Being a head coach takes a certain type of person. One that is willing to take all the blame if the team fails. At the same time, they have to be willing to give all the praise to his/her players and to the higher-ups if the team succeeds. It is not until a coach has continued success that people are willing to give some credit to them. Let’s look into Coach T’s coaching perspective and how it relates to expecting certain NFL coaches to be fired this 2020 season.
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I was raised by a high school football coach, Coach T. In the small Ohio town that I grew up in, everyone, and I mean everyone, knows Coach T. I have been through the ups and downs that go along with coaching. I have been around kids and parents that loved my father, and also kids and parents who thought he screwed them over. Mostly, I am in amazement at the amount of young men’s futures that my father helped shape over his 30+ year career.
I took a coaching role under him for two years and got to experience these rides right alongside him. It is different from being an assistant coach. An assistant rarely catches any blame. It was easy to see while coaching that the team reflects its coaching staff. The coaches are responsible for how well the team is prepared and how well the players respond to adversity. To effectively get the team prepared the coach must first get the team to buy into what he/she is doing and saying.
We were fortunate enough to have a great group of kids for the two seasons that I coached with my father. I was only 10 years older than some of the players and had been around them throughout their childhoods. As the only coach who wasn’t old enough to be the players’ fathers, I quickly became the coach the players could relate to. It proved to be a key relationship that the players needed. I would be the one who could bring questions and ideas. As the season progressed everyone on the team felt heard and seen and there was a great bond between the players and coaches.
Good players of any sport understand the game at a level comparable to the coaches. The coaches at least need to listen when these types of players think there could be a position switch or a scheme change. It’s also super important to be able to listen to players as a game progresses because they are the ones experiencing what’s happening on the field. As with most things in life, communication is key. The ability to communicate efficiently was a big reason we were able to go 9-2 in consecutive seasons.
Everything’s better when you’re winning. Any sort of struggles or bad calls as a coach are forgotten if the team finds a way to win. As soon as a team starts racking up some Ls, the coach’s job becomes a lot more stressful. Especially if there are expectations the team was supposed to win. High expectations equal high pressure.
One of the main jobs a coach needs to do is to get their team to expect to win. Not just to believe they can win, but to expect to win. Once you get the players to expect to win the next step is to make sure they want to win. As a coach, I always was making sure the players were willing to do whatever it took to win.
Once a coach has players who expect to win and will do whatever it takes to make it happen, then they have a chance to win. What I realized as a young coach is what Doc Rivers was dealing with this season.
A coach cannot change a player’s desire. The change must come from the player themself. As a coaching staff if we noticed a player was not giving 100% or did not seem engaged we would always talk with that player first. This rarely was the answer. An unmotivated player only seems to become more motivated by his teammates.
Being able to effectively communicate to the captains and leaders of the team is key to a coach’s success. As a coach, I would regularly engage in conversations with a handful of the seniors about getting more out of some of the underclassmen. We had a few kids on the team who were super-talented but needed extra motivation. These are the types of players you do not yell at and expect good results. A good coach finds ways to get through by using teammates who are also their friends.
The X’s and O’s
My favorite part about the game of football is how complex the strategy is. At the most basic level, there are misdirections and play-action. A good coach is not only a step ahead of his/her team, but also a step ahead of their opponent.
A counter play is designed to get the defense flowing one way but the ball carrier is going to go the other way. Like a counter, a wrinkle in your offensive scheme can get the defense thinking it knows what’s coming but the ball is going somewhere else. I loved developing wrinkles and schemes that the opponent had never seen on film before. The hardest part about this is getting all the other coaches and players to buy into the change.
There is only so much practice time in a week leading up to a game. In high school football, the team needs a lot of practice time to practice the things the team does well and to prepare for the other team’s strengths.
There is not much time to be practicing ‘new’ things. I believe it is one of the hardest decisions for a coaching staff. Where to best focus the team’s energy and time during practice? As coaches, we always were talking about what we needed to focus on for that week of practice but we all rarely agreed at first.
Even worse would be trying to install a wrinkle and the kids not wanting or not understanding why. Once the players were not bought into the changes then it was time to scratch it and move on. If the kids were excited about it then it would probably work. A good coach finds ways to sell their ideas to the other coaches and the players.
