The Personalities Who Will "Coach 'Em Up"

Heading into camp in two days the players will be greeted by a bevy of coaches. Scott Pioli has done an excellent job of getting talented players to camp and now it’s up to the coaches to coach ‘em up and make sure the Chiefs are ready to rock-n-roll come September 9th.

It’s often said that a team takes on the “personality” of their coaches and with that in mind let’s find out who the Chiefs’ coaches are and what kind of personalities they have .

Romeo Crennel Head Coach
Crennel started out at Western Kentucky and has also coached for: Texas Tech, Georgia Tech and Ole Miss, NY Giants, New England Patriots, NY Jets, Cleveland Browns, New England Patriots, Cleveland Browns and the Kansas City Chiefs in that order. He has served as HC, DC, special teams coach, defensive ends coach and defensive line coach. You may know about his many Super Bowl rings but, you may not know he was named after the Shakespeare character because his father was a fond of the author. Crennel is thought to be one of the foremost defensive minds and schemers in the game. His coaching style is intense and thoughtful and when he yells at his players it’s not because he’s on an emotional tirade like previous coach Todd Haley would get. With Crennel it’s to instruct, not discipline and so, players love playing for him.

Maurice Carthon Assistant Head Coach
Carthon is an ex-running back/fullback and has coached for the: New England Patriots, NY Jets, Detroit Lions, Dallas Cowboys, Cleveland Browns and Arizona Cardinals before coming to the Chiefs. He has served as offensive coordinator and running backs coach. Maurice attended Arkansas State University and was a member of Kappa Alpha Psi. Carthon has two Super Bowl rings with the ‘86 and ‘90 NY Giants. As a player Carthon was never a highlight reel but, his special claim to fame was never missing a game in an eight-season career. As a leader, Carthon likes to gain a vision for his players and then communicate that to them. Reminding players of what they can become helps to drive them towards their goals and Carthon assists them in taking one step forward at a time, to get them there. Maurice Carthon is a positive presence and visionary for Chiefs players.

Brian Daboll Offensive Coordinator
Daboll has coached at William & Mary, Michigan State, New England, NY Jets,  Cleveland and Miami before coming to the Chiefs. Daboll’s personality type is different from Crennel’s and his intensity can jump off the charts. When that happens he’s shown he’s willing to say things to and about his players that, from the outside, seem demeaning and insulting. He says he’s using his approach to motivate his players but, we’ll have to see if any of that works here. I’d be surprised if HC Crennel permits it. Daboll’s teaching style is wide open and varied like his offensive scheme. The scheme may be very successful on the field but, some players may not appreciate his instructional  idiosyncrasies. On the positive side, several players he’s coached have had explosive seasons under his tutelage. Reggie Bush and Peyton Hillis come to mind. I’m sure Daboll is a big reason Hillis came to K.C. Daboll is a problem-solver, mentally  working in the abstract but, he makes his designs achievable in the real world for his players. He places a higher value on innovation than people skills so, it’s more of a challenge for him to “play nice with others.”

Jack Bicknell Jr. Offensive Line Coach
Bicknell has coached at Boston College, New Hampshire, Louisiana Tech. and the NY Giants before coming to K.C.. He has worked exclusively with offensive and defensive lines in his career. His father, Jack Sr., was the coach at Boston College where he played with Doug Flutie. Bicknell was the Center who snapped the ball on the Flutie Hail Mary that he’s famous for. Bicknell replaces the long time OL coach Bill Muir and was hired by the Chiefs one week after his team won the Super Bowl this past February. Bicknell believes the offensive linemen have to be tough and can “set the tone for the rest of the team.” Bicknell’s approach is low key and hard-nosed. Being a coach’s son and part of a football family, it’s safe to say football is his life. Having Jack Bicknell on the Chiefs staff should be exciting for Chiefs fans. Many people want to compare the difference between last year’s and this year’s offensive lines but, that not completely possible without understanding that the Chiefs have a new sheriff in town:  Jack Bicknell Jr.

Bicknell has a John Wayne-esque quality about him that can be typified by a John Wayne quote such as: “Courage is being scared to death… and saddling up anyway.” Like the quote — Bicknell gives you the feeling the Chiefs OL will come away with more scalps than ever before this year.

