Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Look back: Assistants to watch
By Paul Kuharsky
Continuing a periodic look back at stuff we wrote before the 2012 season to see how on target we were and how things panned out.
In July, we looked at an assistant to watch on each of our four teams.
Here’s what we said then and what we think now.
Then: “While [Gary] Kubiak and offensive coordinator Rick Dennison will be heavily involved in the offense, a new [quarterback] coach [Karl Dorrell] is certain to have a bearing on [Matt] Schaub’s performance. And Schaub’s performance may be as important of a story as there is in the AFC South this season.”
Now: I don’t think Dorrell did a bad job, but he certainly didn’t help stop a late-season slide for Schaub, who finally got into some big games and didn’t perform particularly well in them. All three coaches didn’t do well enough to get Schaub to play up to the moment.
Then: “Can [offensive line coach Harold] Goodwin help the new group jell and have it provide quality protection for Andrew Luck and some push for a group of unproven running backs?”
Now: The line was not good, but Goodwin did not have a lot to work with. Given the patchwork nature of the group and some injuries that forced lineup shifts, I’d say Goodwin did good work. Bruce Arians certainly thought so, as he took him to Arizona to be his offensive coordinator. Goodwin’s been replaced by Joe Gilbert, who served as Goodwin’s assistant last year.
Then: “[Receivers coach Jerry] Sullivan and those receivers are all reliant on improvement from quarterback Blaine Gabbert. But they are all reasons the team expects that improvement, too.”
Now: Laurent Robinson did little before he was sidetracked by concussions and Justin Blackmon took a long time to get going. But ultimately Sullivan, a good get by Mike Mularkey as he put together his staff, did good work with Blackmon and Cecil Shorts and he was held over by new coach Gus Bradley.
Then: “An improved pass rush is a must if the Titans' defense is going to improve. [Pass rush coach Keith] Millard will be right in the middle of what happens, or what doesn’t, in that department.”
Now: The Titans jumped from 28 sacks in 2011 to 39 in 2012 with non-defensive linemen contributing 13.5. Young linebackers Akeem Ayers and Zach Brown certainly got better as rushers later in the year, a good sign regarding Millard’s influence.