Maryland recently announced the hirings of two former NFL coaches, Keenan McCardell and Dave DeGuglielmo, to lead the Terps' wide receivers and offensive linemen for the upcoming season. We wrote to the managers of the SB Nation sites that cover their former teams to learn a bit about McCardell and DeGuglielmo. The conversations have been lightly edited for clarity:
John B. of Gang Green Nation, on former Jets offensive line coach DeGuglielmo:
TT: How would you characterize DeGuglielmo's results during his one year coaching the Jets' line?
GGN: It's kind of difficult to separate the players from the coach. The line played pretty well, but he also inherited three Pro Bowl caliber players in D'Brickashaw Ferguson, Nick Mangold, and Brandon Moore.
The right tackle situation was probably the one he had most control over. The results were mixed. The incumbent starter was Wayne Hunter. Hunter had been one of the least effective right tackles in the league the year before. DeGuglielmo apparently went to bat for Hunter and convinced the Jets to keep him. He even said to the press at one point that somebody would have to shoot him dead to prevent Hunter from starting. Hunter was so bad in the preseason that the Jets ended up trading him.
I'm sure DeGuglielmo's behavior with the press played into it also. He made some embarrassing comments for the team in only a few interactions. I mentioned the Hunter thing above. He also complained about the media postponing a press conference. It had been postponed because of Hurricane Sandy. He also made complaints that his bosses weren't distributing playing time at left guard the way he wanted. Even though I personally thought his statement was correct on its merits, the press is not the place to litigate that. The comments were insubordinate.
Austin Howard stepped into the lineup. Howard was spotty early in the year but played a lot better in the second half, particularly as a run blocker. So there is no easy answer. You have to give him credit for Howard. At the same time his insistence he could fix Hunter prevented Howard from getting first team reps in offseason team events and training camp. Perhaps his late season improved play would have come earlier. So it was neither a total success nor a total failure.
TT: Why was he cut loose?
GGN: He was offensive coordinator Tony Sparano's hand-selected line coach. He had worked in Miami when Sparano was the head coach. Sparano was fired after one disastrous year as offensive coordinator so the Jets went in a different direction with a new coordinator.
TT: Were there any particular cases of his linemen performing far better or worse than expectations under DeGuglielmo?
GGN: Howard would probably be the best example. He was a scrap heap pickup. He didn't play like Anthony Munoz. He allowed double digit sacks, but he did give the Jets credible right tackle play and got better as the year went along.
And here's Kevin Ewoldt of Hogs Haven, on former Redskins wideouts coach McCardell:
TT: McCardell's time coaching in Washington was short. Why was he cut loose after only two seasons?
HH: When positional players are let go, the team never gives an explanation why so anything here is speculative. One thing that stood out to me was that he was unable to develop the young WRs (Terrence Austin, Brandon Banks, Anthony Armstrong).
TT: What was your impression of his tenure? And relative to expectations, how did his players perform?
HH: Well, as I said, the young WRs under his watch never made the jump, and that includes Devin Thomas. In regards to the veterans, Jabar Gaffney had a career year working with McCardell, so that does stand out.
TT: Do you see McCardell as more of a fine-tuning position coach or a long-term player developer?
HH: I see him as a mix in the middle. I've never seen him coach up close so it's hard to say what he'll be exactly. He clearly was talented when he played in the NFL, but can he articulate that to his players? Looking back, Mike Shanahan gave him some dud players, as none of them were able to develop when they moved on to other teams.