Three Coaches Discuss the 2009 NFL Draft

Actions speak louder than words.  That may be true, but sometimes words say more than we know.  This morning, I took a second to look at the NFL Draft videos of three coaches.  What follows are some of the keywords from those coaches used to describe the players drafted and to describe the roles those players will play going forward.

Coach 1:

  • body of work
  • leader
  • high-quality individual
  • tough
  • smart
  • durable
  • quick study
  • position coaches visited player

Coach 2:

  • something to prove
  • athletic talent
  • upside ahead
  • physical skills
  • confident in coaches ability to work with player

Coach 3:

  • tremendous production
  • performed well
  • improved at Senior Bowl
  • big targets in the Green Zone
  • versatile; attacks the passer
  • impressive visit

My read of these comments (reinforced by watching their respective press conferences) is that two of these coaches entered the draft knowing exactly what they were looking for.  They weren’t looking principally for athleticism or talent, but for execution and productivity.  Coach 1 immediately begins by talking about the players “body of work” at the collegiate level.  It was same for Coach 3.  Coach 2 never mentioned it.

Coach 2 talked about talent and athleticism and upside and potential.  He talked about three players who have something to prove because for one reason or another, each one failed to meet expectations created by their tremendous athleticism.  He talked about his confidence in his coaches ability to get certain players to perform.  Each of these elite players will be leaving a coach with NFL experience…and the questions persist.  He talked about assessments of players that coaches had made.  In this instance, the head coach did not visit with the team’s first round draft pick, but did visit with a punter on more than one occasion who was selected by the team.

Who are these coaches?

  1. Pittsburgh Steelers, Mike Tomlin.  Defending Super Bowl champion.
  2. Cincinnati Bengals, Marvin Lewis.
  3. New York Giants, Tom Coughlin. 2007 Super Bowl champion.

The Steelers and Giants operate in a different universe than the Cincinnati Bengals.  It was apparent over the weekend and it will be apparent when their teams take the field.  Marvin Lewis will be waiting for his coaches to get the most out of his new recruits.  Tomlin and Coughlin will be demanding the rookies replicate their consistent, productive performances against high-level competition at the collegiate level.

The words of these coaches are sure to be solid predictors of the actions of those players.  Listen to your teams press conference.  What did your coach say?  What did he not say?  What can you expect on the field next season?


  1. T3-

    To be fair, we have no idea how much say Marvin Lewis actually has in drafting players. I know that the Steelers coaches have since Chuck Noll, had some say in the players that are going to be drafted. I think if he didn’t have it before, Coughlin has earned the right to some say on who the Giants will draft. Maybe, Marvin Lewis mentioned the player’s potential, because they’re not the player that he would have picked given a choice. Or maybe he’s just tired of dealing with the Browns.

    It goes back to what Bill Parcells said about being able to buy the groceries and cook what you want. With all the responsibilities that coaches have, most who have had the opportunity to draft and coach at the same time since free agency have done a poor job. Now, a good front office person who is doing the drafting will consult the coaching staff for some insight on what the team needs, and what kind of a player do they think fits into the scheme that the team will run. We all know that the Bengals front office isn’t that good.

    Who knows, maybe after all these years, maybe Marvin Lewis is tired of trying to convince them that he knows better. After all, he was the good soldier for all of those years when the Bengals were known more for their players ending up on the police blotter than playing. He took 95% of the blame, with commentators, particularly from ESPN, putting the blame all on him, and none on the front office.

  2. The post is merely intended to capture the coaches comments, but its really about the franchises and the comparative success of those franchises. I’m not judging Marvin as a coach or personnel evaluator. I think you’re right to reference Tuna’s grocery comment. And, even more on point in saying that guys who have that power haven’t been able to get it done. My real concern is about the teams.

    “The Steelers and Giants operate in a different universe than the Cincinnati Bengals.”

    The Bengals pattern of drafting is to get players with issues of some sort to enhance their negotiating position. The franchise is cheap and each year, Marvin is reduced to talking about potential and athleticism. The Bengals are an example of a franchise that does not have a commitment to winning.

    I’m not attacking the messenger. I’m simply highlighting the limitations of that message. I still believe he’s done a decent job considering what that team has been through since he was hired.

  3. Ok, misunderstood the intent. But, I do think that if Marvin doesn’t have say, that may explain his lackluster comments. It has to be tough on Lewis to know that he’s been given a flawed product that he may have little say in, and told to win with.

    Operate in a different Universe? Teams like the Bengals are in a different dimension! The pattern of drafting players with “issues” also explains why the team isn’t going to win consistently any time soon. Where as the Steelers draft players who are going to fit in well, teams like the Bengals just seem to draft a player, without regard to how will they do in the system, and how will he adjust to being newly rich and famous. That’s a formula for disaster if I ever saw one.

  4. It’s really sad. They have tremendous talent on that roster, but they always lack chemistry. Even when they had their best teams, they imploded because of character/chemistry issues (Super Bowl flameout — S. Wilson). It’s not an accident.

    This is where the complicity of the media becomes so naked. The best players they’ve had all wanted out: Dillon, Chad, etc.

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