Joel Collier is a very intriguing hire by new Chiefs GM Scott Pioli and new head coach Todd Haley (and it's not because he shares a first name with a certain co-editor of a certain Chiefs sports blog). With a similar path in the NFL as Haley, Collier has found jobs all across the coaching spectrum ranging from running backs coach to professional scout.
Since the Chiefs haven't placed specific positions next to these hires, much of the speculation around Collier has centered around him being the next secondary coach. And if you're one to look at past performance as an indicator of future performance, you'll like Collier.
Let's take a look at his coaching resume:
|1988-89||Syracuse (NCAA)||Graduate Assistant|
|1990||Tampa Bay Bucs||Assistant Coach|
|1991-92||New England Patriots||Assistant RBs and WRs Coach|
|1993||New England Patriots||Pro Scout|
|1994-97||Miami Dolphins||Defensive Assistant|
|1998-2004||Miami Dolphins||RBs Coach|
|2005||New England Patriots||Assistant Secondary Coach|
|2006-07||New England Patriots||Secondary Coach|
Some of his best work came in those final two seasons with the Patriots. In 2006, Collier's secondary was ranked 1st in touchdowns allowed, 4th in interceptions and 12th in yards allowed.
His Patriots official bio has more on his first season as secondary coach:
In 2006, Collier's secondary contributed to a defense that set the franchise record in points allowed per game (14.81) and the defensive backfield was key in surrendering the fewest touchdown passes in the league (10). Patriots' opposing quarterbacks had the second lowest cumulative passer rating (66.1) in the league and lowest inside the 30-yard line (50.8). Collier's work with cornerback Asante Samuel helped him tie for the league lead in interceptions with 10 in 2006.
In 2007, the year of 16-0 in New England, Collier's banged up secondary again put up an outstanding performance. The crew tallied the 6th best numbers in the league in yards given up and interceptions. In addition, the team was second in the NFL in net yards per pass attempt.
Compare those numbers to 2005 when Collier was just an assistant secondary coach. The secondary was ranked 31st in yards allowed, 28th in touchdowns allowed and 26th in interceptions. Not a bad turnaround, right?
Not just the secondary but running backs too
Since we're facing coaching staff openings in the secondary and with the running backs, I thought I'd include something quick on Collier's time as a running backs coach in Miami.
His 7-year stint in Miami saw him coach 3 different running backs to the top 5 in rushing in their rookie years. In addition to his penchant for rookie success, he helped Ricky Williams establish the two best rushing seasons in Dolphins history.
All the current speculation is that Collier will be the new secondary coach but don't completely rule out him coaching the running backs.
Todd Haley similarities
Todd Haley and Joel Collier have a couple of key similarities which makes this, in my estimation, a solid hire by the Chiefs.
First, both come from football families. As we know by now, Todd Haley's father, Dick, was a personnel director for the Jets and Steelers. Collier's father, Joe, was also a long-time fixture in the NFL. The elder Collier was the head coach of the Buffalo Bills from 1968-69 before coaching with the Denver Broncos for 20 years eventually becoming defensive coordinator.
Also like Haley, Collier spent some time as a professional scout. In my eyes, this is such an underrated job to have as you move into the coaching side. The ability to determine what "good" is and communicate that to the personnel department is crucial if you want to go from good to great.
Like I've been saying as of late, in the NFL it's not what you know, it's who you know. The connection to the Chiefs is obvious in this instance. Scott Pioli was the VP of Player Personnel when Collier was hired by the Patriots in 2005.