Dec 30 2012; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator Bruce Arians on the sidelines during a game against the Houston Texans at Lucas Oil Stadium. Indianapolis defeats Houston 28-16. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Just Say No to an “Offensive Genius”


Dec 9 2012, Indianapolis, USA; Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck (12) and coach Bruce Arians congratulate each other late in the fourth quarter against the Tennessee Titans at Lucas Oil Stadium. Indianapolis defeated Tennessee 27-23. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

There has been a lot of talk lately about Bruce Arians and the interest the Chargers, and many other clubs, are pursuing him for their Head Coaching Vacancies.  While I am supportive of what he has done on an interim basis in Indianapolis, I am also looking at his career of coaching as a whole.

Recently while watching Sportscenter on ESPN, I overheard one of the football analysts (sorry, I don’t remember which one), call Arians “…one of the great offensive minds in the game.” When I heard that, alarms started going off in my head.  Didn’t we just finish dealing with “the best playcaller in the game.”? Didn’t we learn our lesson!?

Let’s dig a little deeper into the history of Bruce Arians. First of all, he is 60 years old. Now, nothing against age…but that has to play a factor when you look around the league and see the success of all the younger coaches out there. Only 3 of the Head Coaches of teams in the playoffs this year are over the age of 60.

Lets revisit him being an “offensive genius.” As the interim head coach/offensive coordinator this year for the Colts, as 5 years the OC of the Steelers and 2 years OC of the Browns; his teams have finished in top-10 in scoring only ONCE. That doesn’t exactly get me very excited.

He does have head coaching experience however….during the 1980′s for Temple Owls! His 6 years as their head coach resulted in a sparkling record of 21-45. 21-45!!!

If all this wasn’t enough to sway your opinion just a little…please look closer at the above picture. Do we really want a coach who can’t even complete a high-five!? Refs would throw a penalty on that for roughing the passer.

 

 

Daniel Locke

Tags: Bruce Arians Featured Norv Turner Popular San Diego Chargers

  • davacho

    thanks for the update- i’ve also been following this closely. while i agree that arians may not be a good fit (a lot of factors go into his latest success as interim HC for indy)… i also think bringing up what a man did in his 30′s vs. what a man is doing in his 60′s is irrelevant. now, if he was successful with the temple owls and was 21-45 the past 5 seasons as a HC then yah, let’s agree he’s on the decline. i’d like to think we all can get a bit smarter/wiser with age? i just know i’d hate to be judged by the stupid crap i’m doing now in the future! besides, we all know this is a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately league… i am not sold on arians for the chargers, but could care less about what he did 30 years ago. : )

    • http://twitter.com/DLocke619 Dan Locke

      I really only brought that up to show that his last real head coaching gig was 25+ years ago. Since then only an asst. with mediocre success. But yeah, I agree with what you’re saying.

      • davacho

        gotcha- even more more ammo for a proceed with caution approach!

    • http://www.facebook.com/lostkiara Stefanie Smith

      No, let’s not agree he is on the decline. Tom Coughlin is in his 70s. Bill B is no youngster. What are you guys talking about?

      • davacho

        i may be misunderstanding your post, but i never said he was on the decline- i posted a theoretical (if, then). also, i’m not talking about his age being a negative- in fact i said, “i’d like to think we all can get a bit smarter/wiser with age”

  • thegorn

    The age thing doesn’t bother me. What does concern me is his coaching experience. Thanks for raising this. What you’ve shown me is that these “great” football minds and beat writers are pretty stupid. My brother is friends with a team physician of a very successful NFL team. The physician says that the coach of that team is successful because he’s a pretty smart guy compared to the rest of the coaches in the NFL which he dismisses as being pretty stupid.

    • http://twitter.com/DLocke619 Dan Locke

      Age isn’t he biggest concern for me, its his lack of sustained succes in coaching. I think media are hyping the Colts so much, and they are such a great story with Luck, ChuckStrong, etc., that they are not looking at his overall history. Arians is not in my top10 candidates. There are many more coaches out there with proven success that I would rather see.

  • thegorn

    I was in favor of Arians but now I’m going to hope that the Chargers look at David Shaw at Stanford U. Sadly, the Chargers don’t seem to be looking there.