Steven Smith serves as an Assistant Offensive Line Coach

Mike Clark Strength and Conditioning Coach
Clark turns 58 next month but, looks more like he’s 40. Clark served as S&C coach for 14 years for the Texas A&M football program. He was also S&C coach for the Seahawks for five years when Mike Holmgren took them to Super Bowl XL. Clark has stated that previous coach Todd Haley made his job so much easier because he expected players to come into camp in shape. That carries over to this squad. Clark wants players to ultimately become “better football players, not just better weight lifters.” Clark is creative, an excellent communicator and a peolpe person. He’s also a shining example of health.

Brent Salazar serves as an Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach.

Jim Bob Cooter Offensive Quality Control
Let me clear this up before we go any further, his name is really James Robert Cooter. What you also need to know is that in 2009 he was charged with, “Aggravated burglary charges after allegedly getting into bed with a woman after climbing through a window of her Fort Sanders apartment….” Cooter is 28 now so he brings a great deal more maturity and seasoning than when he was 25. ;) Not to make light of his arrest charges but, I’m thrilled at the possibilities of Cooter critiquing Daboll’s offense. Oh how I wish I was a bug on that wall. Beyond that, Cooter played QB for three years at Tennessee and shattered all of Peyton Manning’s records… well… the first part was true. Some believe that Jim Bob was hired to help lure Manning to K.C. but, maybe that hiring had the opposite effect. No matter what happens next, I couldn’t be happier to have a Jim Bob on the coaching staff but, the fact that he’s also a Cooter — has me blissing out — and the season hasn’t even started yet.

Gary Gibbs Linebackers Coach
Gibbs has coached at Oklahoma, Georgia, LSU, Dallas and New Orleans before coming to K.C.. He’s served as either LB Coach or DC and served as the Saints DC from 2006-2008. It’s notable that Gibbs was the coach who followed Barry Switzer at Oklahoma and served as HC for 6 years going 44-23-2. Gibbs will be 60 years old on August 13th. Gibbs outlook is refreshing. He speaks with his southern drawl and states that DJ was good last year but, that, that was last year. He says Johnson didn’t play perfect so he has room to improve. If that happens… I can’t wait to witness that! Gibbs also recognizes Tamba Hali as a giving player who helps other players and encourages them — like he did with Justin Houston last season. Houston credits Hali with in part with his late season success. Gibbs has a lot to work with this season and the LB core will continue to benefit from the synergy he’s cultivating.

Adam Zimmer serves as an Assistant Linebackers Coach.

Tom McMahon Special Teams Coach
McMahon came to the Chiefs in January and was one of Romeo Crennel’s first hires when he was installed permanently as head coach. Tom served as STC in St. Louis and had one of the best special teams units in the league outshining the rest of the team’s success, or lack thereof. KC reported in January that when McMahon had served as Assistant Special Teams coach in Atlanta in 2007-2008 he, “was instrumental in the development of kick returner Jerious Norwood, whose 2,628 kickoff return yards ranked third in the NFL over that two-year span.” Many times when coaches move from one team to another they do so to accept a different of elevated position. It’s interesting that McMahon is making a lateral move while accepting the same responsibilities here. He may have something to prove. If that’s the case then the Chiefs may be in the right place at the right time and benefit from that motivation. Either way, expect the Chiefs special team to improve this year.

Derius Swinton serves as Special Teams Quality Control

Bernie Parmalee Tight Ends Coach
Bernie has coached special teams and tight ends for both the Miami Dolphins and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish before coming to the Kansas City Chiefs. Bernie’s big claim to fame came when he went from working for UPS to the NFL. As a running back, Bernie gained 3,664 total yards in his nine-year career and had back-to-back 1,000 yard seasons in 1994 and 1995. Bernie Parmalee says he tells his players all the time, “don’t be afraid to make a mistake, don’t be afraid to make a mistake.” His way of relating to players is personal, happy-go-lucky and players also relate to him well because he played in the league for 9 years. Parmalee is often soft spoken and gives his squad all the support they need to succeed. Bernie Parmalee is popular and sensitive with outstanding people skills.

