A prime example was made of Romeo Crennel’s “Bend but don’t Break” defense when Kansas City visited Denver during the regular season finale December 30, 2012. It was not pretty. The Chiefs allowed 32 first downs and could not produce a sack the entire game, as Manning threw for 304 yards, completing 29 passes and 3 touchdowns. It was obvious, change was coming.
Along with the hiring of the meticulous Andy Reid came new coordinators. For the defense, they welcomed former New York Jets linebacker coach, Bob Sutton. From 2006 to 2008, Bob Sutton was promoted to defensive coordinator under Eric Mangini. He did not have a lot of talent to work with as the Jets defensive rankings were middle of the pack but they gradually improved by replacing a 2-gap 3-4 system for a 1-gap scheme. Rex Ryan replaced Mangini after a few mediocre seasons, but hired Mike Pettine as his defensive coordinator. However, Ryan retained Sutton as a defensive assistant and linebackers coach, while keeping the same defensive system in place.
The Kansas City Chiefs defense has received a lot of attention during the recent weeks of OTAs and with good reason. While the phrase, “It starts up front,” usually refers to the offensive line, the same can be said for the Chiefs defensive line; a group that continues to please the team’s defensive coordinator Bob Sutton.
“The entire d-line, the Powe/Poe brothers (Jerrell and Dontari), both of them, Powe and Poe, they’ve both done a good job,” Sutton said. “(Chiefs DE) Mike DeVito has come in and done a good job; I think the entire group up there has really embraced it.”
Coach Sutton spoke more about the “it” factor, after one of the Chiefs OTAs.
“One of the things that we’ve really tried to get everybody to understand is that we’re trying to develop a culture here, not only how we do something but the way we do it,” Sutton said.
“To me, that’s just as critical as learning the X’s and O’s, the blitzes, the coverages, etc., because I think that’s the one element that allows you to sustain through all parts of the season. We know every season in the NFL has its ups and downs. When you have this culture, which is just a learned behavioral pattern, I think it really helps you. That’s one of the things that the guys have really tried to embrace, buy into. Anytime they start to reflect those same views out there, I think you’re moving in the right direction.”
I decided to go back and look at all the head coaches who were fired and come up with my all-time 10 worst firings — teams and owners that lived to regret the decision to let a coach go. Six of them took another team to a Super Bowl win and five of them are in the HOF. I wonder what would have happened if the owners thought like the Rooneys?
1. Marv Levy, Kansas City Chiefs: Levy was the head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs from 1978-82. He got fired at the end of a strike-shortened season. In his first four years, before the strike, the Chiefs improved every year — four wins to seven, eight and nine. Levy went on to have a 112-70 record with the Bills with four straight Super Bowl appearances and is in the Hall of Fame.