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Old 03-21-2012   #1
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Default How to measure the quality of the general manager?

In trying to measure the quality of a GM, I thought we should try to provide some realistic considerations of what it takes to be a good general manager. I have some thoughts below and would love to see other inputs and discussion on this topic.


Easiest to Measure
1) Wins are the ultimate arbiter. Winning teams generally have better talent. Having said that, coaching matters also. Think Wade Philips

2) Consistently drafts good players. The way I know he has drafted good players is that other teams in the league want these players and pay premiums for them. (Note that many Casserly's draft classes were out of the league within two years of the time he stopped being the Texans GM).

3) Consistently brings in non-premium free agents who later command a premium once they leave. Think Mark Anderson, Jason Allen

4) Consistently finds and signs UDFA who become starters. Think Mike Brisiel, Arian Foster.

5) Does not release low-priced players who turn into premium players elsewhere. Think Jason Babin, Tramon Williams


Somewhat Fuzzy Measurement
6) Makes trades that work in the team's favor. This item is somewhat fuzzy since fit to the team is extremely important. I think the best way to measure trades is to wait 5 years and ask if you would do the trade again.

7) When trading players for draft picks (or vice versa) gets good value. Extremely difficult to measure. You cannot get more than what the league will offer, but they want to pay as little as possible.

8) Doesn't overpay for free agents. Again very difficult to measure and I think should be focused on top 25% in terms of pay (I believe this is where teams go wrong). Lots of factors to consider. Team reputation has impact. A team like the Cleveland Brown will have to pay premium to get a free agent since they have almost no chance of making the playoffs. The Texans were that way in 2006, but now should be neutral to positive destination for free agents.

9) Don't overpay when renewing players. Same rules as for free agents.


Other Qualities Though Unmeasurable
10) Plan for obsolescence. Your premium players are going to become unaffordable and many will leave when they become free agents. Have a plan to ensure that any leaving free agent does not cause you to have to "scramble" as a team.

11) Promote from within. Teams should strive to build into powerhouses primarily through the draft. These types of teams have greater loyalty as drafted players are playing for their 1st team. Second, it builds camraderie and organizational stability since the majority of the players have grown in the "system" together.

12) Do not hang out your players to dry. Reputation matters. Treat your players right. Don't leave any players feeling as if they were mistreated by the team. It is a business and you have to make the correct decisions to make the team as good as possible, but you should not have to mislead your players or air their dirty laundry or catch them unaware. First class all the way without exception.
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Old 03-21-2012   #2
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Default Re: How to measure the quality of the general manager?

1 strong season out of 6 = Bad no matter how you create the formula and how to critique it.

I'd love to have a great GM one day.
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Old 03-21-2012   #3
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Default Re: How to measure the quality of the general manager?

So this means Rick Smith sucks. I agree.
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Old 03-21-2012   #4
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Default Re: How to measure the quality of the general manager?

Good post and welcome to the boards.
I think Smith has shined the last couple of years as GM. I love what he's done this off season.
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Old 03-21-2012   #5
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Default Re: How to measure the quality of the general manager?

So far, I'm going to say Rick Smith is at least better than average. But that's as far as I can go for now. It's still a long way to the first pre-season game.
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Old 03-21-2012   #6
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Default Re: How to measure the quality of the general manager?

Best way to measure the quality of the GM would be to look at the roster he has constructed, I'd say wins fall more on the coach/GM combined. We have a pretty damn good one...
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Old 03-21-2012   #7
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Default Re: How to measure the quality of the general manager?

The best time to measure the quality of a GM is right after the season is over, NOT when a bunch of loyalist sentimentalist jersey-wearers are still knee-jerking over the cutting/releasing/trading of popular players.
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Old 03-21-2012   #8
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Default Re: How to measure the quality of the general manager?

