PDA

View Full Version : Football Herm 2.0?


Claynus
01-07-2009, 08:13 AM
http://community.myfoxcolorado.com/blogs/Denvr_Sports_Insider

I’m not sure which of these facts speaks more about the opportunities African Americans can have in society now to ascend to the apex of their professions: Barack Obama winning the Presidential election, or the surprised reaction to Tampa Bay defensive coordinator Raheem Morris receiving an interview to be head coach of the Denver Broncos?

Despite the capability of both men, the criticism of inexperience was and is raised in both cases. One weathered the storm; the other still awaits “judgment.”

I don’t bring this up to compare politics to sports, but rather to underline how poignant it is that skepticism still exists in this invigorated atmosphere of change.

Take the initial reaction some NFL players and insiders had upon learning Morris is on the Broncos’ short list of head coaching candidates.

“Are you [edit] me? If anyone can change that organization it’s him. This guy is a forward thinker. He is qualified in the sense of giving a team a fresh look,” said Simeon Rice a former Bronco and Buccaneer.

“Are you for real? That would be a good look,” said Broncos running back Andre Hall.

“Please, I don’t care if Colorado voted for Barack Obama, this is and will always be a Republican state. There is not going to be a black face as the head of our team. You know how they play these politics,” said an offensive starter who asked not to be cited.

“He deserves a chance. We’ll see if Bowlen has the balls to back up all that Rooney Rule talk,” said another NFL agent who also wished to remain anonymous as well.

Perhaps the answer to my leading question is in the overriding optimism and unbridled joy the individuals interviewed for this piece went on to express later about Morris’ chance to make his case to Bowlen?

Or perhaps it lies in the fact that Bowlen is one of five original owners that comprised the NFL’s diversity committee that supervised the implementation of the Rooney Rule they all concluded needed to exist in the first place.

In 2003, the NFL established the Rooney Rule requiring all NFL teams to interview at least one minority for an open head coach position. The implementation of this rule occurred after a report by Johnnie Cochran and Cyrus Mehri entitled- Black Coaches in the National Football League: Superior Performance, Inferior Opportunities- determined in part that in 2002, 70 percent of the players in the NFL were black, but only six percent of NFL head coaches were African American. The report emphasized that, “black NFL head coaches are held to a higher standard than their white counterparts, and are consequently denied a fair chance to compete for head coaching jobs.”

Now, six years later, despite Bowlen’s original seat on the diversity committee and despite the era of an invigorated sense of racial progress, questions surface about whether the Broncos' owner is bringing Morris to Dove Valley Wednesday to satisfy this rule in letter or in love.

Not just because Morris is black, but because Morris is both black and-as critics say-was only named defensive coordinator this past Christmas. Some of my white colleagues in the business whose opinion I respect point to his resume (listed below) as evidence that Morris’ job titles and experience show that he is not yet ready to be head coach.

My answer: There are plenty of employees of all colors and creeds in this country whose talent supercedes their titles. Not having the title, yes, can be for a lack of not yet deserving it, but in other cases it can be for a lack of not yet having received the opportunity as well.

Those who actually know Morris, and those who have been coached by him are more qualified than myself or my colleagues to speak on this matter.

They say, a paper resume isn’t what makes Morris.

“What people don’t realize is that when coaches go into these kind of interviews they aren’t doing a power point presentation of their resumes; they are presenting and impressing with their philosophies. Sometimes they will be asked to draw up there X’s and O’s on the white board and explain their theoretical game plans and strategies,” said another NFL agent who wished not to be cited as well.

“Morris can go in there and blow the socks off the Broncos with all that alone. He’s a football guy with an untouchable connection to the players of today; and from what I hear, they need a man just like Morris in Denver. They don’t need a cookie cutter to solve that mess of a performance they had in San Diego, “ the same agent continued.

This season, there’s been a swell to the buzz about the up and coming talent of coach Morris which Bowlen’s advisors have likely apprised him of.

