In just over two weeks, Chiefs owner Clark Hunt has turned over a new leaf.
He began the 2012 offseason campaign by hiring former Eagles head coach Andy Reid. On Monday afternoon, Hunt introduced John Dorsey as the 6th GM in franchise history. With the Reid-Dorsey administration officially underway, the organization is already looking to the future. The Chiefs’ abysmal 2-14 season is now in everyone’s rearview mirror, but the events that followed may turn out to be the silver lining in the worst season on the books for this franchise.
I know at this point, some of you may be eager to remind me of what I said about rooting for losses. Hopefully, it’s this part you remember:
Root for new leadership, not losses. Losses don’t always constitute better decisions. The Chiefs lost 26 games in the last two years of Carl Peterson’s administration. We wound up with Scott Pioli. Get the picture?
It would be an oversimplification to suggest that losing created the “sea change” we all knew Kansas City desperately needed. No one knows yet what fruit this administration will bear, but these look like excellent moves on paper. Chiefs Kingdom has legitimate reasons to be optimistic. This team now has one of the most successful head coaches in the NFL over the last thirteen years, one of the most successful scouts in the NFL over the last twelve years, and the #1 pick in the 2013 NFL Draft.
That hat trick’s a hell of a way to start a new regime. West Virginia’s Geno Smith might be the only way to improve upon what’s already been done to right the ship in Kansas City (I’m prepared to beat this drum for the next fourteen weeks). Even without Smith, the culture of this organization is about to change drastically. Scott Pioli brought the “Patriot Way” to town, but how much of New England’s past success can we truly attribute to him? The Patriots are in the AFC Championship Game for the second consecutive season. The Chiefs had just one winning season in four under Pioli. I think it’s clear that the hooded gentleman was pulling the trigger in Foxboro.
Clark Hunt took a different approach to his second rodeo. He chose two people, from two different organizations, that understand how to win in the NFL. Andy Reid was instrumental in building a team that went to five NFC Championship games in Philadelphia. John Dorsey was instrumental in building a team that went to two NFC Championship games in Green Bay (the 2010 team won the Super Bowl). The Eagles and Packers have been two of the best teams in the NFL over the past decade. These two men deserve a fair share of the credit for the contributions they made to those respective franchises.
The Chiefs marketing department might have a few selling points that won’t cause prospective season ticket holders to roll their eyes this year. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither will the new-look Kansas City Chiefs be. It’ll take time for Reid and Dorsey to identify the players who’ll appropriately fit their offensive and defensive ideas. There’s no guarantee that this will be a quick fix, but stranger things have happened. Several teams in the NFL made stark improvements from 2011 to 2012.
Andy Reid’s coaching staff has mostly been hired, but there are still a few pieces left to add. Kansas City met with Bears’ special teams coach Dave Toub on Friday of last week. The Chiefs met with former Jets OC Tony Sparano on Monday. Sparano was interviewed for the Chiefs’ offensive line coach vacancy. The two of them are among the finest in the NFL in their respective roles. Toub and Sparano would be the sexiest coaching hires that Reid has made over the past week.
New defensive coordinator Bob Sutton isn’t a coaching hire I’d write home about, but I am excited that he’ll bring a one-gapping 3-4 scheme to Kansas City. That’s a significantly more aggressive scheme than the two-gap version Romeo Crennel was running. It should also be noted that Reid is hoping to retain two position coaches from the previous regime, Emmitt Thomas (secondary) and Gary Gibbs (linebackers). Kansas City’s 2013 defense could be noticeably different.
I think fans are mostly excited about the direction the franchise is headed in. Many of them, who also want to see Geno Smith drafted, could have their enthusiasm curbed if he’s not the Chiefs’ top overall draft pick. Some of the early rumblings out of Arrowhead suggest he may not be at the top of their January draft board. The draft is still a ways off though. Geno Smith’s stock may rise over the next two months. With the NFL Combine and WVU’s Pro Day forthcoming, his head and arm could convince scouts, coaches, general managers, and draftniks that he’s the consensus #1 pick come late-April.
Nothing really matters until there are measurable results, but for now fans can sit back and dream big about the days to come in Kansas City. Will Andy Reid and company end the thirty-year drought and draft a quarterback in the opening round? Has the foundation been laid for a perennial playoff team down the line? Some answers will come sooner than others, but Chiefs fans can smile today.
I know there are some of you who’ll reserve judgment until these moves produce wins. I’m okay with that because the proof, as they say, is in the pudding. Time will tell if Reid and Dorsey are chocolate and vanilla or tapioca. For the moment, you could at least bask in the glory of the #1 seeded Broncos falling to the Ravens over the weekend. I mean, what’s better than seeing a division rival go all ”one-and-done” before a national television audience?
Until next time, Addicts!