    • Nick in PB

      Sorry, David Shaw signed a new contract with Stanford. I liked him too, but he is not going anywhere.

      • http://twitter.com/DLocke619 Dan Locke

        Big bummer about Shaw…he already had SD connections. I really was hoping he’d be available

  • http://www.facebook.com/lostkiara Stefanie Smith

    Don’t minimize what Arians did while Pagano was gone. He was the Head Coach. Plus he coached some of the best QBs around. He would be good to see if Rivers has anything left and can build him up again. Also, there is a chance that Arians would be more amenable to having Pagano on the defense stay on.

    Also Arians is a feel good story and will put a good public image back on the Chargers.

    Bottom line. As good as Luck is, noone expected them to get to the playoffs. Isn’t that something? All with a “non-coach” on the decline!

    • davacho

      good point about boosting public image, but at the end of the day/season, i could give a rat’s ass what people think about us… i just want us to win. : ) sorry, i’m not being in to the arians hype machine… at least not yet. there are many factors contributing to the success of the colts that may or may not be attributed to coach arians. i say chargers proceed with caution. : )

      • http://www.facebook.com/lostkiara Stefanie Smith

        The public image thing is for the Spanos. They have to worry about image. There is value in the brand. Bad image = less value. Good PR is always good for the Chargers.

        • davacho

          I agree that public image adds value (I work in marketing), but nothing boosts value like a championship. : )

      • http://www.facebook.com/pete.spinning Pete Spinning

        Good points, Davacho. I agree.. I just want us to win. I often think how much coach Pagano being sick, coupled with drafting Luck, contributed to the team making the playoffs. Players fight harder when coach is fighting cancer, I’m certain. I think what really impressed me, however, was the clock management (something Norv was AWFUL at). I saw Indianapolis make 4th quarter comebacks this year. The one that sticks out in my mind was the one against Detroit. Awesome two minute clock management, with a rookie QB to boot!!! That one is all about Arians having his team prepared to play, and calling plays that would give them an opportunity to win… Nuff said. Norv lost his ability to do that. Arians was quoted as saying “Some teams find ways to win… other teams don’t”. Norv consistently fell into the “other teams don’t” column. Arians has consistently been in the “some teams find a way to win” column. No matter what HC we pick.. I want that for or team. To find ways to win. The Bolts keep finding insane ways to lose, as we all know. Fix that problem, and we have a playoff team.

        • davacho

          well said. : )

    • http://twitter.com/DLocke619 Dan Locke

      The biggest advantage going for him in my opinion is that Pagano would stay as DC. I agree. I would just rather have someone with more sustained success in the league

  • http://www.facebook.com/lostkiara Stefanie Smith

    “Only three of the head coaches in the playoffs are over the age of 60″.

    Bill B: born 1952; Lewis from the Bengals 1958. John Fox born in 1955. Shanahan born in 1952.

    So your premise is incorrect. Plus the bulk of the coaches going to the playoffs are in their 50s with the exception being under 50.

    • http://twitter.com/DLocke619 Dan Locke

      Right, only BB, Shanahan and Carrol are over 60. 3 out of the 12 playoff HC’s are over 60. The averag age of the rest is nearly 10 years younger. He is also a cancer survivor, which has its own toll. SUre there are age exceptions like Coughlin and BB, but the direction of NFL is changing. I’m not trying to be age-ist, just stating what I see.

  • http://www.facebook.com/pete.spinning Pete Spinning

    I think Arians has as much of a chance as any of the other candidates for being considered. Age doesn’t necessarily bother me. If he knocks the interview (which I hope the interview process isn’t just based on charm) out of the park… I’m sold. I just hope that they don’t use the same process as they did with Norv… Bwahaha! I don’t care WHAT guy it is… as long as it’s the right guy. We probably won’t know if the coaching is good until the middle-to-end of next season, regardless of who they pick.

