Jan/20/12 08:06 AM Filed in: Rob Chudzinski
If I need a head coach in the NFL right now, I call McCoy or Chud before anyone else. Who are they? The wave of the future.
Mike McCoy. Isn't that Colt McCoy's youngest brother who's a high school phenom? No. And it's not the husband from "The Hand That Rocks The Cradle" either (that's Matt McCoy, for movie nerds like me). Mike McCoy is the Denver Broncos offensive coordinator and reportedly the front-runner in the Miami Dolphins' head-coaching search.
If you didn't know his name, you need to. Because McCoy, along with the Carolina Panthers' Rob Chudzinski, have laid the groundwork for the new era of offensive coordinators in the league. McCoy helped spark Tim Tebow's magical season in Denver while Chudzinski turned Cam Newton into a killer robot who is ready to take over the planet. (This after he previously made Derek Anderson into a Pro Bowl QB in Cleveland, which is only slightly less difficult than building a killer robot.)
Why are McCoy and Chudzinski the future? It used to be that a great offensive mind was someone who perfected a specific system and then either found the right players to execute it, or if that wasn't possible, took whatever players they could and tried to mold them into ones who fit. Why was Mike Martz so successful in St. Louis? Because Kurt Warner's time in the Arena Football League, where he had to make tremendously fast reads, was perfect for it. While Marc Bulger wasn't the fit that Warner was, he was forced into The Greatest Show On Turf and still had a modicum of success. That was what being an offensive coordinator in the NFL used to be. The system was more valuable over the players. Now, it's changed.
Teams realize that trying to put a square peg (a franchise quarterback completely unfamiliar with the system you want to run) into a round hole (your system) isn't going to yield great results. The new editions of great coordinators are ones who accept they have to tailor their philosophy to what their quarterback does well. Tebow was a curiosity who flashed until the Broncos decided to custom-build their offense around him. And what happened? A six-game winning streak and a spot in the NFL's final eight.
McCoy played to Tebow's strengths. Chudzinski did it from the jump in Carolina with Newton, and that's why these two will be head coaches sooner rather than later. They look smarter than everyone else. They look like innovators. Their ego is comfortable enough where they're not unbending to other thoughts. Every CEO in the world wants people like that working for them. What sealed Martz's ultimate "philosophical differences" fate in Chicago? He was forever resistant to changing what he does to keep more pass protection in for Jay Cutler. When he finally threw his arms up in the air and said, "Fine, I'll do it," what happened? The Bears won five straight and were rolling until Cutler fractured his thumb and missed the rest of the season. The lesson here is always be open to new ideas, and make sure those ideas are what your QB can execute best.
Now let's just say you're a team with a player at that position whose skills are a little different than your standard passer? (Like Robert Griffin III, when he gets selected in April.) Who are you going to want to be your head coach? Someone who you're confident can develop them so you're not throwing money away for three seasons as your team tries to find a happy medium between their talent and your system. How many times do you have to watch the ups and downs of Mark Sanchez, Chad Henne, Sam Bradford, Tarvaris Jackson, Colt McCoy, or Kevin Kolb to realize how valuable that is?