I think Rick Smith is growing in to the job and will be a very good GM in time. I'm not saying he's bad now but I believe he is improving every year and things are starting to look very good for the team as a whole. I know some may not see it that way, especially after losing all the players we just lost, but I really think, with another good draft, that we will be in the playoffs again next season and for a number of years after. Maybe then Rick and Gary will be appreciated a little more on these boards. And then again, maybe not!
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Old 03-28-2012   #9
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Default Re: How to measure the quality of the general manager?

Best way to measure a GM is to look at his face ... if he looks like Rick Smith he is mediocre at best.
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Old 03-28-2012   #10
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Default Re: How to measure the quality of the general manager?

I don't think we can judge Rick Smith against these criteria at this point in time.

The problem he's faced is that the team was bottom of the pile when he took over in terms of talent, credibility & future prospects. We were left to choose between guys who were either going to sign with us or go out of the league otherwise. I think they had that problem with coaches as well for that matter.

The teams that we were competing with at the lower reaches of the power rankings etc at least had some kind of history and tradition backing them up.

Whilst Smith deserves credit for moving us out of that phase, its whether or not he's set us up for sustained success that will matter.

I'm not all that concerned about our 'cap issues' right now, because I don't see that we've lost anything that will set us back particularly. If the next crop are signed up and we can consistently draft well (been inconsistent, but really good in parts so far) then I see no reason why Rick Smith won't be viewed as a great GM at some point in the near future.

How do you think Packers fans rated their GM when he got rid of Favre? How do you think they rate him now?

The bulk of the work that Rick Smith will do to cement his rating, I believe, has taken place this off-season and last. I don't think we'll know how well its paid off for another 2 years when we know if this team is good long term and whether we've kept hold of the important players and let less important players go.

Just think for a second, about last years re-signing of Butler to a sizeable backup deal, and this years Winston cutting, in a year, we could be seeing it as genius or disaster. We'll have to wait and see.

Good post OP!
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Old 03-28-2012   #11
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Default Re: How to measure the quality of the general manager?

Well, it's taken 6 years to create a quality roster. Take what you want from that.

The one year Gary and Rick work FA to make the team considerably better it is when they have their backs up against a wall.

Really, this year is pay dirt forth BOTH Rick and Gary to prove they are both capable at what they do.
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Old 03-28-2012   #12
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Default Re: How to measure the quality of the general manager?

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Originally Posted by Goldensilence View Post
The one year Gary and Rick work FA to make the team considerably better it is when they have WADE PHILLIPS
Fixed it for you.
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Old 03-28-2012   #13
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Default Re: How to measure the quality of the general manager?

Looking at a team's wins to measure the quality of a general manager doesn't make sense. Just like looking at wins to measure the quality of a quarterback or a coach doesn't make sense.

Sure, everyone does it but ultimately, all it takes is one or two bad pieces to end up with a losing season. And sometimes, it's not easy to get rid of those one or two bad pieces.

First off, I believe that people can learn and improve. Sometimes they don't but it's a possibility. And I think Rick Smith is a better GM now than he was a few years ago.

Rick Smith has had some damned good drafts. And he's had some stinkers almost on a Casserly level. He's made some good moves in FA and he's made some bad ones.

I think, for the most part, he's done a good job. He's gotten some bad players because of bad information he was given: Ahman Green was a Sherman pick, some of the DBs were probably based on what the old coaching staff asked for. But he has built a good, talented team.

I've got worries about next season but I've got my worries about every season. I hope he has as good a draft this year as he had last year.
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Old 03-28-2012   #14
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Default Re: How to measure the quality of the general manager?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Texecutioner View Post
1 strong season out of 6 = Bad no matter how you create the formula and how to critique it.

I'd love to have a great GM one day.
1 Strong Season
1 Bad Season
4-consecutive "bleh" seasons

He'll get there, hopefully.
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Old 03-28-2012   #15
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Default Re: How to measure the quality of the general manager?

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Originally Posted by ckhouston View Post
Fixed it for you.
Good point, but the only reason they went out and got a proven D-coord is when their backs were up against the wall.

