On Friday Kansas City Chiefs GM Scott Pioli conducted his annual pre-draft press conference and talked about the 2011 NFL draft and how the Chiefs are preparing for it. When he walked into the room at 10:01 a.m. on Friday, he said he had been looking forward to the press conference because he had been cooped up in the same room with the same people for several weeks arguing.
He didn't mean they were arguing in a negative sense but that he encourages his scouts to have opinions and disagree in a positive way. In fact, he says, they encourage disagreement.
"We encourage it and it's important because we have a nice mix of older coaches and scouts and younger coaches and scouts," he said on Friday. "I think the younger generation sees how the older generation works and they're encouraged to speak up and/or disagree."
This is an interesting dynamic of the older scouts and younger scouts. In my conversation with Pioli a few weeks ago, he told me a couple of old-school stories about the guys he learned from when he came into the league.
He says the scouting department is similar to the players (and coaches) in that you need to develop your own scouts. So it's important to note him talking about the "nice mix of older coaches and scouts and younger coaches and scouts" because the older guys are there not only to scout players, but to teach the younger scouts how they do things. He says they'll pair an older scout with a younger scout so that they can have continuity within the personnel department.
It makes sense on a number of levels. If your scouts are performing well, then that likely means the team is acquiring better players and performing better on the field. And when you have success, others want to replicate it. By that I mean other teams will want to come in and take your scouts or personnel executives away from you so you need another one waiting in the wings who understands the operation.
It's something we, as fans, don't really think about. We generally don't know the names of most scouts and we don't really know what they do on a daily basis. But their development is still critical for the Chiefs to sustain their success.