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Do You Prefer an Offensive- or Defensive-Minded Head Coach? Does It Even Matter?

Jan 8, 2013, 1:28 PM EDT

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One of the statements we keep reading and hearing as the
Eagles’ head-coaching search drags on is a seemingly large portion of the fan
base wants a “defensive-minded head coach.” Recently, some of my brethren were
having this discussion on Twitter, going so far as to break down how many of
each won Super Bowls in the past decade.

It’s an interesting topic, in that obviously it can be
debated and almost quantified to a certain extent. But then ultimately, does it
really make a difference either way?

This is an aspect of the Eagles’ hunt that does not
preoccupy me in the least, because think about it. An offensive-minded head
coach is going to hire a defensive coordinator to run his defense, and a
defensive-minded head coach is going to hire an offensive coordinator to run
his offense.

What you’re essentially doing is applying overriding
philosophies to candidates based on a position they currently hold.

Bringing in a defensive coordinator to become the Eagles’ next
head coach does not automatically mean Jeff Lurie would be hiring somebody who
believes in a three-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust run-oriented attack. For all we
know, that particular defensive coach is going to want a strong-minded offensive
coordinator who will throw the ball all over the field on first, second, and third
downs because of some league trend. What is being done on the other side of the ball may even boil down to
something so simple as who was willing to take the job.

It has a tendency not to work out how you think it will
at all.

Perhaps the prime example is Brian Billick, who won a
championship as head coach of the Baltimore Ravens in 2000. Because that team
had one of the worst offenses in Super Bowl history, but also one of the strongest defenses ever, people tend to forget
Billick actually got the job based on his work as the offensive coordinator for the
Minnesota Vikings.

Or look at last year’s Super Bowl. Bill Belichick was once a
defensive coach, but the Patriots have developed into an offensive powerhouse through
the years, while Tom Coughlin was an offensive coach, and the Giants’ pass rush
especially is often billed first for their success.

The Eagles shouldn’t be looking for somebody based on
whether he coaches offense or defense, because somebody winds up coaching
offense, and somebody else winds up coaching defense, and vice versa. It simply
isn’t something to get hung up about.

What they’re looking for is a coach who can lead a team, a
coach with a plan. Do you really care whether it’s an offensive or defensive
coordinator?