    • http://twitter.com/DLocke619 Dan Locke

      It’s funny that people are only focusing on the age aspect. I think the bigger concern is 7+ years as OC in NFL and only 1 top 10 scoring offense. Norv Turner was also suposed to be an offensive genius…I think once we hire GM, the HC list will come into focus more

      • http://www.facebook.com/pete.spinning Pete Spinning

        Well, you did start out with that fact, after writing “Let’s dig a little deeper”. ..lol. But, I hear you on your other points, too. I know they also called Norv a play calling genius, but there’s a difference. Arians isn’t a “milque-toast leader”, IMO. However, I don’t subscribe to the “he’s better than Norv” fan club. I don’t want a coach that is merely “better than Norv”. UNLESS.. he wow’s everyone in the interview…. which is something we will probably not be privy to. I hire people at my job every year. I would hire somebody with decent qualifications, who nailed my interview questions any day over someone who was more qualified, but whiffed on two or three important questions. I have hired both, and the ones who nailed it ALWAYS work out better. They end up being a far better fit. Granted… My job isn’t an NFL team… Hahaha. Having said all of this, Arians isn’t my first choice. He just has a decent chance, is all I’m saying.

    • Nick in PB

      Pete! What’s up bro. I was a big Arians fan until they dug a bit deeper. I still think he could do a better job than Norv Turnover! This hiring is critical, and right now, I am not sure which direction they are going to go in. It seems they must have their sights set on a coordinator that’s currently in the playoffs. We’ve heard all the names, some are laughable (JIm Mora) but none have hit me as, “this is the guy!” I do, however love what Arians has done with the Colts this year and the fact that he would likely keep Pagano is a plus.

      • http://www.facebook.com/pete.spinning Pete Spinning

        What up, Nick!!! Happy New Year, my good man! I will say this…. BH became a little inconsistent with posting their articles. Still a big fan, regardless. But, the truth is, I got promoted at work to head manager. So, I haven’t had much down time to post, like I used to. I’ll be on there again once Free Agency, and the draft his… Maybe sooner. Arians isn’t my top pick either. Jim Mora is my worst nightmare. Once we hire a GM, we will have more clarity on HC’s, unless they hire both at once, which I am completely against.

        • Nick in PB

          Congrats on the promotion! Way to start the New Year!!! Now, a really good head coach and GM would really make this a perfect year! Don’t you agree!!! Go Bolts!

          Not sure if BH will continue. No articles at all since before the Raider game. I wrote to Rob to see what happened but no reply.

          • http://www.facebook.com/pete.spinning Pete Spinning

            Yes, that would be very Nice.

            Huh… That’s odd About BH. Let me know if you get a response. I’d be interested to know what he says. Maybe I’ll email him too.

          • Nick in PB

            I’ll keep you posted Pete!

  • arnie

    good article Dan,
    if it’s all about the numbers, then the chargers should not even interview Arians. I learned a long time ago. numbers and facts don’t lie, but they don’t tell the whole truth either. you have to look at these in “context”. Coaching success is reliant on three factors. the coach, the players, an the organization.
    with the owls it’s a tell tail sign how he started. it’s not like he coached at Alabama an ended with that record. the stint with the browns? well it’s the browns. but as of late he’s coached two franchise QB’s to the playoffs. one of them has a ring. Now if you can tell me Big ben is a better QB than PR, i’d ask you to but the crack pipe down. Ben is the recipient of a running game, an defense, that elevated him to that ring. the context is none of those teams were built to be high scoring.

    Now, while i’m not on the Arians hype machine, i do have to say, he stepped up when they needed him, and he delivered. However, nobody was looking at Bisaccia, and yet he was passed over, again. despite coaching the worst ranked special teams unit, with some mediocre talent, to be the 3rd best in the NFL. My point being there is enough there to warrant look, by both men, to be a head coach. the problem i have, is they’re trying to kill tow birds with one stone. HC/OC. that’s why i believe Rich got the shaft.

    • Nick in PB

      Agree… Bisaccia should have been interviewed for the head coaching position. I was really hoping they would can Norv 5 games ago and promote Bisaccia to head coach to see what he could do. That would have been the right thing to do. I do think he left because he felt slighted by the Bolts.

      • arnie

        that was my hope as well. if john ramsdale (QB Coach), or hal hunter (the OC/O-line coach) couldn’t call a few plays, then what good are they? And there in lies the problem, Norv was the HC an the Play-caller. so there was not enough trust for those two to take over play calling duties.

        • Nick in PB

          So true Arnie. Really a shame what happened to the Bolts. AJ and his ego. Norv and his… well, coaching. Dean should have said goodbye last year, when it was all set up. Hey, miss you from Bolthype but that just kind of disappeared! You Pete and RH.