In this interview with Sky Sports Analyst and Canadian Football coach, Jeff Reinebold, we find out what it is like to be a football coach.
What would you say are the key highs and lows to being a coach?
The most rewarding thing is seeing an athlete playing at a higher level than they have in the past and in some cases better than they may have believed they could play at. The low is when you can’t seem to help an athlete improve his or her on field performance or personal profile. Winning or losing on the field actually becomes less of a focus the longer you are in the business.
What would a typical day of training look like for a coach?
Our day begins in the office at 6:00 am and continues most nights until after 8:30 pm. The bulk of the day is involved in preparing for practice and making sure the athletes have the best practice environment available to them in the 3 hour block of time we have for practice each day.
What would a typical game day look like and how does a coach prepare his team for a game?
Normally on game day we are in the stadium 4 hours prior to the game – at the stadium we are involved in final detail game plan prep and on the field preparation, warm up of the team prior to the game.
How difficult is it to look after so many players, especially with so many strong personalities?
In pro football one the biggest challenges you face is managing the personalities of 45 different men who come from different back ground and all are type A personalities with strong egos and very competitive natures.
When a team isn’t performing well, how do you give them the motivation to get going?
Motivation of a football team is an ongoing 24/7 365 day job and it needs to be shared by every coach on the staff. As you manage each personality on the team you must also manage the overall personality of the football team on a daily basis.
This season so far, which coach (or coaches!) in the 32 NFL teams would you say has the most difficult job and why?
Really tough because each is a challenging job in its own way – it is maybe most challenging when expectations were high before the season and the results have not met the expectations so teams like Dallas, Detroit and Philadelphia must be very shaky emotionally right now.
How do you handle a situation like Johnny Manziel and his ‘party’ reputation?
At some point the athlete has to be held accountable for not only his good but the good of the team. In Manziel’s case with him having gone to rehab there is a human element involved now – bigger than football he needs to get his life in order – the Browns are not responsible for that but they do have a role in helping him as long as he is a member of the football team.
How do you advise your players to handle the media? We’ve had situations with the likes of Marshawn Lynch who refuse to talk. We’ve seen players show their frustration, like Joique Bell who only would respond as “Detroit v everybody” – is there anything a coach can do to influence?
As players or coaches we have a responsibility to the game to be available and forthright with the media. It is wise to advise players that they are not required to answer any question that is offensive or leading. I was a part of the media circus around Marshawn Lynch and the circus the media created made the situation more than it needed to be. Had the media simply walked away from him the story would have gone away. In my mind he enjoyed the attention and the “game” he played with the media and the league each day. Most of the players who come to pro football don’t have extensive media relations so the league and the teams have a responsibility to help these guys deal with the scrutiny. Carolina’s education of Cam Newton on handling the media is a case in point of what it can and should be.
How did you, yourself, get in to coaching American football? What would you say is your favourite thing about it?
My college coach recommended that I go into coaching. My favorite thing about the job is the relationships you forge during a season.
Is there a coach that inspired you to be where you are now?
My greatest influence and mentor was Coach Dick Vermeil a Hall of Fame Coach and a Hall of Fame person. He is the best coach I have ever seen.
And finally, just because it’s topical right now – how do you handle the situation of Beckham Jnr and Norman – when a player just doesn’t seem to have his head in the game, and be personally going after someone?
I was really disappointed and embarrassed for the league, the game, the players involved and for the officials. There was more fault to go around than I could cover in this exercise – save it to say OBJ and Norman both should have been ejected and OBJ in particular need serious discipline by the league and the Giants. Hopefully OBJ will learn from this as well as all of the powers that can choose to hold players accountable to a standard of conduct that reflects in a positive way.
A huge thanks to Jeff for taking the time out to answer our questions – as always, you can catch Jeff and his incredible insight every Sunday on Sky Sports NFL.