I'm not a big fan of Jim Haslett as a coach. In some cases, he was dealt a losing hand (like taking over the St. Louis Rams job a few years ago), but in other cases he just didn't prove to me that he knew how to coach at a high level. His defenses were never consistent, and he seemed to get a ton of attention because he looked 'good' on television rather than coach winning teams to playoff victories. More fluff than substance. More grandstanding than actual results.
However, that doesn't mean I don't like Jim Haslett, the person. In interviews, he seems like a cool guy. He cares about his profession, and since he's a former-NFL player, he's got a good grasp of how this game has evolved over time.
Haslett tells a story from his first stint with the New Orleans Saints, when he was a defensive assistant 15 years ago.
"[Peyton] would come over to our offseason training camp as sophomore and throw passes and he was better than any quarterback that we had," Haslett said. "That kind of tells you."
Haslett says that was 1995, which means Manning was preparing for his sophomore year at the University of Tennessee at the time. (The 1995 Saints finished 7-9 and featured quarterback Jim Everett and Tommy Hodson.)
"I think Peyton's probably, if not the greatest quarterback of all time, he's got to be considered," Haslett said. "There's not much he hasn't seen and he hasn't done."
Again, Haslett seems like a good guy who, like many defensive coordinators around the league, has had to stay up late all week preparing for #18.