There really was not much communication covered this episode. There are two examples I will cover.
The first example is during the pre season game. After back-up quarterback Ryan Griffin gets hurt, Jameis Winston walks over to two of the offensive lineman sitting on the bench and says: “I’m happy ya’ll are having fun, but Ryan just hurt his shoulder, so keep having fun.” Clearly he is stating that it was their fault that Griffin was hurt. This is concerning. The reason this is concerning is that if Winston is pointing fingers at his offensive lineman when the quarterback is hurt – does he look at himself the same way when he makes mistakes? Would he like to have the lineman come up to him after a interception or a bad throw and blame him? Will he blame the lineman if the offense is not moving the ball during the season? This is the kind of thing that may not really come up till a game – or a season is on the line. In these high pressure situations if it is common practice to blame others – there will be problems. This takes away from team cohesion. A team needs to be united – his statements divide the team and get players to try to avoid making mistakes. These statements really impact team unity – it fosters an environment where players try not to make mistakes. There is a big difference between playing “not to make a mistake,” and playing to win.
What it the lineman’s fault that Griffin got hurt? If it was – or was not- I see it as the coaches responsibility to talk with the lineman and figure out what went wrong – and how to fix it. Winston needs to trust that the coaches will deal with the issue.
The second example from this episode shows how effective head coach Dirk Koetter is in communicating – something I stated in the first episode. When telling kicker Roberto Aguayo he was being released from the team, Koetter really shines. Koetter says to Aguayo: “This is not about you the man. This is about a guy that is just not consistent as a kicker right now. Keep your head up and get back to basics.”
Good communication is able to separate the person from their behavior. If a kid fails a test there is a huge difference between the parent saying “You’re dumb,” and “You’re a good, kid – you didn’t study, that’s why you failed the test. You’re a smart kid, but you behavior needs to change.” It is in these “heat of the moment” situations that coaches, parents, friends, people in relationships can say very damaging things. Koetter simply tells Aguayo “It’s a consistency issue.” He easily could have said: “I don’t think you have what it takes to succeed in this league.”
What I really like about this interaction is it shows how Koetter seems to treat all the players. Most likely, he treats the others coaches – and probably everyone – in this manner. Koetter is respectful. When a person is respectful it makes a huge difference. We have all seen some coach get fired mid-season and then the team improves dramatically. Of course, it’s the same team- but often their effort changes dramatically when they are being treated respectfully.