Somewhere it is written that "patience is a virtue." Why is it that so many NFL franchises either haven't read that or don't believe it?
The Arizona Cardinals and Baltimore Ravens each fired their offensive coordinator on Tuesday. Maybe we shouldn't be shocked by that news but how do you justify such dismissals just six games into the season?
Keith Rowen was fired by Cardinals head coach Denny Green because the Cardinals are "not scoring enough points," Green said. All right, that sounds logical. The Cardinals are 25th in the league in points per game.
Shouldn't Rowen, however, have gotten some points and time in his favor for having a rookie quarterback, Matt Leinart, and having done what appears to be a very nice job with Leinart in his first two starts? Leinart has a passer rating of 84.4, which is 13th-best in the league and above such quarterback luminaries as Brett Favre, Drew Bledsoe, Michael Vick, Steve McNair, Jake Plummer and Ben Roethlisberger.
Rowen shouldn't take the dismissal personally because Green has a track record for giving offensive coordinators a quick hook. Rowen got the coordinator's job after Green fired Alex Wood following the 2004 season. Mike Kruczek is now on the hot seat.
"I don't hesitate to make changes. That's just who I am. I like things to go a certain way and if they don't, I normally do something about it," Green said.
Makes sense, right? Wrong. History tells us the most stable franchises are the most successful franchises. The Steelers are the best example; two head coaches in 38 seasons.
How about the Broncos? Mike Shanahan has been their head coach since 1995 and despite missing the playoffs four times in the five years following the Broncos' second Super Bowl win, the Broncos stuck with Shanahan and now their faith and patience is being rewarded.
The Seahawks are another great example. Mike Holmgren was thought to be the best coach in the game when he took the Seahawks job, but his glow quickly faded when the Seahawks slumped to three consecutive non-playoff seasons, the last two after having traded for quarterback Matt Hasselbeck. Now, Holmgren's faith in Hasselbeck is being rewarded and so is the Seahawks' patience with Holmgren.
Baltimore's firing of Jim Fassel is another example of misguided decision-making. Fassel was fired on the heels of a 23-21 loss to Carolina in which McNair left the game with a neck injury and backup Kyle Boller threw for three touchdowns.
"We have to have more offensive productivity," head coach Brian Billick said.
Sure they do. The Ravens have forever needed more offensive productivity. They didn't score a touchdown in five consecutive games in 2000, when the Ravens won the Super Bowl.
So who's to blame? The offensive coordinator? Fassel was just in his second season as the Ravens' coordinator. The guy he replaced, Matt Cavanaugh, was also fired due to a lack of production. Now Cavanaugh is the offensive coordinator at Pitt, where he has turned quarterback Tyler Palko into one of the most efficient passers in college football.
It's firing for the sake of firing. It's what impatient and unstable franchises do to point the finger. It's what they do to make themselves feel good after a loss.
Good franchises remain patient and committed. When they makes changes, they do so carefully and at the right time. The middle of the season is not the right time to make changes.