Here’s a real quick overview of Morris’s track record in resume form.

[B]MORRIS AT A GLANCE:

* 1994-97…Hofstra, player
* 1998…Hofstra, Graduate Assistant
* 1999…Cornell, Defensive Backs Coach/Special Teams Assistant
* 2000-01…Hofstra, Defensive Backs Coach
* 2001…New York Jets, Defensive Minority Internship
* 2002…Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Defensive Quality Control Coach
* 2003…Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Defensive Assistant
* 2004-05…Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Assistant Defensive Backs
* 2006…Kansas State, Defensive Coordinator
* 2007-08…Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Defensive Backs Coach
* 2008…Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Defensive Coordinator
(signed a 2 year deal Dec.25, 2008)

Now here’s his track record in testimonial form.

Former Broncos safety Nick Ferguson was in his sophomore season with the Jets when Morris was there working in a quality control capacity.

“At that time [Morris] was gaining experience in seeing how an organization was run from the ground up. He was there in camp to give guys individual attention and polish players. Trust me you need that,” Ferguson said to FOX 31 Sports as part of multiple telephone interviews conducted on Thursday and Friday.

Ferguson, the current Houston Texans safety spoke from the perspective of knowing both the candidate, and the Bronco organization which unceremoniously replaced him with Hamza Abdullah without much personal explanation or statistical support at the time.

From that standpoint, Ferguson revealed where he feels Morris can make a difference where perhaps Mike Shanahan did not.

“For my time being around him in New York, I found [Morris] to be a very honest guy. I was trying to make that team. He was honest in telling me where I was, and telling me what I needed to do to make the team. It’s the same thing with Bill Parcells. That’s why I love Bill. He will tell you whether you improved, or whether he thinks you suck. As a player, honesty is big. Don’t feed me no bull.”

Ferguson said while there are many coaches who approach their job like a job, Morris’ over-commitment to individually instruct players was evident even back then.

“He would stay after with me to work on certain techniques and catching the ball and things that were weaknesses for me at the time. In this day and age you need coaches who have played the position or understand what the players are going through. Raheem is one of those guys. Raheem is a teaching guy. He will say this is the type of technique you need to play this defense, and more importantly why.”

Former Broncos wide receiver Brian Clark, and current Tampa Bay Buccaneer echoed that same sentiment.

“Rah’ knows his stuff, and you feel comfortable with him. I’m not quite sure about how serious [the Broncos] are about him, but he does fit the mold of being a head coach. That’s just my personal opinion,” said Clark.

It is interesting how the people in the trenches of a country, or similarly the un-glorified players in the foxhole of a team can perhaps, without an agenda, best reflect the real truth in the character of an individual around them, and perhaps give root to the tree that was purposed to change the scene-so to speak.

“When I first got to meet Raheem it was more on the football side; I never really got a chance to sit down and talk with him. Later on, I got to see another side of him. One thing that’s huge with the players is for coaches to be approachable and personable. People out there shouldn’t belittle that. Players need to feel like you can talk to a coach man to man-even though he is your boss- without feeling less than, or insignificant. One thing about Raheem is that his players have a high level of respect for him, but they still can speak to Rah’,” said Clark.

It is interesting how this intangible is so easily looked over in the hiring process, or minimized in comparing Morris to other Caucasian head and assistant coaches perceived also by some to have achieved their job titles too early.

One colleague who’s opinion I again respect but don’t ways agree with has justified Jim Zorn’s ascension to Redskins head coach from being the Seahawk’s quarterbacks coach over Morris hypothetically becoming the Broncos’ head coach after being the Bucs’ defensive backs coach that was recently named defensive coordinator.

Why?

Because my colleague said Zorn’s resume as an NFL player gives him the edge in credentials over Morris who “just played for Hofstra.”

Well there are plenty of “A” list players that weren’t and aren’t genius coaches: ask Kevin McHale, Mike Singletary, Isiah Thomas, and Magic Johnson to start.