With the Los Angeles Clippers, Rivers went 356-208, a .631 winning percentage. He led the Clippers to the franchise’s best stretch in its history. This included six playoff appearances in seven years and three postseason series victories. And yet, Steve Ballmer, the owner of the Clippers, fired Rivers in the wake of their disappointing upset loss to the Denver Nuggets in the second round of this year’s playoffs.
— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) September 16, 2020
The Clippers seemingly were on track as the No. 2 seed in the West and held a 3-1 series lead over the Nuggets. They were one win away from the Conference Finals showdown with the Lakers that everyone had been talking about since July of 2019 when the Clippers added Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. Then they failed to close out the Nuggets. In three consecutive games the Clippers blew double-digit, second-half leads. Then in a moment’s notice, the Clippers’ season was over and there were a lot of questions that needed to be answered.
Ballmer needed answers: Why was there a lack of leadership? Why was the chemistry lacking? Why were players so unenthusiastic about playing in the bubble?
The Clippers were a team that lacked enthusiasm and leadership down the stretch. They were a group of individuals that had trouble bonding as a group. Rivers understood and tried everything he could to inspire and lead this group to new heights.
The shortened season and many nationwide circumstances distracted his group enough for them to question finishing the season or not. The Clippers voted to stop playing the rest of the season once play halted inside the bubble on Aug. 26. After the Clippers voted to stop playing, Rivers met with the team to seemingly “convince” the players to continue their quest for a championship.
Any coach knows that a major key to victory is how much your team “wants to win.” It is always disastrous if the players “quit” on a season. Although Rivers may not be the one at fault for what transpired for the Clippers, it ultimately does fall on the coach when a team does not reach expectations. No matter the reason.
Rivers was fired by the Clippers on Sept. 28 and was hired by the Philadelphia 76ers on Oct. 1. Coaches who have won an NBA Championship and a Coach of the Year Award are not easy to come by. The Sixers jumped at the opportunity to bring Doc to their sideline.
What are the odds for the NBA championshp in 2020-21 and how do the teams stack up at BetUS?
As the NFL season progresses more teams will inevitably fire their coaches. I do not always agree with this approach. A new coach needs time to build chemistry with their players and to implement the system and culture that they want to have around their ball club. Many franchises who can’t seem to get things turned around are quick to fire a coach after a year or two.
Matt Patricia was asked why people should still believe he’s the right coach to turn the Lions around.
“When I came to Detroit, there was a lot of work to do. That’s what we’re trying to do,” he said. pic.twitter.com/o24DOpATh5
— Brad Galli (@BradGalli) October 4, 2020
As a collegiate football player, I experienced four different defensive coordinators in the four years I played (not due to firing). This type of turnover was hard on our team, but not all bad. As soon as we learned one system a new coach would come in and install a new system. Although there was a new coach with new ideas, the new coordinators didn’t throw out everything we were doing and he would want to keep some continuity to our schemes.
As a player, I did develop good relationships with my coaches, but I never had the chance to really build one with my defensive coordinator as they were always changing.
Change is good for many reasons. The fact that I was able to learn from four different coaches and take what I learned into the next season was a great way to progress as a player. Every year was fresh and each player needed to earn their spot each year. By the time my senior year rolled around, we had put together one of the best defensive units the University of Chicago had ever seen. We took pride and bonded through the changing years as we were able to develop a winning-culture through all the change.
Which NFL Team Makes the Coaching Change Next?
More times than not people bond when big changes are occurring. An NFL team is no different. As coaches get fired, players become closer and take it upon themselves to make things better. A good new coach facilitates his players taking control of the situations and feeds off of it.
The Texans and Falcons were the first two organizations to fire their head coach. Who will be next? Jets coach Adam Gase seems likely. Matt Patricia of the Lions or Doug Marrone of the Jags would be my next guess after Gase. When things are working for a multi-million dollar business, things need to change quickly. Usually, it is a change at head coach for these NFL “businesses.” As I mentioned above – when there are high expectations there is a need to succeed and if the team fails, the coach has failed.
Who will the next NFL coach be to get the ax? You can get in on the action here at BetUS.