Only two teams that were in the market for a head coach haven’t hired one, but lost in the shuffle of all the coaching news has been how swiftly the Chiefs have built a great coaching staff under Andy Reid.
Clark Hunt moved quickly to hire Reid, which has given him time to lure good assistants to Kansas City.
In a short time, Reid has added several quality coaches at key positions. Romeo Crennel, despite his record in Kansas City in 2012, is a good coach, but he didn’t always surround himself with good offensive coaches. Reid is a good coach too, but unlike Crennel, he’s surrounding himself with other good people.
How would you grade the coaching staff additions so far?
A successful organization is not successful because of one individual, but several quality individuals that all work together. To be successful in the NFL, the front office needs to bring in talent that fits the schemes the coaches want to run, and the coaches have to develop the talent.
Having a great head coach and bad assistants will not work. Having a great front office and bad coaches will not work. Having a great front office and good coaches will eventually yield good players and a successful football team.
The Chiefs are well on their way to having a good front office, good coaches and a roster that is not totally devoid of talent.
Reid kept Gary Gibbs to coach the linebackers and Emmitt Thomas to coach the defensive backs from Crennel’s defensive staff. The development of Justin Houston and Javier Arenas should be reason to keep those two around. Gibbs was the man Crennel trusted to be the defensive coordinator once he determined he needed to spend more time with the offense.
The Chiefs also hired Doug Pederson to be the team’s offensive coordinator, with Reid calling the plays. Pederson coached quarterbacks for Reid in Philadelphia from 2011-2012 and is a former quarterback himself. He rose quickly from a quality control coach in 2009 under Reid, which indicates he really knows his stuff.
Andy Heck was hired (per the team's official website) as the team’s offensive line coach, having spent six years with the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Jaguars haven’t always had good talent, but Heck’s offensive lines have opened up enough holes to make Maurice Jones-Drew a household name and bona fide star. Heck was a former first-round draft pick out of Notre Dame.
To lead the defense, Reid brought in Bob Sutton, who was the linebackers coach for the New York Jets. Sutton was also the defensive coordinator in New York from 2006-2008. He was retained as linebackers coach and senior assistant when Rex Ryan became the head coach in 2009. Sutton was also the assistant head coach in 2012.
In total, Sutton spent more than a decade coaching linebackers and defense in New York. For a position coach, that’s a very long run in one place. Sutton has run 3-4 defenses for many years, and the Chiefs plan to remain a 3-4 team in 2013.
Special teams is often ignored until it starts costing the team games. Reid again dipped into the bucket of longtime coaches for other teams by hiring Dave Toub to coordinate the special teams (per the team's official website) in Kansas City.
Toub was a special teams coach from 2001-2003 under Reid and spent the past several years turning Devin Hester into a star under Lovie Smith in Chicago. Toub’s units were always among the best in the NFL, and he interviewed with the Miami Dolphins for their open head coaching position last season.
It’s one thing to hire coaches, but Reid is bringing in some of the best coaches available. There is no guarantee that Reid will be a success in Kansas City, but he’s surrounding himself with good coaches to try to decrease the odds of a failure.
The hard part is still finding quality players, but it’s always nice to have coaches that can maximize the talent of the players on the roster. The Chiefs are off to a great start.