Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Choice of head coach-quarterback combo could make, break an A11FL team

Vince Lombardi and Bart Starr.

Chuck Noll and Terry Bradshaw.

Bill Walsh and Joe Montana.

Bill Belichick and Tom Brady.

These are just some of the famous highly-successful head coach-quarterback combos in the history of the National Football League. A team can win with a great quarterback or a great head coach, but it can win championships with both.

A11 Football League teams are going to have to make the right call in terms of all of their hires – from the very top of the organization to the very bottom. But the choices of head coach and starting quarterback for each team will be among the most crucial.

What would be some of the potential “dream” A11FL head coach-quarterback pairings?

CALIFORNIA – A Rick Neuheisel-Dennis Dixon combination would be quite a site. Neuheisel is a natural here for three reasons – 1) his offensive background as a professional quarterback, assistant coach and head coach, 2) his deep UCLA ties as a quarterback, assistant and head coach and 3) his background in a previous alternative outdoor spring professional football league (as quarterback of the United States Football League’s San Antonio Gunslingers, 1984-85). Dixon ran Oregon’s high-tempo offense as a collegian, and currently is on the Buffalo Bills’ practice squad. His run-pass dual threat and experience would make for a quality pairing with a teacher like Neuheisel.

FLORIDA – Herman Edwards and Tim Tebow. This might seem like an odd pairing at first, Edwards being a defensive-minded coach. But Edwards, who has Florida ties from his time as an assistant coach with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers prior to his two NFL head coaching stints, knows players play to win the game. And Tebow most certainly plays all-out to win the game. Edwards could use his vast pro coaching background to try to stop A11FL offenses, and Tebow was born to run an A11FL offense. Personality-wise, Edwards and Tebow would be a very good match.

ILLINOIS – Charlie Weis and Jordan Lynch. Weis is in his second stint as a college football coach at Kansas after spending many years as an offensive coordinator with the New York Jets, New England Patriots, Kansas City Chiefs and the University of Florida. His fertile offensive mind would go well with the dual-threat of Lynch, who is a senior at Northern Illinois and is racking up yards and touchdowns with his arm and his legs at a high rate. Weis could come up with high-octane offensive game plans with a player like Lynch who throws like a quarterback and runs like a tailback.

MICHIGAN – Steve Mariucci and Dan LeFevour. Mariucci has been out of coaching since 2005, and who knows whether or not he has an itch to go back to the sidelines? But someone like “Mooch” with his offensive background, his Michigan ties (born in Iron Mountain and played quarterback/coached at Northern Michigan) and a brief alternative outdoor spring pro football league (assistant with the USFL’s Orlando Renegades in 1985) would go well with a pivot like LeFevour. The dual-threat LeFevour has been a backup in the Canadian Football League after “touring” the NFL for a couple seasons, but has the ability to be a pro starting quarterback.

NEW YORK/NEW JERSEY – Mike Shanahan and JaMarcus Russell. Big markets deserve big names. And head coach Mike Shanahan, currently in his 20th season as an NFL head coach and fourth season leading the Washington Redskins, and quarterback JaMarcus Russell, once the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft, both fit that bill. Shanahan has 170 wins at the NFL level, as well as back-to-back Super Bowl titles, and has adapted his team’s offense to fit the skills of dynamic quarterback Robert Griffin III. Russell, six years removed from being the top pick in the draft, also is four years removed from any pro game action. He is attempting a comeback, and could be the face of a team – or an entire league.

PENNSYLVANIA – Brad Childress and Pat White. Childress has a Pennsylvania background as a longtime assistant coach under Andy Reid with the Philadelphia Eagles, and has been an offensive assistant or head coach in the NFL since 1999. He currently serves as “spread game analyst” for the Kansas City Chiefs. Childress’ playbook would be even thicker thanks to the ability of White to both run and pass the ball down the field. White has had a checkered pro career after setting many records at West Virginia, and this would be White’s first true shot at a pro starting job.

TEXAS – Houston Nutt and Vince Young. Nutt never has been a pro head coach, but has plenty of coaching experience in the South, including his two most-recent head coaching jobs at Arkansas and Ole Miss. This would be a pairing of a head coach who flat-out wins (11 winning seasons, .584 overall winning percentage in 19 college seasons), and a quarterback who flat-out wins. Young is 31-19 as a starter in the NFL, and was 30-2 as a starter at Texas. Young would be a fan favorite in the state of Texas, and with Nutt running the show, the two could have the Texas A11FL team winning right away.

1 comment:

  1. Once these offensive concepts gain more favor at every level of the game (A11 concepts can be used under current rules but there will be much more flexibility in the A11 League), how the defenses respond will be almost as intriquing. Defensive coaches/players will be just as valuable.