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Spotlight on Ted Monachino

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Ted Monachino, for those that don't know, is the Jaguars Defensive Line coach who was promoted from assistant when Ray Hamilton left for Atlanta. In case you were in a cave all of last year, the Jaguar Defensive Line didn't have a good season. I thought I would look into line coaches across the league and see how we are measuring up. This article is the results of that investigation.

Before I start, I want to talk about the role of coaches in football. Vic Ketchman expresses the "players not plays" opinion. Although I do agree that great players make coaches look good, that statement doesn't exonerate coaches from any results responsibility. Good coaches can organize and teach. Look up the offensive performance of any team that had Lindy Infante as the offensive coordinator. You will see a highly intelligent, high execution, offensive machine in action. Building that machine in terms of players, techniques, timing, scheming, and communication, is the coaches job. The players make the in-game decisions and execution, but do much better if they have been schooled and prepared. Good coaches make a huge difference.

Consider Andy Heck, the Jaguar Offensive Line coach. Andy Heck played college ball under Lou Holtz at Notre Dame in the years when ND could run the ball very very well. Andy was a first round draft choice into the NFL where he spent 12 years on the offensive line in Seattle, Chicago and Washington. He retired into coaching at Virginia where he met a college player named Heath Miller who he taught how to block. Andy came to Jacksonville in 2004 and in 2006 took over the offensive line. Just in case you were in that cave for the last five years, the Jaguars offensive line learned how to run block very very well. Do I trust that the offensive line will return to prominence in Jacksonville? YES I DO, as long as Andy Heck is with the team! When you count pro playing experience with college and pro coaching experience, Andy Heck has 21 years under his belt.

Let's look at Ray Hamilton, the former Jaguars Defensive Line coach, until Mike Smith took him to Atlanta. Ray Hamilton played on the Defensive Line for Oklahoma. Back in the early 1970's the NFL draft extended into 17 rounds and Ray was the 342 player picked in the 14th round by New England. Ray Hamilton started every game for the Patriots for the next eight years as Nose Tackle. These was no slouch Patriot teams either; they had some excellent runs into the playoffs featuring a shut down defense. Ray Hamilton is still fifth on the Patriots all time sack leader list. He was clearly the steal of the 1973 draft. He went into coaching professional football immediately starting with the Patriots, then the Browns, Raiders, and the Jets before joining the Jaguars. His professional coaching resume was outstanding before joining the Jaguars. His teams always ranked near the top in sacks. During his Jaguar years, 2003-2007, the team enjoyed their best shut down defense, even Bobby McCray became a productive player. Counting pro playing experience with coaching experience, Ray Hamilton has 31 years under his belt.

Now we turn to Ted Monachino, the current Defensive Line coach. Ted played college ball at Missouri but was not drafted into the NFL. No problem, a lot of great coaches have never played pro ball. While at Missouri he did meet an assistant coach named Dirk Kotter. Ted went back to Missouri and began his coaching career at a local high school. He moved up to Texas Christian University for three years, then one season at James Madison, and the next season at Southwest Missouri State. Ted was unemployed after that season and was heading back to high school coaching when a call to Dirk Kotter changed everything. Dirk was head coach at Boise State and Ted Monachino became the defensive line coach. Dirk moved up one season later to Arizona State and Ted went with him.

Dirk Kotter was not an overly successful coach at Arizona State amassing a 40-34 record. What the Sun Devils did do was pass the ball amazingly well amassing 4,400 yards in 2005 and over 500 yards of offense per game. That is why he is the Jaguar offensive coordinator today. The point being the Arizona defense wasn't the strength of the team. Ted Monachino's claim to fame was in 2001 when he arrived he found a sophomore named Terrell Suggs, who exploded in 2002 for 24 sacks, a single season NCAA record. Ted got a lot of credit for that performance. Ted Monachino joined the Jaguars in 2006 as assistant defensive line coach and surprisingly Dirk Koetter joined the Jaguars in 2007.

Other than Terrell Suggs, there is nothing in Ted Monachino's resume that says he is a standout defensive line coach. When you add professional playing years, college coaching experience and professional coaching experience together, Ted Monachino is the least experienced defensive line coach in the NFL today with 13 years to his credit. Only the Washington Redskins Ken Olivadotti is his equal in professional lightness.

So let's look at the AFC South defensive line coaching situation.

Indianapolis Colts: John Teerlinck. I don't want to say anything about the guy except that both the NFL Commissioner and Satan are watching John Teerlinck. Joe Kleco claims he is a nice guy; most quarterbacks don't share that opinion. John Teerlinck has 34 years of professional playing and college and pro coaching experience.

Houston Texans: Bill Kollar. Bill Kollar has 32 years combined experience on the defensive line. The Texans will not employ a read and react type of football. They will come hard, fast, and never quit and always rotate fresh talent in. In 2001, Bill Kollar coached the line under Lovie Smith in St. Louis and no running back gained 100 yards against them. That defense ranked number one.

Tennessee Titans: Jim Washburn. Jim has 31 combined years of coaching. His Titans ranked 5th last year in sacks with 44. During his nine years with the Titans, they are ranked ninth in the NFL for sacks. His prize accomplishment was turning Jevon Kearse from a college linebacker to an NFL defensive end; Jevon had a rookie year of 14 sacks and is a regular with at the pro bowl. Jim Washburn turns out pro bowl linemen.

Jacksonville: Ted Monachino. 13 years combined coaching experience, nothing at an NFL level to speak about.

The average experience of an NFL defensive line coach is 23 years. In 10 years, Ted will be average.

So where do we stand? . The Jaguars have given two first round quality draft picks and a pro bowl defensive tackle to a man of little background. Ok, maybe experience isn't everything. Maybe Ted Monachino is a great coach about to prove it. Personally, I'd rather have Ray Hamilton back. I'll bet Derrick Harvey and Quentin Groves would too. I just don't trust him to get the job done.

In summary, Ted, you are not flying under the radar any more. Dirk Koetter isn't going to save you. It is time to put some substance on your resume. It is time to actually earn your money.  I honestly hope I am wrong about your ability.