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The Sacking of the Quarterback

The Sacking of the Quarterback

If Raquel McNabb awoke last night to find her husband, the outstanding Philadelphia Eagles quarterback, Donovan, running down the hall, she shouldn’t take it personally. McNabb was probably dreaming that New York Giants’ defensive linemen were still pursuing him, and they may well have been.

Last night at the New Jersey Meadowlands, the Giants’ defense spent the evening chasing McNabb up, down, across, and into the field. They chased him during plays, in his head, and right into the dressing room. At one point, his fumble resulted in a defensive touchdown.

A great deal of this was due to abysmally poor coaching on the Philly sideline, where they apparently believed that Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora was actually supposed to line up in the Eagles backfield, because that’s where he spent most of the night. The rookie tackle, Winston Justice, filling in for an injured starter, and assigned to throw 300 pounds in Umenyiora’s direction, was about as effective as Katie Couric trying to get a word in on Al Sharpton. It is not meant to be.

The problem was that the Eagles’ brain trust provided no justice for Justice. They gave him no help in the form of a back or guard to assist in blocking the locomotive that was Umenyiora, who went on to record an astonishing six sacks of the quarterback, a franchise record.

All night the Philly head coach, Andy Reid, risked his star quarterback’s life because he kept expecting something different to happen even though he changed nothing. That is worse than insanity. That is dumb-ass stupid. That is malfeasant.

In the wide world of consulting, we find similar woeful leadership, which decries the incompetence of the workforce while doing nothing to improve it or lead it better. We find poor resource allocation, poor bench strength, and poor timing. The Eagles’ defense played well—the final score was only 16-3, and there were opportunities available until the final few minutes. But there was no help coming for the Eagles’ offense from the team’s leadership. The Light Brigade was charging into the guns, and it was a glorious sight.

But of course, they had no hope. As Alfred, Lord Tennyson, recorded to begin his epic:

Half a league half a league,
Half a league onward,
All in the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred:
‘Forward, the Light Brigade!
Charge for the guns’ he said:
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.

Yes this was only a football game, but it featured the ineptitude of leadership. And we’re only dealing with clients and organizations, but they, too, often wither because of the ineptitude of leadership.

You have to change the game plan. If you’re not suggesting that as a consultant, then it should be you out there, trying to stem the rushing Umenyiora. That might just change your approach. Because if he doesn’t kill you, eventually the quarterback will.

© Alan Weiss, 2007. All rights reserved.

Written by

Alan Weiss is a consultant, speaker, and author of over 60 books. His consulting firm, Summit Consulting Group, Inc., has attracted clients from over 500 leading organizations around the world.

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