Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Best of NFL: NFC East coaches
By Dan Graziano
As part of Best of the NFL Week on ESPN.com, here are five bests for the NFC East:
Best coach-GM tandem, Eagles: No matter how the responsibilities break down between Andy Reid, Howie Roseman and team president Joe Banner, it's working in Philadelphia. Reid gets control over all football decisions, but the team they've put together there is clearly in sync and effective. They've had good drafts and made smart personnel decisions as they've transitioned from older players to younger ones, and Reid has coached the on-field product to the top of the division each of the past two years. This call came down to the guys in Philly vs. the guys in New York, and Reid and Roseman have Tom Coughlin and Jerry Reese's number right now.
Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan has an intimidating sideline presence.
Best game face, Mike Shahanan: I don't know whether he practiced it in front of a mirror for years, whether it was taught to him by a coaching mentor or whether it just comes naturally. But of the NFC East coaches, none looks more serious, more in control or more intimidating with that headset on than the Redskins' Shanahan does. His angry scowl beats out Coughlin's exasperated fury, though I have to admit I did consider the latter.
Best at telling it like it is, Coughlin: The video that went viral of him telling his players what people could kiss in the wake of the Giants' 10-win 2010 season speaks for itself. Coughlin is the most likely NFC East coach to just plain light up his team after a disappointing game. He doesn't believe in wasting time or words, and he's not afraid that he's going to hurt someone's feelings if he says in a postgame news conference that the offense or the defense or the special teams weren't any good. That's probably because he's telling those guys the same things, maybe even more directly, to their faces before he goes out and tells anyone else.
Best motivator, Jason Garrett: First, we have to be fair here, and include everyone. This category seems to fit Garrett based on the difference between the way the Cowboys played under Wade Phillips last season and the way they played after Garrett got the job. He went 5-3 in the final eight games of the season and secured himself a job most people thought he had not shot of retaining when he first got it. It remains to be seen whether he can carry it over into the near and/or distant future, but based on the way Dallas finished the 2010 season, this looks like a winning category for the Cowboys' new head coach.
Best delegator, Reid: For years, he let Jim Johnson run the defense with complete control because he was smart enough to know Johnson knew it better than he did. He gave Johnson's successor, Sean McDermott, free reign as well, though that didn't work out for McDermott. Reid's decision to elevate longtime offensive line coach Juan Castillo to defensive coordinator will be the toughest test yet of his ability to delegate defensive responsibilities to his defensive coordinator, but it's no coincidence that the move happened in conjunction with the hiring of venerable defensive line coach Jim Washburn, who will surely help ease Castillo's transition. Hiring Washburn for the defensive line and Howard Mudd for the offensive line shows that Reid is a guy who's not afraid to let others handle part of his vast responsibilities if they're qualified to do so.