From an otherwise unremarkable Yahoo! Sports story on Mike Shanahan comes this frightening bit of insight into Shanny’s talent evaluation process:
Around the league, the biggest criticism of Shanahan is that he doesn’t listen to his scouts. He has always insisted on personnel control but doesn’t heed good advice on players. Several former coaches and executives who have worked with him say he scouts off highlight tape. He wants to see a player’s 10 best plays. He says he will coach him to that.
Those former workers say Shanahan believes he has the magic answer for that player. A favorite line, they say is: “He hasn’t been coached by me.”
Because if last night’s election results and Nate Silver’s spot-on predictions taught us anything, it’s that sample size doesn’t matter. (Sarcasm.)
“A player’s 10 best plays”? That’s shocking. DeAngelo Hall would look like Champ Bailey if you’re using that to judge. Rex Grossman would be positively Drew Brees-esque. Donovan McNabb could be young again.
Maybe I’m not going off of enough data and making too much of this, though. It was just one portion of Shanahan’s process, as told by colleagues. Digging a little deeper may reveal who he really is as a personnel director, identifying his strengths as well as his weaknesses.
Or maybe folks like Shanny and Stephen Colbert have it right. Over-analysis is wrong, and “the truth lies right down here in the gut.”