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Getting to Know the Chiefs 2009 Coaching Staff: Clancy Pendergast

AP Photo by John Bazemore

As the Arizona Cardinals entered the 2008 playoffs, the conventional wisdom told us that the team had the firepower on offense to reach the big game. But it was their defense that would be their Achilles Heel.

The Cardinals ranked 19th in the NFL in overall defense in the 2008 regular season, giving up 331.5 yards per game. They were 22nd in pass defense and 16th against the run.

Pendergast's Cardinal defense gave up nearly 27 points a game and didn't fare much better in the playoffs, giving up an average of about 22 points a game. The squad didn't play great but they did play just well enough to help the team reach the Super Bowl.

Right after the Super Bowl, Clancy Pendergast was fired and for good reason. From 2004 to 2008, Pendergast was the Cardinal's defensive coordinator. Here are the Cardinal's league rankings from that time:

Def. Rankings
Year Pts Yds
2008 28 19
2007 27 17
2006 29 29
2005 26 8
2004 12 12

Since Pendergast is now a Chief, I'm looking for a way to spin his Arizona tenure in a good way. And I can't do it. You can't defend numbers like that. You just can't.

Which is why I believe that Clancy Pendergast, despite coming from a DC position, will not be the Kansas City Chiefs next defensive coordinator. He will likely take over coaching the linebackers, which is what he did in Cleveland in 2003.

Pendergast also coached linebackers with the Dallas Cowboys from 1996 to 1999, before handling responsibilities in the secondary until 2003.

Here is his full resume:

1995 Houston Oilers

Dallas Cowboys
(defensive assistant/quality control/
linebackers coach/secondary)

2003 Cleveland Browns
(linebackers coach)
2004-2008 Arizona Cardinals
(defensive coordinator)
2009- Kansas City Chiefs

The Peter Principle

Yesterday, DThomasReigns mentioned the Peter Principle yesterday in regards to our defensive hires. And I wanted to point out, in response to the criticisms of our new coaches' past performances, that being a failed defensive coordinator does not automatically dismiss a coach from success as a position coach.

This principle is best summed up by saying that "In a Hierarchy Every Employee Tends to Rise to His Level of Incompetence." Basically, when talking about Pendergast, what this means that is he's likely a very competent position/unit coach but that the responsibilities of a defensive coordinator are simply beyond his ability.

Pendergast is a fine position coach, otherwise he never would have been hired as defensive coordinator in Arizona.

We'd better hope this principle is true. The Chiefs hired two former defensive coordinators yesterday.

He's a Haley guy

Todd Haley worked with Clancy Pendergast for the last two seasons in Arizona so our new head coach knows him well. If we're going to trust and believe in Todd Haley at all, we need to trust his instincts with his coaching hires.

Important coach for the Chiefs right now

With Gunther Cunningham coaching the linebackers last year, the unit was basically neglected. Injuries destroyed the linebacking corp but I can't say there was much hope to begin with there.

The Chiefs really only have one viable linebacker in Derrick Johnson, who has failed to live up to expectations. Hopefully Pendergast, if he is indeed the linebackers coach, can turn DJ around and help select some better personnel for that position.

The Chiefs can't afford to let the defense lapse another year. We desperately need Clancy Pendergast to succeed in Kansas City with our linebackers.

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