So that bullet point projects no guarantee in the category of coaching performance.

Sometimes your better coaches are players that didn’t ascend as high on the depth chart nor in their playing careers for that matter. Namely: Bill Belichick (Wesleyan University-Center/Tight End); Bill Parcells (University of Witchita-Linebacker. *Parcells was drafted by the Lions but never played a single NFL game); Joe Gibbs (San Diego State University-Tight End/Offensive Guard/Linebacker).

I could go on and on.

Here’s how Clark feels about Morris’ readiness.

“Whenever I had questions about running routes from a db’s perspective in a certain kind of coverage, [Morris] gives me real good credible answers; and I talked to him a lot about that issue this season. You can see he has a strong understanding about the defense. He understands X’s and O’s. He is a good counter strategist for offensive players like myself, and he fits the bill.”

Now Clark concedes that at the age of 32, Morris’ youth will be questioned as it was with Barack Obama, and as it was recently with Lane Kiffin. But Clark doesn’t concede that Morris’ age should stop him from getting the opportunity, as it didn’t in Obama’s and Kiffin’s case either.

Now Kiffin enters the discussion because of his similarities to Morris in age and credentials prior to becoming an NFL head coach.

When Lane Kiffin was hired by the Oakland Raiders on January 23, 2007, he became the youngest head coach since the formation of the modern NFL. Yet, Kiffin received this opportunity after working only as a Graduate Assistant at CSU, quality control coach for the Jacksonville Jaguars, and yes finally ascending through the Trojan ranks to become offensive coordinator at the USC.

In this case, my colleague lends more blue chip credit to Kiffin’s USC experience in comparison to Morris’s experience as a defensive coordinator at Kansas State, because it’s the mighty USC.

Point well taken, if it was only the University that makes the coach.

I submit that the USC “blue chip” experience line is blinding Kiffin’s end result in Oakland which was a 5-15 record over two seasons.

So when we’re comparing apples to apples with the same opportunity of coaching NFL talent and not Kansas State football talent to USC’s football talent, then we can see.

Besides Mike Tomlin would make the better argument when it comes to the topic of young head coaches.

The African American Steelers head coach became the youngest head coach not only in the NFL, but in all four major league sports at the time he was hired at the age of 34. Tomlin’s Steelers were 10-6 in his first season, and 12-4 this past season.

Now granted, Tomlin was a defensive coordinator for the Minnesota Vikings before he was hired as head coach in Pittsburgh. However, Tomlin was coordinator for just one season.

Yes, that’s more than Morris, but it’s still only one.

Besides, between 2002-2005, guess who held various defensive titles along side Tomlin, when Tomlin was a rising defensive backs coach for Tampa Bay?

That’s right Morris.

Obviously the argument of age is a legitimate point that can stand on it’s own if you’re looking at age alone. But I submit that perhaps that view is myopic and narrow-minded.

I for one like to gather more information and more of a person's story. I’m inclined to hope that Bowlen is the same way, and won’t cut off his own nose to spite his face at the risk of his wallet.

Here is more foxhole testimony.

“Obviously experience is a question mark because he is a young guy. People will question whether he has seen enough football to be put in a head coaching position, but young people like Morris will prove you wrong,” said Clark.

This season alone, the Buccaneers’ defense finished 9th, the Broncos’ defense finished 29th. Certainly a lion’s share of Tampa’s superior overall defensive ranking should be credited to the legendary defensive mind of Monte Kiffin. But, certainly Morris learned a thing or two working in action along side of Monte as well.

Not to mention Morris is the one with the ear of the players.

Besides this season, there were several times Buccaneers head coach Jon Gruden gave Morris the opportunity to address the entire team in preparation for upcoming games.

Clark continued to stress Morris’ preparation and his attention to detail-citing one game as one example.

