In the AFC South we have two new head coaches in Mike Mularkey and Chuck Pagano, one second year head coach in Mike Munchak, and one seventh-year coach in Gary Kubiak. Based on Munchak’s performance last season and the new feel to Mularkey and Pagano, there is no threat to their jobs in Tennessee, Jacksonville, and Indianapolis respectively. Kubiak has faced pressure before (he only wins 49% of his games) but is coming off a big season with the franchise’s first postseason victory.
So, when they were all talking about how long the starters would be playing in the last preseason game, it came as no shock that the new coaches wanted to see more of what their players could do. Kubiak’s response: “There may be a couple [starters] that play. Maybe a few, but for the most part, no.” Knowing your own players front and back is a big benefit heading into the season. While not the best head coach the world has ever seen, Kubiak understands his players and his team. He knows how it’s going to work and can put it all together in his head with just a few new pieces each year.
The new coaches don’t have that luxury.
When speaking about how long the starters would play, Munchak and Pagano both seemed unsure of their plans. “I think we’ll play the offensive guys more than the defensive guys, I would think,” said Munchak. Pagano stated, “We haven’t haven’t made a decision on that yet…looking at the health of our football team to try and make that decision.” You can almost imagine hesitation and on their faces as they speak. You can practically see the second guessing in their heads as they contemplate what to do in the final preseason game.
Mularkey wasn’t much better, but probably should be more relaxed since he used to lead training camp and the preseason as the head coach of the Bills. He wants to see a good drive. It all depends on the drives for him. “If it’s a 10-, 12-play drive I may consider taking them out. If it’s not and we have a three-, four-, five-play drive you’ll probably see them again,” he said while referring to both the offense and the defense. But at least he has a plan.
Maybe it’s just being coy with reporters or not wanting to display confidence, but the less experienced AFC South coaches just aren’t displaying the kind of decisive decision making your really look in the man leading your team. The man making decisions.
I’m not a Gark Kubiak fan, but you’ve got to hand it to him – he looks mighty prepared in comparison to his competition. When you are able to sit back and watch the opposition squabble and attempt to plan, you’ve got an advantage….confidence.
- Luke N. Sims
You can also find me on Twitter @LukeNSims