A belated Christmas gift is better than none at all. So when the announcement came in mid-January that both Romeo Crennel and Charlie Weis had accepted the invitation to join the Kansas City Chiefs coaching staff as the Defensive and Offensive Coordinators respectively, it felt exactly like that -- a last minute holiday addition that could only enhance the raw season that Head Coach Todd Haley had just endured.When covering the NFL Scouting Combine the next month, the buzz still surrounded the room as several people commented about the moves, both in the press conferences for Scott Pioli and Todd Haley and around the reporters' tables as well. After all, the Chiefs were not only reuniting two of the pillars of the New England Super Bowl runs but they were also adding decades of top-level coaching expertise and experience to such a young squad. Even after the free agency and draft periods, many still believed the Chiefs best additions were Weis and Crennel.
Three weeks into the season, they might be right. For as impressive as guys named McCluster, Arenas, Berry or Moeaki have been, the Chiefs sit at 3-0 mostly because of the schemes and game plans that place them there. They won in the rain against the division favorite. They found a way to grind out a win on the road, no matter how ugly. And now they've simply dominated an opponent in every conceivable way a team can. The adjustments made on the sidelines by Todd Haley's staff are exemplary, and people are starting to notice.
Take this paragraph from the latest Don Banks column over at Sports Illustrated:
The 49ers had practically no answer for anything the creative and imaginative Chiefs threw at them, and Kansas City's coaching staff looked as if it had sat in on San Francisco's game planning sessions all week. It was that obvious at times, and from what I understand, it was also that apparent on both sidelines that Kansas City coaches were practically calling out the 49ers' plays before they were run.
This is exactly the sort of reason that so much effort when into hiring both of these guys (alongside others like Emmitt Thomas). You can have all the talent in the world (i.e. why the 49ers were heavily considered the favorites to win the NFC West), but if the coaches aren't preparing that talent to beat their very next opponent, then you can only go so far. Sunday's victory at Arrowhead was a tale of two coaching extremes and the results displayed the results of proper (or improper) preparedness.
The Chiefs draft class is receiving a lot of attention, and rightly so, but those names will not appear on the national radar unless their coaches had them in a position to win. It's guys like Haley, Weis and Crennel who have taken the skills of the players they've been given and placed them in the right schemes to utilize those talents. And while the Chiefs are on the rise and the players receive the attention, time will hopefully look back and realize the foundation move to sign coaches like Weis and Crennel became the cornerstone bricks the Chiefs needed most.