Anthony Pleasant Defensive Line Coach
Anthony is 44 years old, was the 73rd pick in the 1990 draft and played for six different teams in his playing career. Anthony also has 2 Super Bowl rings on his resume, both with New England. He is the mirror image of Romeo Crennel in his approach to players. He stresses “technique and doing your job” as Romeo has often said. Pleasant is boring… or so it would seem. When he speaks he doesn’t get excited but, speaks with a low guttural voice and delivers what must be communicated in an efficiency of words. He also stands up for his players and is clear with them about their responsibilities.

Nick Sirianni Wide Receivers Coach
Sirianni has spent the past three years in charge of the Chiefs quality control. Another sports writer — as they say — says Sirianni reminds him of Todd Haley. If that’s the case then the one coaching position he is most well-suited for is — Wide Receivers Coach. Haley is widely recognized for bringing Dwayne Bowe to the high level he’s playing at so, with Sirianni taking the reigns as WRC the receiving crew should be in good hands. It is said that Haley was on vacation and met Sirianni at a YMCA. That was some “meet-cute” for Sirianni if there’s a group of players that needed a fire lit under their bums it’s wide receivers who are typically the most outgoing and/or self-absorbed players on a team. Sirianni has a brother, Mike, who is 9 years older, who was a WR and he used to share what he learned with Nick who began his WR tutelage at the age of 10. Sirianni followed in his own brother’s footsteps playing WR and averaging 21 yards per catch himself. Sirianni is an articulate communicator, not quite as intense as the Haley (then again, who is) but, he brings his (relatively short) lifetime of experience and perspective to the WR core. He’s young but, Romeo Crennel believes in him enough that he retained him just as soon as he was hired as head coach.

Otis Smith Defensive Quality Control
Smith was signed by the Philadelphia Eagles as a free agent CB in 1990. He played for 5 different teams and helped the N.E. to victory in Super Bowl XXXVI over the Rams. He ended his playing career in Detroit in 2003 then went to the Patriots as part of their minority coaching fellowship program. In 2008, Smith was hired by Andy Reid in Philly to serve as assistant secondary coach. He left the Eagles in 2009 and was signed six months later by the Chiefs as defensive Quality Control Coach. Smith was a basketball player turned football player in college and didn’t play football until he got to the college level. His natural athleticism took over. Now, he works most closely with DB Coach Emmitt Thomas. Smith is the calm, reflective sort. He once said, “As a player you don’t know what they go through as a coach, so you just kind of take it for granted  but, when you get on the other side with those guys, you understand what they go though, the time they put in and you still try to have fun.” In the Myer-Briggs personality types, Smith would probably be “The Performer” (ESFP). He’s people oriented and fun-loving.

Emmitt Thomas Defensive Backs Coach
The 69 year old Thomas serves as the Godfather for the defensive back and perhaps for the whole team. He connects them to every generation of Chiefs players over the decades. Thomas coached for seven other teams before coming back to the Chiefs in 2010 including a stint as the Falcons interim head coach in 2007. His 58 interceptions makes him el numero uno in Jefe (Chief) history and ninth in Liga (league) history. Emmitt Thomas is a member of Pro Football’s Hall of Fame which makes him too legit for his players to quit on him. Adjectives that could describe Thomas are: enthusiastic, idealistic, open-minded and inspirational.

Jim Zorn Quarterbacks Coach
Zorn turns 59 years old next year and has had a long and varied career both as a player and a coach. He warm-hearted, charismatic and popular with his peers. He was the first QB for Seattle Seahawks and a lefty who could scramble. Zorn once served as head coach for the Washington Redskins but, you should throw that history out the window because of Dan Snyder, the team erratic and eccentric owner. I believe Zorn got a bit of a bum rap in Baltimore too when he was replaced after the team’s playoff failure in 2010. All that really needs to be known about him is that his QB, Joe Flacco, didn’t want him gone and made a fuss when he left. This past off-season Zorn was considered for the Chiefs open Offensive Coordinator’s position but, didn’t get it. However, I’m thrilled he decided to stay and and his presence should have a stabilizing effect on the Chiefs offense as a whole as much as anything else. The Chiefs have a short list of coaches who could step in as head coach if needed and Zorn is at the top of that list.


So, Addicts… which coach would you like most to invite to your party?


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