This was a horrible season.
There is no way around it. This season was absolutely terrible, especially when you consider what high hopes we all had for this team coming into the season. But, even though this may be really hard to believe for the other 31 teams in the NFL, I think we can all agree on one thing: This team is much, much more talented and has much more upside than what their record shows. And having the no. 1 pick overall come April, can only help. But change is coming. Romeo Crennel is officially gone, and it seems GM Scott Pioli is on his way out too. ,There is nothing official yet, but Clark Hunt gave something away in his statement released today. He used, "I" when talking about the head coaching search, instead of using, "I and Scott" or "We". Never before has Clark Hunt took control of the team, ahead of the General Manager, unless he was on his way out. So it seems us Chiefs fans will have to go through another, "Fresh Start" Offseason. Yay.
But is a, "Fresh Start" really that bad? It is bad in one aspect, because it means that once again our front office failed to hire a successful coach. But it's also good, because it means that it is the end of a bad, bad regime who only brought frustration and hatred to the city of Kansas City. One thing is for sure, though: If a big name head coach, say, Jon Gruden, wants to come back to the NFL (Jon Gruden has publicly stated that he does want to), they probably will not look at KC too closely with Pioli at the helm. I think that that is why Clark has refused to fire Pioli yet. He wants to interview a few coaches, and see if they would come to KC with Pioli at GM. If they say yes, Pioli stays. If they say no, Pioli goes, that un-named coach gets hired, and then Hunt will look for a GM.
I think that when you look closely at Hunt's statement on KCChiefs.com, you can tell that Hunt's plan is to do what I stated above. Why do I think the coach would have to be a big name head coach? Because only a few select coaches would have the authority to pick and choose who the GM is before they get hired. Those coaches could be to the likes of Jon Gruden, Andy Reid, Brian Billick, and the beloved Bill Cowher (even though I believe it is highly unlikely he comes back to coach). I understand that it is unlikely that Jon Gruden comes to Kansas City, because there are so many vacancies this off season (7 right now), but I do think that Kansas City would be intriguing to him. I also believe that Bill Cowher will not return to the NFL, but I just wanted to include his name, because he indeed is a coach that would have the authority to pick his own General Manager. I just wanted to clear some things up here, so I'm not getting ripped in the comment section.
So where do we start?
Clark and company need to start by doing their due diligence when interviewing Head Coaches. They failed miserably when making the decision to hire Todd Haley, because they obviously didn't see that Pioli and Haley would not get along. Then with Crennel, Hunt and Pioli fell in love with him after three games. They saw how the players responded to him, and automatically thought, as many fans did too, he is the man for the job. They were wrong. In hindsight, I believe that the players just responded well to change itself. They were tired of Haley, and would embrace whatever new face came in. Now, Clark Hunt NEEDS to make the right decision. If he doesn't, fans will be more unhappy, as unhappy as they've ever been, and it will be his 4th bad HC hiring in about 8 years.Here, I'm going to make my case for my top 5 Head Coaches the Chiefs should be interested in.
This team needs a coach who knows how to win games. A coach who has had success in this league in the past. A coach who has a good track record in the draft, and lastly, a coach who is well respected and well thought of around the league. I know that recycling old coaches is never the best strategy, but I feel that it would work in Kansas City.
5. Mike Zimmer, Defensive Coordinator, Cincinnati Bengals-
If Clark Hunt is looking for a coach who will get the most out of the Chiefs Defense, he should look no further than Mike Zimmer. Zimmer has been the DC for the Bengals since 2008, and inherited a dysfunctional Cincy defense, and transformed it into the 6th ranked defense in the league. The Chiefs defense oozes with potential, with 4 pro-bowlers and 2 alternate pro-bowlers, along with a NT in Dontari Poe who could transform into a game-changing pass rusher and run stopper. I imagine that he would look at the KC job as a good choice for him and would definitely be intrigued by the talent they have on their defense, as it resembles the defense he has right now with the Bengals; Young, a good pass rush, tons of play-makers. I definitely welcome the idea of him coming to Kansas City, although I would rather an offensive Coach.
4. Kyle Shanahan, Offensive Coordinator, Washington Redskins-
One of the main reasons Kyle Shanahan's name is hot as a Head Coach right now, is because of the fantastic job he has done with rookie Quarterback's Robert Griffin III and Kirk Cousins in Washington. RGIII is likely to be the rookie of the year, and he has carried his team to the playoffs after a 3-6 start. I do believe that many OC's could do what Shanahan is doing, but he still deserves tons of credit. Even with his success, I do not believe that he is ready to be the Head Coach of a team starving for a savior as their head coach. I also think that Kirk Cousins is one of the most overrated players in the NFL due to his 5 quarters of good QB play this season. He indeed was much better than I expected, but many QB's could play well for 5 Quarters. That does not mean they are franchise QB's. In my honest opinion, I wouldn't completely dismiss the option of Shanahan coming to KC, but I would much rather a coach who has won games as a Head Coach in this league before. Kyle Shanahan just reminds me a little too much of Haley. I'm not saying I wouldn't welcome him to KC, I just think there are better options. I'm sure you'll be hearing his name and the Chiefs in the same sentence in the near future, though.
