Todd Haley; Should he stay…should he go?
Our team is performing dismally; perhaps worse than last year’s team. We have a new coach this year. It is time to evaluate his performance.
As a Head coach, what are the skills required for success? First, “People Skills”. The HC must have the respect and support of his staff and players. How has Haley done here? I’d give him an “F”. Starting with the infamous “22 players off the street…” comment, through his tirades in camp and treatment of various players, to his poor decisions in games, he has done precious little to garner the respect of his players. I taught elementary school for 35 years, and coached sports for 25 years. I can absolutely tell you that yelling at a person does not produce the desired effect, whether you’re yelling at a child on an adult (cursing isn‘t especially productive, either). Treating adults like children also won’t endear you to your peers. Finally, sabotaging your players’ efforts with ludicrous calls (like fake punts when you’re only down by 8 points) won’t earn the coach the respect he needs. This is why I have give Haley an “F” in the “People Skills” area.
A coach must be able to evaluate talent objectively. Haley decided Pollard’s cover skills and pursuit angles were not up to par, and choose to go with Brown at safety. Brown has proven to be no better than Pollard. The position didn’t improve, and I’ll bet more than a couple of players wondered at the reasoning behind this move. Toomer, Ingram, and Wade were brought in to improve the WR corps. None of these players proved to be markedly better than Bradley. Haley likely had little to do with Cassel’s contract. However, with the offense floundering, and Cassel not playing well. Haley seems reticent to make a change at QB. The team struggled through the first half of the season with LJ as the primary (only?) RB. Finally, LJ removed himself from the picture. Given the opportunity, Charles has given the running game a spark. Haley’s grade in this area? I’ll be lenient…”D-”.
A coach must be able to motivate his players to play at least at their best level, if not exceed the level. This will be short and sweet. Take a look at our last two games. The two terms that come to mind are “unfocused” and “unmotivated”. We all thought the team had turned the corner against Pittsburg. Maybe not, considering the Oakland and Cleveland both beat the Steelers. “D-”, pure & simple.
Finally, we come to “game management”. This would encompass such items as judicious use of trick plays, functional game plans, and overseeing all aspects of team preparation. Judicious use of “trick plays” could be construed as not running fake punts when you are only down by one score, especially deep in your own territory, or going on 4th and 2 in your own end of the field. A functional game plan could mean not running Herm Edward’s favorite offense with LJ, when he’s averaging 2.7 yds. per carry. It could mean focusing on positive gains on first down, so as to minimize the number of 3rd & longs. Overseeing all aspects of team preparation, could include not allowing your DC to call for a safety blitz late in a game in which your team is still competitive (& thereby getting burned by a long pass for a TD). It might also include the HC watching his D on the field, rather than sitting on the bench consoling his QB after a pick. Of course, that’s the OC’s job. “D”, & I’m being very lenient.
For Haley to be allowed another year to get things together, he needs to show some positives, somewhere (besides being a good interview). I just haven’t seen it. Everything I’ve seen this year says Haley should be a “one-year wonder”.