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Monday, December 1, 2008

The Mike Holmgren Effect


This started out as a small comment on an Eagles blog on SB Nation, then a fanpost on the Bills blog, it's turned into a monster that must be put into an article.


As I witness a 2-10 season from the Seahawks, it made me think about Mike Holmgren. I made an observation that provides many doubts about his hall-of-fame status; how dented is it now?

In bullet points are a list of NFL head coaches that were assistants in Holmy's GB days in the 90s, and here are your results...


The following head coaches have been under Holmgren’s Green Bay system:

  • Dick Jauron, who was fired from Chicago and failed to win their only playoff game. Was an interim coach in Detroit and made a 4-7 team finish 5-11. Now he's in Buffalo and still hasn't produced a winning record at season's end. Record: 56-72 (0-1 in playoffs)
  • Andy Reid, it took him 4 NFC Title games to make it to one Super Bowl in which he lost. Now his job is on the line with the Iggles at a 6-5-1 record. Record: 93-63-1 (8-6 in playoffs, 0-1 in Super Bowl)
  • Steve Mariucci, failed to get the Super Bowl, lost all road playoff games and lost 1 NFC Title Game. He had some clunkers that featured 4-12 and 6-10 seasons when the team wasn't winning at will. He then proceeded to flop as Lions coach and works for the NFL Network. Record: 72-67 (3-4 in playoffs)
  • Marty Mornhinweg gave the ball to the other team to start OT in his tenure with the Lions after winning the coin toss. He is now offensive coordinator with the Eagles. Record: 5-27
  • Ray Rhodes was fired in Philly after a hot start. He won NFL Coach of the Year in his 1st season, dismantled Detroit 58-37, but got shutout in SF the next year in the playoffs and had record of 6-9-1 and 3-13 the next 2 seasons before getting canned. He coached one season in Green Bay and that was an 8-8 disaster. He is currently a defensive coordinator with the Texans. Record: 32-29-1 (1-2 in playoffs)
  • Jon Gruden, very successful in Oakland and never had a losing record. However, no Super Bowl appearance and lost 2 low-scoring games including the infamous tuck rule game. He took the Bucs to a Super Bowl Victory with mostly Tony Dungy's team that was built on it's strong defense. They missed the playoffs the next 2 seasons and has yet to win a playoff game (both at home) since. He is still the best coach from this group and the Bucs are legit playoff contenders. Record: 92-77 (5-4 in playoffs, 1-0 in Super Bowl)


The common theme here? They all run virtually the same, unimaginative WCO system that depends on the O-line being successful with "finesse blocking" instead of “power blocking”. The WCO is about slants and curl patterns and less about deep bombs or pump-and-go plays. The Bills scored 3 points yesterday and looking at Gamecast did not attempt many passes longer than 25 yards. Come on, on 4th and 15 they threw a dumpoff.

The playcalling is always balanced or pass heavy, while the running back just wastes away when not getting enough touches (see Brian Westbrook).

A lot of poor, predictable, safe and conservative playcalling instead of a "down your throat" kind of game has gotten the following head coaches a combined 1 Super Bowl win and a losing record in the playoffs that features 4 road wins and 5 home playoff defeats.

Coincidence that all of these men (save or Gruden) have been under fire for mostly same reasons as Holmgren? I think not.

Dick Jauron, who is under fire after their embarrassing loss, is just another mediocre coach from the old Holmgren-GB days and the mentor has taught the students to “play not to lose” instead of “to win”.


Those are my two cents.



1 comment:

Cheezer said...

I feel your pain. Remember that I have been a Packer fan since the Bart Starr head coaching days.

You forget that part of this coaching tree includes Bill Walsh and Paul Brown.

Maybe the WCO has seen it's day. That makes it the owners' fault for hiring coaches that specialize in the WCO, not the coaches fault. Mikey's entire career has been based on the WCO. He's not about to change now (old dogs and new tricks and all that).

Maybe it's time for him to retire. Oh yeah, he is retiring.

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