Friday, November 7, 2008

Lame Ducks Struggling

by: Michael Steffes

Don Banks of Sports Illustrated has penned a nice article looking at the "coach in waiting" situation. He talks with general managers around the league to get their opinions on why all three teams in this situation (Dallas, Indy, and Sea) are struggling.

Banks goes out of his way to also include injuries to key players as a reason for their problems. But regardless, it is interesting to see to what insiders say on this topic. The article mentions that all of these coaches would be highly desired as head coaching candidates, and the people interviewed respected management locking them up, but there has never been a situation when this has worked successfully. It makes you wonder if Ruskell's ego allowed him to think that this would be different, or if maybe the team knew they were in for a difficult year the moment Holmgren announced his decision. If you think back to the offseason, you can see examples of the team looking to '09 back then like the Duckett signing and the decision to go with such an inexperienced receiving core. Anyway, just food for thought.

The conclusion reached in Banks' article seems to be that the "coach in waiting" situation affects assistant coaches the most, which is something I agree strongly with. Dan Arkush of Pro Football Weekly added something about this in a recent Seahawks article, saying,

In addition, the gossip in league circles is that Mora’s unwillingness to tell any of his assistant coaches which of them might be retained after this season could become another growing problem on a team that already has as many losses as it had all of last season.
Mora is obviously taking this approach not to hurt the team and be respectful of Mike Holmgren, and it is the right approach. However, if you look at this closely, you wonder where the "gossip" is coming from. The source is probably the assistant coaches themselves, as Pro Football Weekly often cites positional coaches in these "The Way We Hear It" blurbs. So, while the coaches want to know if they are in line for jobs next year, Mora is rightfully refusing to play along, thus re-enforcing Bank's ideas that the assistant coaches are greatly affected by these lame duck scenarios. Anyone wonder why the team seems so ill-prepared every week? These articles make a convincing argument that this is the answer. ~END~