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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Mourning or Celebrating?

In the Marty Hurney aftermath, it’s hard to know how to react.  For many, it’s much easier – some have wanted this move, essentially, since the start.  For me, it’s much more complicated.

First, it’s ridiculously hard to see the team struggle.  I don’t know that I ever felt like Marty was the best man for the job, but there was always a want to see success, no matter what.  I felt he got hung on him a stigma of having been a sportswriter – way back in the 70s, and having been a football man ever since, I felt like that was a silly thing to hang on him.  That’s like calling me immature because I was, for an entire year, a six year old.  Hurney gave all he could – and at times, it worked.  Very well.  Essentially being the only thing holding things together in 2001, he brought in the pieces that went to the Super Bowl, and that came a couple too many RB injuries away from a second.

The trade downs were fantastic – only in my brightest dreams would I imagine that the team could build fresh with two new Pro Bowlers off one trade (2007).  But then the trades got costly – moving up for diminishing returns.  I remain somewhat in denial that the team would’ve actually shopped what became the 2011 #1 overall to move up for Jimmy Clausen.

The end of 2008 was a lot closer to the end than anyone realized.  John Fox had struggled through 2006-2007, and came back very strong with 2008; already paid well, he started making contract demands which set about various issues – the exodus of coaches at the end of 2008, a treading of water in 2009 that left the team intact but not improving, and the housecleaning that unfortunately took two years in 2010 and 2011.  The CBA had a major part in that too – unfortunately, the two issues came together for a perfect storm of bad football from there.

As Fox burned bridges because of contract, and he and Jerry Richardson played a game of chicken with one of the more valuable franchises in the NFL, Hurney did the team thing.  He went without a contract, he worked with what he could.  No one knew going into 2010 the problems that were there, or how much of it was his.  It bought him a couple extra years, but the end result is that things had just continued to get worse.

So I won’t miss the weird trade-ups for guys that are hit or miss.  Though the 2011 signings were all under the duress of a weird CBA imposed free agency, I won’t miss the part where someone undeserving like Charles Godfrey is allowed to stay for $5 million a year.   I can deal with making Jon Beason one of the highest paid LBs in the league.  He deserved that at the time, and I anticipate by next year he’ll be that guy again.  I can understand why Charles Johnson was a must-keep, I’d have done that.   And, there were more times where what I wanted would’ve left the team in much worse shape than what we did – when I wanted to draft outright busts like Derrick Harvey or Chris Williams.    But, the gap on that closed on Hurney the last few years, and when 2012 turned from a hopeful season to a disaster within a few games, Jerry Richardson found it time to move on.

I don’t know about the timing.  I don’t know if I would’ve done this now.  But I can’t blame JR for it, and the firing itself was apparently going to happen.
And, inevitably, I’ll be writing similar “well wishes, sorry it didn’t work out” words for the coaching staff soon, too.

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