“When we played the Saints that’s obviously a heavy passing team. Rah’ told all his players his mindset was that [Drew] Brees was launching a personal attack on the defense if he felt he could run up the score on them. On the sidelines he said, I can’t repeat the language but to paraphrase he said, ’if these guys think we are that soft and we are that sorry to win this game by passing, they obviously don’t know who they are messing with.’ Jo, you could see it in his eyes, veins bulging, blood rushing; and the guys responded to it. At the end of the game I remember Jermaine Phillips caught the interception to seal the deal. Rah’ went nuts. But Rah’ wasn’t so much happy about the interception as he was that Jermaine let the Saints know that if they play the Bucs they are going to have to find another way to beat us because it’s not passing.”

Matter of fact Simeon Rice told FOX31 Sports that if Bowlen hired Morris as head coach, a certain future Hall of Famer and former Bronco and Buccaneer maybe both enticed and invited to come out of retirement.

“John [Lynch] may even come back. I’m telling you, you guys would love [Morris] out there. He is cool. He is a fresh look, and he is the closest thing to Tomlin out there-and Tomlin is a damn good coach in a new league,” said Rice.

When asked whether Denver is ready to have a black coach as the head coach Rice said,

“It has nothing to do with the black or white card as much as it has to do with age. But with Raheem, he is a leader. A guy like Raheem is going to address things earlier. Older coaches take a longer time to get over themselves sometimes. The only problem he might run into is managing a bunch of individuals because he is so young. But I don’t think he will have that character issue in Denver.”

That’s right because with the defection of certain players, this Denver Broncos team is closer than ever to becoming a quality character team with maturity. From everything I hear, it sounds like Morris has enough credibility to lead this team, and more importantly inspire these players to bleed for him. Now, if you don’t believe these Denver Broncos need inspiring, and don’t need a fire lit under them, check the film of their last three games in which they were outscored by a combined 58 points. Particularly, take a look at the last 52-21 loss against the Chargers in a must win situation.

A must win situation.

A must situation, that ended with a result that had an abundance of age and experience presiding over it.

Now…

Imagine a young Morris running up and down the sidelines, as head coach no less, when the Broncos were down by multiple digits and there was still time to come back if they just believed, if they had the heart, had their minds right, and didn’t play so defeated.

Don’t tell me Morris wouldn’t have been the individual to fearlessly get in the face of that defense, man to men, and unremittingly soldier and shoulder them up to disallow the mistakes of the offense from effecting their own momentum.

Exactly.

Pat Bowlen himself said that, “It was time for a change.”

Change.

Change has been the operative word for this day and age.

Change has been the operative word to progress situations and circumstances that have long stood they way they are-unchallenged, unquestioned, and without reform.

It can be very easily to listen to the status quo.

But, I challenge Bowlen to disregard those who truly don’t know Morris and tear down his credentials on the surface.

I challenge Bowlen rather to reach deeper and be encouraged by someone he himself truly knows and trusts-the owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers Dan Rooney. The man for whom yes the aforementioned Rooney Rule was named after, and the spirit of which led to the hiring of Mike Tomlin.

Not because Mike Tomlin is black, but because Mike Tomlin can.

Not everyone will agree that Bowlen should do the same thing, in this situation.

We all have a diverse set of respectable opnions.

But I believe, yes Bowlen can, and yes Bowlen should.


-------------------------------------------------------------

The bolded stuff is what interests me most. Especially since Herm gave him that internship in NY. It's almost like Herm 1.0 begat Herm 2.0.

booyaf2
01-07-2009, 08:15 AM
I'm not reading all of that. What did it say?

Claynus
01-07-2009, 08:16 AM
I'm not reading all of that. What did it say?

Cliff Notes:

Black dude
Former DB
Knows a lot about defense
Has fiery demeanor
Players like him
Is only 32
Is being mentioned as a HC candidate
Is Herm 2.0?

Dave Lane
01-07-2009, 08:18 AM
Well at least he's been a coordinator and has a ascending record of success.

MagicHef
01-07-2009, 08:18 AM
I'm not reading all of that. What did it say?

