UPDATE: Chiefs have nearly finalized their coaching staff. Click here for more.
The word coming out of Arizona is that the Cardinals offensive quality control coach is headed to Kansas City to join the Chiefs coaching staff.
The latest news is that it looks like Dedric Ward, offensive quality control coach, will be moving on to Kansas City. The Cardinals are interviewing coaches for the receivers job, which Ward was going to take if he had stayed.
Ward's name was floated as a possible Chiefs coaching candidate just days after Todd Haley was hired as the new head coach. At the time we didn't know into what position Ward might be hired and now....we still don't know what position he might fill.
We do know the Chiefs have a hole in the coaching staff at wide receivers. Not being privy to any inside information, I would guess if Ward does indeed come to Kansas City it will be to replace former wide receivers coach Eric Price.
What's the connection to Todd Haley?
The obvious connection to Haley is that they were both coaches on the Cardinals staff last season. However, their relationship goes a little deeper.
Back in 1997, Ward was a 3rd round pick out of Northern Iowa. The team who selected him? The New York Jets. Haley's employer in 1997? The New York Jets.
1997 was Haley's first season as a wide receivers coach and Ward was the first wide receiver the team selected that year. Coincidence? Nope. Remember, in the NFL it's who you know, not what you know (Need more evidence? Guess who Ward went to college with at Northern Iowa. None other than Kurt Warner).
(Edit: Obligatory mention of the link to Bill Parcells which is that Ward was a Parcells' draft pick when he was head coach of the Jets).
This is what the Arizona Republic's Kent Somers had to say on which coaches Haley might take with him to Kansas City back on February 10th:
Whisenhunt is considering shifting offensive assistant Dedric Ward to receivers coach, and moving Miller to another position.
Ward is close with Haley, and Haley is expected to try to hire him. Ward, however, is under contract, so the Cardinals don't have to let him go.
Does his experience make him a candidate?
For somebody like Ward, who has played wide receiver as recently as 2004 before he retired, and been placed in a successful offense like the Arizona Cardinals, this move makes a lot of sense.
What exacly does an offensive quality control coach do? Here's what Ward has to say about it:
It's no different than any other coaches on the staff. Obviously you don't have your own position, so it's a little more challenging, but it's a little more flexible at the same time. What I mean by that is you're kind of working with a wide spectrum of positions, and you're trying to get the overall perspective of what's going on. I do a little more behind the scenes stuff in terms of breaking down film, building filters, preparing cut ups for coaches so they can look at certain plays. I also print out percentages in terms of tendencies for our team as well as opponents. It's a very important job, although it's not a very high-profile job. I think you take the same successes and failures as the other coaches do, but you don't have your own position to yell at your players as much.
His experience in the NFL as a player and a coach in addition to his prior relationship with Todd Haley makes Dedric Ward an obvious candidate for the Chiefs coaching staff.