You need more than just Xs and Os To be a successful coach in the National Football League.
While strategy and tactics are very important parts of a coach's arsenal, other qualities are needed to make a complete football coach.
You need characteristics like persistence, confidence and—perhaps most important of all—decisiveness.
The ability to make quick decisions, and the confidence to stand by them, are the main differences between players' success and failure on the field.
Making the right decisions regarding personnel is right up there with play-calling and goes a long way in determining the success or failure of an organization.
With training camps looming on the horizon, we're going to take a look at the 10 toughest decisions some coaches are facing heading into 2010.
New Bills coach Chan Gailey wants to make an impressive start in Buffalo.
The problem is: who will lead this team in 2010?
Gailey has Trent Edwards, Ryan Fitzpatrick, and Brian Brohm to choose from, and the choices don't have Buffalo fans all that excited.
Edwards is the most NFL-ready of the bunch, but inconsistency and injuries have derailed his career.
Fitzpatrick is a gritty quarterback who performs better as a backup than a starter.
Brohm was drafted by the Packers in the second round in 2008, and despite a lot of hype coming out of college, hasn't shown much value in the NFL.
Gailey's new so he'll be given time even if the Bills struggle out of the gate. Look for the experience of Edwards to win the job in the end.
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin has two important decisions to make, and both are on this list.
The first involves the three-headed battle for the starting right guard spot.
Incumbent Trai Essex will try and fend off top draft pick Maurkice Pouncey, and second-year pro Ramon Foster for the job.
This is a very big decision for Tomlin.
Only the Rams have given up more sacks over the last three seasons than Pittsburgh. The interior of the offensive line has been inconsistent in both run and pass blocking.
Protecting the quarterback is of critical importance. Even more so now that the league is so pass happy.
Look for Pouncey to win the job. He's big, strong, intelligent and very athletic for his size. He has all the intangibles to be a star.
Tom Brady has been very vocal this offseason.
Which is very surprising in and of itself, and not good news for New England.
Brady is a private guy, cut from the same cloth as Bill Belichick, so when he emerged this offseason criticizing some of his teammates, it made headlines.
Brady called out some of the younger guys on the team, saying they didn't listen to Belichick and were mentally lazy.
Word around New England mini-camp is that Brady isn't happy anymore and has become disillusioned with the Patriots organization.
How Belichick can heal this rift could be more important than anything he does all season.
Brady is the heart and soul of the Patriots team, and if he's unhappy, New England could be in trouble in 2010.
Which coach will ask management to make the move and sign Terrell Owens?
We all know it's going to happen, we just don't know who it's going to be.
T.O. is on the downward side of his career, but the guy can still be a very effective number two receiver.
The problem is, he still thinks he's a number one.
He'll also be a huge distraction to the team that does get him.
Owens behaved himself in Buffalo last year. Maybe now he realizes he won't get the big multi-million dollar deal anymore and will sign soon.
Trust me on this.
Some coach, maybe Pete Carroll in Seattle, will roll the dice and give Owens another opportunity.
The Dallas Cowboys are positioning themselves for another Super Bowl run.
With the addition of rookie wideout Dez Bryant, the Cowboys have a plethora of talent at the skill positions.
Add a defense that is one of the best in the business, and it's easy to see why Cowboys fans are smiling as 2010 approaches.
But (and it's a big but), there is one position that should have Cowboy fans apprehensive—left tackle.
Dallas let veteran Flozell Adams go in the offseason, and will go with Doug Free.
This is a huge gamble that may come back and bite Jerry Jones.
Adams is 35 and starting to wear down, but even at his advanced football age, he is one of the best left tackles in the NFC.
Flozell is still unsigned and there is a possibility he returns to the Lone Star State.
Free is an unknown commodity, and Wade Phillips is counting on him to protect Tony Romo?
Dallas is primed for good things in 2010, but left tackle should definitely be a cause for concern.
John Fox is on thin ice in Carolina, despite leading the team to a Super Bowl and becoming the most successful coach in franchise history.
The decision on who will be his starting quarterback this season, and how the team performs, will determine whether he stays or goes.
Jake Delhomme has gone to Cleveland, leaving Matt Moore as the favorite heading into training camp.
He's not guaranteed a job by any means though, especially after Carolina drafted Jimmy Clausen in the second round.
Moore goes into camp as the starter, but Clausen will be given every opportunity to win the job.
If Fox chooses wrong, it could mean the end fo his career in Carolina.
The Steelers missed the playoffs last season after winning the Super Bowl the year before.
It was a very unhappy time for the Steel City.
Just when Pittsburgh fans thought it couldn't get any worse, the Big Ben Show caused a huge problem in the spring when he was accused of another sexual assault and suspended 4-6 games by commissioner Roger Goodell.
The Steelers quickly picked up Byron Leftwich from Tampa Bay, and now it looks as if he'll be the man to replace Roethlisberger for at least four games.
This is a big decision for Mike Tomlin. Maybe even a career decision.
He has only one year left on his current deal and management is not even considering an extension.
Nothing is guaranteed right now.
Tomlin says the position is open, with Leftwich, Dennis Dixon and Charlie Batch in the mix.
In reality it's between Leftwich and Dixon, with the veteran clearly in the front.
It's a decision that will not only impact the Steelers in 2010, but could decide Tomlin's future with the franchise.
If the Steelers start out in a funk, the season could be over before Big Ben gets back.
The Rams were 1-15 in Steve Spagnuolo's first season.
Not a good way to start, but also not unexpected.
Spagnuolo inherited a team without much talent, and when the injury bug bit hard last season, the results were obvious.
With the first pick in the draft, St. Louis selected QB Sam Bradford, who they hope will be the franchise quarterback that they've longed for since Kurt Warner left town.
The debate began almost immediately after the draft: should Spagnuolo start him or sit him his rookie season?
The Rams brought in veteran A.J. Feeley, and he's been working with the first team all through OTAs.
This is a decision the Rams coaching staff needs to address in training camp.
Bradford has been working with the second squad during mini-camp and OTAs.
The Rams fan base is already frustrated, and fans are staying away from the Ed Jones Dome. The ownership situation is in flux and the fans need something to cling to.
Keeping Bradford on the bench doesn't make much sense to me. He would immediately ramp up attendance and inspire hope, something the city of St. Louis desperately needs.
The Cardinals franchise has lived through two of their best seasons in its history: two playoff appearances and the first Super Bowl berth in Arizona history.
The offseason has been anything but rosy for Bill Bidwell's bunch.
First, Kurt Warner retires. Then, Anquan Boldin gets traded, and the Cardinals lose a ton of quality in free agency.
Now coach Ken Whisenhunt must make a decision that will decide the future course of this team: who will replace Warner at quarterback?
The battle is between Matt Leinert, a first-round disappointment so far, and Derek Anderson, an inconsistent performer at best.
Look for free agent Marc Bulger to be considered if Leinert and Anderson struggle in preseason.
Good luck picking a starter from that group coach.
Albert Haynesworth signed a huge deal to come to the Redskins last season and all he's done is under perform and act like a two-year-old.
Washington, and new coach Mike Shanahan, must find a way to deal with this problem before it gets any worse.
It's already become a major headache and distraction for the franchise.
Haynesworth feels underappreciated, despite that fact the Redskins guaranteed him $28 million dollars.
Haynesworth's actions have alienated him from the coaching staff and his teammates. The unmitigated selfishness Haynesworth has displayed is appalling.
Coach Shanahan, if you're listening, get rid of this idiot, and do it now.