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Chaos

Oranges, Lemons, Mike Vrabel, & Bill Belichick

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Apologies for the weird thread title.  Coaching skill sets and philosophies have a thousand variables. I am curious what people think about a variable I will call "approach to personnel". 

 

On one end of the spectrum we have:

  1. Coaches with a commitment to a system, and the focus is going to be on optimizing the system, and changing personnel in order to optimize the system

    On the other end of the spectrum we have
     
  2. Building and modifying systems to be optimal for the players on hand, and tweaking the systems to take best advantage of their particular talents. 

 

In real life everyone is somewhere in between the two ends of the system. But I think most coaches are nearer one end than the other. 

 In recent history I think Bill Belichick has been the closest to "2" on the spectrum consistently. Drafting late in the draft every year actually has probably forced his hand a bit on that.
Last and this season John Harbaugh showed major adjustment chops going from a Joe Flacco offense, to the anti-Joe Flacco offense with pretty good success

The "legion of doom" Seahawks have morphed into the Russell Wilson Seahawks over time, driven by salary cap necessity.  But the transition has been pretty smooth. 
This year at week 6, Mike Vrable dropped one lemon of a QB and replaced him with  a different lemon, but seemed to make some pretty good lemonade with the rest of the team.  

The Mike McCarthy packers seemed like a team who after succeed was not able to innovate and adjust to compete again.  A shift to a different coach and a different style has yielded pretty immediate results. 

For next season, the Rams let the DC who helped them get to the Super Bowl go, because they feel as though he and the existing personnel are not aligned to go to the next level.  They seem to view Wade Philipps as a type "1" coach. 

The question I am asking following this ramble is:

How important is it that a coaching staff be able to constantly adjust to available personnel, versus how important is to seek out the optimal personnel for a "system". 



 

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4 hours ago, Chaos said:


 … 
How important is it that a coaching staff be able to constantly adjust to available personnel, versus how important is to seek out the optimal personnel for a "system". 



 

 

Adjusting to your personnel to make them the best they can be is the essence of coaching. 

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4 hours ago, Chaos said:

Apologies for the weird thread title.  Coaching skill sets and philosophies have a thousand variables. I am curious what people think about a variable I will call "approach to personnel". 

 

How important is it that a coaching staff be able to constantly adjust to available personnel, versus how important is to seek out the optimal personnel for a "system". 



 

I saw this brought up in another thread, true they have a different HC but the Packers OC are currently Nathaniel Hackett and Mike Pettine. 

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4 hours ago, Chaos said:

Apologies for the weird thread title.  Coaching skill sets and philosophies have a thousand variables. I am curious what people think about a variable I will call "approach to personnel". 

 

On one end of the spectrum we have:

  1. Coaches with a commitment to a system, and the focus is going to be on optimizing the system, and changing personnel in order to optimize the system

    On the other end of the spectrum we have
     
  2. Building and modifying systems to be optimal for the players on hand, and tweaking the systems to take best advantage of their particular talents. 

 

In real life everyone is somewhere in between the two ends of the system. But I think most coaches are nearer one end than the other. 

 In recent history I think Bill Belichick has been the closest to "2" on the spectrum consistently. Drafting late in the draft every year actually has probably forced his hand a bit on that.
Last and this season John Harbaugh showed major adjustment chops going from a Joe Flacco offense, to the anti-Joe Flacco offense with pretty good success

The "legion of doom" Seahawks have morphed into the Russell Wilson Seahawks over time, driven by salary cap necessity.  But the transition has been pretty smooth. 
This year at week 6, Mike Vrable dropped one lemon of a QB and replaced him with  a different lemon, but seemed to make some pretty good lemonade with the rest of the team.  

The Mike McCarthy packers seemed like a team who after succeed was not able to innovate and adjust to compete again.  A shift to a different coach and a different style has yielded pretty immediate results. 

For next season, the Rams let the DC who helped them get to the Super Bowl go, because they feel as though he and the existing personnel are not aligned to go to the next level.  They seem to view Wade Philipps as a type "1" coach. 

The question I am asking following this ramble is:

How important is it that a coaching staff be able to constantly adjust to available personnel, versus how important is to seek out the optimal personnel for a "system". 



 

 

To McCarthy's credit he supposedly spent his down time basically pouring through lots of the trends going on in the league/college and analytics after realizing he was lacking in some area.  Will be interesting to see how much that matters and how much he is willing to change from what he normally did.

