The Kansas City Chiefs announced earlier last week that head coach Romeo Crennel plans on being the defensive play-caller for the team in 2012. This means the Chiefs will not seek a defensive coordinator this offseason.
Does this scene sound familiar? Todd Haley's first year as the Chiefs' head coach was full of learning experiences. Before the preseason finale in 2009, Haley removed Chan Gailey as the team's offensive coordinator.
Even though Haley found success in Arizona as the offensive coordinator, he soon realized that as a head coach, carrying multiple duties won't work.
The following year, Haley hired an accomplished offensive coordinator in Charlie Weis, taking the load off of Haley's shoulders and allowing him to play the role of a head coach in 2010 more than he did in 2009.
Jim Zorn went through something similar in 2009 before eventually making his way to Kansas City as the quarterbacks coach. Zorn was the head coach and the offensive play-caller for the Washington Redskins in 2009. Zorn had a rough 2009 season with the Redskins after they allowed the Detroit Lions to snap their 19-game losing streak that year.
The Redskins later lost to the Chiefs, allowing Kansas City to earn their first victory of the season. Following the loss to the Chiefs, Zorn's play-calling duties were taken away. Zorn went back to being an assistant coach after his termination from Washington.
Is there a difference handling the head-coaching and defensive-play-calling duties?
Crennel will be the first coach in franchise history to carry both tasks. Obviously, this is not common at all.
Perhaps Crennel has a plan that he wants to try out. However, this is not the time for Crennel to experiment moves or explore ideas that are risky. Keep in mind that if things go wrong, this might be Crennel's last time ever being a head coach.
The last Browns head coach to lead his team to double-digit victories in a single season was none other than Crennel's mentor in New England, Bill Belichick. Belichick and the Browns won 11 games in 1994.
While acting as the interim head coach and defensive coordinator for the final three games of the 2011 season, Crennel went 2-1 with the Chiefs. This gives Crennel the confidence that with a full offseason, he might succeed if he continues to carry two sets of responsibilities.
But, is it worth it? Crennel, the second-oldest head coach in the NFL, can use all the help he can get.
Some might argue that calling defensive plays is different than calling the offensive plays while also serving as the head coach.
The Chiefs have the potential to surprise a lot of teams in 2012—like they did in 2010—if they have a strong offseason and fill some holes on the offensive side. Therefore, it is not a good idea for Crennel to be the head coach and the defensive coordinator.
Does general manager Scott Pioli want to see his second head coach in Kansas City make the same mistake?
Coaches in the NFL are allowed to hire coordinators for a reason. It helps them focus more on their job as the head coach. Hopefully in the end, Crennel finds a way to prove people wrong.
Crennel, rightfully so, is given a second chance as a head coach. Time will tell if he can handle the responsibilities of being more than just a head coach for a football franchise.