The rumor mill churns. The buzz only grows. And any and all news regarding the future of the Chiefs (and other losing clubs) is grabbed at with religious fervor simply because it's the most exciting thing to focus upon. The latest: the possible relocation of Charlie Weis from his head coaching position at Notre Dame to Kansas City as the Chiefs' new offensive coordinator.
Much has been made over our lack of an official coordinator at the position, the ability (or inability) of Todd Haley to handle both the head coaching and coordinator position and other possible landing spots for Weis. But for our purposes, the question needs to be asked (and answered): what exactly would the Chiefs gain with Weis at the OC spot?
For the uninitiated, Weis served as offensive coordinator for eight NFL seasons with the New York Jets and New England Patriots from 1997 through 2004. He finally left for the head coaching gig at Notre Dame the last four years and now seems a sure bet to be cut, leaving some intriguing teams to barter for his services. Even though it's been a few years, how has Weis proved himself at the NFL level to organize an offense?
Note that absolutely nobody realized what Tom Brady was capable of when the Pats drafted him with the best sixth round choice in NFL Draft history. It was Weis who oversaw the offensive transition from Drew Bledsoe to Brady. It was also a Weis-directed offense that made a 1,100+ yard rusher out of Antowain Smith at age 29, squeezed max value from guys like Kevin Faulk and Troy Brown and revitalized the career of Corey Dillon. And let's not forget how patchwork receivers like David Givens and David Patten received high-dollar free agent dollars after leaving New England.
The beautiful thing is that Weis only carried over to New England what he was already doing in New York with the Jets. In 1997, his first year running an offense, the Jets finished 12th in overall scoring with a QB/RB combo of Neil O'Donnell and Adrian Murrell. The next year, a revitalized Vinny Testaverde (age 35) took the team to a 12-4 record and a top five finish in total offense. In his final season in NY, the team trailed off due to injuries at the QB position, but still managed to finish 19th in total offense even with QBs Rick Mirer and Ray Lucas splitting the season.
Most of the high profile draft picks in those years, especially for New England, were spent on defensive backs and linemen on both sides of the ball - guys like Richard Seymour, Matt Light, Ty Warren, Eugene Wilson, Adrian Klemm and Vince Wilfork. Of course, there were the high picks of TEs like Daniel Graham and Ben Watson, but for the most part, Weis had to fend for himself. The same can be said of the Jets, who never gave Weis a single player drafted in the first or second round at the WR, QB or RB position. In fact, Dedric Ward, the Jets third rounder in 1997, was the only skill position first-day draft pick in Weis' tenure.
The point? Weis made due largely with overlooked free agents, veterans on the downside of their career or promising youngsters who needed developing. Weis wasn't a miracle worker and couldn't do anything with speedsters like Bethel Johnson, but by and large, Weis track record is quite impressive. For a team like the Chiefs, Weis would be a wonderful fit both for the promising youngsters already here and those still to come with Scott Pioli's draft picks.