 

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12 minutes ago, matter2003 said:

 

To McCarthy's credit he supposedly spent his down time basically pouring through lots of the trends going on in the league/college and analytics after realizing he was lacking in some area.  Will be interesting to see how much that matters and how much he is willing to change from what he normally did.

 

 

He won't be having Aaron Rodgers. He will have the same salary cap difficulties. I am not optimistic. I wonder if Jason Garrett looks at Mike Vrabel and thinks "*****, I had the leauges best oline and E. Elliot, and did not think to run that offense"

 

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1 hour ago, Bob in STL said:

 

Adjusting to your personnel to make them the best they can be is the essence of coaching. 

But probably something more then half of the coaches out there don't do. Most coaches step in and want to run their prefered systems which involves dumping players and rebuilding teams for the first few years. No one seems to higher a guy that fits the team they have, or someone willing to coach to what they have available. Some of that is arrogance, some of it is that they want to stick with what they know best.

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It's both.

 

You have to install a system and institute it as a program if you hope to sustain a team.  If you don't have a system that dictates the types of players you need, your chances of hitting on draft picks drops, because you expose yourself to more variables when you're trying to find a player that will fit any scheme.

 

By the same token, you consistently have to adjust your system based on league trends.  You also have to adjust the system based on current strengths of personnel.  You may have the types of players that you like for your system, but this may be a year that you have a really good secondary, for instance, and want to showcase it.  Sometimes, maybe the type of player you want isn't there in the draft, but you've got a super-talented, can't-miss prospect falling into your lap, and you adjust to take advantage of their talents, but that's more of an exception case.  I don't think anyone in the league can just consistently be dealt a new roster of players every year and build a whole system around them.  It's about incremental adjustments when needed.

Edited by BringBackFlutie
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On 1/14/2020 at 7:14 AM, Chaos said:

For next season, the Rams let the DC who helped them get to the Super Bowl go, because they feel as though he and the existing personnel are not aligned to go to the next level.  They seem to view Wade Philipps as a type "1" coach. 

 

Wade Phillips is well established as a coach who can adapt his system to the personnel at hand.  He did in Houston, he did in Denver (SB win), he did in LA (SB loss but astounding defensive performance, stifled offense).

 

IMO dismissing Wade is classic scapegoating - the Rams offense slid from #1 or #2 to #11 so fire the DC.  Similar thing to Rex Ryan with the Bills fielding a soft, Swiss Cheese D and firing Roman.

 

Quote

The question I am asking following this ramble is:
How important is it that a coaching staff be able to constantly adjust to available personnel, versus how important is to seek out the optimal personnel for a "system".

 

You need both, IMO.

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Bad coaches are either 1 or 2

 

Good coaches are 1 and 2.

 

its really that simple. 
 

You have to have a core system philosophy and objectives.  
 

That core system has to evolve over time.  

 

That core system has to adapt to personnel

 

Despite that evolution you have to address flaws and gaps by adjusting personnel. 
 

It’s just like BPA vs need argument. If the Bills had 5 all pro DTs on rookie deals, Ed Oliver may not be the best player available, definitely isn’t the best option available. It’s a balance. 

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2 hours ago, Over 29 years of fanhood said:

Bad coaches are either 1 or 2

 

Good coaches are 1 and 2.

 

its really that simple. 
 

You have to have a core system philosophy and objectives.  
 

That core system has to evolve over time.  

 

That core system has to adapt to personnel

 

Despite that evolution you have to address flaws and gaps by adjusting personnel. 
 

It’s just like BPA vs need argument. If the Bills had 5 all pro DTs on rookie deals, Ed Oliver may not be the best player available, definitely isn’t the best option available. It’s a balance. 

As the original post pointed out, no coach is binary on 1 or 2, its a spectrum, the question is which is more important.  Are you saying its exactly 50/50 in importance?

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2 minutes ago, Chaos said:

As the original post pointed out, no coach is binary on 1 or 2, its a spectrum, the question is which is more important.  Are you saying its exactly 50/50 in importance?

I think it's at least more than half important to establish 1, because it lays the foundation for 2.  2 is really hard to do without a foundation and solid identity, process, and culture.  2 without 1 is like working to be able to work; having two jobs; cleaning the house to clean the house; etc.

