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Insider: Harbaugh's confidence a big plus

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By PFW staff

The following quotes are from NFL scouts, coaches and front-office personnel, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

• "I've given this a lot of thought. One of the key ingredients to a head coach — you have to have that swagger or confidence and be able to instill it in your players. It could come in a lot of forms. Rex Ryan does it his way with bravado. (Bill) Belichick uses intelligence. Whoever the head coach is, he has to convince his team (that) they are going to win. You could go team-by-team and give the test. The one that I would worry about is Jim Caldwell — does he really get up and induce confidence? He always looks scared. There was no one worse than (Dave) Wannstedt looking worried on the sideline. Having been around Pat Shurmur, I don't think he has the swagger. (Brad) Childress did not have it at all — players did not trust him. With (Steve Spagnuolo), there is something in his personality that gets people excited. Leslie Frazier will have it as a trust factor like (Tony) Dungy. They will trust him. Ron Rivera will have some intensity to him, and the fact that he played helps. The most confident guy I've ever been around is Jim Harbaugh. If there were ever a coach with swagger — it is Jimmy. And he's always been that way. This is a guy that would kick his feet up on Bo Schembechler's desk to get a rise out of him. He could lose a game and it will not faze him. He'll stand in front of his football team and convince them they will win."

• "Considering all those injuries, (Packers head coach) Mike McCarthy surprised me — he still has them believing they could win. Aaron (Rodgers) is a big part of it, but Mike realizes when to push and when to back off his players."

• "(Ex-49ers defensive coordinator) Greg Manusky was such a natural fit in San Diego. He's been there before. He knows the players. He runs a very similar scheme. The best thing they do in San Diego — they understand how to match players and coaches to schemes. It all works hand-in-hand."

• "(Bears WLB Lance) Briggs plays with great base. He is great taking on blocks. He is always around the ball. He is very underrated. … (On the other hand, Bears RB) Chester Taylor is 31 and can't avoid anymore. He's done."

• "(Bears OL coach) Mike Tice should be up for assistant coach of the year. He had a lot of work to do with that group early in the season to get them settled, but he put them in the right places. (Frank) Omiyale should have been at left tackle all along from the time he arrived last year. (Tice) knew it was not working so he kept shuffling the deck. There are too many coaches that won't shuffle it."

• "Head coaches need to be worried about the big picture. If you have a head coach who micromanages and is worried too much about the pregame meal and all the little things, you are in trouble. … Coaches have got to be able to get the most out of players and then take that hat off and look at them objectively when they watch tape. They need to be able to say, 'this guy is not good enough and we need to get rid of him.' That is the hardest part of a coach's job — determining when to fire a player. The guy in New England (Bill Belichick) — no one does it better. The (best) guy before him was Bill Walsh. He fired Hall of Famers like (Joe) Montana and (Roger) Craig; and he did it in such a way that they still loved him when they were leaving. Mike Vrabel helped (the Patriots) win three Super Bowls. Do you think it was easy to get rid of him? Richard Seymour. Randy Moss. Yesterday is yesterday. Today is today. Too many coaches keep players two and three years too long because of their reputation."

• "The problem with new owners is that they don't get it. (The Dolphins') Stephen Ross does not know the game well enough to know what was broken. And who is he turning to? Carl Peterson, who has been out of the league for a couple years. He's not studying it. If you look at where the Dolphins are right now, there's a reason the owner should be concerned. Two years from now, they'll be looking to make a (coaching) move again. They just couldn't make it work the way they wanted it to this time around."

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