It says:

Oh please, Broncos, hire Morris!

Love,
Josina Anderson

Brock
01-07-2009, 08:19 AM
“Please, I don’t care if Colorado voted for Barack Obama, this is and will always be a Republican state. There is not going to be a black face as the head of our team. You know how they play these politics,” said an offensive starter who asked not to be cited.

:rolleyes:

MagicHef
01-07-2009, 08:23 AM
From the link:

Anderson: [After Introduction] So who was there, and how did it go?


Morris: It went well. The owner, Mr. Bowlen was there along with the two Goodman's (both Jim and Jeff), Mr. Ellis (Joe), and Mr. Alexander. They were all in there [with] pretty extensive questions. They did a great job. I just think it went well. I don't really have much to say about it other than that. Got no real feed back from those guys. Just a great opportunity for myself, and a great opportunity for the town of Denver.

There is no Mr. Alexander on the Broncos' staff. There is a Mr. Xanders, though.

Extra Point
01-07-2009, 10:18 AM
“'He deserves a chance. We’ll see if [Broncos owner Pat] Bowlen has the balls to back up all that Rooney Rule talk,' said another NFL agent who also wished to remain anonymous as well."

How many agents are people of color? Rooney rule for that?

Relative to the US population mix, there's a higher percentage people of color in pro rosters, combining all pro sports, than in the US population.

Another turnstile in the bullshit arena. Let's get beyond this race bullshit.

bowener
01-08-2009, 04:59 AM
“'He deserves a chance. We’ll see if [Broncos owner Pat] Bowlen has the balls to back up all that Rooney Rule talk,' said another NFL agent who also wished to remain anonymous as well."

How many agents are people of color? Rooney rule for that?

Relative to the US population mix, there's a higher percentage people of color in pro rosters, combining all pro sports, than in the US population.

Another turnstile in the bullshit arena. Let's get beyond this race bullshit.

I hope in 10 years it is no longer an issue needing to be looked at, and in 20 it should be gone.

I do find it odd how few black coaches there are in the NFL and NCAA for the overwhelming proportion of black players. It would seem that, of that large number, at least a few would be good/great coaches in the NFL/NCAA, based solely on the law of proportions. NCAA is a much better example of this 'oddity', but the NFL is not much better.

As for the Agents, and how many are black, that is a different matter since you are now taking into account law schools and the very small number of black law students. You then have to take into account lots of very un-fun stats that show the massive disparity in races that have a chance/are given adequate chance to succeed from the high school level up (such as adequate teaching/curriculum/funding).

As far as there being more black athletes than white/other athletes, that stems from several factors. Sports, however, is typically a place where race is ignored on the large scale because you are in it to win it, and you will use the best athletes. By percentages, currently the best athletes are black (apparently, or there were be a more equal ratio in athletics). This is because they beat out another kid of any race for a starting spot in HS, then beat out another kid of any race for a starting spot in college, were drafted, and then beat out another man of any race for their starting spot. That is the nature of the game when it comes to easily measured merits such as sports. I run a 4.3, you run a 4.9, I am going to be better at sprinting than you, so I get the starting spot over you.

Some people may want to argue that due to slavery, black Americans have been bread to be more physically gifted. I do not know much on this topic but have heard it before, and read something long ago on how slave owners would breed the strongest men with the strongest women. I dont know how true that is though.

Basically, there is something fishy going on in the NFL and especially the NCAA. Be it the 'good ole boys' network, where the old boys happen to be white and only know other white people, to outright racism. Whether we like it or not, racism is still very alive and definitely kicking in the USA. If Morris is the best candidate for the job, then he should be hired, it is as simple as that. If he is the best and goes un-hired, then it should be looked into, because there should never be a time when a person should be judged on their race or sex. As a white male, I do not have to really worry about that, or think about it. I do not like knowing that when I go interview for a job (any) I have a much greater chance of getting hired than any female or male of a different race that is of equal merit to me, or even slightly better. I want to get my job because I was the best and all my hard work stood for itself, not the color of my skin.

