Plenty of changes on the offensive side of the coaching staff could bring some familiar names back to the Kansas City Chiefs.
Just a couple days into the postseason and the Kansas City Chiefs have some serious changes to work out among their coaching staff. On Monday, the Chicago Bears hired away offensive coordinator Matt Nagy to be their new head coach, replacing John Fox in the process. Then rumors broke out, also on Monday, that Chiefs assistant head coach Brad Childress had decided to retire, leaving the Chiefs with two significant coaching vacancies on the same side of the ball.
This was already an offseason in which we knew that coaching changes were likely coming. Whether it was head coaching hopefuls like Nagy or Dave Toub finally getting the chance they deserve or another coach or coordinator (or more) getting fired for the team’s postseason meltdown, the Chiefs knew they would likely have to shuffle in some new blood somewhere or at least move some others up the food chain. But two higher-profile pieces in a matter of hours? That’s a lot to stomach at once.
So what will the Chiefs do now that Nagy is gone and Childress is retiring? Here are some quick thoughts on rumors that are swirling (or some rumors that should be swirling).
Some early buzz on Chiefs Twitter after these news drops began to center around Kliff Kingsbury, the head coach of the Texas Tech Red Raiders. There’s only one reason to bring up Kingsbury, however it’s a very good one. Kingsbury was Patrick Mahomes head coach in college and perhaps knows the Chiefs rookie QB better than anyone else.
If the Chiefs are indeed handing over the baton to Mahomes this offseason and are already missing a couple of veteran voices, it sound like a sexy move to bring in a heralded college voice, one already familiar with the ceiling of the Chiefs new phenom.
Kingsbury would also bring with him a very fresh perspective to a team that has largely kept the same staff together for the last five years. After losing Nagy, Childress and Doug Pederson in the last two years, it might help to add someone not just new and inexperienced but someone with a new perspective who’s also had a chance to try out his ideas on the field.
That said, Kingsbury as OC? No way. There’s simply too much at stake for a coordinator position in Andy Reid’s complicated offense to just let someone take control off the street. I could see QB coach perhaps or some sort of offensive assistant a la Childress.
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Earlier this year, during the preseason, we got a look at Michael Vick, coaching intern. He was an instant hit in the locker room and everyone from Alex Smith to Patrick Mahomes to Tyler Bray to Tyler Palko all said Vick was a positive force, not a distraction but a welcome teacher to add to the mix.
Before with Childress and Nagy and Reid and other positional coaches around, it was hard to imagine just where Vick might fit. With these vacancies, however, now Vick could have a potential long-term place on the coaching staff instead of just a formal internship paid for by a coaching fellowship grant.
Consider too that Mahomes will not only lose Nagy and Childress in the coaching room but he will also be without a playing mentor in Alex Smith. Vick would give him another former player to help communicate ideas and relate to what he’s learning on the field.
One name to watch if the Kansas City Chiefs decide to bring in an outside candidate to be their new offensive coordinator is David Culley.
If Culley sounds familiar, he should. He was with Andy Reid in Kansas City for the first four years of his tenure, leaving just this last offseason for a quarterbacks coach position with the Buffalo Bills. Culley has largely coached wide receivers in his career, so he’s never been a coordinator, but he was assistant head coach with Reid while in K.C. (from 2013-2016), so he has at least some senior level input and experience.
More than anything, Culley has the sort of long-term experience next to Reid, going back all the way to 1999, that Reid might desire since he’s losing so many other faithful companions, especially Childress. Reid might decide to ask Culley to return to K.C. from Buffalo for a promotion in order to have a steady trusted voice back in the mix.
All bets should be on Bieniemy being able to rise up and take the job from Matt Nagy given that the Chiefs running backs coach has already earned strong reviews in his work with the team’s running backs over the last five years. Bieniemy has been with the Chiefs since Reid first arrived, so he’s well-versed with the current scheme, the current roster and what this offense is capable of. Reid has shown himself to let his assistants rise up to make names for themselves and it’s time Bieniemy received his chance.