Now that the Kansas City Chiefs have filled their General Manager position with Patriots Vice President of Player Personnel, Scott Pioli, we here at Arrowhead Pride have shifted our focus to the team's remaining off-season issues. This past week we’ve hotly debated questions that include how the team should use the 3rd overall pick in the 2009 draft, what free agent acquisitions should be targeted with $45 million in salary-cap room and what the fates of veteran stars Larry Johnson and Tony Gonzales will be?
My favorite debate rages over KC’s coaching situation; Should Herm Edwards be retained for the remaining year of his contract to attempt to capitalize on his roster rebuilding efforts in 2008? Or should he be terminated and replaced by one of several hot prospects?
I’ll lay it out there as I understand it, and if I’m off a tick… I’m sure you won’t hesitate to tell me how or why. Of course if I missed anything, throw it out there. Let’s break it down.
Here are the prospects:
Herm Edwards – Chiefs incumbent head coach. He has a year left on his contract but could be let go by Pioli. Many here at AP argue in favor or Herm to finish out his remaining year. Team owner Clark Hunt has made several public statements in Herm’s favor. Many here at AP argue in favor of firing Herm and starting Pioli’s reign with a clean slate citing insufferable records and statistics as cause. An exodus began this week, primarily on the defensive side of the Edward’s coaching staff.
Rex Ryan – Defensive Coordinator for the Baltimore Ravens. Those guys are playing out of their minds under Ryan’s leadership. They’re still in the playoff hunt this weekend, largely due to fierce play of Ryan’s unit. The latest rumors have him headed to the New York Jets to be its head coach in 2009.
Steve Spagnuolo – Defensive Coordinator for the current World Champion New York Giants. Has interviewed with other teams and reportedly did not present well. Spagnuolo runs a base 4-3 system that would be a relatively nice fit for the defensive personnel that KC already has. It is speculated that the Giants view him as their heir apparent coach-in-waiting.
Kirk Ferentz – Head coach of the University of Iowa Hawkeyes. He’s led the school to six consecutive bowl games from 2001 to 2006 and was named 2004 Big10 Coach of the Year. He is widely speculated to be considered one of Pioli’s top candidates. The two are known to be good friends.
Marty Schottenheimer – Former Browns, Chiefs, Redskins and Chargers head coach. Whew that’s a long run! Marty knows how to coach and he knows how to build a team. It’s been speculated that he would rather take a job in the front office rather than on the side lines. He publicly stated that he would not be taking a job with the Chiefs prior to Pioli accepting the GM job, but I included him because his name continues to surface throughout these debates.
Mike Shanahan – Head coach of the Denver Broncos – Terminated. Shanahan comes off a long and successful tenure in Denver and has two Super Bowl wins to prove it. He’s widely regarded as one of the best candidates available. Questions about Shanahan include: Will he want too much power in terms of personnel decisions to be a good fit in Kansas City? Does he have enough of a collaborative personality to develop long-term chemistry with Pioli and the rest of the organization?
John Gruden – Head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Terminated. Gruden comes off back-to-back tours as head coach of the Oakland Raiders and the Bucaneers respectively. He lost a Suber Bowl with the Raiders and won one for Tampa Bay. Questions about Gruden include: How much control over personnel decisions will he want. Is he open minded and collaborative enough to work well with Pioli and Co. for the long-term?
Bill Cowher – Long-time head coach of the Pittsburg Steelers - Retired. Cowher coached the Steelers from 1992 to 2007 and won the 2006 Super Bowl. He is currently working as an NFL studio analyst for CBS. He is widely reported to have no interest in coaching until 2010.
Mike Holmgren – Head coach of the Seattle Seahawks – Retired. Holmgren comes off back-to-back coaching efforts for the Greenbay Packers and the Seahawks respectively. He won a Super Bowl with the Packers and lost one with Seattle. Holmgren hasn’t been given much lip service in terms of the Chiefs job, but his credentials and circumstances make him a worthwhile candidate for consideration.
Considering the grueling lifestyle of an NFL coach, Cowher has publicly made it clear that he’s not ready to come back yet. Marty’s itch has shown subtle signs of a resurgence, but he’s done nothing whole-hearted as of yet. It is speculated that Gruden, Holmgren and Shanahan are all considering some time away from the game after extensive runs at the coaching helm, but could just as easily coach again in 2009 if the right opportunity were to present itself.
So what’s it gonna be AP?
A. Do we honor Herm’s contract? If we do we risk running an entire year with a lame-duck coach. If he succeeds, how to you turn him lose at the end of that year? If the Chiefs do this they better make damn good and sure that they're willing to keep him beyond a successful year! My hunch is that this is what Tony G. grumbling about. This path could however, be the way to land Cowher or even Gruden, Holmgren or Shanahan if they decide to step away for a year.
B. Do we blow out the coaching staff and go with an up and coming coordinator? This is a commitment to building the team in a similar vein to the Atlanta Falcons and the Miami Dolphins. Are the available options worth the risk?
C. Do we take a chance on a coach from the college ranks? Ferentz could be our man. Should he be?
D. Do we go with a coaching retread? These guys all know how to get it done. Cowher, Gruden, Holmgren, Shanahan and Schottenheimer are proven winners. Cowher and Schottenheimer are basicly out as options this year but may be open to something in 2010. If any of them throw their hats in the ring, you have to wonder if they can avoid burnout. They’ve all been in the grind for a long time.
E. None of the above.
F. A combination of some or all of the above.