Dumbest Coaches’ Decisions From the 2012 NFL Season

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Dumbest Coaches' Decisions From the 2012 NFL Season

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When fans think of NFL coaches, they often think of the great ones; both of today and all-time. There certainly have been some great coaching jobs during the 2012 season and before we start looking at the questionable decisions of some; let’s take a look at one or two that have excelled this year.

It’s difficult to start any discussion about NFL coaches in 2012 with anyone but, Bruce Arians. He’s not the head coach of the Indianapolis Colts but he was the interim coach for a majority of the season. The job he did in very tough circumstances was unprecedented and may never be duplicated. Arians took over a team from Chuck Pagano, who left to fight leukemia, and led them to the playoffs. The Colts were 2-14 last season and were one of the great stories of the 2012 season; Arians deserves a ton of credit for his steady leadership.

He’s not a guy I really like and he annoys me most of the time, but Pete Carroll of the Seattle Seahawks has done a terrific job this season. Most people though the Seahawks would be good and maybe contend for a wild card spot but they are one of the scarier teams left in the playoffs, and Carroll has a lot to do with that. Obviously most of the credit goes to quarterback Russell Wilson, the defense and Marshawn Lynch but it was Carroll that provided the direction.

There are certainly others who did a great job in 2012 but there were others who left us scratching our heads. Here’s a look at some of the dumbest decisions by head coaches this season.

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Mike Shanahan

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Might as well start with the most recent one first; everyone is talking about Mike Shanahan and what he did or didn’t do with Robert Griffin III. For anyone that missed it, Griffin III re-injured his knee early in the loss to the Seahawks and he was obviously struggling to get through the game. To be totally honest, I’ve gone back and forth on this, but I do believe Shanahan blew it. He should have pulled Griffin III when it was obvious that he could not move around like he usually does.

There are two problems here; the first is that the Washington Redskins gave up three first-round picks for Griffin III and to risk his future is foolish. Yes it was a playoff game but no game is worth risking the next 10 years of your franchise. Secondly, Griffin III was not playing very well and it obviously due to the injury. Backup quarterback, Kirk Cousins proved earlier this season he could lead the team. The Redskins were leading until midway through the fourth quarter and it is my belief that Cousins gave the Redskins the best chance to win. Every player is going to tell you the can play but it is up to the coach to protect the player from themselves, and Shanahan failed to do that. Griffin III underwent reconstructive knee surgery on his knee on Wednesday and the outlook is good, but nothing is for sure when it comes to that type of procedure.

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Gary Kubiak

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The Houston Texans had a good season; it was a great season until the last four weeks and the downfall started with a blowout loss to the New England Patriots. Losing in New England to the Patriots in New England is no sin. However despite being down 21-0 early, the Texans still had a chance to get back in the game but Gary Kubiak’s play calling left a lot to be desired.

The defense stopped the Patriots four straight times in the second quarter and for some reason Kubiak decided that it would be a good time to work on their running game. He called running plays on every first down and on most second downs when he should have been aggressive. The Patriots are a great team but not a great defense and Kubiak let them off the hook.

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John Harbaugh

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There’s no doubt that the Baltimore Ravens were struggling on offense when John Harbaugh decided to fire offensive coordinator, Cam Cameron but it was a move of desperation that has failed. The move was made with three weeks to go in the regular season; far too late for that kind of change to make a difference. Despite the change, the Ravens have not been any better on offense and in some ways has taking a step backwards. That’s a big risk to take for a team that was going to the playoff and to this point; the results have been mixed at best.

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John Harbaugh-Part 2

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It’s hard to believe that the coach of a division winner would be on this list twice but here’s Harbaugh again. One of the reasons he fired his offensive coordinator was because they were not using running back Ray Rice enough. The last time I looked, the head coach calls the shots. All Harbaugh had to do way demand that Rice be more involved in the offense and he either never did or no one listened. Either way, that lack of action is on Harbaugh.

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Greg Schiano

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Greg Schiano of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is new to the NFL as a head coach and he was a surprise hire out of Rutgers, but he still has some things to learn. I’m all for play till the end but when the game is over, it’s over. There were two games this season where the opponents were kneeling down on the ball in the victory formation, and Schiano directed his defensive line to fire off at the offensive line in an attempt to cause a fumble. There are those who believe that he is just playing to the end but this has been a gentlemen’s agreement forever, and Schiano is not a good enough coach to challenge that.

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Jason Garrett

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The Dallas Cowboys, as up and down as they were, still had a chance to make the playoffs in the last week on the season. If they had beaten the Redskins, they would have won the division but Jason Garrett is incapable of making in-game adjustments. The Redskins cannot get a pass rush without blitzing and the blitzed Tony Romo all night. Romo was terrible but Garrett did not help him at all. He did not make a single adjustment to the protection, the play calling or anything else to help Romo. They were in that game well into the fourth quarter but Garrett never made an adjustment, and it cost them the game. It should have cost him his job.

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Mike Tomlin

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Not all bad decisions happen over the course of a game; some of the happen in the off-season. Pittsburgh Steelers head coach, Mike Tomlin decided last spring to make a change at offensive coordinator. He fired Bruce Arians, who was tight with Ben Rothlisberger, and replaced him with Todd Haley. The firing of Arians was questionable in its own right but the hiring of Haley is inexcusable. Haley is a hot head who Rothlisberger never wanted, and never got on the same page with. The Steelers are at the end of their window with this group, and Tomlin gave away one of those years with his dumb decision in the off-season.

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Chan Gailey

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The Buffalo Bills were not a great team in 2012 but they do have one great play, CJ Spiller. Spiller has the potential to be a game changer and head coach, Chan Gailey did not use him enough. In fact, there were times this season that Spiller was not involved in the offense at all. When you are a bad team but you have one great player, you ride that player. The Minnesota Vikings made the playoffs because Adrian Peterson carried them to the promise land. Spiller is not Peterson and the Bills were never going to the playoffs, but they did not use Spiller nearly enough. If Gailey had used Spiller more, maybe he would still have a job.

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Rex Ryan

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There are probably a thousand different decisions that Rex Ryan has made that would make this list but we’ll focus on one. I understand that Ryan never wanted Tim Tebow but his handling of the situation was a joke. If you have no intention of playing him, then don’t list him as the number two quarterback or as a guy who is going to play a lot. You look like a fool when on Monday you say that Tebow will be the backup, and then two days later you announce that the third-string quarterback will start ahead of Tebow. The New York Jets are a circus and Ryan is the ring leader.

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Jim Schwartz

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The dumbest decision, without a doubt, was made by Detroit Lions head coach Jim Schwartz. The Houston Texans had scored an apparent touchdown but it was obvious that a Lions defender had touched him while he was on the ground. This is the first season where all scoring plays are reviewed automatically, but Schwartz threw the challenge flag which is a penalty. The rule is a dumb rule but because Schwartz threw the flag, the play could not be reviewed and the touchdown stood. The Lions went on to lose in overtime; that dumb decision cost the Lions a win. I’m still amazed that defensive coordinator, Gunther Cunningham did not kill Schwartz.

The next time someone calls an NFL head coach a genius, take it with a grain of salt. I love football but I can’t watch every game, so I’m sure I missed some. Please feel free to send us a Rant and let us know what dumb decisions from a head coach that you remember from the 2012 season.

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