Brian Daboll, the new Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator, spoke to the media the other day. He had a lot of interesting things to say, particularly that he wanted the Chiefs to have an attacking offense. But it was something about his relationship with Browns QB Colt McCoy that really caught my eye.
We linked you to a Mike Silver article this week. The article was written in November of last year and had some unflattering details about Daboll from the mouth of McCoy.
In what became a running joke in the Browns’ locker room, Daboll disparaged McCoy loudly and relentlessly – sometimes to his face, sometimes through the earpiece in the quarterback’s helmet.
“There were times I had to pull my helmet off to call a play in the huddle,” McCoy recalled in an interview earlier this month. “Guys could hear him yelling, and they’d say, ‘Just take it off.’ People said to me, ‘Man, I ain’t never seen anything like that. Just hang in there.’”
“I remember [Daboll] yelling into Colt’s headset when he was the scout team quarterback, in the two-minute drill, when they were servicing us,” recalls veteran linebacker Scott Fujita(notes). “Daboll was talking into the microphone, very animated. I looked at Colt and he said, ‘He does that all the time. He’s constantly [expletive] me in the headset.’”
And this particularly troubling passage:
Several Browns recalled a meeting early in the 2010 season in which Daboll told McCoy, “I just watched [tape of] your last college game, and you were terrible. What the hell were you throwing out there? That was one of the worst games I’ve ever seen. Why the [expletive] did we draft you?” (Daboll, through a Dolphins spokesman, said he did not recall ever having said those things to McCoy.)
Sheesh. This kind of stuff doesn’t exactly inspire confidence that Daboll is going to come in and win over the offense. He sounds like a jerk and a bully, not a professional football coach.
Actually, he sounds a little bit like Todd Haley.
There were constant reports of Haley bickering with players and getting under their skin. Some of those exchanges we saw on the sideline, and others we only heard about.
I find it interesting that the Chiefs went out and hired a guy who, at least on some level, is so similar to the head coach they just fired.
To his credit, when asked about the McCoy article, Daboll expressed regret for his behavior.
“The relationship with most of the players that I’ve coached, I have a very, very good relationship. Colt and I have a good relationship. It’s not a bad relationship. I think there are certain times when you’re a coach and sometimes emotion can get to you that maybe you step back and say, ‘Boy, I would rather have handled it that way rather than this way,’ but I think the job as a coach is to tell the players what to do, show them how to do it and really not accept any excuses. It’s an emotional game, and just like certain things in my life, not just football, some things I wish I would have done differently here and there, but I have a lot of respect for Colt as well as the other guys that I’ve coached. I’m a high energy, up-tempo guy. I expect perfection. I know that’s not possible all the time, but I think we need to all hold ourselves to a high standard of really setting the tone and expecting the highest detail and the highest execution from all of ourselves.”
What I like about the quote from Daboll is his saying that he wish he would have acted differently. In many cases like this, the head coach and player will often explain away their behavior by talking about the emotions of the game and how heated they can become. While Daboll most certainly does this, his willingness to examine his behavior enough to say that he wishes he would have acted differently at least shows signs that he may be able to change. There is nothing wrong with being passionate, upbeat and expecting perfection. There is something wrong with being abusive because while certain guys may respond to that, to others it could do more harm than good.
Hopefully Daboll has learned to balance his passion with his temper. If he hasn’t, his hire could mean yet another lost season in Kansas City.
And it could also mean Scott Pioli’s job.