• Leslie Frazier is not making a case for himself

    Is Leslie Frazier making a case for himself?

    This is the question; the question that is still unbelievably being asked about the Minnesota Vikings interim head coach year after year.

    Granted, since the Joe Webb-led Vikings stunned the Philadelphia Eagles 24-14 Tuesday night at Lincoln Financial Field, more people have anointed Frazier as the favored candidate for the position--as if rallying the troops behind the nameless rookie has suddenly capped and decorated his resume this time around.

    Not only is this not the case, the annual question--more so recently--is very condescending.

    If there has ever been a qualified candidate to be named head coach in the National Football League it's been Leslie Frazier. But, not only has Frazier been on seven head-coaching interviews while building a noteworthy portfolio, he's been told seven different times another man was better for the job.

    One of the most glaring instances in which Frazier was turned down was for the Denver Broncos' vacancy two years ago.

    During Mike Shanahan's departure, it was undoubted by many in the Rocky Mountain media that Broncos owner Pat Bowlen would hire a defensive-minded coach. The team woefully ranked 29th on that side of the ball, while Jay Cutler boasted the 2nd best aerial attack in the league that year as well.

    Among seven select prospects-- Steve Spagnuolo, Raheem Morris, Todd Bowles, Jason Garrett, Rick Dennison and Josh McDaniels--Frazier was certainly ripe for the picking.

    The eldest among this lineup of men, Frazier's resume fit squarely into Denver's template of priority needs. His character and innate leadership was certainly evident at the time, as were his two Super Bowl rings and 21 years of coaching experience.

    Even a cursory review of Frazier's resume showed each NFL franchise he's associated with either experienced an upward trend or stayed the course.


    Philadelphia Eagles 1999-2002 {5-11; 11-5, 11-5, 12-4}

    Cincinnati Bengals 2003-2004 {8-8; 8-8}

    Indianapolis Colts 2005-2006 {14-2; 12-4* Super Bowl winning year}

    Minnesota Vikings 2007-Present {8-8; 10-6; 12-4; 6-9**Head coaching change, quarterback change & scandal}

    Defensive Ranking Yards: 20,6,6,7

    Defense Passing: 32,18,19,10

    Defense Rushing: 1,1,2,8


    Yet out of this crop of prospects McDaniels was chosen. In fact he was interviewed twice. Fresh off making over quarterback Matt Cassel, they said the Patriots offensive coordinator was skilled at delivering a blue-chip interview. Articulate and polished on the exterior, McDaniels reminded Bowlen of his head-coaching predecessor.

    Except for a few things the Broncos immediately needed at the time:

    A head coach who could develop a defense with an identity, instantly command the respect of all of his players, readily handle multiple responsibilities right away, and lead without his integrity being questioned.

    That's just the short story of one organization that turned Frazier away.

    When he started his coaching career at Trinity College in Illinois back in 1988, the 51 year old never thought it would take 22 years for his first real shot to return to head coaching again.

    The shame of that term was palpable when Frazier first wore the Vikings' interim tag against the Washington Redskins in a win. It was also palpable through the triumphs and defeats that he's gracefully endured since then.

    So far Frazier has posted a 3-2 record while steadying the ship in a turbulent season that even former Super Bowl-winning coach Tony Dungy said he's never experienced in a recent phone call between the two longtime friends.

    And yet Frazier still shines, just like he always has.

    Twenty-two years, 8,030 days to become an "overnight sensation."

    So the next time you hear the question, "Has Frazier made a case for himself ?"

    Tell them the answer is actually "No."

    He doesn't need to.

    Comments 45 Comments
    1. Docta's Avatar
      Interviews don't make the coach. What a coach does when he's given an opportunity is more important. And maybe teams just interview him just for the sake of obeying the Rooney Rule.
    1. Josina Anderson's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Docta View Post
      Interviews don't make the coach. What a coach does when he's given an opportunity is more important. And maybe teams just interview him just for the sake of obeying the Rooney Rule.
      I've always believed interviewers need to do a better job of reading a person's soul and not solely what a person says. When I conducted Frazier's exit interview after he met with the Broncos' brass (as I did with Morris and Garrett) I came away equally impressed with Frazier in both categories. Certainly all that has to translate to the field at the end of the day.
    1. msclemons's Avatar
      It's interesting to imagine what would have been if the Broncos had hired Frazier instead of Hoodie Jr. If Cutler and Marshall had stayed and Frazier was able to get the D up to mediocre they'd be in the playoffs this year.

      Frazier's shot might be late but this could be a great situation for him (assuming he gets the Vikings job). There are a lot of toys to play with on that team. The only bummer will be the fact that the Williams' Wall is now 432 years old.
    1. SpartaChris's Avatar
      I'm willing to bet the Vikings will have to compete with the Broncos for Frasier. If the rumors of the Texans hiring Wade Phillips as an OC and keeping Kubiak for one more year are true, I imagine Frasier will be a hot commodity. I read the Broncos were high on Frasier when they interviewed him last time around. Maybe this time they actually do something about it.
    1. Josina Anderson's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by msclemons View Post
      It's interesting to imagine what would have been if the Broncos had hired Frazier instead of Hoodie Jr. If Cutler and Marshall had stayed and Frazier was able to get the D up to mediocre they'd be in the playoffs this year.

