Firing Romeo Crennel and Scott Pioli was an easy decision for chairman and CEO Clark Hunt, but the hard part was hiring the right head coach and general manager to take their place. The Kansas City Chiefs were a complete disaster in 2012, and Hunt had to find two guys that could turn things around quickly after four lost years under Pioli.
Maybe Hunt got lucky or maybe he was extremely shrewd when he hired Andy Reid to be his head coach soon after Reid was fired by the Philadelphia Eagles. Of all the coaches available, Reid had the longest and most successful track record. It was also Reid’s relationship with John Dorsey that enabled the Chiefs to coax him to Kansas City.
Hunt didn’t hesitate to hire his head coach, but that left open the possibility the Chiefs would have to settle for a lesser general manager. It was a gamble, but it’s a gamble that paid off twofold. Dorsey is a great candidate who is the exact opposite of Pioli.
Dorsey worked alongside general manager Ron Wolf and Ted Thompson as well as Reggie McKenzie, who left the Packers to become Oakland’s general manager last year. Dorsey wouldn’t have left for just any opportunity; he wasn’t a hot general manager candidate because he had a good situation in Green Bay.
By bringing in a seasoned talent evaluator like Dorsey, the Chiefs have mitigated any concerns that Reid would completely control the roster. It was Reid’s control of the roster in Philadelphia that ultimately led to his downfall. One of the reasons Reid was such a great hire is that he learns from his mistakes.
Bringing in Dorsey and not hiring Marty Mornhinweg as his offensive coordinator is a good sign that he’s making some adjustments to the way he did things in Philadelphia. Reid’s willingness to change as well as a track record of developing and coaching quarterbacks makes him an ideal head coach, even if he comes with a few warts.
Reid will call the plays, which he hasn’t done since 2006 and ceded a lot of power to his friend Dorsey. The Packers have been one of the most successful teams over the past 20 years and a lot of that has been due to the great people in the front office in Green Bay like Dorsey. The Eagles had the same thing going for them until losing Tom Heckert to Cleveland and Ryan Grigson to Indianapolis.
Having a head coach that can work closely with the front office to acquire talent was probably Pioli’s biggest failure. Pioli brought with him the model used in New England, which is a front office and coaching staff that all reports back to one head guy—Bill Belichick. It works in New England because they have Belichick, but take him out of the equation and you have a long string of failures.
Doing things like Belichick is just not possible outside of New England, and there are no other teams that are modeled like the Patriots. There are several successful teams that have a head coach that works closely with a stable front office to put together the best possible roster.
How would you grade Clark Hunt's GM and HC hires?
It’s this kind of teamwork that Hunt is hoping to create by changing the entire structure of the football operations department. Reid and Dorsey will both report directly to Hunt along with team president Mark Donovan.
Dorsey will have the power in the draft room, but Reid will likely have significant say over the final roster. At no point should the Chiefs have another feud between the general manager and head coach that gets so ugly that the head coach thinks his phone is bugged.
For the first time since Carl Peterson and Dick Vermeil, the Chiefs will have a front office and head coach that will both work together and are well qualified to do their jobs. There’s no guarantee things will work out for the Chiefs, but Hunt has done everything in his power to give the Chiefs a chance.
A quick turnaround is certainly possible, but with Reid and Dorsey the Chiefs are also built for long-term stability. It’s that kind of long-term stability along with the quarterback position that separates the good teams from the bad teams. Now all Dorsey and Reid need to do is to find a quarterback.