The Kansas City Chiefs are still without an offensive coordinator but that doesn’t mean the team isn’t working hard to fill the position.
The fact that the Chiefs are taking their time with this hire, in my mind, is a good sign. Since Scott Pioli arrived in Kansas City, the offensive coordinator situation has been a disaster. First it was Chan Gailey, they Todd Haley, then Charlie Weis, then Bill Muir/Todd Haley, then Bill Muir/Jim Zorn.
It’s been madness. At almost every turn, it seemed the Chiefs were being careless with the decision making when it came to their offense. The only good move the Chiefs have made was to hire Charlie Weis and we all know how that turned out. We’ll likely never know exactly why Charlie Weis left KC after just one year, but there is no questioning that his departure stung. The KC offense was very productive under Weis and instead of entering year three of an offensive program in 2012, Matt Cassel and his mates will be starting all over. Again.
At least they’ll have a full offseason to get things rolling this time.
Rushing this decision would be terribly foolish. Romeo Crennel is not an offensive guy. Todd Haley and Bill Muir are gone. That means that pretty much the entire KC offensive playbook from the last three years is going to be tossed out. Sometimes a fresh start can be a good thing but if the Chiefs are going to have any sustainable offensive success, they are going to need some continuity. That means hiring a coordinator who plans to stick around through at least the end of Romeo Crennel’s tenure as head coach.
Romeo Crennel will tun 65 this summer. The Chiefs interviewed Al Saunders for their offensive coordinator position yesterday on his 65th birthday. Crennel’s coaching window in KC is likely 3-5 years. If Saunders were to join the staff, the two would likely stick together for the rest of Crennel’s time in KC to make one last run at a Super Bowl with the young Chiefs. At the end of that time, the Chiefs would have to do a major coaching reload, especially if Crennel is still serving as defensive coordinator.
The question is, successful as he has been, is Saunders the right long term answer?
Scott Pioli wants to build a dynasty in Kansas City, but he is unlikely to win multiple championships with Crennel at the helm. That isn’t to say that Crennel couldn’t win multiple championships but, at his age, a Super Bowl victory as a head coach might just be the perfect occasion to retire. Should that happen–or even if it doesn’t–Saunders would not be at an age where he would be a smart head coaching hire.
Continuity seems to be a key ingredient to most successful teams. Bill Belichick and Tom Brady in New England have helped the Patriots remain a winner for over a decade. The New York Giants are being rewarded for sticking with both Eli Manning and Tom Coughlin. The most successful franchise in the history of the NFL, the Pittsburgh Steelers, has had only three head coaches since 1969. All three of those coaches have led the team to Super Bowl victories.
If the Chiefs build a tradition of winning under Romeo Crennel, Scott Pioli isn’t going to want to change the team’s philosophy, so it might help to have the next head coach of the Chiefs already working within the organization at the time Crennel retires. That person doesn’t necessarily have to be the offensive coordinator but it wouldn’t hurt.
Scott Pioli is saying that he will allow Romeo Crennel to make all of his hires and, while I believe that, I am sure that the GM is letting Crennel know his thoughts on the potential candidates. Pioli also knows that if he doesn’t hire the right combination of coaches this time around, he likely won’t get another chance to get things right.
The Super Bowl hasn’t even been played yet. Free agency is still over a month away. While we as fans might be frustrated with the lack of a move on the offensive coordinator front, there is no rush. There are a lot of things for Pioli and Crennel to consider when making this hire.
And they have to get it right.