      Frazier's shot might be late but this could be a great situation for him (assuming he gets the Vikings job). There are a lot of toys to play with on that team. The only bummer will be the fact that the Williams' Wall is now 432 years old.
      432 years old in dogs years or human years? LOL. I shudder to think what would have happened if the Broncos picked Frazier back then. Their draft selections would have been entirely different. Marshall, Cutler and Scheffler might have still been in Denver. The team might have made the playoffs the last two seasons. I will say this though, Frazier not getting the job in Denver inevitably landed him in the place that could award him more longevity and a better set of circumstances.
    1. Andy Freeland's Avatar
      Considering his resume and the job he's done under less than ideal circumstances in his trial run with the Vikings this year, I would be absolutely shocked if Frazier isn't a head coach somewhere next year.

      The head coaching interview process is an interesting one. From what I hear, it runs anywhere from 4-6 hours, with the prospective coach outlining everything he would do to re-organize the entire football operation. Maybe we can get Turk or someone else familiar with it to go into some detail. I do know, for a lot of guys, the interview process is something that has to be practiced and they get stronger after each one.
    1. Josina Anderson's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by SpartaChris View Post
      I'm willing to bet the Vikings will have to compete with the Broncos for Frasier. If the rumors of the Texans hiring Wade Phillips as an OC and keeping Kubiak for one more year are true, I imagine Frasier will be a hot commodity. I read the Broncos were high on Frasier when they interviewed him last time around. Maybe this time they actually do something about it.
      Frazier was their second best choice, and it absolutely made no sense. Picking defense was the necessity, not the irritant that didn't suit a skill set. This is not a knock on McDaniels. He's a very very bright individual, but being bright doesn't always make you ready. McDaniels is very astute and has a good sense of X's and O's beyond his years, but many of his players immediately noted and said he didn't possess the necessary dosage of humility for a head coach his age. I'm sure Josh has since learned a lot from the experience like we all do over the years. The irony is his most criticized move of picking Tim Tebow in the first round...might have been the move that would have saved him had he had the guts sooner. Sticking by Kyle Orton was the respect he should have showed other vets long before.
    1. Josina Anderson's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Andy Freeland View Post
      Considering his resume and the job he's done under less than ideal circumstances in his trial run with the Vikings this year, I would be absolutely shocked if Frazier isn't a head coach somewhere next year.

      The head coaching interview process is an interesting one. From what I hear, it runs anywhere from 4-6 hours, with the prospective coach outlining everything he would do to re-organize the entire football operation. Maybe we can get Turk or someone else familiar with it to go into some detail. I do know, for a lot of guys, the interview process is something that has to be practiced and they get stronger after each one.
      All good points. From what I hear McDaniels excelled at this process which is not altogether surprising. I would also guess that this time around the Broncos have learned to place higher stock and value in other categories.
    1. msclemons's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Josina Anderson View Post
      I would also guess that this time around the Broncos have learned to place higher stock and value in other categories.
      Let's not go too far. We're talking about Pat Bowlen here - a guy who wears mink coats.
    1. Josina Anderson's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by msclemons View Post
      Let's not go too far. We're talking about Pat Bowlen here - a guy who wears mink coats.
      Don't forget the sunglasses. But hey the good news is that I can hear again....yeahhhhhhh I've had 15% hearing in my right ear the last 3 days..and now I hear the world again.
    1. Polishguy00's Avatar
      Forget the practicing needed. Does the candidate show he can organize a team, not just say he can make changes? I think a process that could be done to show this would be beneficial but tough to enact. I mean, would the teams be able to get the players on the field to conduct an organized practice? I don't think so. Does the candidate prove that they would not be in over their head? Tough things to answer or simulate in any way.

      As usual, this is the type of thing where I am not sure if anyone can prove they can do it unless they try. Leslie Frazier should have been a coach at least two years ago.
    1. iwatt's Avatar
      Maybe the Rooney rule is actually hurting Frazier. Maybe he has a voice in the back of his head when he gets into the interviews telling him that they are only interviewing to comply. That might hurt his interview.

      Personally, what he does on D is amazing, specially because he's doing it with veterans that can barely move. It's amazing how the attitude of the D improved when Chilly left that locker room. It was like they were all liberated from the chain dragging them down.
    1. hobbes27's Avatar
      Just because Leslie Frazier has done a great job as a defensive coordinator doesn't mean he is head coach material. Norv Turner and Wade Phillips are great coordinators, but are poor head coaches. Both coached teams with lots of talent and underachieved. Charlie Weiss is an offensive genius, but he was mediocre at Notre Dame.

