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Chicken or the Egg?

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Old 01-03-2007, 12:56 PM   #16
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Re: Chicken or the Egg?

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Originally Posted by Schneed10 View Post
I totally disagree. Though the term "chemistry" drives me crazy. A much better term is team morale.

Winning helps build good team morale. Losing definitely hurts team morale. But if you've got good leaders on your team, they can help keep team morale from bottoming out when the going gets tough. Players go through a long season working their ass off. They also get paid a lot of money. If the team loses, and the players start losing faith in the coaching staff, or in the way the team is playing, they'll start to not care about whether the team wins or not. They'll start thinking well, we're not winning, but oh well at least I'm getting paid, or at least I can pump up my stats and get a big contract in the offseason. That breeds a selfish attitude, the player then begins to act in his own financial interests, rather than doing whatever helps the team to win.

At the beginning of the season, all of the players care about trying to win. The trick is to prevent the mentality of "mailing it in" after you've lost a few games. If you have prominent players on your team who stick with the coaches, keep working hard, and keep after other players; then players will follow that example. At this point, because he has worked hard and because he blocks guys 50-100 pounds bigger than him, if Clinton Portis speaks, the players listen. And after the team watched Randy Thomas get carted off the field last year in Dallas with a broken leg and his helmet raised in the air; and now after watching him return from that injury and have a tremendous year, when he speaks, the players listen. When he says Derrick Dockery deserves a raise, that gets noticed. The younger players will look up to Thomas and say hey, if I play tough and hard, he'll lobby for me. He'll be on my side. That's a guy I want to play with.

Those kind of gestures by the team's leaders can go a long way towards holding team morale together even in down seasons. Derrick Dockery has said he wants to stay a Redskin. Why on Earth would anyone want to do that, when you think about it? The team sucks, there is backstabbing in the papers, it's a mess. I'll guarantee you guys like Samuels and Thomas have a lot to do with it. Dock loves playing with them, and he loves having them recognize his skills and work ethic. He feels like he's a part of something, and it feels good to have older accomplished linemen accept you.

We need more of that. The leaders of the team need to stand up and say "If you don't want to be here, then don't let the door hit you. But I'm going to be here, and I'm going to work my ass off in the offseason, and I'm going to come back and play hard till the end, because I believe in what the coaches are doing." Players look up to that, and morale will get a boost from that attitude.

Now for all that to work, coaches need to enable the leaders. They need to listen to Randy Thomas and pay up for Dockery. They should have listened to Portis and kept Ryan Clark and Antonio Pierce. Not just because the leaders were right, but because of appearances. If the leaders appear to have sway with the coaches, it increases the chances that players will buy in and fall in line.

This is a TEAM. Coaches need to listen to players. Players need to listen to coaches. It has to be a two way street. The moment a coach ignores his players and his leaders, he loses the locker room. And that is the ultimate morale killer.
I agree about the morale angle but that's different than chemistry. But then again chemistry seems to mean so many different things to different people so that's why the term is so overrated to me.
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Old 01-03-2007, 12:57 PM   #17
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Re: Chicken or the Egg?

Both the Steelers and Patriots have made some brutally tough decisions over the years, replacing players like crazy. They are loyal though to their players, not to a fault. For example, that the Steelers wouldn't match Randel El's contract was very predictable and understandable. Neither team is beyond rewarding its own players, including defensive ones, and the Steelers in particular have come out with fatter contracts in the past 5 years to help get beyond their "too cheap" perception.

The Redskins have shown zero loyalty to anyone on the defense. I think what happened with Ladell Betts is a good start for the organization in rewarding its own but -- again -- its on the offensive side. The message is clear: Snyder values offensive flash. And Gibbs, who is noted for offense, doesn't quell this.

Throwing the biggest contracts on players who aren't playing (Adam) and not studying their playbooks (Lavar) hasn't helped matters either.
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Old 01-03-2007, 12:58 PM   #18
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Re: Chicken or the Egg?

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Originally Posted by Mattyk72 View Post
I agree about the morale angle but that's different than chemistry. But then again chemistry seems to mean so many different things to different people so that's why the term is so overrated to me.
I'm with you on that point. The term "chemistry" is so vague, I don't understand what it is really getting at half the time.

Players don't need to be friends to win. Hell, they can hate each other and still win. They just need to work hard and work well together, and share in a common goal.
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Old 01-03-2007, 01:02 PM   #19
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Re: Chicken or the Egg?

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I'm with you on that point. The term "chemistry" is so vague, I don't understand what it is really getting at half the time.

Players don't need to be friends to win. Hell, they can hate each other and still win. They just need to work hard and work well together, and share in a common goal.
see Shaq and Kobe. Hell Gmanc and I loathe, despise, detest each other...but we work well together as mods and on our Tony McGee partnership.

Let me ask this, a lot of talk has been made about how Clark would invite Taylor over for dinner, just to hang out etc. last season and that really helped Taylor. So do you think that (regardless of his performance on the field) if Arch had invited Taylor over for dinner and they played X-Box together etc. that Taylor would have had a better season because he felt "close" to AA? I'm inclined to say no.
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Old 01-03-2007, 01:03 PM   #20
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Re: Chicken or the Egg?

