Calling out McCarthy, O'Brien as coaches who don't cut it
December 27, 2016 3:09 AM
by Alan Berg
As I sit among all the presents I put together during Christmas, while looking at Twitter in between, I got into a conversation with a friend about NFL coaching.
For my money the two worst head coaches in the NFL currently are Mike McCarthy of the Packers and Bill O’Brien of the Texans.
Before I get into why they are my two worst let me explain my criteria. There are three things I rate coaches on – aggressiveness, adaptability and communication. The best NFL head coach in the land is Patriots skipper Bill Belichick. And it might not be close. When it comes to aggressiveness, Bill is near the top of the list, the only one off the top of my head that might be more so is Steelers HC Mike Tomlin. To rate adaptability and communication, no one is better than Belichick, a four time Super Bowl winning coach.
While Tomlin is great at going for the jugular, he does have trouble with adaptability. An example from the past is seeing the Steelers fall apart defensively with a mix of talent issues and scheme and lastly not having roles clearly communicated.
McCarthy sits at 10-15th on the aggressiveness scale as he has made some good calls at times and isn’t the worst scheme guy in the league. However his ability to adapt is near the bottom. When the Packers struggle, Aaron Rodgers shines through, not the McCarthy’s adjustments.
Also on the communication front, who does McCarthy believe in? The receiving core is a complete mess, game to game it seems he can’t keep a depth chart consistent. Don’t get me started on the running game (minus Eddie Lacy). He kept letting James Starks destroy his running game while keeping dynamo Ty Montgomery on the sideline. (This after Montgomery had 9-60 yards rushing and 7-53 in the two games he was healthy and Starks showing nothing). And he’s using Christine Michael??? Give me a break.
O’Brien has a winning team in spite of himself. First of all, the Texans defense is a thing of beauty, they can completely take another team out of the game with their QB pressure. But this D wasn’t really bad before O’Brien was hired in 2014 to take over for Gary Kubiak.
In last season’s playoffs vs. the Kansas City Chiefs, despite four first half interceptions and a lost fumble from starting QB Brian Hoyer, the Texans were only down 13-0 at halftime. After halftime the sideline reporter asked O’Brien about the second half. He said something to the effect of well, we are lucky to still be in this game. Brian just needs to settle down.
I couldn’t believe a QB that had five first-half turnovers would be the starter in the second half, only down two touchdowns. It told me clearly this job was over his head.
The Texans went on to watch Hoyer add one more interception to his total plus a fourth down fumble in a 30-0 embarrassment at home!
Fast forward to this past Saturday night. Tom Savage was making his first NFL start after rescuing the Texans the previous week in a 21-20 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Down 13-0 Savage rallied Houston past the Jags, going 23-36 for 260 yards against the NFL’s sixth-best pass defense. Now after a week of preparing like the starter, Savage was against the Bengals’ middle-of-the-road pass defense. Savage saw tons of pressure and O’Brien’s gameplan was horrendous.
Houston was lucky to win 12-10. Fact is O’Brien never gave Savage a chance. Five of the six 1st down play calls were runs; four of five 2nd down another run. Early on inexperienced QB’s need to get into a rhythm (short confidence throws), not face consistent 3rd downs, right off the bench. O’Brien clearly cannot make adjustments needed at this level.
Super Bowl matchup prediction: the Pittsburgh Steelers will play the Dallas Cowboys in Super Bowl LI. I just jinxed both teams so you are welcome, Steeler and Cowboy fans!
UFC fight at Beer Park
If you are looking for a great place to watch the return of Ronda Rousey this weekend, check out Beer Park at Paris Las Vegas.
They have a great view and tons of TVs, we hear the beer is tasty, too.
For advance tickets check out http://beerpark.com/events/ufc-207-nunes-vs-rousey-viewing-party-new-years-weekend/