If I’m running Lala Land, here’s what I do and my timeline...
I wait. Until the very last minute, I wait. I set three tests for myself and my organization, and I wait.
If I fire my HC once my testing is complete, I send my GM packing even if he lived through his one and only test. If I keep my HC, I probably still shitcan my GM for being in stand-by during this season (and for other past transgressions).
Right now, today, I’m leaning toward slaving my HC to some changes. Schiano has to pass off some duties. He’s clearly not focused enough on the game management side of things for this level of football. His assistants need a deep and thorough scrub in the offseason. Who are the idea guys? Who are the guys driving innovation?
I get it that Schiano may be unpopular outside my organization, but I should already have a better guess than those outsiders how popular he is inside. I look at guys like Brian Leonard diving head-first through walls (1st down run v. ATL), jumping off cliffs (1st down saving pass-pro 1st quarter), and making a difference every time he’s in the game (strip on the PR). I get it that Leonard is a Rutgers guy, but that’s the point. If that’s what a dude does for you on his way out of the league, think what the rest of these guys will do for you on their way through.
Finally, I run this rag through my three “brilliant” tests and I see how much stink there really is down in the deep.
Test #1: ECD Week 8. Weather check.
I don’t tell my GM the name or purpose of this test, I simply notify him that I want to meet with the DC + D-Advisors + HC + STC the Saturday after Week 8 (that’s this coming Saturday) followed immediately by OC + O-Advisors + HC. No time between meetings, no GM present, no follow-up.
Questions I want answered are Whiskey Tango Foxtrot with this locker room? Rumor by rumor, piece by piece, I inch, absolutely inch, my way through every single PR nightmare. I want the leaderships’ assessment of where we are, where we’ve been and where we’re going.
I want a deep-dive on every player I have a large investment in or who has an issue with performance. From the D, I want to know about Revis, Talib, Wright, Goldson, Black & Black, Bowers, Bennett, Koenen, Tynes, Barth. From the O, I want to know about Freeman (before, during, after, tight side up and wrong side around), Nicks, Martin, Jackson, Williams, Ogletree, Benn, Penn, Joseph, Dotson. I want earliest impressions, work ethic measures, likelihood of success, long-term plans and short-term goals.
I’m in receive mode and I’m taking notes. At the conclusion of those two meetings, I keep Schiano around and let him know I want the team captains in the same seats on 23 DEC, the Monday after the Week 16 game.
Once that meeting is over, I know everything I need to about my GM. I’ve got a good barometric pressure of where we are and what is really going on. If what I hear in those meetings doesn’t mesh with what I’ve heard from Mark Dominik, his fate is sealed. Keeping him around longer than Week 8 is simply a matter of how much bitch-work I think he may accomplish in 8 weeks.
Test #2: ECD Week 16. Hover check.
This is my meeting with the team captains. I told Schiano about this meeting 8 weeks ago. He’s either talked to his captains about this meeting well in advance or he hasn’t. He’s either met with his captains before-hand to set their expectations and let them know what to expect or he hasn’t. He’s either brought his captains along for the ride or he hasn’t.
What Schiano has done to hold together the locker-room will be evident long before I get to this meeting. What trust Schiano has in his captains, and likely they in him, will be evident in my first 3 questions for them: When did you know about this meeting? Who told you? How long did you discuss it?
I’m assessing trust, comm flow and working relationship.
Once those formalities are over, I take the same piece-by-piece route I took with the staff back through the PR nightmare. I don’t care about the performance stuff, with these guys, I just want to see how well their stories line up with the coaching staffs’.
When that’s over, I review the anomalies – the things that don’t mesh with what the staff told me. I ask 3 simple questions about each: When did you know that? Who did you tell? How long did you discuss it?
Test #3: ECD Sometime later, but well before the Monday following Week 17. Can I make a decision in time test.
This test is for me.
Can I make a timely decision that doesn't wrap me up with another boob like Raheem?
How much of this shit did I know before anyone answered one of my brilliant questions?
Failing that, who else do I know who can make a decision?
Source: Letters from Lala Land