By Ted Johnson

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Ted Johnson won three Super Bowls with the New England Patriots and every week he’ll give us his takeaways from the week that was. Now you can hear him on the “Fred & Ted Show” on SportsRadio 610]

Ted’s Takeaways – Week 14:

1. Bob McNair got it right…..finally:

Bob McNair fired Coach Gary Kubiak on Friday and in doing so began the long process of turning this franchise back into a winner again. It was the perfect time to do it considering the Texans had 10 days before their next game. Also, after fans for weeks were emotionally charged about their losing ways and more recently apathy had set in regarding this team. Besides fans being apathetic I also think fans were anxious about the future of this team and who would be leading it. On Friday Bob McNair put everyone’s minds at ease, at least for a little while and finally fired Coach Gary Kubiak.

2. When players say they love their coach that makes me nervous:

Coach Gary Kubiak is getting a ton of support from his current and former players. Players should love their position coach but fear their HC. When people ask me what is was like to play for Pete Carroll I always say how nice he was first. A HC in the NFL shouldn’t be friends with the players because every day he has to make decisions that are in the best interest of the team NOT the players. I loved Pete as a person because he was so approachable and engaging but at that time in his coaching career he still lacked the skills to be a top tier coach. After winning National Championships at USC he went back into the NFL and is doing great now in Seattle. Perhaps if Kubiak gets another shot at being a HC he’ll take a different approach with how he relates to his players.

3. Three key characteristics to being a great HC are:

– They have to be a great MOTIVATOR. Yeah I get guys are being paid to do a job but great leaders know how to motivate and inspire the people who work for them. I was an adjunct professor at Suffolk University for a couple of years and felt it was my responsibility to get the students excited and engaged in about what we were studying.
– They have to have a HIGH FOOTBALL IQ. The HC of a NFL team should be the smartest guy in the room. I liked knowing Bill Belichick was rarely going to get outcoached. The game plans he put together, when executed properly led to many more wins than it did losses. The attention to detail was never taken for granted and in-game adjustments were unmatched. We won A LOT of games doing the little things particularly late in games.
– They establish a CULTURE OF ACCOUNTABILITY. A good coach doesn’t accept mediocre play. If a player isn’t getting the job done they put someone else in who will. Football isn’t for the timid or weak and guys know the business side of the game is as brutal as the game on the field. As a player on a team I depend on and expect the HC to put the best guys on the field. If he decides to play an inferior player for personal reasons then he’s letting the rest of the team down.

4. Bob McNair says he wants his next HC to have had Head Coaching experience and NFL experience:

> David Shaw fits that criteria. He coached 9 years in the NFL as a QB/WR coach and has had success as the HC at Stanford the last 3 years. He runs a pro-style offense and always has physically dominating defenses.
> Bill O’Brien fits that criteria. He was the QB/WR’s coach at New England for 5 years before taking over a disgraced Penn St program. He’s gone far and above expectations at Penn St considering the penalties they suffered after the Jerry Sandusky scandal. Also, I like that he used to get in Tom Brady’s face on the sidelines of games. He’s a tough guy who runs a tough program.

5. “Hope is a good thing….maybe the only thing” – from the movie Shawshank Redemption:

What Bob McNair did on Friday by firing Coach Kubiak was give everyone hope again. Hope that things will get better next year and beyond. Let’s face it we all lost hope a long time ago and it’s made this season unbearable. And although I feel bad for Coach Kubiak and his family I’m selfishly happy and hopeful that Bob McNair/Rick Smith will bring in the right coach moving forward. I’m already excited for next year!!!!



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