Colin grades the coaching hires coming from Bill Belichick’s staff

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Colin Cowherd offers up his take on Matt Patricia, Mike Vrabel and Josh McDaniels. Will these former Belichick assistant coaches be successful in their new jobs?

- Proximity to greatness doesn't equal greatness. And you think it would. Let me explain that. When I was a kid growing up, my local football team, because we didn't get the Seahawks until the late 70s, my local football team was the University of Washington. We had like pre Nick Saban Nick Saban, Don James, great for like 20 years. Rose Bowl, Rose Bowl, Rose Bowl, Rose Bowl. I mean Washington was like a national power top 5 program with Don James. And he had a longtime assistant -- I'm not going to call him out -- but a longtime assistant defensive coordinator for 20 years.

And then Don James retired national champ, gave it to longtime assistant, and like five years later the program was in the tank. And you're like wait a minute. How could you be around the best coach in college football for 20 years, every day at practice, watching his meetings, and then you get the job, and you were smart enough to be a good coordinator, but you get the job and five years later, maybe three, it unraveled. Because proximity to greatness, strangely enough, doesn't equal greatness.

Your dad can be a winner and driven and aspirational and smart and decent, but if he has four boys, one becomes a meathead. It's just the law of averages and I've never been able to figure it out. You'd think if you were around smart, you were around great, you were around -- you just would be like oh, that's how you do it. I mean, look at how many of Nick Saban's assistants and Bill Belichick's assistants and coordinators fizzled out.

So here we go. Three of Bellichick's guys are now going to be given head coaching jobs. And I'm going to give them a report card this morning, how I think they'll do. It was announced 30 minutes ago that Josh McDaniel, Bill Bellichick, offensive coordinator, two different stints at it, Tom Brady's right hand man Josh McDaniel is going to be the coach of the Indianapolis Colts. How do I think he'll do? I'm going to give him an A minus.

First of all, he inherits Andrew Luck. He's got a very good GM. They've got plenty of cap space. And I think he's learned from his past mistakes. The negatives are his owner's a little loopy, and do we know if Andrew Luck is really 100%? What if he's only 80%? The job's not as good.

I think this is an A minus hire. Why an A minus? Well I mean, if he had hired Nick Saban it would be an A plus. So he hasn't proven he can be a head coach, but I think between the GM, the quarterback, the cap space -- I didn't even mention, they've got the number three pick in the draft, so you can give Andrew Luck that Penn State running back. You can give him that great left tackle from the University of Texas. You can give a good pass rush hand. So you've got to give Andrew Luck another potential star. OK, so that's the first Patriot. Next to Bill Belichick all these years, you'd think he'd be a home run. Proximity to greatness does not guarantee greatness.

All right, the second guy that got the job is Mike Vrabel. He got a job in Tennessee. OK, here's the positives. He does have a talented quarterback. They hired Matt Le Fleur, who learned under Sean McVay and Kyle Shanahan. I think he's a pretty sharp kid. And they have a pretty talented roster with cap space.

The negatives, the Titans have a history of ineptitude. Mariota is good, he's got limitations. Vrabel's only been a coordinator for one year. And by the way in Houston, the stats went down, not up. My grade on this is a B minus. I think it should succeed. And I think to some level it will succeed, mostly based on quarterback there, good enough, coordinator coming in with a great reputation. And Vrabel's the defensive guy to figure out that side of the ball.

Here is the third guy that sat right next in all those rooms and all those plane trips and all those meetings and all that film study, Matt Patricia. Here's the positives. He's the new coach of the Detroit Lions. The good news? They have an established quarterback, Matthew Stafford. I like Matthew. And they have a competent GM in Bob Quinn. My sources tell me, I don't know Bob, really sharp dude.

The negatives, it's the Lions. You face Aaron Rodgers twice a year. Dude's never worked for another NFL team. And I got to be honest, he kind of has the look, sound, and feel of an assistant. Hat on backwards, goofy t-shirts. I mean, I got to be honest. Sometimes you look at a guy and you're like, he's a vice president, he's not a president. Untamed beard, hat on backwards guy. Oh I know, I know, he's very, very smart.

So there are my report cards this morning. Josh McDaniels, I believe, will succeed A minus. They will become a playoff team. Matt Vrabel, and this is the history, good defensive coaches, Mike Vrabel, good defensive coaches who give the offense to somebody else have a history of winning in this league. You know, Pete Carroll, defensive guy. Bill Belichick, defensive guy. There's a lot of those guys that have won in this league. Defensive guys who have a quarterback and a smart offensive coordinator. So there you go. There my report cards. But it is amazing the way it works, and it always surprises me, that proximity to greatness so often doesn't equal greatness.