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A Tale of Two Coaches

Watching the game yesterday, I couldn't help but think of the contrast between the two rookie coaches. One has his team in the Playoff hunt. The other has his team in the hunt for the first pick in the Draft. There's no doubt the talent on the rosters has a lot to do with it, but I think the paths these guys took also plays a role.

One coach studied at the feet of one of the game's greatest innovators who happened to be his father. He spent a decade in the NFL paying his dues, learning his craft, and slowly climbing the coaching ladder. He gradually took on greater responsibility through the years. When opportunity knocked, he had a plan on how to improve his new team, and he executed it.

The other never had responsibility greater than running the defense of a middle of the pack Big XII team in college for one year. He was a position coach for two before taking over. He fired one coordinator before his first season even started. He fired the other during that first season due in part because his philosophy didn't mesh with that of his coordinator.

Does this mean if you put Rex Ryan on the Bucs they would be 7-6 and fighting for a Playoff spot? Probably not. There's little talent on that roster. Would the Jets have more than a single win if Raheem Morris was the head coach? Probably. I don't think they're in contention, though. I also think the Bucs would be showing more progress with Rex.

Watching the Bucs, I was astounded. Rich Gannon discussed during the broadcast how little he thought of their practices. He also took to task their offensive line's technique. One thing that stuck out to me was how Tampa never adjusted its blocking schemes by sliding protection or going max protect even though the Jets kept overloading the same side. I also couldn't figure out why Tampa didn't even attempt to establish the run with a raw rookie quarterback coming off a rough game facing an elite pass rush.

A lot of teams are looking to catch lightning in a bottle going as young as possible. I can understand that. It sure worked for the Steelers with Mike Tomlin. A resume isn't everything. Look at how Romeo Crennel failed as a head coach even with an incredibly distinguished track record as an assistant. You can apply this to any aspect of life. John Quincy Adams was as qualified as any to be President, yet many historians compare him a poor one. Abraham Lincoln was our least qualified President ever, yet many consider him the greatest. I'm just happy the Jets found a guy who was ready to be head coach. We learned how tough it is when you don't with Eric Mangini. Tampa fans are going through that right now.

How important do you think past experience really is for a head coach?