I've been openly critical of Mack Brown for the way he's conducted the coaching search, and I still maintain that most of the criticism was and is warranted. For example, I still believe Mack was wrong to wait until January to begin contacting candidates. And since the OC and OL hires still aren't in the fold at this writing, Mack may screw this up yet.
At the same time, however, fairness compels me to praise Mack for a hiring selection that I simply didn't think he was capable of making.
The selection of Manny Diaz for DC was nothing short of inspired.
We've discussed in this forum how Mack is a "results" guy, and not a "process" guy. This we've attributed in so many words to what Nassim Taleb would describe as confirmation error and retrospective distortion, both of which are convenient substitutes for hard, analytical thinking.
Consequently, what's most surprising - in an entirely salutary way - is that Diaz represents a "process" hire, not a "results" hire.
I fully expected Mack to select a proven commodity as DC; someone like Charlie Strong would have been, though obviously not him. In other words, I expected Mack to focus on a candidate's demonstrated results, irrespective of the defensive strategy that produced them, and more-or-less regardless of whether a candidate might be married to a system that appeared to be a sub-optimal match for modern Div. I offenses.
Manny Diaz is none of that. Diaz doesn't come with championship rings and lots of proteges in the NFL; instead, what Diaz brings to the job is youthful energy, a passion for the game and for coaching, and a demonstrated strategic emphasis on playmaking behind the line of scrimmage.
All Manny Diaz had to offer Mack was process.
Since one can't properly evaluate the quality of a decision by the outcome obtained, it's appropriate and fair to praise Mack for selecting Diaz even before a single down of football has been played. Congratulations, Mack. I don't know what inspired you to hire Coach Diaz, but whatever it was, try doing it a lot more often and see what results you get.