Sorry for the rant that is off topic, guys. I can't sleep tonight and just sat down and started typing. This really isn't direted at anyone personally, just the topics brought up. This is a topic I am passionate about, more so now that I am in an interracial relationship, which gives me a chance to see from a different point of view.

chiefzilla1501
01-08-2009, 09:24 AM
I hope in 10 years it is no longer an issue needing to be looked at, and in 20 it should be gone.

I do find it odd how few black coaches there are in the NFL and NCAA for the overwhelming proportion of black players. It would seem that, of that large number, at least a few would be good/great coaches in the NFL/NCAA, based solely on the law of proportions. NCAA is a much better example of this 'oddity', but the NFL is not much better.

As for the Agents, and how many are black, that is a different matter since you are now taking into account law schools and the very small number of black law students. You then have to take into account lots of very un-fun stats that show the massive disparity in races that have a chance/are given adequate chance to succeed from the high school level up (such as adequate teaching/curriculum/funding).

As far as there being more black athletes than white/other athletes, that stems from several factors. Sports, however, is typically a place where race is ignored on the large scale because you are in it to win it, and you will use the best athletes. By percentages, currently the best athletes are black (apparently, or there were be a more equal ratio in athletics). This is because they beat out another kid of any race for a starting spot in HS, then beat out another kid of any race for a starting spot in college, were drafted, and then beat out another man of any race for their starting spot. That is the nature of the game when it comes to easily measured merits such as sports. I run a 4.3, you run a 4.9, I am going to be better at sprinting than you, so I get the starting spot over you.

Some people may want to argue that due to slavery, black Americans have been bread to be more physically gifted. I do not know much on this topic but have heard it before, and read something long ago on how slave owners would breed the strongest men with the strongest women. I dont know how true that is though.

Basically, there is something fishy going on in the NFL and especially the NCAA. Be it the 'good ole boys' network, where the old boys happen to be white and only know other white people, to outright racism. Whether we like it or not, racism is still very alive and definitely kicking in the USA. If Morris is the best candidate for the job, then he should be hired, it is as simple as that. If he is the best and goes un-hired, then it should be looked into, because there should never be a time when a person should be judged on their race or sex. As a white male, I do not have to really worry about that, or think about it. I do not like knowing that when I go interview for a job (any) I have a much greater chance of getting hired than any female or male of a different race that is of equal merit to me, or even slightly better. I want to get my job because I was the best and all my hard work stood for itself, not the color of my skin.

Sorry for the rant that is off topic, guys. I can't sleep tonight and just sat down and started typing. This really isn't direted at anyone personally, just the topics brought up. This is a topic I am passionate about, more so now that I am in an interracial relationship, which gives me a chance to see from a different point of view.

The best argument for the Rooney Rule is that the NFL has it, and minority coach recruiting has improved markedly. College doesn't have it and it is a HUGE problem. I don't understand why people have a problem with the Rooney Rule.

chiefzilla1501
01-08-2009, 09:26 AM
Cliff Notes:

Black dude
Former DB
Knows a lot about defense
Has fiery demeanor
Players like him
Is only 32
Is being mentioned as a HC candidate
Is Herm 2.0?

Why do you say he's Herm 2.0? I don't get it. He has a ton more experience than Herm had.

Look at Raheem Morris' resume. It's almost a mirror image of Mike Tomlin's. That's the more appropriate comparison.

boogblaster
01-08-2009, 09:34 AM
If someone is qualified they deserve a shot ... Race has nothing to do with it ... You either can or can't do a job ...

Goapics1
01-08-2009, 10:41 AM
“Please, I don’t care if Colorado voted for Barack Obama, this is and will always be a Republican state. There is not going to be a black face as the head of our team. You know how they play these politics,” said an offensive starter who asked not to be cited

Sounds like Jay Cutler to me.