Oakland Raiders Head Coach Jack Del Rio sports a strong resume. From Rose Bowl MVP to Super Bowl Champion (as a position coach), he really doesn’t need to take a backseat to anyone. Yet, if you look at his head coaching record, there seems to be a point with a team that coach fatigue sets in and the record starts to slide. Is it a matter of talent aging or stagnating system or something deeper?
When he looks across the field on Sunday, Del Rio will see a man holding seven rings that reinvented himself after a failed tenure as a head coach. While no one can replicate Bill Belichick’s approach, Del Rio could take a few notes from the surly Patriots coach. As a result, the Raiders would improve for the long haul.
To his credit, Belichick’s press conferences offer no insight. Reporters will throw endless questions and receive little information. While this frustrates the media, the approach is consistent. On the other hand, Del Rio will serve up long soundbytes filled with clichés and coachspeak. Honestly, no fan wants to hear about mojo or playing harder. At this point, keep the press conferences short. Get in and out. Anything else seems like a great waste of time.
The New England Patriots will get rid of a player in a heartbeat. Whether it’s Ty Law, Lawyer Milloy or Vince Wilfork, anyone is replaceable. If Belichick thinks you’ve declined or will command more money than you should, you will find your way out of town. As difficult as this is to say, Del Rio needs that approach as well. Granted, players put their health on the line with every snap. Yet, many coaches consume themselves with the ultimate goal. In modern football, the player’s coach is not needed. Talent, via the draft free agency, and in some cases, Canada remains readily available.
Stepping on Toes
If Patriots’ defensive coordinator Matt Patricia schemes a gameplan that does not sit well with Belichick, count on the head coach to intervene. As a former linebacker and defensive coordinator, Del Rio should ultimately lead this defense. Why is Ken Norton even on staff? For too long, the Raiders defense applied the “bend and eventually break “defense. The Oakland Raiders have a once-in-a-generation talent like Khalil Mack entering his prime, surrounded by a cast of mostly average players. Del Rio needs to realize this and do whatever he can to change the defense.
With that said, last year, Del Rio crafted an aggressive image of a gambling, forward-thinking coach. The only thing that seemingly changed was the contract extension. While no one wants to readily travel that train of thought, if the Raiders don’t improve, questions will arise.
Bill Belichick, through whatever means, wins games with a ruthless approach to the game of football. Jack del Rio does not have to venture completely in that direction, but the best way to defeat an enemy is to learn from them.