I got a question a couple days ago from someone who was curious how the NFL's personal conduct policy applies to coaches and other team personnel that don't strap on helmets and pads on Sundays.
The question came in the wake of news that the Ravens had fired offensive line coach John Matsko and named Andy Moeller (who was previously the assistant O-line coach) to replace Matsko. Moeller has been arrested for alcohol-related incidents three times since December of 2007, the most recent of which came back in September, when he was arrested for DWI. Moeller has an April court date set for that case.
The short answer to the question is that coaches are subject to the NFL's personal conduct policy just like the players are, and thus are also subject to punishment by the league.
The Ravens are obviously aware of Moeller's situation, and are supporting him for now. But owner Steve Bisciotti said yesterday that this could be Moeller's last chance to turn things around.
"We're very concerned," Bisciotti said. "All we can do at this stage is see how Andy responds to this. He's taking the right steps. Obviously, it's a very personal issue. I don't think there is anybody in this room who hasn't been affected by alcohol. That's not a character trait; that's a disease, that's a problem. As long as he is doing what he is expected to do, then he has our support, the caveat being that it's his last chance, and he knows that. I don't think he would mind me saying that.
"He's either going to get it under control, or he's going to spend a lifetime in misery like other people that are affected by that. So, we're behind him as long as he earns that trust and continues to earn that trust. But, he knows he's one step away from not being a Raven, and then probably not being in the NFL at all."
Moeller, 46, will be called on to turn around the play of an offensive line which struggled through much of the 2010 season.
The Ravens allowed 40 sacks during the regular season and nine more during the playoffs, and only averaged 3.8 yards per carry, 25th-best in the NFL.
Head coach John Harbaugh and the front office simply weren't happy with the play of their offensive line, so they opted to make a change and let Matsko go. He wasn't out of work long, however; Matsko was hired by the Panthers yesterday as their new offensive line coach.
"Tough decision with John," Harbaugh said yesterday. "John is a good man and a good coach. We felt like a change there would give us a chance to get better. I know John understands that. We appreciate what he did for us, no doubt about it, and he's a good friend.
"Andy Moeller, I'm excited about that. I know the players are excited about it. Andy is a young and upcoming coach. He's a fiery coach, a very smart guy. The players really like him. The players are excited about it. I think it gives us a chance to get better. So, I think it makes us a better football team."