Originally Posted by FanSince72
Maybe in the beginning Noll laid down the law to Bradshaw but as time went by, Bradshaw began to run his own show quite often.
I recall one game in particular against Cincy where we had the ball in the Red Zone and needed a TD to win and Noll specifically sent in a running play. When Bradshaw saw the defense however, he checked off to a pass and threw a TD and won the game. Immediately afterward, when Bradshaw trotted to the sideline, Noll grabbed Bradshaw's grill and started screaming at him, but it had to be hard to yell at a guy who just won the game for you.
I think Ben is a lot like Bradshaw in that he goes with his gut when it comes to certain situations and I think that even though that may occasionally backfire, I'd rather he be allowed to do that than to simply "shut his mouth and hand the ball off when he's told to, and throw it when he's told to" because that would be like hitching a thoroughbred to a milk wagon.
The "magic" you mention can only happen if Ben is allowed to improvise when he thinks the time is right. So in that regard, I wouldn't try to make him "do what he's told" as much as I'd try to make him more aware of what's going on around him. I'd try to teach him that there's often a difference between doing something that satisfies his ego and doing something that will help the team and the only real coaching that's necessary would be to develop the wisdom to know the difference between the two
Ben will never be a "worker bee" and to think that any coach can make him into one is ridiculous.
A good coach will recognize this and work with it instead of against it by tempering Ben's need to achieve with a better understanding of the realities of a given situation. He can still allow Ben the freedom to trust his instincts, but to do so in a more realistic way and to make him understand that he's not Superman nor does he need to be on every play. But if a coach were to step in now to try to get a guy like Ben - especially after the success he's had - to toe some line and "follow orders" would be a colossal waste of everyone's time.
Bradshaw called his own plays, and Noll occasionally sent one in, and there's a difference between a legitimate audible--"Coach thought they'd do this, but they're doing this instead" and "I don't like running the football, so I won't." I sort of agree with you about the rest. I just think that Ben is a one trick pony who everyone treats like a thoroughbred so he'll do his one trick, and should have already had the facts of life explained to him, and that he still needs to have to play team ball with a more structured offense, not completely rigid, just more structured, and I don't think he'll like even that. Look at Mark Brunnell, when he was in Jacksonville, the guy was better at improvising than BR is even capable of comprehending, but he started the play that was called, or legitimately audibled to a better one for the defense that was showing. And Coughlin held him accountable every single time he audibled, but that was over the top. And it's also the reverse philosophy of what you would think. Brunnell often audibled into running plays, because Coughlin was a believer in every offensive play should end in a touchdown, and Brunnell understood the game. BR does not.