7 Ways Chiefs Can Rebuild Franchise After Firing Romeo Crennel
The Kansas City Chiefs announced that Romeo Crennel was relieved of his duties as head coach. The move was expected for weeks because the Chiefs have been a massive disappointment and finished the season with a 2-14 record.
The Chiefs were expected to be a playoff team and have a lot of talent that has gone to waste the last few years. The Chiefs are probably closer to being a playoff team than most teams with horrible records.
Being the worst team in the league has its advantages, like securing the No. 1 overall pick in the 2013 NFL draft. Drafting at the top or near the top of every round and having plenty of cap space also means the Chiefs could rebuild quickly.
The Chiefs can rebuild the franchise by following this simple seven-step guide.
Fire Scott Pioli
According to the release by the team, the front office is still under review. Chairman and CEO Clark Hunt also said via the team’s official website that the new head coach would report directly to him. This is a first time in the history of the franchise that the head coach has reported directly to the owner.
Searching for a head coach before firing your current general manager makes it pretty clear that the Chiefs are willing to give a head coach a say regarding personnel. It’s not hard to surmise that Scott Pioli has been stripped of all his power.
The Chiefs are taking a very odd approach and one that is a little dangerous. The mere presence of Pioli could scare away quality coaching candidates. The Chiefs should simply fire Pioli instead of trying to hedge their bet in case they can’t attract a top head coaching candidate.
Hire a General Manager
Searching for a head coach before a general manager is not the approach that most successful franchises would take. Giving general manager power to a head coach is also a very risky path. Letting a head coach decide the fate of a general manager is just an odd way to do business.
The Chiefs should have cleaned house and kept their options open. The No. 1 overall pick and a roster full of talented players would certainly lure multiple top candidates for general manager and head coach.
Hiring a general manager first and then pairing that man with a head coach seems to make more sense, but Hunt has decided to do things his own way. It’s hard to blame Hunt because he took the traditional approach last time and got burned.
Pursue the Top Candidates
Hunt is at least willing to go after the top candidates to replace Crennel. Dirk Koetter is set to interview with the Chiefs according to a tweet by Alex Marvez of FoxSports.com. Koetter is the offensive coordinator in Atlanta and has become a hot name.
Denver’s offensive coordinator Mike McCoy is also a hot name and would be a candidate similar to Koetter. McCoy has changed his offense several times in Denver to suit different quarterbacks and survived the firing of Josh McDaniels.
The Chiefs could also interview top college coaches like Oregon’s Chip Kelly or Alabama’s Nick Saban. Both Kelly and Saban would demand significant control over the football operations, and it seems like that’s what Hunt desires in his next head coach.
There’s also the less desirable, but equally effective, group of ex-head coaches. A guy like Lovie Smith has a solid track record as a head coach and has some of the qualities the Chiefs would be looking to obtain.
The biggest question would be personnel and if Hunt would give a guy like that full control. Jon Gruden is a guy who desires to get back into coaches if he can have full control.
Find a Quarterback
The Chiefs need to find a quarterback. This is obvious, but the expectations on the availability of a lot of good quarterbacks are low. Alex Smith could be an option, but he’s hardly the inspiring choice. Smith is a quarterback that, at best, would bridge the gap until a young franchise quarterback could be found.
Realistically, the Chiefs should look at drafting a quarterback who can start right away. Geno Smith could be that guy and would be an interesting choice if paired with a guy like Chip Kelly or another forward-thinking offensive mind.
Re-Sign Dwayne Bowe
Every quarterback needs a top-flight wide receiver. Dwayne Bowe is that guy. There will be other big names hitting free agency at the position, but Bowe might be the easiest to get because of the ability to use the franchise tag on him.
The Chiefs can give Bowe extra up-front money and a slightly shorter contract that doesn’t tie him to Kansas City too many years after Bowe turns 30. Drafting a quarterback without addressing a need for a wide receiver is like buying a sports car and not putting gas in it.
Re-Sign Branden Albert
The Chiefs had some issues with injuries on the offensive line in 2012, but they have a franchise left tackle in Branden Albert. Keeping Albert and protecting your new quarterback is important.
Drafting a young franchise quarterback and not giving him good protection is like buying a sports car and not parking it in the garage. Strengthening the offensive line will help protect the quarterback by making sure the Chiefs maintain their elite running game and ability to use play-action.
If the Chiefs can get a deal done with Bowe early, they can use the franchise tag on Albert while trying to work out a long-term deal. There are other needs on the team, but the holes at left tackle and wide receiver are going to be the most important if the Chiefs want to turn around their fortunes.
Despite playing horrible in 2012, the Chiefs have a pretty solid core. What they lack is a few starters and depth that can be addressed through free agency and the draft.
The best teams in the NFL are either good and get lucky not to sustain many injuries or good and have a lot of depth. It’s often not very wise to try to play the injury-luck game in such a physical sport.
The Chiefs need depth on the offensive and defensive lines, in the secondary and at linebacker. There is a need for a few starters, but at positions that can typically be found for a bargain. Adding multiple quality players and letting them compete for those jobs is probably the way to go.
Adding quantity and not just a handful of quality guys can be just as important as finding one starter. The Chiefs need to beef up the bottom of the roster instead of trying to have a few guys carry the entire team.