Roundtable: Belichick's Disciples Part 2

Part two of this series concludes with four questions: Which Belichick disciple will win the soonest, who will win over the long term, is the Patriots information lock down a good / bad thing and who deserves most of the blame in the Cutler / Broncos meltdown?

1) Which of the three former Patriot staffers will experience success first: Eric Mangini (Cleveland), Josh McDaniels (Denver) or Scott Pioli (Kansas City)?

Jim Poore: I think it will clearly be Mangini. He has arguably the best team in place of the three. I think McDaniels will have success next, followed by Pioli. I am just not convinced that McDaniels is ready to be a head coach, but we will soon see. I think Pioli just has too much work to do right now in the personnel department, and it will take him some time to get the right players. I think Mangini will have the best first year anyway because he already has the experience, and some veteran players to work with.

Shane Leketa: It is easy to say that any student of the Belichick school of football will be successful in their future endeavors but this sometimes just isn't the case. Take two names like Romeo Crennel and Charlie Weiss. If I had to choose one of these guys, I would pick Pioli in Kansas City because Josh McDaniels is an offensive minded coach and frankly offense can only take you so far. Mangini already laid an egg in New York in the time that he was there, so until he proves otherwise, his egg laying may continue. On top of that, it is Cleveland we are talking about here. Pioli is the brains of the operation but he works for a good organization and he is home in Kansas City. Player and personnel development is where you build the foundation of a quality franchise.

LoVell Parkman: Addition by subtraction. Or in Cleveland's case subtraction by addition meaning the hiring of Mangini. Cleveland had some talent there especially on the offensive side of the ball. They had a horrible draft and didn't get enough for the 5th pick in the entire draft. Mangini trying to be someone he is not (Belichick) and hasn't won anything to have credibility.

McDaniels in and Jay Cutler out. He already has very negative press and they have yet to play a pre-season game. Marshall his best wide receiver wants out. McDaniels has no credibility nor experience as a head coach. He probably doesn't have the respect or trust of all his veteran players either. He had trouble adjusting to a defensive coaches adjustment when he was the Patriots offensive coordinator. Now he's running the show and his best players are out or want out.

Pioli has a young team with some talent that may surprise. Not saying the playoffs or even close to it. I think that they will have a better record than expected. Kansas City is my choice.

Jon Scott: The Broncos had the most talent headed into this season, but trading the team's starting quarterback, even if it was because he became a malcontent, set the Broncos back in a very big way. Kyle Orton - acquired from the Bears in the Cutler trade -- is not the solution and neither is Chris Simms. Though the Broncos upgraded their defense with the pick they acquired from the Bears (Picking Robert Ayers), it didn't do enough to put them back on track for this year.

Cleveland arguably had the best group of veterans and talent on their roster before the Draft, but trading away Kellen Winslow was a mistake that will come back to bite the team. The QB situation - if allowed to drag on till training camp - will hinder team chemistry. For all of the changes, Cleveland still has a ways to go to become a contender. Kansas City is in full rebuilding mode with a new quarterback and a lack of talent at wide receiver, the Chiefs will be lucky to be competitive in some of their games until the young players get into the program.

Pioli's track record at the top of the organization is more than double the other Belichick disciples (Mangini & McDaniels)

2) Which one will have the most long-term success?

Jim Poore: I guess who has the most long term success depends on what we are considering long term. Assuming it is several years, I would have to say Pioli, though it is going to take some time for him to get there. He will have say over personnel matters, while the others are mainly head coaches. I think a lot will depend on how everybody gets along on each team, for instance Mangini with Phil Savage, and so forth. I think it will be interesting to see how well Pioli does without Bill Belichick.

Shane Leketa: Much like I stated in the earlier question, Scott Pioli has a much easier road ahead of him and here is the reason why, Head Coaches get fired and higher ups get a pass most of the time because, they are building for the future. The biggest key to Pioli's success is going to be the relationship that he has with head coach, Todd Haley. If they have the relationship that Belichick and Pioli had, then the sky is the limit but, remember Todd was an offensive coordinator in Arizona and as stated before, defense wins championships these days.

LoVell Parkman: As I predicted who will experience success first the same team (Kansas City Chiefs) will only get better with experience. The longer Mangini stays in Cleveland the worse they will be and veterans will soon tune him out after a couple of years if not sooner. McDaniels may have lost some of his veteran players already not name Brandon Marshall or the traded Jay Cutler.

