Matt Waldman’s Reads Listens Views is back and devoted to a short list of recommended reads, listens, and views for the week.
If you’re new to the Rookie Scouting Portfolio blog, welcome. Every Friday, I post links to pieces that I’ve found personally compelling or to content I hope will eventually scratch that itch when I get around to it.
You may not like everything listed here, but you’re bound to like something.
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Footballguys.com held a summit in Las Vegas earlier this month. Jene Bramel and I met up the day before and hiked 6-8 miles around Death Valley’s Golden Canyon and Dante’s Peak.
Eric Stoner and I were having a conversation about leadership and organizational management in the coaching profession – especially in the NFL. Stoner sent me clips of the postgame press conferences that Bill Parcells used to give in New England, noting how even the coach’s responses that seemed off the cuff were tailored thoughts.
For some, Baker Mayfield was the reason for optimism with the Browns. For others, it was Myles Garrett and Denzel Ward. While Nick Chubb’s selection was the biggest reason I could not distance myself from the team as a fan, this introductory press conference with new head coach Freddie Kitchens is the reason I haven’t felt this optimistic about the Cleveland Browns since the early 1990s.
Kitchens’ approach reminded me of Parcells a the podium. Later in the clip, we learned that Kitchens not only cites Parcells as a mentor but that he had personal conversations with Parcells twice while the Browns were interviewing him for the job.
If the Browns organization acts on what Kitchens told the public, Cleveland will go about its journey with a degree of patience to do things the right way as a team unit rather than Kitchens expected to have a highly detailed plan with all the right answers until many of those answers are proven incorrect and he’s scape-goated out of a job.
It is refreshing to hear a coach say that while he will call the plays, he isn’t creating the offense and isn’t philosophically tied to any direction other than the offense matching the skills of the players and performing to win. The Browns found a coach who wants to find the truth about his players, his coaching staff, his support staff, and front office and then work with these truths to create the best possible outcome for the team.
In addition to appearing as the genuine article when it comes to a transparent personality, Kitchens sounds like a builder of bridges and a strategist who understands the value of letting experts be experts.
What I got from the press conferences is that Cleveland hired a coach who doesn’t try to be the smartest guy in the room. Instead, he hopes to show through his actions that he’s the wisest.
While most of this video is little more than “talking the talk,” it’s valuable viewing for anyone who wants to learn about leadership even if Kitchens and Cleveland fail to “walk the walk.”
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