Bob Sutton has largely been unable to make the most of the defensive talent provided to him. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Fans have rightfully been upset with Bob Sutton this year. But replacing him might not be so much about a down performance as simply it being time to get someone younger. Sutton will be 65 next year. At that age it is more difficult to change one’s ways, relate to the younger generations, and simply maintain the day to day. Andy Reid came into a situation in Kansas City where Defensive Coordinator was one of the few areas that he didn’t have a former assistant who was really available. I wouldn’t be surprised if Sutton wasn’t merely a place-holder that seemed to be working out.
- Gary Gibbs – Kansas City Chiefs (Linebackers Coach): We’ll start with the in-house option. Gibbs has done some good work in Kansas City, but has also had a lot to work with. My biggest concern with him is that the Chiefs linebackers are currently under-performing. That’s going to be a big mark against him in the eyes of any impartial judge. However, it’s not hard to imagine that he would have the endorsement of Andy Reid, and that will make him a front-runner. There is also the continuity factor as there would be very little change to the overall scheme of the defense.
Rocky Seto – Seattle Seahawks (Asst Head Coach/Defense)
: This would be an absolute steal for the Chiefs. Seto is being groomed for something big in Seattle, but he may feel that it is too slow in coming. The Chiefs could be in a position to offer him a next step promotion, plus a promise of a future one when Reid retires. Seto has been credited with a lot of the success of the Legion of Boom secondary in Seattle that continues to churn out quality performers.
- Pepper Johnson – New York Jets (Defensive Line Coach): The former d-lineman turned coach has had a very promising start to his coaching career. One thing that truly stands out is that he hasn’t just stuck to the defensive line, having built a solid reputation as a linebackers coach for the Patriots. Johnson has seen a lot of success, but has had a lot of talent to work with in New England, Buffalo, and now New York with the Jets. He has been considered for a defensive coordinator job with the Giants, but they passed him over which should negate any real threat of him taking the nostalgia job.
- Kirby Smart – Alabama Crimson Tide (Defensive Coordinator): Alabama consistently puts out top tier defenses at the FBS level. However, the school has built a sort of reputation for not being a great source of high end NFL talent. Some will see that as a negative for Kirby Smart, but the truth is that it says a lot about his system. Smart always seems to be in consideration for some kind of promotion, but ends up turning them down. That likely means that he feels he will take over at Alabama when Nick Saban hangs up his head set. However, with there being no telling when that will happen, you have to figure every offer becomes that much more enticing for Smart. He will be a hot name for a number of college head coaching jobs and NFL defensive coordinator jobs.
- Mike Nolan – San Diego Chargers (Linebackers Coach): There are few Defensive Coordinators as well respected as Mike Nolan. He has had success just about everywhere he’s gone. Nolan will be another guy thinking about his future prospects as a Head Coach, which puts him in the same spot as Rocky Seto. Chiefs would have to convince him that he’s a legitimate candidate to replace Reid at some point.
A number of quality candidates for Defensive Coordinator that would also provide the Chiefs with some future options. That’s the kind of thing that could placate the fan base’s desire for blood, while also making a minimal change that has a big effect. Or…Clark Hunt could decide to make a more drastic change…
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