Greg Roman gives insight into complexity of the NFL coaching ladder
Led by Greg Roman, the San Francisco 49ers' pistol offense was the toast of the NFL all throughout January as Colin Kaepernick and co. sliced and diced their way through the NFL playoffs.
We all remember the 49ers' performance in their playoff opener after all, don't we? Hosting the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Divisional Playoffs, the 49ers carved up Green Bay to the tune of 579 yards, 29 first downs and 7.7 yards per play on 75 snaps in a 45-31 victory that wasn't as close as the final score. Kaepernick turned in a dazzling performance, connecting on 17-of-31 passes for 263 yards with two touchdowns and an interception to go with 16 carries for 181 yards and two more scores.
But, as Roman helped his team advance through the playoffs, he was putting his own career advancement in neutral.
Due to NFL rules, the only time the eight NFL teams looking for new head coaches could request permission to speak with Roman would be during the 49ers' bye week, before Wild Card weekend. None did. As the 49ers advanced, any team wishing to speak to Roman would have to wait until San Francisco's season ended. As we know, that didn't happen until February 4, the day after the Super Bowl, and by then it was far too late to begin formal conversations with a potential candidate.
"Some people I know that are pretty savvy in the business pretty much told me, 'If you win this game, you're [expletive] out of luck,' " Roman says. "It's a little bit of irony — the more you win, the less chance you have of getting those jobs. I was talking on the phone with my agent, Dave Dunn, and he told me that, and I said, 'So wait a second — you're telling me that if we win, I lose?'"
Irony's cruel twist of the knife meant that Roman's finest hour, the demolition of Green Bay's defense, was the beginning of a month-long period when he was unavailable to potential suitors, though his profile was at its highest.
As Yahoo's Michael Silver writes, one of the eight teams looking to be a head coach seemed prepared to wait on Roman. That team was led by the Jacksonville Jaguars, led by general manager Dave Caldwell - Roman's former teammate at John Carroll University and former roommate when the two worked for the Carolina Panthers. For Roman, the match couldn't be more perfect. But, ultimately, Caldwell couldn't wait and Gus Bradley - it turns out, the only head coach hired this offseason with a defensive background - was hired on Jan. 17.
Caldwell still endorses Roman's future as a head coach.
"As a head coaching candidate, he has a lot of things that are intriguing," Caldwell says. "He's worked on offense and defense, and even strength and conditioning. In San Francisco he's had great success with two very different quarterbacks. He's dealt with a lot of adversity. He's definitely stayed ahead of the curve. I think the biggest thing is that he puts his players in a very good position to succeed."
This tidbit was one in a lengthy, insightful profile of the 49ers' offensive coordinator. Read Silver's full story here.