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From the FanPosts - Joel
The firing of Chan Gailey happened a little over a week ago and there's been a lot of other things happening around the Kansas City Chiefs. It's my hope that tempers have cooled and frontal lobes have kicked in enought to take an analytical look at what the firing means by looking at the results of the firing that never happened.
Herm vs. Gunther
Gunther Cunningham was brought back to Kansas City under Dick Vermeil in 2004 to be the savior. The defense had struggled for years and Gunther was the man that was going to bring Kansas City back to the promised land.
It didn't quite work out that way. Dick Vermeil left town before Gun could acquire the players necessary to fully implement his defense. Vermeil was replaced by Herm Edwards who came with Tampa 2 credentials and a defensive bent. In many cases a new head coach means a new coordinator, but it was decided by Herm and Carl Peterson to retain Gunther Cunningham as the defensive coordinator.
The stage was set for catastrophe.
All of us who are old enough remember the good ole' days where the Cunningham led Chiefs defense needed to wear red to hide the blood of their opponents. Kansas City might lose the game, but the opposing quarterback was just as likely to go home in a body bag.
Cunningham acted like he was Germany and the opposition was Poland. All out blitz became a base defense down at Arrowhead.
Edwards came from a different school. "Bend don't break" is the rule and turnovers are its lifeblood. Both styles of defense can win, but require very different types of personnel and play calling. Cunningham was a horrible fit.
Edwards was convinced that the Cover 2 was going to fix Kansas City. Gunther was quietly just as sure that 'throw a sink at em" was the way to go. Edwards effectively put his success or failure on the defensive side of the ball into the hands of a man who thought he was just plain wrong. Though the Kansas City defense improved statistically, they were horrendous on the field. Overall talent definitely played a role, but the problems ran deeper than talent could account for.
Missed assignments and missed tackles killed the Chiefs week in and week out. Playing the Chiefs became a "Get Right Game" for offenses that were out of sync. The personnel that were assembled never seemed to be good fits for either the Cover 2 or Gunther's pressure defense.
Gunther Cunningham himself summed it up best here.
"I’ve gone through three years of playing zone defense because I was loyal to Herm Edwards. That’s what he wanted. People here in town knew that I was different than that. My idea is to put a lot of pressure on the quarterback — always has been, always will be. "
Why was this allowed to happen? Why did the head coach retain a coordinator that didn't see eye to eye with him on what should be done defensively? Without any proverbial flies on the wall it's impossible to know the full truth.
I personally believe that the history between Carl Peterson and Cunningham was a factor but I would be lying if I said this was anything other than a hunch. Whatever the reason, it can't be denied that the defense suffered for being pulled in two different directions.
When the headsman finally came calling, both men went on the chopping block.
You would think that the Chiefs would have learned their lesson about putting two strong willed men in charge who have different visions about what it takes to when. But, when the opportunity came Kansas City put itself back in the same position on the other side of the ball.
Haley vs. Gailey
Chan Gailey was celebrated last season as the one Kansas City coach who could do more with less. In the second half of the season, the Chiefs offense went from dreadful to entertaining. The Arrowspread didn't win one game, but all those first downs sure felt like victories to me.
When Scott Pioli cleaned house Gailey escaped the axe. There were a lot of questions about what role Gailey would fill in Haley's staff. In February it was announced that Gailey would retain his position as offensive coordinator.
Chiefs fans were happy. What we Chiefs fans failed to recognize was that the marriage of Chan Gailey and Todd Haley was an uneasy one. And though it looked like a new movie, it was nothing more than a canned sequal. Edwards vs Gunther Part 2: Now it's the Offense's Turn.
Arrowspread not withstanding, Chan Gailey has always been a conservative minded coach who likes to grind it out and take the occasional shot down the field. Haley's claim to fame was a high flying offense that threw the ball all over the place on its way to a Super Bowl appearance. Here was the same conflict that the Chiefs had went through with Edwards and Cunningham.
Two men at the top with very different views of how things should be done.
A funny thing happened on the way to the season. After 3 preseason games and no offensive touchdowns, Gailey was relived of his duties. With two weeks left until the season began Haley took control of his offense and named himself the offensive coordinator. The philisophical division at the top of the organization was removed.
The short term results: 3 Field Goals, 0 Touchdowns, 19-7 loss.
We'll have to wait to see the long term results.
If you ask three different Chiefs fans what they think about the Gailey firing you'll get three different defendable, logical answers that can passionatly argue why the move was brillant, stupid or a sign of the apocalypse.
The only aspect of the firing that we all agree on is that the timing was odd to say the least. Teams just don't fire key members of the staff 13 days before the games go live. Well this team did.
I don't know what to think of the move and will reserve judgement for a few years. I do know that whatever happens to these Chiefs it will be laid at the feet of Todd Haley.
NFL history is littered with the names of reviled coaches who led their teams down into a deep dark hole. Who, outside of Kansas City, will remember in five years that Herm Edwards tied himself to a defensive coordinator who philosopically disagreed with his head coach about how a defense should be run?
What will be remembered is that Herm Edwards couldn't get the job done as a head coach and that the team failed on his watch.
Though Todd Haley might ultimately fail to bring the Chiefs back to the upper echelon of the NFL, it won't be because he allowed another person's vision interfere with his own. I can respect that.