First of all, I want to say I really liked Michael Rosenberg article in the Freep today. It is well worth reading the entire article (and skipping all of the inane comments from people who missed the point). I agree totally. Yes, Rod Marinelli has failed as a head coach in the NFL. He worked his whole life toward this goal, and when he got there, he was in over his head. But I will say this about him -- despite the mistakes he's made, and how things have turned out -- he will be able to look back and say "I did my best, but it wasn't good enough. At least it was the best I had -- and I kept my part of the bargain and never gave up my players and my job til the sad, bitter end."
How many of us would be able to handle getting to our dream job, and finding out it's a nightmare we just can't succeed at? As publicly as Marinelli has had to? I agree that he must be the most mentally tough character I've ever seen. No wonder it's hard for the players to get to his level of single-minded concentration. If they could focus on the field the way Rod does off the field then the Lions truly would be a team to fear. Alas, his style worked with 7 or 8 Dline guys, but not when applied to an entire team.
Interesting quote from Steelers HC Mike Tomlin -- he said at the beginning of camp this year, and into the season, he has been sure to take some time and spend it with each unit of the team. Being a HC versus a DC or position coach, he said, means you get so caught up in the big picture, it's easy to lose touch with the pieces. I don't think Marinelli was able to make that jump in level of transcendence. Not all people can, and it is nothing to be ashamed of.
Marinelli the man pushed himself as far as Coach Marinelli could go. After this season, he will most likely be a DC or a position coordinator again. Before all the negative boo-birds come out to play with his defensive statistics, lets keep in mind that he was HC of the Lions, didn't have anything to start with, and wasn't given much more to work with. I can see his coaching style, in the right circumstance, fitting well in combination with an offensive minded HC. There are already two other HC openings RIGHT NOW besides Detroit that will be hiring all new staffs. Cam Cameron went 1-15 and was fired after one disastrous season in Miami, and found a position as an OC again right away. Just like Mornhinweg, who was best as an OC sometimes coaches have to fail at the top to find where they are best suited to be. And not every ego can handle it as well as I think Rod Marinelli will.
So as someone who has managed to fail in life now and then, as everyone eventually does -- Please do me a favor. Even if you agree that Rod is not cut out to be a Head Coach beyond this season, let him finish out the last 12 games of being in his dream -- out of Respect for the Man, and all he did to get there. Even failing at that level is much higher than pretty much all of us will ever go to in football, or possibly even in life. So lets offer the respect that is due, let him finish the year -- and then clean house. From top to bottom.
I know it's what I would want in his position. How about you?