Very interesting look from our man Andrew Brandt at the pitfalls of serving as an NFL team's chief personnel guy while also filling another role. Andrew's two examples come from our division: Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who also serves as the team's general manager, and Philadelphia Eagles coach Andy Reid, who doesn't have the title of "general manager" but does have final say on all personnel decisions. Andrew argues that the GM position requires different traits than does the role of owner or head coach, and that Jones and Reid are struggling to play on both sides of the fence.
Of Jones, Andrew writes:
The same qualities that make Jones a formidable presence as an owner -- his bravado, charisma and emotional as well as financial investment -- are detrimental to his position of general manager. That role calls for a quiet, detached and surgical construction (and perhaps deconstruction) of a team's roster.
Jones delights in big transactions both in business and football, but in football that can sometimes be more risky than savvy. He has twice mortgaged future drafts to acquire veteran wide receivers, a low-value position. He traded two first-round draft choices in 2001 for Joey Galloway, and a first-, third- and sixth-round selection in 2009 for Roy Williams.
Which is fair, because Jones certainly did those things. But it also relies on what I believe is an outdated perception of a Jerry Jones who has in fact been acting far less impulsively on personnel matters over the past couple of years and has ceded much of the day-to-day control to son Stephen Jones and coach Jason Garrett.
Of Reid, Andrew writes that a coaching style that relies on strong personal relationships with players can be an impediment to success as a GM:
This is the major flaw of the coach/general manager model. Although Bill Belichick has been able to achieve sustained success, he has done so with cold and impersonal detachment, often not even responding to player discontent about roles or contracts, further infuriating players and agents. Reid, although a flat-liner with the media, cares deeply about his relationship with his players.
Another worthwhile point, and I think the decision to tie so much of the Eagles' fate to Michael Vick as quarterback likely stands as the most significant current example of this. In general, you can't argue with the success Reid has had over 14 years as Eagles coach. And the poor construction of the current roster doesn't seem to be the result of any inability by Reid to detach himself from personal loyalties -- it's just a matter of poor decision-making about players and schemes. But I think the Vick example does speak to what Andrew's talking about, and I wonder whether Reid, in his next stop, can expect (or will necessarily demand) the same dual role he's filled in Philadelphia for the past decade.