Print and Go Back ESPN.com: AFC South [Print without images]

Monday, January 9, 2012
A game of opposites?

By Paul Kuharsky
ESPN.com

Teams replacing head coaches often look for the opposite of the last guy.

It can be the case for a strong general manager or personnel executive too.

So I think the guy Shahid Khan hires as the Jacksonville Jaguars' new head coach and the guy Jim Irsay hires as the Indianapolis Colts’ next GM will be quite different than, respectively, Jack Del Rio and Bill Polian.

How would we describe such opposites?

In a post-Del Rio Jacksonville coach, I think we’d see a guy who is rarely impulsive and does little based on gut feeling, as we’d sometimes see JDR do when deciding to go for it on fourth down. I think we’d certainly see a measured coach who doesn’t have any sort of inner circles. Del Rio had some assistant coaches whose voices he seemed to value more than others -- not that there is anything wrong with having an in-house hierarchy. Del Rio also had favorite players, and while all coaches are likely to have some guys of higher rank with the staff they are less revealing about who their Marcedes Lewises or Greg Joneses are. It’s funny, as I am writing this a name popped into my head that fits the description. He’s the guy Del Rio was the opposite of when he got the Jaguars' job -- Tom Coughlin.

In a post-Polian Indianapolis executive, I know we’ll see a guy who can get along with a broader spectrum of people, because Irsay basically said that’s what he’s looking for in a general manager. That means on top of being a good personnel guy, Polian’s replacement will need to be a relationship builder who trusts people and wants to include them. Polian can be absolutely charming, but didn’t choose to be in a great deal of situations. A guy who defaults to that sort of friendliness throughout team headquarters, with his colleagues around the league and, yes, with media and fans, would serve to give the Colts a different tone than the one they’ve had for most of Polian’s long tenure.

Of course even if Khan, who didn’t hire or work with Del Rio, and Irsay desire the type of qualities we’re talking about, there is no guarantee the owners will get them. A guy can interview one way and and then have the duties, pressures and people attached to the job take him in a different direction.

It will be interesting to see what kinds of personalities are added to the division in the two high-ranking posts.