The Perfect Pro Football Coach​


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Upon Further Review: The Texans Didn’t Do S0 Badly Afterall
The NFL’s Newest Head Coaches


I am introducing a new page to the Perfect Pro Football Coach website called “THE COACHING GAUNTLET". Being a head coach in the NFL is tough. There is always someone beating up on you. New guys are always entering the pipeline while others are being spit out the other end. You can count on at least six to eight of them being replaced every year. I decided to track the movement from both ends.
The first entry deals with “
WHO SHOULD BE THE TEXANS NEW COACH?” I ran 25 prospects through my CHANCE OF SUCCESS (COST) matrix and came up with the names I feel are best qualified. Sure, I like Eric Bieniemy, but there are a couple of other names I think need to be considered before him. How about Dennis Allen and Pete Carmichael, among a few others?

To see it all, just click on the  GAUNLET button. 

The annual NFL head coach bloodletting is over. Seven coaches were let go. As someone who has closely followed NFL head coaching turnover for many years, I am always very curious to see who pops up as the next guy to “get-us-to the big dance”. As a group, NFL owners have demonstrated the inability to make wise decisions when replacing this most important position. In fact, over the past decade the numbers indicate that only a paltry one out of  five new coaches is successful: a dreadful track record.

The media, of course, does help not matters by preying on coaching vacancies like buzzards on road kill. No matter who is selected, the local team will be blamed for having just blown it and missing the best guy out there. I was amused to watch the writers excoriate the down trodden Texans because they had an open head coaching vacancy for six months, “the first to open up and the last to be filled.” They could not understand why it took so long to find a new coach. Could it have been that the team had no general manager during most of that time, which was during the season, when it is impossible to hire any coach unless he is an out of work re-tread? The good ones were still working.

 Once the season ends there is a scramble and sprint to grab a new man, despite the fact that the most critical job directly affecting the ultimate success of the team is at stake. Sure, it should be done with dispatch but not by making snap decisions that are always regretted later. Why not take a little more time to be sure of the choice? The media hype and concern that some other team will get the best guy drives impetuous, short sighted decision making. In two or three years, the whole thing must be repeated.

So, let’s see what just happened around the NFL this time and apply our crystal ball a little bit. This year’s class is somewhat unique in that there are no re-treads. None of the seven has ever held the reins of an NFL team, other for a brief interim cameo. In fact, Urban Meyer at Jacksonville has never been in the NFL at all. The Jets brought in Robert Saleh from the 49ers, with a reputation of being hardnosed, energetic, and driven, the complete opposite of the departed Adam Gase. Why was he ever there in the first place? But then the Jets are the Jets. Nick Sirianni was hired by the confused Eagles after three decent years as the OC under Frank Reich in Indianapolis. The Eagles managed to chop their Super Bowl coach while benching their franchise $128 million-dollar quarterback. A similar situation occurred in Atlanta, where recent Super Bowl coach Dan Quinn was cashiered and replaced by Arthur Smith, the OC with the Titans for two years where he was blessed with Derrick Henry. The Lions didn’t waste any time bringing in Dave Campbell, whose NFL experience includes 11 years as a tight end and 11 years as a tight ends coach. The Chargers grabbed this year’s hot young gun, Brandon Staley, from the staff of the prototype young gun, John McVay of the Rams. Staley has been in the NFL for four years, the last of which he was a DC. The Texans finally pulled off what is popularly regarded as the biggest reach of all, by hiring 65-year-old Dave Culley, DC at Baltimore after fifteen years next to Andy Reid among other renown coaches.

   Time will tell, but I have my own idea who may be successful and who will not. I have developed a straight forward approach for ranking coaches, strictly based on their performance on the field. Using that information, I have a method that forecasts future success based on how a new candidate’s credentials measure up with the successful coaches in recent history. It is called the Chance of Success Total (“COST”). There is more on my website:

Here’s how these new guys shake out in order of predicted success.

1Culley, DaveHouston72Possible Success
2Staley, BrandonLa Chargers68Possible Success
3Sirianni, NickPhiladelphia67Likely Failure
4Saleh, RobertNY Jets46Likely Failure
5Meyer, UrbanJacksonville42Likely Failure
7Campbell, DanDetroit39Likely Failure

It is important to recognize that my scores are strictly based upon on-the-field performances. I do not consider any intangibles, which I realize are critical to real-life coaching hire decisions. I do not consider personalities, ownership peculiarities, the existing team roster, etc. The “perfect pro football coach” would score an even 100 points under the COST system. A score of 75 and above is very good. High 60’s and 70’s are possible successes. Below that, success is unlikely.

In this group Dave Culley scored well because of his extensive experience with successful NFL teams in senior coaching positions. He has also been a winner almost everywhere he has ever been. Although he lacks experience and has not been a coordinator very long, Brandon Staley has been in winning programs at every level. The same applies to Nick Sirianni. Both have a chance to do well. Everybody seems fired up about Robert Saleh. My biggest problem with him is that he has a career winning percentage below 50.0%. Arthur Smith has been a coordinator for only two years and Dan Campbell, not at all. Both are career losers, which result in downgrading in my analysis. Urban Meyer has amassed monumental accomplishments on the college level, but it is very rare for a big-time college head coach to jump right into the NFL and be successful (e.g., Chip Kelly). I would not be surprised, though, if Urban Meyer is the exception.

I have been predicting success of future NFL head coaches for the past twelve years. No one in his right mind would hire a coach based strictly upon my success forecasts. On the other hand, had the NFL owners followed my COST predictions their batting average of under .200 would have tripled. I am not perfect, but I am batting over .600. Oh, by the way, don’t feel sorry for the Texans, they got a solid guy.