Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Skewing younger

The hot trend this offseason so far is in the assistant coaching ranks. If you count head coaches in waiting Jim Caldwell and Jim Mora, Jr., the first four head coaching openings of this offseason have been filled by candidates who were neither offensive nor defensive coordinators. Tony Sparano, the new coach of the Dolphins coaxed a career season out of Leonard Davis as offensive line coach of the Cowboys. The Eagles special teams fell apart after new Ravens coach John Harbaugh was switched from special teams to defensive backs coach this past offseason. Marcus Trufant made his first Pro Bowl with Mike Holmgren's expected successor Jim Mora, Jr. as defensive backs coach. And Jim Caldwell, the first publicly announced coach to be a successor, has Peyton Manning's ear as quarterbacks coach.

There are two possibly explanations for this shift: the head coaches are getting younger or the coordinators are getting older. Look at the Colts - offensive coordinator Tom Moore is over 16 years older than Caldwell. Likewise Seahawks defensive coordinator John Marshall and Jim Mora, Jr. Monte Kiffin and Jim Johnson are maybe the two most respected defensive coordinators of the last decade, and they are 67 and 66, respectively. Meanwhile it seems that coaches over 50 need not apply, as Jim Fassel seems to be the first coach half a hundred or more to be seriously interviewed for any of the openings, Marty rumors and Rooney Rule fodder notwithstanding.

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