By Ashley Dunkak
DETROIT (CBS DETROIT) – As the Detroit Lions continue their search for a head coach, former longtime NFL quarterbacks Phil Simms, Rich Gannon and Steve Beuerlein disagree with the team’s decision to involve 25-year-old quarterback Matthew Stafford in the process.
Many outlets have reported the Lions’ interview of Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell included a meeting with Stafford, during which Caldwell broke down game film and showed Stafford how he could improve.
How much Stafford’s impressions of coaches will influence the final decision of the team is hard to say, of course, but it stands to reason the team would not have candidates present to Stafford if the Lions did not want his input.
On the Monday QB segment on CBS, Simms, Gannon and Beuerlein discussed the pitfalls of letting a quarterback in on the process of selecting his future boss.
“It’s the owner, the general manager, coach, and then the quarterback,” Simms said. “Once you disrupt that order, you’ve got chaos. And when has it worked any other way? Somebody give me an example. I just don’t understand that.
“Matthew Stafford and [Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III] … their money is dictating their power and what they are to the organization,” Simms added. “I think it’s wrong, and I think you have a hard time having success this way.”
The Redskins signed Griffin to a four-year, $21.1 million deal in 2012, and just this summer the Lions gave Stafford a three-year, $53 million extension on top of the six-year, $78 million deal he signed back in 2009.
Neither team has done well recently. This season, the Lions lost six of their last seven games, blowing fourth-quarter leads in each loss, on their way to a 7-9 finish after beginning the season 6-3. The Redskins were even more pathetic, losing nine of their final 10 games on the way to a 3-13 record.
“The bottom line is as soon as you start letting a 23-year-old kid, 25, 26, 27, whatever Matthew Stafford is, somewhere in that neighborhood, get involved with decisions like this, you’ve lost control,” Beuerlein said. “You’ve got to have an owner that is smart enough to understand you get a football guy to make that decision. If you don’t have that general manager in place, you find somebody that you trust who’s going to help lead that search.
“You’ve got to consider what that quarterback is good at, what his personality’s like, how that relationship’s going to work, but you don’t let them have input into who that head coach is,” Beuerlein added. “That’s a huge mistake.”
Gannon, a 17-year veteran who took three different teams to playoff games and led the Oakland Raiders to a Super Bowl, had a different perspective on why letting a quarterback help choose the next coach could be problematic.
“I think it creates some tension in the locker room with your teammates,” Gannon said. “If he’s the golden child, and he’s involved in those type of decisions, what other decisions is he involved in? Is he involved in my playing time as a running back or as a wide receiver? Is he picking the starting roster? Those are the things you need to keep in mind.”