Diner morning news: Weis can improve his stock
QUOTE: “The unreal is more powerful than the real, because nothing is as perfect as you can imagine it. Because it’s only intangible ideas, concepts, beliefs, fantasies that last. Stone crumbles. Wood rots. People, well, they die. But things as fragile as a thought, a dream, a legend, they can go on and on.” -- Chuck Palahniuk
There is so much going on behind the scenes in the NFL that I thought I would write about more than one topic today. Let’s start in Kansas City...
The Chiefs have hired Charlie Weis to come in and take over their offense — something coach Todd Haley wanted all along. Haley doesn’t want to be burdened with having to run the offense and call the plays and be the head coach. On the surface, this would bother me, because I believe the head coach needs to be involved with one side of the ball or the other. Haley became the head coach in Kansas City because of his ability to run an offense, so you’d think he would use that expertise to benefit the overall team. However, in the case of the Chiefs, I’m not that concerned with him removing himself from his area of expertise because he’s so emotional during games he needs someone who can calmly make calls.
The Chiefs’ offense this season was much like Haley’s personality — volatile and inconsistent. They led the league in total plays but were last in time of possession. Their offensive had no rhythm, no system, and seemed like they were just running plays, not running an offense. With Weis in charge, they will be much more detailed, much more system-based, and this will be the best thing to happen to quarterback Matt Cassel since Josh McDaniels. Cassel needs a buffer between himself and his volatile head coach. He needs someone who can cut down the amount of offense and focus on gaining a consistent identity.
This is also a good move for Weis, who gets to be around people who are his friends and have dealt with his unique personality before. An added benefit to being in Kansas City is that he’s still close to South Bend, where his son can finish out high school. If Weis can make Cassel play at a higher level, it will make his stock as a head coaching candidate rise in the NFL and also help the Chiefs, so this move is a win/win for both parties.
What’s going on in Chicago?
I was on the radio Wednesday in Chicago, and everyone was acting like hiring Jeremy Bates, the offensive coordinator at USC, will placate Bears quarterback Jay Cutler. But that’s not the case. Bates is a very strong willed coach, the son of a coach who has gained the respect of Cutler by coaching Cutler, not by placating him. Cutler has many friends, but what he needs most is a coach who can demand excellence — not kiss his butt. Bates has already been able accomplish the stiffest challenge facing a coach, which is getting the player to accept his words as coaching, not criticism. Bates has the respect of Cutler, so he has the ability to tell him when he’s wrong and Cutler will listen and, most important, hear his words.
This is the move I would make if I were in charge of the Bears. It makes too much sense, and the reason the Bears traded for Cutler was based on his play in 2008, which was orchestrated by Bates.
What about Mike Martz?
Comments from former Rams GM Charley Armey yesterday were way out of line criticizing Mike Martz as a quarterbacks coach. Martz took the high road in his response, but the reality is that Armey is wrong. Ask any quarterback who played for Martz and they will all endorse his ability to coach.
I worked with Mike at NFL Network and have gotten to know him as a person, and yes, I like him -- but I have always respected his work on the field and his ability to develop quarterbacks. Martz takes too much heat for his play calling and his overall offensive principles, but I can promise you that every defensive coordinator is happy that Martz is not in the league right now. His offense is hard to prepare for and defend. Do his quarterbacks get sacked a lot? Yes, but they also play well. Last year with the 49ers, they averaged over 7.3 yards per pass attempt; this season, they were down to 6.24. Martz can run an offense well, and he should be back in the league.
Follow me on Twitter: michaelombardi
For a look at ten of the top stories of the 2009 season, check out this article from Bleacher Report.