      I'm not saying Leslie Frazier cannot be a good head coach, I don't know. But just because you have a good resume in your coordinator position doesn't mean you are head coach material. Obviously there was something about the interview process that scared owners from hiring him, and I doubt it had anything to do with the Rooney rule. I'm sure the owners liked him, but didn't think he had the right personality for the team. Head coaching is more about leadership and if the owner doesn't think you have the right leadership style for the team, there just isn't much you can do.
    1. darvon's Avatar
      Hiring the GM and hiring the coach are the two huge jobs of the owner. Indeed the performance of the two are the measure of the owner.

      Seems Bowlen may or may not be good at it. He seemed to do well in the Elway years. Was that a one-shot or a trend?
    1. FessJL0861's Avatar
      You know, I have always been told that if you work for something but it takes a while to get, its that much sweeter when it finally arrives. I don't have the historical and research sense that a lot of my fellow Fippelers have, but I can think of one guy that took forever to get his head coaching job. He worked his butt off at a high school and a couple colleges. He was a coordinator for years. He was told he didn't necessarily have the attitude to be the head man. Coincidentally, he was also demanding and driven. As a man he was color blind, and his players would have ran through brick walls for him because of all of those characteristics. Anyone know who that gentleman is? None other than Vincent Lombardi.

      I want to dispel any ideas that I think Leslie Frasier is the next Lombardi, but I will say that his guys on that team, in this very moment in time, would run through multiple brick walls for him. That doesn't equal championships today or tomorrow, but in this day and age, building a champion is a much more difficult task. Contracts and the salary cap place a need for a 4 or 5 year plan instead of a 2 or 3 year plan (like back in the day). Unfortunately though, these days you must contend with a hair trigger media, and a fanbase with winning ADD. Frasier will be a good coach in this league, but he needs to be married to a team that will give him time to build his philosophy and not jump the gun. Heck, any coach needs that, not just Leslie. Put it this way, if I personally bought an expansion team, I would hire Marty Schottenheimer as my head coach, and Frasier would be my D-Coordinator/head man in waiting (a la Jim Caldwell). But when Marty retired in 3 years, I would promote Frasier without question.
    1. Dave Lapham's Avatar
      There is a natural lift when a head coach is dismissed for legitimate reasons and an interim coach takes over. It is sort of the good cop bad cop type of thing. I have seen it in Cincinnati a few times. But Leslie Frazier has paid his dues. He has a myriad of experiences with many different personalities he has worked with in the coaching and player ranks. My time spent with him in Cincinnati as its defensive coordinator showed a personality that was consistent in good times and bad. He handles everything with grace and professionalism. He has a tremendous coaching aptitude. He has people skills off the charts. I do think he should have had a shot in the head coaching ranks before now. I agree that "his case" was built long before Tuesday night with regard to his ability to be a successful head coach in the NFL.
    1. Phil McConkey's Avatar
      All these teams looking for a new head coach with a Super Bowl resume---beware! In the history of the NFL, a Super Bowl winning head coach, has never done it again with a different team. Leslie Frazier has shown great leadership taking over a disfunctional situation in MN and deserves a chance to have the interim tag removed.
    1. FessJL0861's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Phil McConkey View Post
      All these teams looking for a new head coach with a Super Bowl resume---beware! In the history of the NFL, a Super Bowl winning head coach, has never done it again with a different team. Leslie Frazier has shown great leadership taking over a disfunctional situation in MN and deserves a chance to have the interim tag removed.
      I think Holmgren came the closest right? I can't think of any other SB winning coaches that have even gotten their 2nd team to the big game. I know there has to be another one or two, but Holmgren is the only one I can think of (Won with Green Bay, Lost with Seattle).
    1. Josina Anderson's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Polishguy00 View Post
      Forget the practicing needed. Does the candidate show he can organize a team, not just say he can make changes? I think a process that could be done to show this would be beneficial but tough to enact. I mean, would the teams be able to get the players on the field to conduct an organized practice? I don't think so. Does the candidate prove that they would not be in over their head? Tough things to answer or simulate in any way.

      As usual, this is the type of thing where I am not sure if anyone can prove they can do it unless they try. Leslie Frazier should have been a coach at least two years ago.
      Hey Polish. Happy holidays to you and all. I agree with you in that Leslie Frazier has deserved a chance to succeed or fail for a long time. For me, at least the last 4 years. I'm not saying I guarantee he'll turn his franchise into a dynasty...I'm just saying he deserves his shot like any other prospect who has long gotten theirs.
      Now down to the important issues...what did you get me for Christmas????????????????????????
    1. Phil McConkey's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by FessJL0861 View Post
      I think Holmgren came the closest right? I can't think of any other SB winning coaches that have even gotten their 2nd team to the big game. I know there has to be another one or two, but Holmgren is the only one I can think of (Won with Green Bay, Lost with Seattle).
      Parcells took the Patriots to the SB vs the Packers.