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1 hour ago, Chaos said:

As the original post pointed out, no coach is binary on 1 or 2, its a spectrum, the question is which is more important.  Are you saying its exactly 50/50 in importance?


Nope, I’m saying there are bad coaches that are mostly one or the other, good ones dynamically fluctuate depending on the situation, week to week, day to day and even vary on different sides of the ball. 
 

the question is too simplistic.
 

It’s like asking what is more important to success (1) having a vision or (2) attention to details. 

 

one could argue in circles all day long. Both matter in different ways at different times. 
 

continuous feedback loop. Plan do check act. 

Edited by Over 29 years of fanhood

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1 hour ago, BringBackFlutie said:

I think it's at least more than half important to establish 1, because it lays the foundation for 2.  2 is really hard to do without a foundation and solid identity, process, and culture.  2 without 1 is like working to be able to work; having two jobs; cleaning the house to clean the house; etc.

Do you the 2 and 4 Titans had a strategy and plan in process as they demoted their QB. Or do you think Vrabel, adjusted to the situation brilliantly? 

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5 minutes ago, Chaos said:

Do you the 2 and 4 Titans had a strategy and plan in process as they demoted their QB. Or do you think Vrabel, adjusted to the situation brilliantly? 


Yes. 

On 1/14/2020 at 12:18 PM, Bob in STL said:

 

Adjusting to your personnel to make them the best they can be is the essence of coaching. 


As is identifying gaps in skill sets and seeking to close them. 

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12 minutes ago, Chaos said:

Do you the 2 and 4 Titans had a strategy and plan in process as they demoted their QB. Or do you think Vrabel, adjusted to the situation brilliantly? 

 

The answer can go so many ways.  We don't know much about the Titans or Vrabel at this point.  They've been up and down since he became coach just two years ago.  

 

Going by what has made them successful so far, I'd say Vrabel is trying to lay the foundation of a defensive team that controls the clock.  They clearly haven't found out who they are, offensively, yet, unless they decide to actually keep handing Henry the ball at the start of next season.  On that side of the ball, whether that was because they started running Henry, or because they benched Mariota, I think Vrabel was just trying to make any adjustment he could to get that side working. 

 

It probably wasn't brilliant, it was tinkering, which is partly 1 and 2.

Edited by BringBackFlutie

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On 1/14/2020 at 8:14 AM, Chaos said:

Apologies for the weird thread title.  Coaching skill sets and philosophies have a thousand variables. I am curious what people think about a variable I will call "approach to personnel". 

 

On one end of the spectrum we have:

  1. Coaches with a commitment to a system, and the focus is going to be on optimizing the system, and changing personnel in order to optimize the system

    On the other end of the spectrum we have
     
  2. Building and modifying systems to be optimal for the players on hand, and tweaking the systems to take best advantage of their particular talents. 

 

In real life everyone is somewhere in between the two ends of the system. But I think most coaches are nearer one end than the other. 

 In recent history I think Bill Belichick has been the closest to "2" on the spectrum consistently. Drafting late in the draft every year actually has probably forced his hand a bit on that.


 

I think this is an oversimplification. The best coaches are “all of the above”. What defines their consistency and effectiveness is reliance upon arriving at their systems goals with adaptive scheming. 
 

Belichick seems to do this every year, but he’s not really changing the system. They’re really adapting formations, personnel groupings and play calls to fit personnel while keeping fundamentals the same. The first thing for BB is always situational football; don’t beat yourself. The routes and plays never really changed in NEs offense. It slowly shifts every year with additions. They just find ways to run similar concepts with 12 personnel instead of 11 personnel, or something similar. Same goes with defense. It’s almost always been about 2 gap play up front and controlling the LoS regardless of personnel. A lot of what they do looks more complex than it actually is. Generally NE utilizes simple wrinkles to existing schemes that the other team isn’t expecting. A good example would be blocked players on a cover 0 blitz dropping back into coverage; small wrinkle but massively effective. It’s taken straight from Fritz Shurmur who used it to fabricate a pass rush with a big nickel when he had a bunch of LBers get injured. 

 

Wade Phillips does the same thing. He runs 4-3, 3-4, etc. based upon available players and talent. Notably going from a two gap 3-4 here to a single gap 3-4 in Dallas, and what’s basically a single gap 4-3 over in LA. He just finds roles for the available players that fit the basic responsibilities and parameters of his defense. 

