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Dale Lindsey - Scapegoat?

Hey there. So we have our first - and from what I hear only - casualty of the coaching staff. With the 31st ranked defense, I figured Lindsey, LBs coach, and Steve Jackson, safeties coach were on the hot seat, but after two weeks passed by and with the team nearing the end of its organizational meetings, it seemed like the time had passed.

Not so.

You could make a case for Dale's firing either way, and I'd love to hear what you guys think.

The LBs made virtually no plays last season, and were poor. They were also pretty banged up (Marcus and Lemar), had a guy who might not be in the NFL next season starting on the weak side, and very little depth to speak of (but that's kind of endemic to every position here). Dale was hardcore old-school, and the way he treated LaVar in both 05 and 06 rubbed a lot of players the wrong way. You can get away with that when you're winning, but this season ... not so much.

Of course, Grilliams implicitly supported that treatment for No. 56, but when your defense is this bad someone must get thrown to thw wolves, some would say. Okay, I'll buy that. But were the LBs that much worse than the D Line? Maybe a smidge. Were they worse than the secondary - no way. Not even close.

Grilliams is supa-dupa tight with Jackson and corners coach Jerry Gray, goes back a long way with them, much longer than Dale. So from what I have gathered tonight, if he was pushed to serve up someone, Dale made the most sense. Coach Joe went bonkers on Dale in Lindsey's office after he ripped LaVar and was tough on Lemar with his public comments this season, according to my peeps, and Coach Joe hardly enjoyed everything that came out of Dale's mouth.

Also, Dale was likely nearing the end of his coaching career, and, given how high profile the LaVar situation was, the case was there tro make a change. But more than one person I spoke to within the organization, and a few with ties to Ashburn, believed it smelled like a scapegoat move. And if he is indeed the only fall guy, well, then I'd be right there with them.

He is probably a bit of a relic in this era with his crazy-gruff persona. But he ain't the only culprit on this staff, not by a long shot.

Yes, Dale's LBs had their problems, particular in Cover-2, but it wasn't Dale's fault they had no pass rush (okay, it was partly), and gave up 55 passes of 20 yards or more (most in the NFL) and 30 passing TDs (most in the NFL) with just 6 INTs (fewest in the NFL). That falls on the seconday in large degree. From everything I have heard, there will be no more coaching firings, and Gray and Jackson are safe.

With Jerry's resume and the fact he was here just one year, that's not surprising. But no doubt Steve Jackson was sweating through the last few weeks. Should the secondary be anything close to this bad next year, you'd have to think he'd be the next to go, if not those much higher.

Oh yeah, and if Kirk Olivadotti is not named Dale's replacement by the end of the week I'd be stunned.

By Jason La Canfora  |  January 16, 2007; 10:00 PM ET
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