Heard about your new job in San Francisco; congratulations!
You’ve scaled the top of the coaching ladder, an ascension that began in Tampa Bay, as Assistant Coach of Offensive Quality Control (which totally sounds like some bogus, federal government position, no offense).
After a pit-stop in Houston and a bed and breakfast in Washington, you made your way to the peach orchards of Georgia. There, you began construction on the NFL’s latest, rocket-powered offense. Buoyed by your prolific unit, the Atlanta Dirty Birds made it to the very brink of immortality.
It must be a tough loss to swallow – especially since the media was not kind, in their evaluation of your own performance. But, that’s okay; you’ve paid your dues, and earned the chance to prove you can stick in the league as a head honcho.
I’m sure it must be tempting to go live out on the left coast, in a city famous for cable cars, culture and (fortune) cookies. While ATL is known for its strip clubs, airports and the Braves, San Francisco has Alcatraz, museums, Chinatown, the Giants and the Warriors. Its football team -whom you now work for – plays in a shiny, new stadium and has a long tradition of winning.
Here’s the thing.
You know the saying: the grass is greener on the other side. Well, the grass is brown and decaying out in the Bay Area. The 49ers’ winning tradition might date back to the Bill Walsh-era, but its expiration date has since passed. Even the limited glory brought by the Jim Harbaugh years is a distant memory, at this point.
In case you haven’t received your briefing folders yet, here’s a recent history lesson for the red and gold.
- Half your defense retired
- The other half just gave up 2,654 rushing yards – worst in the NFL
- They did finish middle-of-the-pack in passing yards against – because opposing teams were up by so much that they didn’t really have to throw the ball
- Your QB1, Colin Kaepernick doesn’t know how to stand for the National Anthem, much less run a pro-style offense.
- Falcons WR Julio Jones: 1,409 yards receiving (14 games). 49ers top three WR’s, Jeremy Kerley, Quinton Patton & Torrey Smith: 1342 yards TOTAL
- The before-mentioned Harbaugh quit because he couldn’t get along with the general manager, Trent Baalke
- Baalke, got fired because he couldn’t get along with CEO Jed York
- Baalke’s replacement, John Lynch, has as much front-office experience as I do, literally.
- The roster you and Lynch are inheriting still carries the foul-stench of Chip Kelly.
- Okay, Carlos Hyde was pretty good
In short, aside from Hyde and a few blue chippers, the proverbial cupboard is barren. Still, you’ve proven you can tailor an offense to his personnel’s strengths. Just look at the miracle work you and dad did with Robert Griffin III in Washington, where you made a temporary superstar based on read-option concepts Griffin ran in college.
And, you certainly had it made in Atlanta, getting to work exclusively with Matt Ryan and the Falcons’ offense – your bread and butter. Now you’ll have twice the headaches, with 53 players to oversee.
And, as Atlanta’s OC, you had the luxury of something few head coaches are afforded: time. You could have sat and padded your resume, until a more-enticing job opportunity opened up (something along the lines of a Minnesota, Indianapolis, Arizona or Cincinnati).
Just remember this: the allure of something people haven’t seen is infinitely-more potent than something they have. Now, you’re coaching mettle will be judged in accordance with the results you reap. If they turn sour, don’t expect public approval to remain in your favor. Just ask former-wonder child, Josh McDaniels, how his first, head coaching stint turned out (he was fired by Denver, less than two years in, after going 11-17).
That’s not to say you are doomed to suffer the same fate. I wish you nothing but the best; I just hope you know what you’re signing up for.