3. Bruce Arians, Former Interim Head Coach In Indianapolis, Offensive Coordinator-
When Colts Head Coach Chuck Pagano was diagnosed with Leukemia in September of this year, Bruce Arians was called on as the interim head coach. Arians was put in an extremely tough situation in Indy, and he handled it with class. He led the Colts to an 11-5 record with QB Andrew Luck at the helm, and then this past week went back to his normal OC role as Chuck Pagano returned. What Arians did in Indy will definitely make his name a hot commodity for Coaching Vacancies in the next few weeks, and I would consider the Chiefs lucky if they could land him. He's worked with Andrew Luck, the best rookie QB this generation has seen since Peyton Manning, and not to mention, he worked with Manning for 3 years, also. Arians fits just what the Chiefs need, in my opinion: An offensive minded coach, who has worked with Quarterback before, and had success as a Head Coach. A number of teams will be working to hir Arians in the next few weeks, and I imagine the Chiefs will be one of those teams.
2. Andy Reid, Ex-Head Coach of the Philadelphia Eagles-
As the 14-year Andy Reid era ended this morning in Philadelphia, a new Andy Reid era will likely be starting somewhere in the near future. I'm a big supporter of Reid coming to KC. He has experience with three completely different types of quarterbacks. The most recent one to date, was Mike Vick. A strong armed, not-so-accurate QB who loves to run, but also loves to get injured. Reid din't exactly have success with Vick, but he could have if Vick wouldn't have gotten injured so much. Next, he worked with Donovan Mcnabb for a number of years, and found success with Mcnabb year after year. Mcnabb in his prime was a scrambling Quarterback who had a strong, accurate arm. Reid coached that Mcnabb-lead Eagle team to the Playoff many, many times, and once wnet to the Super Bowl, but lost to the near-perfect New England Patriots. Lastly, Reid tutored the great Brett Favre from 1992 when was hired as the Packers Assistant Coach to 1999 when he was hired as the Eagles head coach. Reid was with Favre in Green Bay from day 1, so he definitely has some experience working with great Quarterbacks. That should be intriguing to Clark Hunt, who knows the Chiefs need a franchise QB. Reiid will likely also be interested in coming to KC because of the no. 1 pick the Chiefs obtain, because he will be able to choose his own franchise Quarterback, something he hasn't been able to do since he selected Franchise Quarterback Donovan Mcnabb in 1999. Reid may not have been so successful in the past 2 years, but his career track record as a head coach says something about the type of candidate he is for the job.
1. Jon Gruden-
Ahhhhh, yes. The great Jon Gruden. He is the one. He is the one that most Chiefs fans have been desperately hoping would come to Kansas City for years, ever since he was fired by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2009. Gruden is now an ESPN analyst/commentator on Monday Night Football, but reportedly has been plotting an NFL return, and is open to interviewing for Head Coaching jobs. There is no doubt that most teams with Head Coaching vacancies will be working to acquire Gruden's services, but it is believed that for him to come back to NFL, it will need to be the right situation. Is Kansas City the picture perfect situation for a Head Coach coming out of retirement? Absolutely not. There are many cons to taking the job. Well, for one, they were 2-14 last season. There is not a quality QB in site on the roster, and hasn't been for a number of years, and they have a control freak as their General Manager. But, I think most people would agree that there are a lot of pro's to taking the job, too. The Chiefs have arguabley the 2nd best Running Back in the NFL, they have 6 perennial Pro-Bowlers on their defense, and for a 2-14 team, are oozing with potential. The only thing missing last season was a good Head Coach and a Quarterback. Luckily, they have the no. 1 pick. Those are the thoughts that will go through every coaches mind when contemplating taking the job in Kansas City. But in Gruden's case, I think one of the most intriguing things for him, will be the no. 1 pick, and the need to draft a Quarterback. Why? Because for the past two years when Gruden worked at ESPN as an analyst and a commentator, he had his own special that would air in the off season before the NFL Draft called, "Jon Gruden's QB Camp." Gruden, once a week would take one of the top 10 QB Prospects into a film room, where he would ask numerous questions, from, "What's your favorite formation to set up in?" to, "Blonde's or Brunette's?" But if Gruden was the Chiefs Head Coach, he would be able to interview those Quarterback Prospects for real. He would interview them with his own questions, on his own time, for his own team, on his own terms. I just have to imagine that that aspect of the job would be attractive to him. But, when thinking of him coming to Kansas City, you have to remember that there are teams out there with coaching vacancies that just have overall better teams than the Chiefs. Gruden would automatically become a fan favorite, but it is a bit of a long shot in him coming to Kansas City. Time will tell.
As Clark Hunt most recently stated to Adam Teicher of KC Star, the Kansas City Chiefs need to start at the Head Coach. I agree. Since Hunt has mad Pioli virtually powerless, since he said that the Head Coach interviews will be done by him and only him, it seems that Pioli is gone. So, after the Head Coach is chosen and hired, Hunt will need to evaluate Scott Pioli and the rest of the front office, and then choose a GM to hire in Pioli's place. I like the way Clark Hunt is taking over the team, and doing what HE thinks is right, instead of Pioli, who has show two times too many that he can not hire a Head Coach.Well, those are my top 5 head coaches I'd like to see the Chiefs hire. There were a few that I did leave out, such as Dirk Koetter who is reportedly interviewing for the head coaching job, Mike Mccoy, who's name has been mentioned with various teams, and Chip Kelly, who may be moving on up from Oregon to the NFL.
Who do you want as the Chiefs head coach, realistically? What do you think of my top 5? Let me know in the comment sections, and here is to hoping Clark Hunt can finally make the right decision!