Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Tom Silverstein compiled the final list of head coaching candidates. It is not too impressive.

Some bad points about these candidates that Silverstein brought up. Tim Lewis was fired in Pittsburgh two seasons ago for an unknown reason. I had forgotten about when Giants head coach Jim Fassell took away play calling duties from Sean Payton. At the time, it sounded like it was the end of Payton ever having another opportunity in the NFL as an offensive coordinator. A lot of unknowns surround Russ Grimm, but the biggest knock on him is that Detroit's Matt Millen loves him. I've written previously about why Wade Phillips and Mike McCarthy should not be hired and Silverstein said Maurice Carthon is not on the short list.

The two best candidates appear to be Jim Bates and Ron Rivera.

There would be little defensive transition with Bates and the defense could build on their improved 2005 season. He quickly turned FS Nick Collins into a promising player and integrated many lesser rookies (LBs Brady Poppinga and Roy Manning, DE Mike Montgomery, and several rookie/little played cornerbacks) into a productive defense. Defensive players play hard for him no matter how hopeless the season looks. His biggest asset is that his defenses in Miami were always among the best in the NFL and the Packers defense had a great pass defense for most of the season and allowed the 7th fewest yards in the league.

Rivera was a key player on Chicago's great defense in the 1980s. He coached Philadelphia linebackers from 1999 to 2003 and has been Chicago's defensive coordinator ever since. He has always played and coached quality defensive teams. He has spent the last seven seasons coaching alongside two of the finest defensive coaches in the NFL; Lovie Smith and Jim Johnson. It might seem important playing for Buddy Ryan in the 1980s, but working for the best and the brightest the NFL has now is more important. He spent a few seasons between his playing and coaching days as a color commentator; which might seem unimportant, but a head coach has to be a good media personality too. Mike Sherman's blow up over cell phone calls during his press conferences this season probably didn't help him keep his job.

It wouldn't be disappointing to read that Jim Bates is the new Packers head coach, but it would be better to hear its Ron Rivera. Hopefully, Ron Rivera is the Packers next head coach.

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