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Jim Haslett Is A Worst Case Scenario for UCLA

In typical NFL fashion, Coach Jim Mora considers a proven mediocre prospect to replace Jeff Ulbrich instead of an innovative, or even competent, replacement.

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Thanks to Ryan Kartje for breaking this story.

This is such awful, awful news. Let me tell you why.

Just to start things off, Jim Haslett spent the last five years making history as an NFL defensive coordinator with the Washington NFL franchise.

Again, to clarify:

Most yards allowed in NFL history in a 5-year stretch. That is the entire history of the National Football League.

2nd most points allowed in a 5-year stretch in NFL history.

Yards per play in Washington: 30th, 16th, 26th, 27th, 26th

Points per game in Washington: 22nd, 20th, 22nd, 30th, 29th.

Plus, this is the most memorable highlight from his tenure.

That's atrocious. I could care less if he had personnel issues or a bad situation, there is no improvement.

He was unequivocally awful for 5 years in DC as their defensive coordinator. No improvement at all.

After all of that history making, he got the "mutually parted ways" situation to finally end his historical tenure for the Washington NFL team.

As if that weren't enough of a red flag, he also got called out during the season by one of the most universally respected defensive players in the last 20 years in London Fletcher.

Now, I would tend to believe a player who was constantly a team captain, won and was constantly considered for NFL Man of the Year awards and whom I have never heard anyone say a bad thing about versus a coach who did this:

But, you know, that is just my opinion.

Read this for a full breakdown of the London Fletcher situation.

Some outtakes:

"Why does Jim Haslett still have his job as defensive coordinator after five years of ineptitude at the defensive coordinator position?" he asked.

"He is clueless as a defensive coordinator," he said. "He lacks attention to detail. He lacks feel on how to call a game. Some of the calls he used to call when I was playing were head-scratching. They were so bad I used to change them – ‘We’re not running that.’

"And we’d get off the field and he would ask, ‘Why did you change the call.’ [I would say], ‘Because that’s just a dumb call. That’s why I changed it.’

"For years he has always made excuses. One minute it was ‘We’re changing from the 3-4 and we don’t have the right personnel.’ Next minute it is salary cap. Next minute it is Mike Shanahan. Next minute it is injuries."

As if this were not bad enough, Fletcher added this:

"Mike Shanahan recognized early that this guy does not know what he is doing," he said. "And he tried to help him out… And what does Jim Haslett do? He threw [Shanahan] under the bus, just like he throws everybody under the bus, players and coaches included.

"He is a guy that does not know what he is doing. And the Washington Redskins, and Jay Gruden in particular, better watch his back and get Jim Haslett out of the door… Jay Gruden better get him out of the door because he’s probably backstabbing Jay Gruden like he did everybody else; like he did to Scott Linehan in St. Louis, and like he did to Mike Shanahan in Washington …

"This is a guy that would take the ’85 Bears and turn them into a mediocre defense. He is clueless. He has no idea what he is doing. Believe me, I had a front row seat for four years."

I want this dude nowhere near UCLA's program. The upstart, young, passionate hire was the route to take.

Just for further elaboration, here is a breakdown of Haslett's career as a defensive coach with some context attached.

1993-1994: Linebackers Coach, Los Angeles Raiders.

21st in points allowed (out of 30 NFL teams), 9th in yards allowed, 23rd in turnovers created.

17th in points allowed, 10th in yards allowed, 22nd in turnovers created.

1995: Linebackers Coach, New Orleans Saints. Coaching with Jim Mora.

18th in points allowed, 22nd in yards allowed, 18th in turnovers created.

1996: Defensive Coordinator, New Orleans Saints. Coaching with Jim Mora.

20th in points allowed, 13th in yards allowed, 28th in turnovers created. Team went from 7-9 to 3-13, but had an atrocious offense.

1997-1999, Defensive Coordinator, Pittsburgh Steelers.

Inheriting the Dick LaBeau (one of the most influential defensive minds on the planet) and Bill Cowher (HOF defensive-minded head coach) defense that hadn't been outside of the top 10 since 1991.

1997: 11th in points allowed, 6th in yards allowed, 4th in turnovers created.

1998: 7th in points allowed, 12th in yards allowed, 16th in turnovers created

1999: 12th in points allowed, 11th in yards allowed, 20th in turnovers created.

Notice a slight trend there away from Dick LeBeau's top 10 success?

2000-2005, Head Coach, New Orleans Saints.

Inheriting the hot mess that was the Mike Ditka Saints.

2000: an impressive 10th in points allowed, 8th in yards allowed, 8th in turnovers created. And they won a playoff game against The Greatest Show On Turf. But, not because of Haslett. Because of this:

2001: 27th in points allowed, 16th in yards allowed, 14th in turnovers created. Gave up 30 or more points 6 times. Fired his DC Ron Zook (an amusing name to see pop up).

2002: 26th in points allowed, 27th in yards allowed, 3rd in turnovers created. Gave up less than 20 points once all season.

