Singletary On NFL Hires: Defense Still Wins Championships

Young offensive minds are all the rage in the NFL, but Mike Singletary explained why a defensive coach is the way to go

Zach Gelb
January 09, 2019 - 12:00 pm

USA Today Images


From Sean McVay to Matt Nagy to Matt LaFleur to Kliff Kingsbury, the NFL is sending a clear message to fans: it values young offensive minds.

Former 49ers head coach Mike Singletary has mixed feelings about that.

“I think that sometimes you just think that, ‘Hey, we got to get somebody that can really help the quarterback. We got to get somebody that can really develop the offense,” Singletary said on The Zach Gelb Show. “But I think defensive-minded coaches have a feel for what it takes and being able to really understand that defenses really do win championships. I think that’s important to remember. 

“I think sometimes a lot of the owners feel like the offensive side of the ball is the one that sells the tickets,” Singletary continued. “I just believe that as time goes on, given the opportunity for the right defensive-minded guy to have a chance to be a head coach and really call the shots and put people in place, I think would make a tremendous difference.”

Singletary, of course, is one of the greatest defensive players in NFL history. He spent his entire career with Chicago and helped the Bears to a Super Bowl title in 1985.

The 60-year-old has seen the game change a great deal since his playing days.

“A lot of defensive coordinators, I just feel like you can’t be right,” Singletary said. “The rule changes, you got to make sure that your guys are disciplined, make sure they’re not going to get ejected from the game. You got to think about how you’re going to approach a tackle and how you’re going to approach a sack. There are a lot of things to think about.”

Bill Belichick, Singletary noted, is a defensive-minded head coach. He’s also considered by many the greatest football coach of all time.

“I think that he’s a guy that’s able to sit that quarterback down and say, ‘Hey, here’s the thing that you got to look for. When you see this from the defensive side of the ball, this is what they’re thinking. This is how you have to think. This is how you have to counteract that,’” Singletary explained. “I don’t think there’s a greater tool for a quarterback than to be able to sit down and talk to a defensive-minded coach that’s the head coach and say, ‘This is how you need to look at this game.’”