Our closer look at each of the Broncos Head Coaching Candidates continues with a closer look at Leslie Frazier, current Defensive Coordinator with the Minnesota Vikings. Gonzo, our fine Vikings Blogger over at Daily Norseman was kind enough to share his thoughts on Frazier, and after the jump we get the thoughts of BigBlueShoe, owner of StampedeBlue since Frazier spent several years on the Colts staff under Tony Dungy --
Frazier is the latest in the Vikings' revolving door at defensive coordinator. However, the reason the door is revolving now is because the guys the Vikings are hiring are good enough to get promotions elsewhere, as opposed to the late 90s and early 2000s, where we fired guys on a regular basis because their defenses were terrible.
With a long history in the NFL as a player and a coach. . .he was the leader in interceptions for the 1985 Chicago Bears (the team that, for my money, was the greatest defense of all time). . .Frazier has developed a pretty good feel for the game. He started his coaching career at tiny Trinity International University in Deerfield, Illinois, and moved on to become defensive backs coach for the Illinois Fighting Illini. He's parlayed that into experiences with four different NFL teams. . .the Philadelphia Eagles (DB coach from 1999 - 2002), the Cincinnati Bengals (defensive coordinator 2003 - 2004), the Indianapolis Colts (DB coach 2005 - 2006), and the past two seasons as the Vikings' defensive coordinator.
His defense this season became the first team since the NFL/AFL merger to lead the league in rushing yards allowed for three consecutive seasons. The pass defense, after having ranked dead last in the league in 2006 (under Mike Tomlin) and 2007, moved up to 18th in 2008. While much of the credit is given to the Vikings' outstanding front four, the level of play in the Vikings' secondary has increased markedly over the past couple of seasons as well. His defenses are not without their faults, however. When his defenses blitz, the pressure comes almost exclusively from up the gut, and this tends to leave 7-10 routes open in the middle of the field for a good quarterback to pick apart. If you saw the Vikings' playoff game against the Eagles last Sunday, you saw a pretty good example of this. Overall, though, his defenses have performed well over the past two seasons.
Frazier, by all accounts, is a great motivator and rarely fails to have his team prepared for an opponent. As much as I would hate to see my team lose him, I think he's very deserving of a shot as a head coach in the NFL, and the Broncos would be a good place for him. The Denver offense is already well-established, so Frazier could concentrate on helping whoever he would hire as his defensive coordinator to build a playoff-caliber defense in the Mile High city.
Now a look at what Big Blue Shoe says about Frazier --
I actually had a discussion about Frazier with MasterRWayne last night pertaining to the Broncos. We both agree he will likely get the job, and may lure Raheem Morris to Denver as the DC. Frazier's temperament is ideal for Denver. Let's face it: The Broncos have a lot of cocky dudes on their team who love to talk even though they ain't never won nothing. Guys like Cutler and Marshall need someone even keeled to keep them in line. Frazier fits the bill there. He is very much from the Tony Dungy school of coaching. John Madden once said he was more a Buddy Ryan-style coach.
Madden is, of course, dead wrong.
Frazier takes after Dungy in temperment and philosophy. If he arrives in Denver, the defense will shift to a Tampa-2. He might blitz a bit more, especially if Denver gets some size at LBer. But, size in a Tampa-2 is not important. Denver needs a pass rush. Their offense is high powered and can score points quick. If their defense can pressure the passer, especially is Denver has the lead, the Broncos are in good shape. Frazier is a good coach if that is the direction the team wants to go in
Our thanks to both Gonzo and BigBlueShoe for giving us their thoughts on Leslie Frazier. Since it appears that Frazier and McDaniels are the two finalists, take a pick in the poll....