10 Top Candidates to Replace Romeo Crennel as Chiefs Coach

Brett Gering@BrettGeringCorrespondent IDecember 31, 2012

10 Top Candidates to Replace Romeo Crennel as Chiefs Coach

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    Ten coaches should survive the first cut on the Kansas City Chiefs' short list of candidates to replace former head coach Romeo Crennel

    Crennel was fired Monday morning after witnessing his 2-14 Chiefs end their season with an embarrassing 38-3 loss to the Denver Broncos

    While Crennel has always remained an ideal ambassador for the NFL, his two head-coaching stints have proven to be disastrous career choices—Crennel's 28 victories are dwarfed by 55 defeats.

    Players love him, but his teams often adopt the laid-back demeanor that he has portrayed throughout 32 years of coaching in the league. In a game which used to air promos of helmets bashing and exploding into shrapnel, a laid-back, peace-be-with-you approach normally does not bode well for those in the paths of five 300-pound battering rams.

    The Chiefs' next head coach not only needs to a bring a hint of tenacity to the table but also credibility.

10. Kirk Ferentz (Head Coach, UI)

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    [Pauses until all eyes are finished rolling.]

    Yes, Vince Lombardi could resurrect himself and pace the Arrowhead sidelines while sporting a red and yellow tie, and Kirk Ferentz rumors would still circulate around Kansas City water coolers on Monday mornings.

    Ferentz's name has been linked to Kansas City coaching hunts since Scott Pioli—whose friendship with Ferentz dates back to 1990—arrived in 2009. 

    His only NFL experience derived from working on the staff of—you guessed it—Bill Belicheck, as Ferentz served as the offensive line coach for the Cleveland Browns (and later the Baltimore Ravens following the franchise's move). 

    But on Sunday night, Sports Illustrated's Peter King reported (via NBC's Football Night in America) that Ferentz's name is ruled out as a possible head-coaching candidate in Kansas City. 

    If Pioli thinks his approval rating is low now, try selling the Chiefs' fanbase on a college coach whose team finished 4-8 last season.

    But never say never to the possibility of Ferentz landing in Kansas City.

9. Chip Kelly (Head Coach, OU)

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    Whispers of Chip Kelly's name annually emerge following Week 17 in the NFL. And Kelly annually shoots every rumor down. 

    Hypothetically, Kelly would be a good fit for the Chiefs, though. He's extremely detail-oriented and would defibrillate the flatline known as the Chiefs offense. Kelly's also not afraid to think outside of the box; the sherbet to Brian Daboll's low-fat vanilla. 

    While other organizations—namely the Philadelphia Eagles—plan to pursue Kelly, the Oregon head coach will likely stay anchored in Eugene.

8. Bill Cowher (Ex-Head Coach, PIT)

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    Let's be realistic: Honey Boo Boo will solve a Rubik's Cube, blindfolded, before Bill Cowher works under somebody as power-hungry as Scott Pioli. 

    There are conflicting reports regarding whether Pioli's job hangs in the balance or not, but the safe bet is to assume that Clark Hunt grants him a one-year lease to redeem himself. 

    But if Hunt pulled the rug out from underneath his pessimistic skeptics and canned Pioli, Cowher may at least consider the opportunity. 

    While the former Steelers coach seems content with his gig at The NFL Today, money talks. 

7. Josh McDaniels (Offensive Coordinator, NE)

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    Josh McDaniels will forever be known as "That guy that picked (Tim) Tebow," which is why a collar should shock him if he ever comes within 100 feet of an NFL war room again. 

    He also shares New England ties with Pioli, which is like stamping "Do not touch" across his forehead. 

    But you cannot argue with his numbers—New England is currently home to the NFL's No. 1 scoring offense. 

    However, McDaniels' professional coaching career tends to fluctuate between skyrocketing highs and bottom-of-the-barrel lows. 

    As long as Pioli has a desk at One Arrowhead Drive, McDaniels' name will still likely reside in the upper echelon of candidates, though. 

