Eberhardt: Let’s be judicious in handing out our As, let’s say an A-.
Hanna: I was going to say B+.
Eberhardt: Obviously we will remember the Oklahoma game, we will remember the Stanford game, but I think there’s only so much you can do with the players we have against those receiving corps.
Hanna: And with no pass rush at all.
Eberhardt: Absolutely. But I want to focus on what I hear about his film work with the players and the way he coaches at the tactical level. He is doing everything right. My grade reflects more what I understand about his process and seeing that process bear out, not just looking at a broad picture of results.
I think Demetrice Martin was a good defensive backs coach, so while we had our issues with how that ended with him and some of the personality conflicts on Mora’s staff, I don’t know that Meat was deficient as a DB coach. We had some good DBs, and they were coached well. But I think that you can see another layer of experience and deeper understanding of the position from a guy with the track record of Paul Rhoads. That might be one of the best hires that Chip Kelly has made.
Hanna: Rhoads has gotten rave reviews from the parents of the DBs. I know that Darnay Holmes‘ dad has been very impressed by the work that Rhoads has put in, and they actually have a very good relationship. Rhoads is a coach that inspires loyalty from his players anyway, so I’m not surprised by that at all.
Paul Rhoads is known for his ability to impart the Xs and Os aspects of the game on to his players. He’s a very good technical coach. I think we saw a real leap in the ability of the players to play the ball, which was really nice. They looked a lot better in man coverage that they had previously. Before we had kind of a zone-heavy corps. This year they look a lot better in man than they have in previous years. Yeah, they had their share of getting burned, but when you’re in man that’s going to happen and you do have to factor in that the secondary is kind of left out to dry so many times by the lack of a pass rush.
Once again, grading on that curve, I think Paul Rhoads is solidly at a B+ level. I don’t think it’s possible for a DB coach to get an A unless they have a pass rush to make the DBs look that much better because at some point you’re just going to get toasted. I think that as the pass rush begins to improve we’re going to see the DBs take even another step going forward. I’m really encouraged by the prospects of that position group going forward.