Bill Cowher Talks To JoeFebruary 1st, 2013
Joe interviewed all sorts of movers and shakers in the NFL and national media during Media Day this week and one of the highlights was speaking with Super Bowl-winning coach Bill Cowher. The former Steelers coach discussed with Joe how defense — like what Greg Schiano is trying to build — is still in vogue in the NFL, and quarterback Josh Freeman’s struggles.
JoeBucsFan: Obviously Baltimore has a good defense. San Francisco has a punishing defense. Your old Steelers still have a good defense. Denver has a good defense. Greg Schiano is starting to build that kind of defense with his suffocating rush defense. Is there a renaissance in the NFL with teams turning to defense despite the Star Wars type offenses and gun-slinging quarterbacks that dot the league? If you don’t have a defense, you will be sitting on the couch in January?
Bill Cowher: (smiles) Well, I just think it is so ironic, like you said, we live in this world of wide open offense but the two teams that play here kind of got here by defense and a running game. So, the game is still played, you still have to have a degree of toughness. The one thing a good defense does is, they thrive on limiting the offense’s ability to run the ball. That is the one thing if you don’t have a running game, and I really believe when Jim Caldwell got the job [as Ravens offensive coordinator] to get Ray Rice more involved. The running game keeps the defense off the field. They run in synch.
Joe: You groomed Ben Roethlisberger as a young player as a rookie for his first few years in the NFL. Down in Tampa, Josh Freeman, at times he looks like Roethlisberger, a lot of people compare him to Roethlisberger with the size and the arm, at times he looks like John Elway, at times he looks like Bobby Douglass, he is having his struggles. And as soon as the season is over, Schiano says, well, we have to have competition. What is going on with that guy? Is he ever going to be that elite quarterback the Bucs had hoped and what he flashes at times he can be? What do you see?
Cowher: He has gone through a number of coordinators. I think that they finally have some good weapons around him this year. At times, he was playing this year at a very, very high level. You know, defensively, they had trouble stopping some teams. He has flashed at times. I think the consistency is something that is lacking in him but give him some consistency with the offence. Let him stay with the same system a couple of years in a row before we judge him too quickly because it is really hard to be consistent when you are changing the system every year. That’s the thing that we have to remember. He has a lot of abilities that you are looking for in a quarterback.
Joe: Whitey Herzog used to have a famous theory in baseball that he would tell his scouts to sign or draft pitchers who could throw 95-100 mph because, “You can teach control but you cannot teach a guy to throw 95.” Can that baseball axiom be translated to football? Can you teach a quarterback accuracy?
Cowher: I don’t think it can be taught. You can become a more accurate thrower sometimes by running an offense that allows you to be a more accurate thrower. [Freeman] has to work on technique too. I have seen the guy enough that I think he is an accurate thrower. Again, he struggles at times being inconsistent. But he has a lot of positive skills that I like. If he works at it, I think he can change.