Editors note: The following article was written on January 16. We learned that Mike Kafka should be announced as the Chiefs’ new quarterbacks coach on January 26.
Andy Reid is a sequoia. This is not a weight joke.
If Pat Shurmur does get a head coaching job this year as he’s rumored to, Reid and his former assistants will account for 25 percent of the league’s head coaching positions.
The Reid tree is strong. With Matt Nagy the one to recently branch out, the offensive staff has started shifting. I was excited to see Eric Bieniemy’s voice magnified within the building. If you’ve been to training camp, you know that that’s impossible in a literal sense. At 48 years old, Bieniemy has the opportunity to extend that tree someday.
Reid has an obvious eye for coaching talent. Nagy was a recent example. BJ Kissel has a great piece on his rise from realtor to offensive coordinator. He started at the bottom rung and climbed all the way to head coach of a historic franchise. I think the next Nagy is already in the building. I expect a similar rise from current offensive quality control coach Mike Kafka.
Kafka, a former NFL quarterback, was drafted by Reid in Philadelphia in 2010. Reid saw some qualities that extended beyond physical talent when he selected him.
“I think once you meet him, I think you’ll get a feeling for a smart guy that has some of the intangible things, the leadership” - Andy Reid on fourth round pick Mike Kafka
The quality control position, which Nagy once held, heavily involves film study, charting and breaking down tendencies. It gives you a clear picture of everything that’s happening offensively and how teams are attacking you.
One of the many smart decisions the Chiefs have made with the development of Patrick Mahomes was surrounding him with several former quarterbacks. Nagy and Kafka both have history at the position and are full time staff members. Mike Vick was around for training camp.
Kafka’s role seemed to extend beyond just typical quality control responsibilities. He was available to work with Mahomes both during and after practices in OTAs and in St. Joseph.
Here’s Mahomes from June:
“To me, the most exciting part of practice is when I get a protection right,” Mahomes explained. “Right now, if I switch a protection and it’s right, that’s probably the happiest I am. I’ll go straight to coach [Mike] Kafka or coach [Matt] Nagy and be like, “Hey, did you see that? I got that guy right there.”
From all indications, that relationship and responsibility continued into the regular season. Reid credited Kafka in a press conference for the work he had done with Mahomes.
If Kafka is responsible for some of Mahomes’ growth and development, he certainly deserves some kudos. Mahomes looked well prepared, with obvious signs of improvement in his week 17 debut. The rapport those two appear to have makes me think Kafka is in line for a promotion, perhaps to quarterback coach. Just like the career path Nagy took.
Kafka is in line to be the next Chiefs assistant to rise through the ranks. He’s just 30 years old, has the admiration and respect of Reid to both hire and entrust him with some of the development of the franchises most valuable young asset. I expect we see a promotion soon.
The arrow is pointing up on Kafka. Who knows? Maybe he’ll one day be Reid’s successor in Kansas City.