Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Weighing in on Head Coach Hires

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Weighing in on Head Coach Hires

Article excerpt

Byline: Vito Stellino

It was back to business as usual in the NFL last week.

A week after Bengals owner Mike Brown decided not to fire coach Marvin Lewis despite his 0-6 playoff record, including first-round losses the last four years, Broncos general manager John Elway dismissed coach John Fox for his 3-4 playoff record the last four years.

Fox went 1-1 in the playoffs with Tim Tebow at quarterback and 2-3 the last three years with Peyton Manning.

Fox quickly landed on his feet and was hired by the Chicago Bears as teams continue to recycle head coaches. Three of the five coaches hired so far were fired by their previous teams.

In announcing Fox's departure, Elway said: "I think if there is one thing that you would like to have and want to feel, at least in the last game, you want to go out kicking and screaming. When you're right there, and I think two years in a row, it didn't feel like we went out kicking and screaming because of the way we played the last game.''

Elway is holding the coach up to a standard he couldn't always meet as a player.

In his first three Super Bowls as a quarterback, the Broncos lost 39-20, 42-10 and 55-10. Not too much kicking and screaming in those games, though Elway didn't have a great supporting cast.

While Fox, who was 78-74 at Carolina in his first job, may not be an elite coach, Elway is the one who hired him.

And Fox's successor at Denver may not be an upgrade. Elway is interviewing Gary Kubiak, his long-time backup when he was a player, for the job. Kubiak, now Baltimore's offensive coordinator, was 2-14 a year ago as head coach of the Texans.

COACHING HIRES SO FAR

Of the five new hires so far, only one made perfect sense. That was the Jets' decision to hire Cardinals defensive coordinator Todd Bowles.

He was the most sought-after assistant coach this year. While it's impossible to know how well he will do as a head coach, Bowles has paid his dues and deserves a shot.

The other four hires so far can be greeted with a shrug. Three - Fox, Jack Del Rio of the Raiders and Rex Ryan of the Bills - are recycled coaches who have been fired. None has won a Super Bowl.

Del Rio, of course, needs no introduction to Jaguars fans.

His problem in Jacksonville was he was too up and down. A coach needs a consistent persona. He can be a taskmaster like Tom Coughlin or an easy rider like Tony Dungy. But he needs to be the same way all the time. The players never knew which Del Rio was going to show up each day.

Oakland was the only team to show interest in Del Rio, who is good at interviewing, impressed team owner Mark Davis and landed the job.

He faces a difficult task. The Raiders are 56-136 over the previous 12 seasons.

49ERS' CHOICE A MAJOR SURPRISE

San Francisco's hiring of Jim Tomsula was a head scratcher. …

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