|10-26-2007, 12:44 AM||#1|
Join Date: Apr 2006
Packers: Broncos' Bates not bitter
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — He definitely isn't bitter. Oh, he was disappointed, and he still believes he was the best man for the job.
But now that he's almost two years removed from it, he's no longer as bothered by the way it all played out. What is bothering Jim Bates, at least right now, is this darn hip of his.
His 38 years of coaching — 16 in the NFL, including the 2005 season as the Green Bay Packers' defensive coordinator — have been defined by his uniquely enthusiastic, high-energy style, and by his uncanny knack during practice for sprinting to the spot where the ballcarrier and his defender had met only a split-second before.
Now, he just needs a place to sit down.
"I've got to rest. I've got a bad hip," the 61-year-old Bates said with a chuckle — and groan — Thursday afternoon at the Denver Broncos' Dove Valley practice facility. "It's killing me that I haven't been able to run around like I used to. I've got to have surgery — they don't have to replace it, but they do have to scope it. It's taken a lot away from me."
It hasn't taken away his passion, though, or his ability to connect with his players, who swear by him just as they did in Green Bay.
Bates' official title with the Broncos is assistant head coach/defense, and in an odd twist of fate, the man he replaced in Green Bay, Bob Slowik, serves as defensive coordinator beneath him.
But the 3-3 Broncos have struggled defensively — they rank 20th overall, including dead last in the 32-team NFL in run defense entering Monday night's game against the Packers at Invesco Field — and that, too, is bothering Bates.
"It's taken longer than I'd hoped," said Bates, who inherited from Slowik a Packers defense that ranked 25th in 2004 and turned essentially the same players into the seventh-ranked defense in the league in 2005, when the team went 4-12 under head coach Mike Sherman. "It was a real smooth transition with Green Bay and I felt very, very good about the progress we made. It wasn't one of the greatest years in Packer history as far as the record, but the guys gave it everything on the practice field and played well on Sundays for the most part."
Which is why Bates was crushed when general manager Ted Thompson passed him over and hired Mike McCarthy as Sherman's replacement in January 2006.
Bates then turned down McCarthy's offer to stay on as defensive coordinator, and the Packers ended up paying Bates a $1.1 million settlement to buy out the final two years of his contract.
Asked Thursday why he picked McCarthy, whose team has won nine of its last 10 games, over Bates, Thompson said Bates had "a very good interview" and was "an outstanding candidate."
"I think he's a very good coach. Players rally toward him, his enthusiasm is infectious," Thompson said. "There's no magical potion you can take to help you make the right decision. You have to go with your gut feeling.
"He's a heck of a coach, and it would have been nice to have been able to keep him (as defensive coordinator). But that's also understandably an uncomfortable position to be put in, both for him and for Mike. I think the best thing was probably separation at that point."
Bates, in turn, spent the year out of football — although he kept his home in Green Bay — until accepting coach Mike Shanahan's job offer in January.
He admitted that it took him almost all year to get over the disappointment of not getting the job, especially since it probably was his last shot at being an NFL head coach.
His only pro experience as the boss came in 1985 with the USFL's San Antonio Gunslingers and in 2004, when he took over the 1-8 Miami Dolphins after Dave Wannstedt's resignation.
Bates, who had been the team's defensive coordinator for the previous 41⁄2 seasons, led Miami to three victories in the final seven games.
"It was definitely a tough time for me, because I felt so positive about the situation — I hated to see Mike Sherman let go, but when the opportunity came available, I thought I was a top prospect, and I was really looking forward to it," Bates said. "The year before in Miami, when I took over, I thought we did a great job. I was ready for that opportunity, and you only get them so often. So it hurt. But life goes on and you move on. As it all turned out, it turned out for the better."
Why? Because Bates' family has been brought together here in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains.
His son, Jeremy, is the Broncos' wide receivers and quarterbacks coach, while his son, James, works as a play-by-play announcer for the Mountain West Conference and lives in nearby Boulder, close to he and wife Beverly.
So when asked if he'll ever get a shot at being an NFL head coach, Bates' reply is sincere and to-the-point.
"It doesn't matter," he said. "Right now, shoot, I'm in Colorado, my sons are here with me, my immediate family's all here. I'll never look back over my career as far as not having had a chance to be an NFL head coach. You have to take what's given, and go forward."
|10-26-2007, 04:26 AM||#2|
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Abu Dhabi
Jeremy Bates is the Wide Receivers and Quarterbacks coach? Two comments on that:
1) Why don't we have two people doing this job? The running backs get Bobby Turner all to themselves....
2) Regardless, he must be doing a helluva job -- I can't remember a better overall receiving corp. Walker, Marshall, Stokley, and surprisingly Martinez are all contributing and playing well.
3) Who came to our team first, Jim or Jeremy?
4) If Jim gets fired after this year (which seemed like a distinct possibility after the Chargers game), do you think Jeremy will stay on?
|10-26-2007, 09:54 AM||#3|
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|10-26-2007, 09:59 AM||#4|
Join Date: Apr 2004
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|10-26-2007, 10:02 AM||#5|
Join Date: Oct 2001
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|10-26-2007, 12:20 PM||#6|
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