league has caught on and neither Phillips or Turner will be a head coach anywhere other than in their current jobs.

Dick Jauron–  After starting the season at 5-1, it’s all gone down hill for the Bills.  Based on that strong start, Buffalo extended Jauron’s contract.  What has Buffalo brass got to be thinking about that extension right now? 

I never understood the urgency.  But, maybe it’s cosmic payment for Jauron.  After all, he did a decent job in Chicago and got bagged there kind of unfairly.  (He got screwed over)  So, this could be the way the football gods make it up to him and his family.

PJ Carlesimo– A great college coach, who loves the NBA lifestyle too much to return where he really belongs.  Apparently, he’s a great NBA assistant and was very popular in that role in San Antonio.  Somehow he loses his people skills when he gets that head coach title.  Rule number one in the NBA is don’t alienate your franchise number one draft choice, especially when he’s going for 20 a night in his rookie year.   PJ forgot that.  And now the NBA will forget his name for future coaching openings.

Eddie Jordan– I can’t believe the  Wizards were stupid enough to fire him.  If I were a GM looking for my next NBA head coach, I’d have Jordan’s digits on speed dial.  The guy has won in places that no one wins.  As a player, he led Rutgers to a Final Four.  As an assistant coach, many felt he deserved more credit than Byron Scott for the lowly NJ Nets fortunes turning earlier this millennium.  Leaving Jersey for another perennial loser in DC, Jordan managed to regularly get the Wizards to the playoffs before being dismissed.  Some day, Eddie Jordan will win an NBA title as a head coach.  And that day will come before the Wizards franchise grabs its next title.

Kevin McHale– What a great player and what a horrible GM.  His reign of terror in Minnesota goes on unabated.  There’s no logical explanation for his lasting so long there even if he’s a massive b-ball icon in the state.  It’s bordering on the ridiculousness of Elgin Baylor’s time with the Clips or Mike Millsbury’s time with the NHL’s Islanders.

Now, however, McHale may be close to done.  Ownership fired the ‘Wolves head man and today word came out that McHale will be stepping down from his executive duties to take over as coach for the long term.   Only McHale can save himself now.

Hmmmm….. That move didn’t work out too well for one Isiah Thomas.  To be fair, McHale pulled this stunt once before and manged to go about 19-12.  For the Timberwolves these days, that would be a HUGE improvement.

So what’s the take away?

Everyone finds their level in life and in sports.  Great coordinators or assistants aren’t always great head coaches.  As a GM, it’s your job to know the difference.

If you’re a GM and you’ve got an Eddie Jordan at the helm, then be patient.  But, not so patient that he ends up turning into undeserving lifer like a Kevin McHale.

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If Gale Sayers Is In The Hall of Fame, Why Isn’t Terrell Davis?

31 May

I love Gale Sayers as much as the next guy.  I’ve seen the movie.  I admire what he did for Brian Piccolo.  While I’m wayyyyy too young to have actually seen Sayers play during his brief but wondrous career, I have seen the highlights over and over thanks to cable television.  Sayers is a top notch act on and off the field.  Gale Sayers, Mr. Sayers to me, deserves to be in the Hall of Fame.

Question is…  If Sayers is in, how can you keep Terrell Davis out?

There are so many parallels between the two.  Both were brilliant running backs.  Both played only seven season in the NFL. Of their seven seasons, both were really factors in only four and half NFL campaigns. Both fought injury problems, which ended their careers prematurely and tied them together forever.  Spooky, right?

So with such short careers, how do we evaluate their hall worthiness?

Let’s start with Sayers, who was elected to the NFL’s Hall of Fame in 1977.  Given his career accomplishments, the highlight film, Brian’s Song, his legacy is clear.  There’s no serious debate Gale Sayers doesn’t belong in the Hall. 

In Sayer’s all too brief career, he made countless highlight plays.  He was a game changer out of the backfield or returning kicks.  He led the NFL three times in total yards.  His career rushing average clocks in at a gaudy 5.0 yards per attempt.  He was a four time Pro Bowl pick and made First Team All Pro five times.  He was a star in every sense of the word.

As for Terrell Davis, he was a Pro Bowl and All Pro pick three times.  His rushing average was a healthy 4.6 yards per attempt.  He led the entire NFL in rushing yards once while breaking the exclusive 2000 yard barrier in 1998.  He was second in rushing twice and went over 1,500 yards in three straight seasons.  Finally, Davis led the league in rushing touchdowns twice and in overall touchdowns once.  The man could flat out play.  He wasn’t nicknamed TD due to his initials…

Give Sayers the edge in yards per carry, breakaway ability and his return skills.  However, there’s a big category that Sayers trails TD in.  Sayers never played in a championship game.  Unfortunately, his Bear teams never even got close.  So, we never got to see what highlights Gale Sayers would have come up on the biggest stage of all.

As for TD, we know all about him and championships.  Remember that Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway?  You know, the guy who won back to back Super Bowls and then rode off into retirement?  Well, Elway won exactly ZERO championships before Terrell Davis showed up in the Broncos’ backfield.  Elway and the Broncos had done nothing but get killed in Super Bowls prior to TD’s time.

It’s clear that come crunch time Terrell was money.  He was the MVP of Super Bowl XXXII scoring three TDs, which no RB had ever done before.  Throughout the playoffs that year, he railed off four straight 100 yard games in a row helping Denver go from wild card entrants to Super Bowl Champs.

The following year, come playoff time, Davis was once again on top of his game.  In his second straight championship game, TD ran for over 100 yards while gaining another 50 or so through the air.  Along the way, Davis set the playoff record with seven straight games with 100 or more rushing yards. 

John Elway still sends TD thank you cards for giving him the story book ending to his great career.

As time has gone by, we’ve forgotten how big a factor Terrell Davis was.  His brief career leaves us asking how we judge him.  Should we go on what was or what could have been had he not been forced out of the game way too soon?  Looking back at his record of achievement during the regular season and playoffs, it’s clear Terrell Davis belongs in the Hall of Fame.

No slight intended at Mr. Sayers, but Terrell Davis would belong in the Hall of Fame even if Sayers hadn’t already gotten in.

He was that good.