Last year's top of the draft looked great getting Watt and Reed having great rookie campaigns. Realistically when we look past that we're still not sure what we have in Brandon Harris whom we traded up for and with Carmicheal.

Yates had an unexpectedly VERY good rookie campaign considering he was forced into action and managed to keep things rolling.

Truth is last off-season with their backs against the wall they made every single right move they could have possibly made from securing Phillips, to finally landing a bigger name FA in Joseph and getting Manning to anchor the safety position finally. Joseph was a two for one signing that allowed the team to move Quinn to safety. So really for the contract he got, it was great value.

To me it was the first off-season where the entire organization saw what they had to do to go out and prove that they could do what it takes to fix them.

So far this offseason, I know its early, but they have not really done anything to get better yet. This one will be graded post draft, but there's a LOT of pressure to fill some major holes.

What do I think of Rick Smith. Overall a good GM who is hampered by having an average head coach who was finally forced to upgrade his coaching staff.
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Old 03-28-2012   #16
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Default Re: How to measure the quality of the general manager?

I'm not really sure how good or bad Rick Smith is; I honestly think the jury is still out, but I wanted to make one point.

Wins are a great measuring stick when taken in context. What division are you in? Who is your competition? How did you handle the circumstances that were in your control? How prepared were you for things that were out of your control?

I don't think you can ever guarantee wins. What you can guarantee, as a good general manager, is the level your team plays at and whether you've given them the opportunity to win. Many things in this game are left to chance, and just a handful of plays can be the difference between winning the SB and not making the playoffs. If Miles Austin catches that ball when he was wide open vs the Giants, the Giants don't make the playoffs. Over the course of 1 season, it's possible to have several breaks go your way or against you that can determine the outcome of your season. Over several seasons, those things will cancel out and you will see who you really are.

I guess that means that the Texans management is average over their 6 year tenure. Hopefully, they're on the upswing and are better at this particular moment than their 6 year average indicates.
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Old 03-28-2012   #17
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Default Re: How to measure the quality of the general manager?

Every GM can't be judged by the same metrics because they have varying roles. Some are in complete control of the team. Some are subordinate to the head coach. Some are strong in talent evaluation. Some are strong in administration and management. I believe Rick Smith is a facilitator. He acquires the talent that the scouts and (mainly) coaches identify. He doesn't work and can't be judged in a vacuum.

Ultimately, it's the organization as a whole (Kubiak, Smith, assistants, scouting department) that's evaluated together. And the metric is wins. Winning the division. Winning in the playoffs. Finally, becoming a championship organization. There are no participation ribbons in the NFL. You've got to win.
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Old 03-29-2012   #18
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Default Re: How to measure the quality of the general manager?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lucky View Post
Every GM can't be judged by the same metrics because they have varying roles. Some are in complete control of the team. Some are subordinate to the head coach. Some are strong in talent evaluation. Some are strong in administration and management. I believe Rick Smith is a facilitator. He acquires the talent that the scouts and (mainly) coaches identify. He doesn't work and can't be judged in a vacuum.

Ultimately, it's the organization as a whole (Kubiak, Smith, assistants, scouting department) that's evaluated together. And the metric is wins. Winning the division. Winning in the playoffs. Finally, becoming a championship organization. There are no participation ribbons in the NFL. You've got to win.
MSR. This is it in a nutshell.

I would add another criteria to the bolded part: Any guy Smith goes to get must pass the Uncle Bob "Boy Scout" criteria. Who knows how much talent we passed over because Uncle Bob only wants "good citizens" on his payroll...? And at the end of the day, it's Uncle Bob's money they're shelling out so he (Bob) gets final say.
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Old 03-29-2012   #19
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Default Re: How to measure the quality of the general manager?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marcus View Post
The best time to measure the quality of a GM is right after the season is over, NOT when a bunch of loyalist sentimentalist jersey-wearers are still knee-jerking over the cutting/releasing/trading of popular players.
Still hung up over the jersey comments huh?
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