Originally posted by dtg_9er:
ace52--I don't see JH as an easy guy on his players. He has been tough and even cut guys (Jacobs being the most obvious) when they didn't stick to the company line. It seems he let the players police themselves a bit more this year and that caused some silly stuff. Moss telling VD to clean up his act was an example of this player leadership, Crabtree's performance seemed to be helped by Moss' tutelage, and J Smith leads by example, as does Willis.
What they need are leaders in the defensive backfield, and offensive line. The line is much better but they still need a definate leader, and Staley is not that guy--he's more of a jokester. A Davis is still immature, Iupati is a quiet guy, Goodwin is still the new kid on the block--though he may be the leader now. The guy I'm watching is Boone. He is too new a starter to demand respect, but he may be moving up the ladder quickly to become the leader.
DBs are leaderless. Goldson has the game to be a leader but he makes too many immature mistakes...late hits when it just isn't necessary. The DBs impress me with their intelligence but they seem to be easy going and are not leaders. I would love to see a guy like Ronnie Lott...sort of a Goldson with leadership qualities.
I think there are 2 things that a player can do that will guarantee to put him in JH's doghouse:
1. Say negative things about the team to the media
2. Don't give 100% effort on the field
If a player does one, or God forbid both, of those things, he is very likely to feel JH's wrath, and may even get cut. However, if a player is not committing those cardinal sins, but is making mental mistakes during his play, then I think, as you said, Jim is letting the players work these issues out among themselves more than coming down hard on the individual player himself. This model will work if there are strong leaders on the team. Willis seems to be that type of player, but the team needs more of them as you pointed out. Otherwise, the HC needs to take a firmer rein of the situation to make sure silly mistakes are not repeated.