Back in the days of the Cold War, Kremlinologists tried to figure out what was happening at the upper levels of the government of the Soviet Union by studying photographs of Soviet leaders at public appearances. Sometimes by paying attention to which leaders were standing next to others, they could figure out which leaders held the most power in the halls of the Kremlin, and which ones were on the way out.
Something similar has been happening since the Kansas City Chiefs announced the firing of defensive coordinator Bob Sutton. But unlike Cold Warriors, we don’t have to use magnifying glasses to examine grainy photographs of parade reviewing stands. Instead, we have Twitter!
Here’s a timeline of what we know:
- January 22: Bob Sutton fired as defensive coordinator
- January 24: Steve Spagnuolo hired as defensive coordinator
- January 26: Packers hire Chiefs’ Mike Smith as outside linebackers coach
- January 29: Bears hire Chiefs’ Mark DeLeone as inside linebackers coach
- February 7: Dave Merritt (reportedly) hired as defensive backs coach
- February 7: Brett Veach says defensive coaches will be “nailed down” in next few days
- February 8: Matt House (reportedly) hired as linebackers coach
- February 9: Matt House (reportedly) decided to remain at Kentucky
- February 9: Brendan Daly (reportedly) hired as defensive line coach
- February 12: Chiefs (reportedly) still trying to sign Matt House
- February 12: Matt House (reportedly) hired as linebackers coach (again)
- February 12: Chiefs defensive backs coach Emmitt Thomas retires
- February 18: Rutgers (reportedly) hires Chiefs’ Jay Valai as cornerbacks coach
The newest piece of information here is that defensive quality control assistant Jay Valai is reportedly being hired by Rutgers University as their cornerbacks coach. As of this writing, this is not confirmed; Valai is still listed on the roster of Chiefs assistant coaches.
Only Spagnuolo’s hiring — and the retirement of Thomas — have been officially announced by the Chiefs. The Packers and Bears officially announced the hires of Smith and DeLeone, and both were removed from the Chiefs roster of assistant coaches.
When it was reported that Merritt had been hired as defensive backs coach, the presumption was that the jobs of both Thomas and secondary/cornerbacks coach Al Harris could be in jeopardy. With Thomas’ retirement, Harris’ position seems more tenable, but we don’t know that for sure.
Also unknown is the status of Britt Reid (son of head coach Andy Reid) who is still listed as defensive line coach. The original report that Daly had been hired as Chiefs defensive line coach appeared to be solid, and Daly is not currently listed as a Patriots assistant coach.
It could be that the Chiefs are waiting for the younger Reid (and perhaps Harris) to find jobs elsewhere before making an official announcement about all the coaching changes. That would seem to be consistent with Andy Reid’s leadership style — particularly when one of the assistant coaches in question is his own son.
Reid was hired as Chiefs head coach on January 4, 2013. Just one week later, the Chiefs had announced who would serve as offensive and defensive coordinators under Reid, as well as the names of most of the assistant coaches.
It’s now been eleven days since Chiefs GM Brett Veach said that all the assistant coaches would be “nailed down” in a few days. What’s the holdup?