2003: 14th in points allowed, 18th in yards allowed, 16th in turnovers created.

2004: 27th in points allowed, 32nd in yards allowed, 8th in turnovers created.

The only thing keeping these teams from completely imploding is Mike McCarthy (the Packers' current HC) at offensive coordinator making Aaron Brooks a passable NFL QB and using Deuce McAllister to around 1800+ yards from scrimmage a year.

Mike McCarthy leaves the Saints in the offseason after the 2004, want to guess what happened?

2005: 28th in points allowed, 14th in yards allowed, 29th in turnovers created. Went 3-13, got fired.

2006-2008, Defensive Coordinator (2006, 2007, 2008) and Head Coach (2008, went 2-10), St. Louis Rams:

After Mike Martz got fired, Haslett joined up with Scott Lineman (the current Detroit Lions' OC)

2006: 28th in points allowed, 23rd in yards allowed, 7th in turnovers created. Defense gave up 30 or more points 6 times.

2007: 31st in points allowed, 21st in yards allowed, 19th in turnovers created. Defense gave up 30 or more points 6 times. Team went 3-13.

2008: 31st in points allowed, 28th in yards allowed, 13th in turnovers created. Defense gave up 30 or more points 9 times. Team went 0-4 under Scott Lineman, 2-10 under Jim Haslett.

First four games with Haslett as the defensive coordinator the Rams give up 38, 41, 37 and 31 points. The head coach understandably gets fired and the Rams promote the man in charge of those defenses to the head coaching spot.

2009, Head Coach, Florida Tuskers

I'm going to be honest, I had to look up to see what the Florida Tuskers were and apparently that was a United Football League team that went 6-0 and then lost the championship game with Haslett in charge. So this is a positive...kind of.

Then, 2010-2015, Defensive Coordinator, Washington NFL Franchise.

And we all saw what happened there.

What you have with Jim Haslett is a coach whose only successful defensive performances came under the tutelage of NFL Hall of Fame defensive minds like Monte Kiffin, Dick LaBeau and Bill Cowher. Aside from that, he was consistently in the bottom half of the NFL's defenses regularly towards the overall bottom.

In addition to that sobering reality, he has virtually no collegiate experience except for three years at a Division 3 school from 1988-1990. In case you are unaware, Division 3 schools do not technically offer athletic scholarships. Hassett has zero recruiting experience that would be in any way helpful for UCLA.

In case you were curious, those teams went:

1988: 2-8

1989: 4-6

1990: 2-8 (giving up 30 or more points 7 times)

This is simply something that cannot happen for UCLA.




That should be the focus.

Those things are not descriptions of Jim Hasslet.

I mean, the highest praise I can muster is that he would probably be an improvement experience-wise to Ulbrich.

This is such an NFL-style, bland, conservative candidate and I have little doubt that dude would bolt back to the NFL first chance he gets.

I'd much rather have to deal with the Rocky Seto situation than deal with Haslett. At least Seto has been a part of a successful defense in the modern era of football.

Kerckhoff405 came up with this outstanding list of hires that would be the antithesis of an NFL-retread type of hire.

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I would like to bring in a DC with actual coordinating experience, and not someone who is going to learn as he goes. With that in mind, here are some of my candidates (with profiles hyperlinked).

Mike Tressel (Co-DC/LB – Michigan St). This is my personal favorite. Tressel has been with Sparty for 8 years and is one of the few assistants who came over with Coach Dantonio from Cincinnati. As LB Coach, he has overseen defenses that have ranked in the Top 10 in both Rushing Defense and Total Defense over the last 4 years. He brings immediate credibility and could help us recruit Big 10 territory.

Duane Akina – (DB – Stanford). I was actually surprised to see that Akina hadn’t landed himself a DC job after being released from Texas. He coached the secondary at Texas under Mack Brown for years and also served as Co-DC for a few. He was also DC at Arizona during their Desert Swarm years. For recruiting purposes, he could help bring in more Texas recruits.

Brick Haley (D-Line – LSU). Since Brick arrived in LSU in 2009, he has coached 9 players who have been selected in the NFL draft, including 2 first rounders. He has 2 years of DC experience at Baylor, and has a wealth of experience coaching both D-Line and LBs. He could make an immediate impact in our rushing defense and pressure on opposing QBs, and can also help us recruit the South.

Chuck Heater (DC – Marshall). I’ve thrown out his name so many times on posts, so I’ll continue to be consistent. Heater has coached top ranked defenses while at Florida, Temple and Marshall. He was Co-DC at Florida, along with Charlie Strong, when they won national championships under Urban Meyer. He also served as Florida’s recruiting coordinator in 2006 and 2007, and brought in a top 5 recruiting class each year. He would be huge in recruiting Florida and the South.

Anyone of those would be lightyears ahead of Jim Haslett.

I am unbelievably disappointed in this as a football fan and as a UCLA Bruin fan.

Go Bruins!