6. Kyle Shanahan (Offensive Coordinator, WAS)

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    The possibility of hiring Kyle Shanahan is a mixed bag of risks and rewards. 

    Kansas City will likely look to fill its void at quarterback through next April's draft, and Shanahan's first year of honing rookies Robert Griffin III and Kirk Cousins turned out to be a resounding success. 

    However, he is only 33 years old and does not a possess a lick of head-coaching experience. 

    The Chiefs are starving for a sense of stability, which is something that Shanahan cannot provide. 

5. Lovie Smith (Head Coach, CHI)

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    Many Chicagoans are actively calling for Lovie Smith's dismissal right now. 

    Smith's Chicago Bears bolted out of the gates in 2012, boasting a nearly unblemished 7-1 record. But by the end of the season, the Bears eroded into a 10-6 team that missed the playoffs. 

    Smith's track record speaks for itself, though. 

    Under his guidance, Chicago has finished at or above .500 in six of its last nine seasons, including a Super Bowl appearance.

    And if there is one person that could maximize the potential of Kansas City's star-studded linebacking corps, it is Lovie Smith—he ascended through the ranks as a linebackers coach. 

4. Mike McCoy (Offensive Coordinator, DEN)

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    Like Shanahan, Mike McCoy has no experience as the head honcho in charge of team. 

    But his numbers may warrant the risk.

    The Broncos offense ended 2012 as the second-highest scoring offense in the league, averaging 30.1 points per game. McCoy also doubled as the team's quarterbacks coach in 2009—a year in which Kyle Orton posted career highs in yards, touchdowns and completion percentage. 

    And after Week 17's relentless beat-down, Chiefs fans are increasingly aware of how effective Denver's offense is. 

3. Bruce Arians (Offensive Coordinator, IND)

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    While Chuck Pagano was heroically fighting leukemia, Indianapolis' interim head coach, Bruce Arians, gradually turned a 2-14 train wreck (sound familiar?) to a playoff team in one season. (Plucking Andrew Luck from the draft didn't hurt, either.) 

    While Luck's success is largely due to his skills, there's little doubt that his interim head coach aided him on his path to contending for Offensive Rookie of the Year honors.

    Nobody could have predicted the drastic swing in competitiveness that the Indianapolis Colts underwent. In 2012, Arians graduated from offensive coordinator to a frontrunner in the NFL Coach of the Year race.

    And if Pioli should choose to interview him, he can rest assured that Indianapolis' offensive guru does not need directions to Arrowhead—Arians held the title of running backs coach in Kansas City from 1989 to 1992. 

2. Mike Zimmer (Defensive Coordinator, CIN)

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    The stars are in alignment for Mike Zimmer to become Kansas City's next head coach.

    The Chiefs defense oozes with Pro Bowl-caliber talent, and Zimmer took Cincinnati's once-dysfunctional defense and transformed it into the NFL's sixth-ranked unit. 

    Plus, his son, Adam, was an assistant on Crennel's defensive staff in 2012.  

    Prior to this season, Chiefs fans anxiously awaited for the defense to take the next step and rank among the league's top-tier units. Instead, the defense regressed and took two steps back.

    Zimmer could right the ship. 

1. Andy Reid (Ex-Head Coach, PHI)

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    ESPN's Adam Schefter reports that the Philadelphia Eagles have officially let Andy Reid go after 14 seasons. 

    Instead of allowing himself to take a breath, Schefter also claims that Reid had begun mapping out an exit strategy by assembling a new staff of coaches destined for elsewhere:

    Sources told ESPN that Reid is preparing to coach elsewhere next season in case he is no longer with the Eagles. He has been calling around the league, trying to put together a coaching staff, so that if and when he is let go in Philadelphia, he will be ready to resume coaching for another franchise next season.

    Inconsistent quarterback play started haunting the Eagles midway through 2011 and likely served as the catalyst in Reid's recent demise in Philadelphia. 

    With the No. 1 overall pick, Kansas City presents an enticing opportunity for Reid to choose and develop his own franchise quarterback—a lot people forget that he once tutored a young gun named Brett Favre


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