Jon Scott: The Mangini-Kokinis combination in Cleveland is one based on the successful model of Belichick-Pioli in New England. The history of dysfunctional coach-GM pairings in Cleveland has set the bar rather low. Setting a low threshold does not equate long-term success. Josh McDaniels seems to be the brightest mind of the coaching group, but McDaniels must pair with newly minted GM Brian Xanders in Denver. Xanders is an experienced personnel man, but in just his second season as the head guy in Denver. After replacing legendary coach Mike Shanahan, McDaniels' leash to provide long term success may be too short to get the job done. By default, Pioli will be the last man standing of the three. His ability to locate talent, navigate through the salary cap minefield and build a system for one of the most stable - and knowledgeable - ownerships in the league will give him the kind of platform he needs to be successful for a long time.

3) Is it good or bad for the league (or media / fans) that the three are emulating the information lock down in each new destination?

Jim Poore: I think it is interesting that all three remain quiet in their new destinations. This is clearly coming from their experience with Bill Belichick. I think it is probably a good thing. Keep everybody guessing. I am not so sure the fans are all that concerned, but it likely angers media members who are working on a story and can't get the information they desire. I am sure too that there is a fine line as to what one is supposed to say and what one CAN'T say. There is a difference there.

Shane Leketa: Well, if I was a reporter for the Globe or Herald and I am covering the Patriots, I HATE the way that Belichick runs his regime. It is tight lipped and like Fort Knox getting information out of players and personnel in Foxboro. As a media member, I would continually be frustrated to find the good story so this is a bad part for the media outlets. As for the fans, I think it takes the bad, unwanted drama out of the game. It levels the playing field and you cannot be the running joke if your team isn't drawing unnecessary attention to themselves. So, overall from a fan's perspective, I think it is great!

LoVell Parkman: None of these teams whether they have Belichick's former staff or not are not Belichick or the Patriots. They have not had the success the Patriots have enjoyed. The fan base is used to whatever kinds of information that they use to enjoy. If Chiefs, Broncos and Browns don't win the backlash will be worse. They should win and win consistently before trying to shut off communication from their fans. Those are the people buying tickets last time I checked.

Jon Scott: Strategic advantage is a something coaches, GMs and owners look for. If getting that advantage comes in the form of information lock down, then maybe that's what it takes to win in this new era of football. I'm betting that's not the key to success, but one of the necessary evils fans and media must put up with as organizations try to emulate the New England model. Ultimately, the model will be determined by wins-losses. If the Jets start winning using Rex Ryan's outward, hard-nosed, entertaining model, the league will be better off. The Ryan-Crowder media debate was compelling. Fans will almost certainly want more of the same during the season, and if the Jets win, the cameras will look their direction more often. Ultimately that will be better overall for the league as Ryan (or others like him) create more must-see TV.

McDaniels wanted Cassel (pictured with Belichick), who he turned into a top free agent from little known backup

4) Who was more at fault for the Denver situation, Jay Cutler or Josh McDaniels?

Jim Poore: I think it is a little of both. One thing that is clear is that McDaniels wasted no time in letting people in Denver know that he was in charge. I think Cutler was insulted and embarrassed, perhaps rightfully so, but he never seemed to understand that ultimately the team and the league is a business. I think McDaniels was never a big fan of Cutler to begin with, which is why he wanted him out. I think McDaniels could have handled it a little better, but he is the boss. We will soon see if McDaniels made a mistake in trading Cutler. He is one of the better talents in the league, and now the Broncos are stuck with career back ups lining up under center.

Shane Leketa: Well first of all can I be honest here, who cares? I think they both were at fault and they both were stubborn and became frustrated with each other. I felt as if I was watching an episode of "As Denver Turns" on daytime TV. I would have to side with McDaniels on the whole episode because this would come across as a player running the show rather than the head coach being the head honcho. Hopefully, we never have to hear about it again but can we be honest here, Denver got Kyle Orton over Jay Cutler? I don't know about that one though but I guess it will be wait and see.

LoVell Parkman: Cutler acted like a whiny little person in the entire ordeal however McDaniels was at fault here. He blew his first major test. He could have not let things get out publicly or squashed it. Damage control was nonexistent. Now Marshall wants to leave. What others veterans fell the same way that are not saying anything right now?

Jon Scott: Jay Cutler was offended by McDaniels' pursuit of Matt Cassel? For a player who seems so confident, he came across as rather thin-skinned in the entire episode. I don't fault Cutler for being bothered by the move, I do fault him for acting like a spoiled kid in the process. His agent didn't help alleviate the situation when he could have. Cutler based his position on entitlement, McDaniels on improving competition at every spot. One reason McDaniels comes across better in the end will be that when Cutler melts down, it will be all about him, and not the team.

Be sure to check Part 1: Who started with the most talent

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