Will the Chiefs bring in an experienced head coach? A hot young coordinator? A college coach, perhaps?
All are possibilities. But before we begin, let's go over a few coaches I don't see the Chiefs hiring.
Forget about Chip Kelly. It's generally a bad idea to match coaches with no NFL experience to teams needing a complete overhaul. Besides, the Chiefs don't have the personnel to run Kelly's system. Not a good fit.
I don't think you'll see more established ex-coaches like Jon Gruden, Bill Cowher or Andy Reid come to the Chiefs either. Those guys will only return to coaching if they can help a team re-tool, not completely rebuild. Each will probably have an eye on the Chicago Bears at this point.
I don't know that the Chiefs will go the coordinator route, but they definitely won't go after any defensive-minded coordinators. Frankly, I doubt they'll go after a defensive-minded head coach either—teams tend to go with the opposite style of the last coach when making a hire, and the Chiefs could really use someone to either develop a young quarterback or work with the personnel in place.
That said, here are the four candidates that make the most sense in Kansas City next year.
The offensive coordinator for the San Francisco 49ers is easily my top choice for the Kansas City Chiefs. His unique running attack and play-action passing system would work perfectly with the players the Chiefs have in place on offense.
Plus, Roman is accustomed to working with a young quarterback in Colin Kaepernick. I would guess the starting quarterback for the Kansas City Chiefs next season will be Geno Smith, and I'm sure Roman would aid his development quite nicely.
And, for a team coming off a 2-14 season, adding a hungry coordinator with everything to prove is the smart way to go. Roman likely would just be satisfied with a head-coaching position, and would bring a fresh new energy to Kansas City.
If Roman is my 1A choice for the Chiefs, McCoy would probably be 1B.
McCoy has 13 years of experience in the NFL, has tailored systems that have worked for both Tim Tebow and Peyton Manning and he's generally considered to have the measured demeanor needed to succeed as a head coach.
In many ways, McCoy is a much safer option than Roman, and I believe he would be able to both build a strong rushing attack for the Chiefs and adjust his system to whomever his quarterback is next season. Whereas Roman might not get a head coaching job next year, McCoy almost certainly will.
The Chiefs would do well to add McCoy.
Unlike Chip Kelly, O'Brien has experience in the NFL and was the offensive coordinator for the New England Patriots. He also led a Penn State team weakened by sanctions to an 8-4 record this season, dramatically exceeding expectations.
O'Brien probably isn't the most realistic target, of course. It's going to cost a good deal of money to pry him away from Penn State, and given his early success with the Nittany Lions, he may decide to stay in the college game for the time being.
But his potential of installing a cutting-edge offense in Kansas City and his success with New England and Penn State speaks well of his future as a head coach. If nothing else, expect the Chiefs to knock on his door.
If I were picking a favorite to end up taking over as the new coach of the Kansas City Chiefs, I would pick Arians, and I would like the pick a great deal.
Arians has a ton of experience in the NFL, was clearly a favorite of Ben Roethlisberger during his time as the offensive coordinator in Pittsburgh, was Peyton Manning's quarterback coach at one time in Indianapolis and did a marvelous job replacing Chuck Pagano during the season this year.
And if the Chiefs do bring in a player like Geno Smith with the top pick in the draft, who better to work with him than the guy who worked so well with Andrew Luck and led his team to the playoffs?
Arians is due for a head-coaching position. I'm not a betting man, but if I were I would guess he'll get it in Kansas City.
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