Lombardi Talks Clancy Pendergast, Chiefs Defense, Spread Offense

Michael Lombardi of the National Football Post appeared on 810 WHB last Thursday to discuss the Matt Cassel contract and the Kansas City Chiefs prospects for the 2009 campaign.

First, Lombardi clarified his original report on the Cassel contract.  On April 25th, he reported that Cassel and the Chiefs had agreed upon a deal that would pay the quarterback $36 million in guaranteed money over six seasons.  He says that while the reports that came out following the official announcement last Tuesday characterized the contract as $28 million guaranteed, it's really $35.5 million when the $7.5 million roster bonus due in March of 2011 is considered.

He took a lot of heat from various sports reporters including a denial from Scott Pioli himself.  Outlets like Peter King of Sports Illustrated and Bob Gretz of BobGretz.com disputed Lombardi's report.  Vindication must be a sweet thing, especially in the ultra-competitive world of sports reporting.

Here's what Lombardi had to say about the Chiefs in 2009.  There's more after the jump.

The keys to success in 2009:

The key is to find a way to generate a pass rush, be proactive on defense and make some plays with the defense. 
Their offensive line is much better and they’ve got some talented players there. They’re growing as a football team.
Glenn Dorsey has gotta step up and Tyson Jackson has to be more than just a rookie. They’re headed in the right direction.

The importance of Matt Cassel:

The hardest thing to do in the NFL is to maintain excellence.  Without stability at QB, it’s impossible.

On Clancy Penderast and his playbook:

One thing about what the Chiefs they’ve done is they’ve hired Clancy Pendergast to be defensive coordinator and I don’t know of a coach in the NFL, and I say this with respect to Clancy, that has more schemes in his playbook than Clancy.  Clancy’s part of the problem with Arizona was scheming too much, and hopefully he’ll tailor it down a little bit, get better at what he does and put a signature on his career.  I think often times guys try to do too much.

Transitiioning from the 4-3 to the 3-4 is overrated:

People talk way too much about the transition to the 3-4.  It’s a very similar thing, the 4-3 to the 3-4, however the 3-4 allows the coverages handle more flexibility and handle more diverse action.  I think it will be very easy for the Chiefs to handle the switch and it’s not as complicated as we make it out to be but I do believe they have the personnel to run it.  The key is can they get a pass rush. That’s the key.

What will the offense look like?

I think you’re gonna see the spread attack like what they did in Arizona and New England.  You’re gonna see the spread and see some of the elements from New England.  Remember you’re gonna take what Matt Cassel does well and incorporate that into what they do.  That’s the #1 thing you gotta do as a coach.

LJ an important part of the offense:

More of a spread attack using two TEs.  You'll see a quick rhythm style of offense.  When you saw with Chan Gailey and the pistol last year, Tyler Thigpen was executing and being effective. I think spread football is where it is in the NFL the key is to have a running back that can run the ball to make the spread go better.  And I think the Chiefs have that in Larry Johnson, I think he seems motivated to be a good player and I think he will be.

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