Edited by Buffalo Junction

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1 hour ago, Buffalo Junction said:

I think this is an oversimplification. The best coaches are “all of the above”. What defines their consistency and effectiveness is reliance upon arriving at their systems goals with adaptive scheming. 
 

Belichick seems to do this every year, but he’s not really changing the system. They’re really adapting formations, personnel groupings and play calls to fit personnel while keeping fundamentals the same. The first thing for BB is always situational football; don’t beat yourself. The routes and plays never really changed in NEs offense. It slowly shifts every year with additions. They just find ways to run similar concepts with 12 personnel instead of 11 personnel, or something similar. Same goes with defense. It’s almost always been about 2 gap play up front and controlling the LoS regardless of personnel. A lot of what they do looks more complex than it actually is. Generally NE utilizes simple wrinkles to existing schemes that the other team isn’t expecting. A good example would be blocked players on a cover 0 blitz dropping back into coverage; small wrinkle but massively effective. It’s taken straight from Fritz Shurmur who used it to fabricate a pass rush with a big nickel when he had a bunch of LBers get injured. 

 

Wade Phillips does the same thing. He runs 4-3, 3-4, etc. based upon available players and talent. Notably going from a two gap 3-4 here to a single gap 3-4 in Dallas, and what’s basically a single gap 4-3 over in LA. He just finds roles for the available players that fit the basic responsibilities and parameters of his defense. 

Its not an oversimplification. It describes two elements of coaching and seeks opinion on which element is more important.  Either one is more important, or one they are both equal.   All teams have some amount of both elements.  

2 hours ago, BringBackFlutie said:

 

The answer can go so many ways.  We don't know much about the Titans or Vrabel at this point.  They've been up and down since he became coach just two years ago.  

 

Going by what has made them successful so far, I'd say Vrabel is trying to lay the foundation of a defensive team that controls the clock.  They clearly haven't found out who they are, offensively, yet, unless they decide to actually keep handing Henry the ball at the start of next season.  On that side of the ball, whether that was because they started running Henry, or because they benched Mariota, I think Vrabel was just trying to make any adjustment he could to get that side working. 

 

It probably wasn't brilliant, it was tinkering, which is partly 1 and 2.

If Vrabel tinkers his way to a super bowl victory, does that mean the ability to tinker on the fly is more important than laying a foundation ? 

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22 minutes ago, Chaos said:

Its not an oversimplification. It describes two elements of coaching and seeks opinion on which element is more important.  Either one is more important, or one they are both equal.   All teams have some amount of both elements. 
 

If Vrabel tinkers his way to a super bowl victory, does that mean the ability to tinker on the fly is more important than laying a foundation ? 

They’re rarely equal. It comes down to the strengths of the coaching staff and how they interact with players. Either approach can get a talented team to the super bowl if the fit is proper. Sustainable success requires a blend as successful teams lose and replace both players and coaches. I say it’s an oversimplification because the basic question ignores the hiring practices of coaching staffs an GMs. How much “adaptation” is due to replacing an OC that was hired away or the HC actively changing his desired schemes? 9/10 times I’m going to assume that the new coordinator brought in fresh ideas or different approaches.

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39 minutes ago, Chaos said:

Its not an oversimplification. It describes two elements of coaching and seeks opinion on which element is more important.  Either one is more important, or one they are both equal.   All teams have some amount of both elements.  

If Vrabel tinkers his way to a super bowl victory, does that mean the ability to tinker on the fly is more important than laying a foundation ? 

 

If your goal is one super bowl?  Sure.  

 

10 minutes ago, Buffalo Junction said:

They’re rarely equal. It comes down to the strengths of the coaching staff and how they interact with players. Either approach can get a talented team to the super bowl if the fit is proper. Sustainable success requires a blend as successful teams lose and replace both players and coaches. I say it’s an oversimplification because the basic question ignores the hiring practices of coaching staffs an GMs. How much “adaptation” is due to replacing an OC that was hired away or the HC actively changing his desired schemes? 9/10 times I’m going to assume that the new coordinator brought in fresh ideas or different approaches.

 

This.

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9 minutes ago, BringBackFlutie said:

 

If your goal is one super bowl?  Sure.  

 

 

 

You can't win more than one, without winning one. So that is an important goal. 

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