The Dallas Cowboys have shown an ability to move top playmakers, like Micah Parsons, around on defense. This versatility starts with defensive coordinator Dan Quinn and his usage of Parsons. In the video above, Hall of Fame coach Bill Cowher discusses the difficulty for opponents game-planning for Parsons, a player whom the Cowboys can build around on defense.
Editor’s note: In Week 1 of the preseason, the Pittsburgh Steelers defeated the Seattle Seahawks, 32-25. After reviewing the game, former Steelers coach Bill Cowher gave us his thoughts — specifically on the battle between quarterbacks Mitch Trubisky, rookie Kenny Pickett and Mason Rudolph.
We saw some pretty good grades all-around for the offense. I think they should be all fired up after Saturday night.
I think what you saw with all three quarterbacks was a job well done. And I think for (coordinator) Matt Canada, it was an endorsement of what he’s trying to do offensively — certainly, with the running game and also with the quarterback under center, a lot more than we’ve seen in the past with Ben Roethlisberger.
I thought they all did a very good job. George Pickens stood out as a receiver, and if you think about him paired up with Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool — that’s a pretty formidable set of receivers.
Pat Freiermuth — when he comes back — is a quality tight end and a great target, particularly for a new QB in a system like this.
I thought Mitch Trubisky started off and played very well. He made good decisions and looked athletic outside the pocket. I think that Mason Rudolph looked very good when he came back in. And what Pickett did in the second half of that game, I think, proved what he can be.
When you look at the three QBs — and I’m not sure what the plan is for Week 2 — there’s a lot to be said for what the starter does. You think about a guy coming in off the bench, he has a chance to see the defense, he has a chance to get a feel for the flow of the game, and he sees the first quarterback go in there. So coming off the bench is another element that you have to take into account. Starting is another one — you set the tempo.
I thought Trubisky set the tempo very well in that game on Saturday. We saw his ability to get outside the pocket and make some plays. We also saw this with Mason Rudolph and Kenny Pickett in the second half of that game.
I would like to see another guy starting, to see if he can continue setting the tempo and see if he is the guy. But Mitch is going to be the guy that’s going to start again (in Week 2 at Jacksonville on Saturday), and I thought he did a very good job (in Week 1).
I think what Pickens showed you is a big guy, tall target with great awareness on the field. I thought what he could do with his feet was pretty good for a young player, particularly when talking about a player going from college in his first year to the pros. You only have to get down one foot in college; it’s two feet in the pros. I thought he looked like a veteran making that touchdown catch. Very impressive; I thought it was a very good start for him.
With the interior line, I’d like to see them play a little bit better, but I think the tackles did a very good job. That’s what training camp is for. That’s what going against a new opponent each week is for.
I think the Steelers are still accessing the situation but I think what you saw overall were some pretty good grades all around for the offense.
Bill Cowher, a Hall of Fame Head Coach, discusses the actions of future Hall of Famer Head Coach Bill Belichick, who has drawn some scrutiny on his back-and-forth process of deciding his offensive playcaller.
Cowher is intrigued and discusses in the video above why he’s actually in favor of how Belichick is handling this.
“I think it makes total sense for Bill [Belichick] to do this. Why not have two coordinators battling throughout the preseason to see who you’re most comfortable with? Bill has always been good at putting guys into position to succeed. He does it with players and he does it with coaches. I don’t see anything wrong with how he is handling this.”
Mike Tomlin says “the standard is the standard,” and in this video, Hall of Fame Head Coach Bill Cowher explains why this year’s Pittsburgh Steelers can uphold the team’s standard of winning. It’s a group that reminds him of his own Steelers teams from the 90’s—a very good defensive football team that has a running back in Najee Harris, who can lead the offense.
When you get a young, star quarterback to work with, you don’t want to over-coach him. You want to let him be himself, and play to his strengths initially. That is what we tried to do with Ben Roethlisberger when I was coaching in Pittsburgh. And I’m reminded of that looking at Kyler Murray in Arizona.
Let The QB Be Himself
When Ben Roethlisberger came into the NFL, we tried to keep things simple for him at first. He was a creative quarterback, and we just wanted him to get out there and play his way. Looking in Arizona, I wonder what they’re giving Kyler so far, what reads and checks they’re asking him to make. Most importantly, are they letting him be himself?
I know the stories have been about “study hours” and his preparation, but that’s been overstated. I’m sure he prepares, he wouldn’t be succeeding as a starting quarterback if he wasn’t putting in the work preparing week after week.
When I look at Kyler Murray, I see someone who does so well at improvising with the ball. He makes that a signature of his game, and it works better when he isn’t overthinking anything out there.
Don’t Over-Coach Kyler Early
As quarterbacks gain experience, teams give them more, they start to work the systems in. Yes, there’s preparation that goes into it. But early on, let’s back off on the criticism. Just ask him to be Kyler Murray, a very talented player who is putting in the preparation that he needs to.
Don’t over-coach him. Just let him be Kyler Murray. We don’t have to apply the “five hours of tape” study requirement. Yes, preparation’s a part of it. But ask, what are you giving him and asking him to do?
With how talented he was, I didn’t ask Ben to do a lot, until he earned it and understood it a little more. I think as Kyler keeps playing, he’ll see it more and more, and really understand each opponent and what he has to do every week. Then, coaches can give him more to do based on how much they think he can handle, and it won’t take away from his natural abilities he has as a talented quarterback.