One of the most important qualities of leadership is called Management of Trust, which simply means that, as a leader of an organization, the staff trusts that every decision is made without an agenda and with the good of the company in mind.
To be a successful head coach in the NFL you have to rely on your knowledge of the game, your ability to communicate your message, but most of all the players must trust that every football decision made is for the good of the team. A head coach is a leader, therefore one of the elements of leadership applies. When the players feel there is a specific agenda behind certain decisions, then they could lose respect for the head coach, and things could start to unravel.
Better than before
For Eagles coach Andy Reid to stand in front of his team and claim that Kevin Kolb is the right man to lead the Eagles after the way that Michael Vick has played, he would jepordize the longstanding trust that he has built with his players and the organization. Kolb had not played well all summer, and in the first game against the Packers he looked tenative and unsure with every decision, before being knocked out with a concussion. The players believed that Kolb would improve, and even though he was struggling they trusted Reid's evaluation. But that was before Vick entered the game.
Even though Kolb had total support from Reid, there is no denying the way that Vick has played the last six quarters -- to the team, to the fans, to the coaches, and to himself. Reid did the right thing, the smart thing and kept the players' trust. He was willing to change course, showing the players that winning is more important than proving himself right.
As Winston Churchill once said, "To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often." Reid was Churchill with this decision.
This week was all about quarterback changes in the NFL. Seven teams have changed quarterbacks from week one, some because of injury and some because they are searching for answers in their offense.
In Oakland, the Jason Campbell era was short, but the Raiders had to go to Bruce Gradkowski in an effort to run their version of the West Coast offense. Campbell is not a West Coast quarterback, as he hesitates with the ball, thus exposing the Raiders' weak offensive line and having the offense fail out of rhythm.
In Carolina, Matt Moore was not good in his first two weeks, so the Jimmy Clausen era begins, but with the same problems that Moore faced. The problems are deeper than just changing quaterbacks without a second receiver to go along with Steve Smith. And when the running game doesn't work, the offense has no chance. Clausen has his work cut out for him.
The script: My first 15
- The Ravens outscored the Browns 50-3 in the two games they played last year, and in this one you can expect the Ravens to get back to their identity, which is to feature Ray Rice in the offense. The Ravens must get improved play from quarterback Joe Flacco, but they can't lose Rice in the meantime. The Browns might be the slowest team in the league, on both sides of the ball, and no matter who plays quarterback, they will struggle to make explosive plays.
- Jimmy Clausen's first start in Carolina is against a Bengals defense that features plenty of zone blitzes and complex coverage schemes. Cincinnati has corners to cover the Panthers' wide receiver, which will make it hard for Clausen to gain any rhythm. I keep wondering when the Bengals are going to include Bernard Scott to help their running game? Scott is the best back on the team and I wonder when the Bengals will realize this.
- You wonder why a team can't score? Look at its third down production. Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo is 9-19 for 123 yds, an interception and has a 46.6 rating on third downs. This week against the Texans, the Cowboys should be able to move the ball through the air (the Texans have allowed a league-worst 822 yards passing in two weeks) but the Texans will, as well. This might be an old fashion Texas shoot out, and whoever has the ball last might be the winner.
- The Chiefs are playing sound football in every phase of the game, but this week they will need the 49ers to turn the ball over if they expect to gain their third victory. The Chiefs will struggle to move the ball in this game on offense and will need to play on a short field to score points, which means special teams might play a huge factor.
- Brett Favre thinks it will be hard for the Vikings to score points as they try to incorporate new players into their offensive system, but I disagree. If they can't score points on the Lions, then something is deadly wrong in Minnesota, as the Lions' secondary is extremely weak. Even though the Lions are better, they lack depth and can't overcome all of their injuries, which have taken its toll.
- The Patriots are a young team and will have their ups and downs this year. But in their loss to the Jets, they showed great ability to pick up all the Jets' pressure blitzes. They can build on that loss and show signs of having an explosive offense like the one in 2007. The Bills are far from explosive and will struggle to score all season long, no matter who plays quarterback.
- A message to Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan: The time is now to step up and show the league you can win a big game on the road, or you will never convince anyone that you are an elite quarterback in this league. In fairness to Ryan, the Falcons' offensive line is weak, and weak lines do not travel well. This is a winnable game for the Falcons, as they are catching the Saints at the right time -- short week after playing a physical game against the Niners. Show me something, Matty Ice.
- If you believe, as I do, that the way to build a team starts with the offensive and defensive lines, then the Titans-Giants game will feature two teams that adhere to that philosophy. The Titans' defensive line might not have any big name players, but they are good and play with incredible effort and intensity. The winner of this game will be the team that plays the best on both sides of the line... and I think that will be the Titans.
- Somebody better break up the Buccaneers. Starting 2-0 is a huge boast and has given this young team confidence. A win against the Steelers would be a defining moment, but that will take a huge effort. The Steelers are amazing on defense, and Troy Polamalu does make a difference. The Steelers will try to run the ball and play it close to the vest, and wait for the Bucs to make that one critical mistake.
- Former Rams head coach and now Redskins defensive coordinator Jim Haslett will unload every blitz he has to prove to the St. Louis organization that it made a mistake in not hiring him as head coach. Washington is really fun to watch on offense, as offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan has done a great job of attacking his opponents. Donovan McNabb looks great on the move and throwing the ball down the field. The Rams are a long way from winning games.
- Cardinals quarterback Derek Anderson better show he can handle the job this week, or else he might be the next quarterback to be sent to the sidelines. The Cards were embarrassed last week in Atlanta and will be hunting for revenge against the Raiders. The Raiders, with Gradkowski, are much smoother on offense, but playing on the road might expose their weaknesses in their offensive line.
- It's been an emotional week for the Broncoshaving to deal with the death of Kenny McKinley. Now they have to face the Colts. Indianapolis ran the ball last week because the Giants thought playing nickel defense against the Colts would stop their passing game, but Peyton Manning decided to take what the defense gave him. The Broncos will need to run the ball, much like the Texans did against Indy, and try to keep this game close and make the one play in the fourth that allows them to win.
- The Chargers are really good, and if I were holdout offensive tackle Marcus McNeil, I would be worried about Brandyn Dombrowski taking my job forever. McNeill might qualify for having the dumbest holdout in the history of the league and the Chargers have not missed him at all. The Seahawks are outmanned in this game and must rely on the Chargers making mistakes to pull off the upset.
- The Jets-Dolphins game will be great, and the key will be if Antonio Cromartie can cover Brandon Marshall without any help. If he can, the Jets will win; if he struggles, then Miami will win. The Dolphins did a great job of protecting the passer against all the Jets' overload pressures last season, so expect them to do the same.
2nd and long
As Major League Hall of Fame executive Branch Rickey once said, "Often times the best trades you make are the ones you don't make."
» I would have never said this last year, but this injury to Reggie Bush of the Saints might be hard for them to over come. Bush is a different player now than he was last year. This change started in the playoffs last year, and he is finally the kind of back the Saints envisioned he would be when they selected him with the second overall pick.
» The Jags have to find a way to get running back Maurice Jones-Drew going. He is down almost a full yard per carry from his career average. When Jones-Drew is unable to make plays, the Jags don't have anyone else who can pick up the slack.
See you at the game...
I will be in Houston this weekend (wonder why I jumped on the Texans bandwagon?) to watch the Cowboys try to get their first win. I am excited for the game, excited to watch how the Cowboys handle the pressure of being 0-2. This is the kind of game where the desperate team always plays better, and Dallas is just that. It will be a very entertaining game, and I am excited to see everyone in Houston. Make sure you say hello.