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I'm with you on that point. The term "chemistry" is so vague, I don't understand what it is really getting at half the time.

Players don't need to be friends to win. Hell, they can hate each other and still win. They just need to work hard and work well together, and share in a common goal.
If you have excellent raw talent, yes. But if you have average talent that you are trying to get to work together and excel so that the whole exceeds the parts (ala the Williams defense 2 years ago)? No.

Wasn't Gibbs magic always predicated on getting more out of the sum of his parts than seemed possible?
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Old 01-03-2007, 01:05 PM   #21
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Re: Chicken or the Egg?

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So we hear a lot of talk about chemistry, and lack thereof on the Redskins because of constant player turnover, and how this lack of chemistry has led to inner turmoil and losing. By the same token though, the Pats are often changing players yet they continue to win.

So here's my question for the group. Does chemistry breed winning? Or winning breed chemistry?
Here is the difference. Great coaching, Tom Brady and mainstays on the defensive line and linebackers. For all the praise Brady gets and it is well deserved, people don't mention Richard Seymour, Ty Warren, Vince Wolfolk, and Marquis Hill. Plus Vrabel and Bruschi have been solid. NE has had some turnover but they have also kept some real solid core guys too.
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Old 01-03-2007, 01:23 PM   #22
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Re: Chicken or the Egg?

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If you have excellent raw talent, yes. But if you have average talent that you are trying to get to work together and excel so that the whole exceeds the parts (ala the Williams defense 2 years ago)? No.

Wasn't Gibbs magic always predicated on getting more out of the sum of his parts than seemed possible?
I think you misunderstood me. There's no reason you can't have the sum of the parts be greater than the whole, AND have players on the team who don't like each other.

Not liking your teammates is not a requisite condition for sucking. If you have two guys who don't like each other, as long as they're not being whiney bitches and they both work hard, you don't have a problem. It comes down to picking decent people; ie avoiding Brandon Lloyds.
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Old 01-03-2007, 01:25 PM   #23
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Re: Chicken or the Egg?

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Originally Posted by TAFKAS View Post
see Shaq and Kobe. Hell Gmanc and I loathe, despise, detest each other...but we work well together as mods and on our Tony McGee partnership.

Let me ask this, a lot of talk has been made about how Clark would invite Taylor over for dinner, just to hang out etc. last season and that really helped Taylor. So do you think that (regardless of his performance on the field) if Arch had invited Taylor over for dinner and they played X-Box together etc. that Taylor would have had a better season because he felt "close" to AA? I'm inclined to say no.
Yeah exactly. Hell no, it would make no difference.

Ryan Clark was a much better player than Archuleta. What would have helped that situation was if Gibbs and Grilliams actually listened to the players and kept Ryan Clark.
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Old 01-03-2007, 02:14 PM   #24
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Re: Chicken or the Egg?

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I think you misunderstood me. There's no reason you can't have the sum of the parts be greater than the whole, AND have players on the team who don't like each other.

Not liking your teammates is not a requisite condition for sucking. If you have two guys who don't like each other, as long as they're not being whiney bitches and they both work hard, you don't have a problem. It comes down to picking decent people; ie avoiding Brandon Lloyds.
Isn't avoiding Brandon Lloyds and TOs the very definition of team chemistry? Do you think having Michael Westbrook beat up Stephen Davis in practice helped the team win?

Look...chicken to egg, Gibbs isn't the offensive or defensive coordinator anymore. He's the CEO. He's the one who is supposed to oversee team cohesiveness. He's the one who is supposed to manage the ying-yang between offense managing the ball and giving the defense a rest. He's the one who has been rubber-stamping these disastorous free agent moves that has hurt the talent-level and club cohesiveness simultaneously. Quite frankly, he's asleep at the wheel.

Gibbs is right: end of the day, it is his fault. Not to say I want him to go, but he needs to WAKE UP and do his job.
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Old 01-03-2007, 02:42 PM   #25
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Re: Chicken or the Egg?

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Yeah exactly. Hell no, it would make no difference.

Ryan Clark was a much better player than Archuleta. What would have helped that situation was if Gibbs and Grilliams actually listened to the players and kept Ryan Clark.
i agree with this. my problem is, whomever wanted A.A. here, how could they be that wrong about the guys ability? these kind of decisions in the real business world get people fired
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Old 01-03-2007, 03:20 PM   #26
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Re: Chicken or the Egg?

Great thread.

If chemistry refers to chemistry in off-the-field or locker room relationships, then no, chemistry doesn't breed winning. I'll pick on my two favorite scapegoats (Daniels and Wynn) and say that you can have great team chemistry with a bunch of likeable personable dudes even when you get the crap beat out of you in a 5-11 season. Its entirely possible to develop this type of chemistry after a tough loss.

If Chemistry refers to on-field chemistry (e.g., better timing between QB and receivers, or better chemistry between O-linemen, linebackers, etc.), then hell yes, chemistry breeds winning.

On the other hand...

Winning can build off-the-field chemistry, but it tends to be pretty fragile. A losing season after a couple of winning seasons can destroy the off-the-field chemistry.

Winning can't build on-the-field chemistry. That develops through rigorous practices over time.
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