New coaches on the block

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Who are these guys?

That’s the question most National Football League fans are asking themselves after the new coaches for many of the teams in the league have been announced.

Who indeed is Scott Linehan and what makes the St. Louis Rams think he will be the guy to straighten out the public relations nightmare the team has been much less the one to take them to the Super Bowl.

Linehan, for those who don’t know, was the Offensive Coordinator for the 9-7 Miami Dolphins last year, serving under first-year coach Nick Saban. Before that he held the same post with the Minnesota Vikings. The Vikings didn’t offer Linehan the job after they fired Mike Tice.

I’m not picking on Linehan, who certainly did an excellent job as OC for Miami during the 2005 season.

He’s simply one of a group of coaches I don’t think many of us know anything about.

Ten teams (that’s nearly 1/3 of the league) have found themselves looking for a new head coach after either firing theirs, having him resign or trading him to another team.

Of that group only the Kansas City Chiefs have made a serious move in the head coaching ranks.

The Chiefs identified then New York Jets coach Herm Edwards as their top candidate. They went after him and gave the Jets a fourth-round pick in exchange for his rights. He is certainly worth more than that and will likely do an excellent job with the Chiefs.

Other than Herm Edwards, most of us couldn’t have identified the people holding the jobs that led to their promotion.

Did you know who was the Assistant Head Coach for the Dallas Cowboys? How about the Offensive Coordinator for the San Francisco 49ers? What about the Offensive Coordinator for the Philadelphia Eagles?

For my own part, I am a fan of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. I couldn’t have told you the name of our Defensive Line Coach for love nor money. That is until Rod Marinelli was named the head coach in Detroit after a season in which they fired Steve Mariucci and then passed over interim coach Dick Jaron.

For years fans have clamored for getting new coaches in the NFL instead of recycling the old ones. The problem is a lot of times only a person who has experience as a head coach in the NFL knows how to be one successfully.

I think the learning curve for all six of the guys who have been hired is going to be huge. Does anyone really believe Herm Edwards has a big learning curve? I certainly don’t.

College coaches may be a good idea. Some of them have certainly been successful, including Saban during his first year with the Dolphins.

I personally thought Pat Hill, the coach at Fresno State, would have been a good choice for someone, but nobody pulled the trigger.

Art Shell is still on the radar screen for the Oakland Raiders and evidently the Buffalo Bills will be looking at an experienced guy, perhaps Dom Capers, Mike Sherman or Jaron.

Other than those two teams, however, it doesn’t look like there will be much experience. I think the new season in the NFL will be an interesting one. We’ll have a hard time figuring out who the head coach is in more than half a dozen cities and we certainly don’t know what kind of offense or defense one-third of the league will be running.

I enjoy the off-season as much as anyone, but this one has brought about more questions than answers.

Hopefully, the Raiders will bring back Shell and the Bills will go with an experienced guy so at least we’ll know what is going on in those two cities.

If not, we’ll be left with the same question: Who are these guys?

Questions? Comments? Snide remarks? All are welcome. You can reach me at or call me at 332-7211.

Be careful out there and be good sports.