Kansas City Chiefs Revamped Staff Brings Plenty of Experience

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Kansas City Chiefs Revamped Staff Brings Plenty of Experience
(Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Following the firing of Herm Edwards, Chiefs general manager Scott Pioli probably knew that his first coaching hire could define his entire career.  If his first head coach was successful, Pioli could build on a reputation that is already just this side of glowing.

Outside of wins and losses, how does one measure whether or not that head coach choice was a good one?  By the coaches he in turns hires to fill out his staff.

At first glance, it appears Scott Pioli has scored a grade of A+ in the decision making process.  Whether that will spell out wins once the games count is still anybody’s guess.

Head coach Todd Haley came to Kansas City after spending the last two years as the offensive coordinator of the Arizona Cardinals

Under Haley, the Cardinals offense was one of the NFL’s most explosive units. Arizona averaged 26.7 points per game and ranked fourth in the league in total offense, putting up over 365 yards a game. 

Haley’s offense was especially prolific through the air, averaging over 290 yards per game.

Despite being just 42, Haley has more than served his due.  Entering his 15th year as a coach in the NFL, he’s served as a staffer for six different teams; making his debut in 1995 with the New York Jets.

The 13th ranked offense in 2008 should benefit greatly from Haley’s expertise.

Whether Haley calls the plays himself or turns the offense over to his assistants is yet to be seen, but should he feel the need for help, he has two very good ones on the offensive side.

Assistant head coach Maurice Carthon might best be known as a running back for the New York Giants during their heyday under Bill Parcells, but for the last 15 years he’s begun to build quite a name for himself as an up and coming offensive mind.

Carthon followed Haley to Kansas City after spending the last two years on the Cardinals staff serving as running backs coach.  Before that, Carthon spent the 2005 and 2006 seasons as offensive coordinator for the Cleveland Browns.

Under his tutelage, Kellen Winslow matured into a top flight NFL tight end, leading the league at his position with 89 catches.  The Chiefs will be counting on Carthon to mine that sort of season out of presumed new starting tight end Brad Cottam, after the team shipped future Hall of Famer Tony Gonzalez off to Atlanta.

Chan Gailey is one of six holdovers from the Herm Edwards regime and by far the most prominent member of the staff.  Gailey enters his second season as offensive coordinator for the Chiefs, and his 32nd year in the coaching profession overall. 

Gailey will not only serve as a top notch offensive coordinator, but also as someone to lean on for the rookie head coach.

Gailey has served as a head coach both in college and the pros, and no one on the staff understands better the ups and downs that come in a season as “The Man” on an NFL team.

Clancy Pendergast joins Kansas City as the Chiefs defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach, after spending the last five years in the same positions with the Cardinals. 

Despite an under-talented defense, Pendergast’s squad lead the NFL in fumble recoveries and finished fifth in the league in total takeaways.

During the Cards’ improbably playoff run, the team forced a league best 13 turnovers and 10 sacks while holding opponents to just 72 rushing yards per game.

Pendergast is considered one of the best defensive backs coaches in the league, witnessed by his sending safety Adrian Wilson to the Pro Bowl in 2006 and 2008, and his 2007 squad setting a franchise record for interceptions returned for touchdowns.

After spending the last three seasons as defensive coordinator for the New Orleans Saints, Gary Gibbs joins the Chiefs as their linebackers coach.  Despite less than stellar results in the bayou, Gibbs has still managed to rebuild a career that seemed dead over a decade ago.

Gibbs is best known from his time with the Oklahoma Sooners, where he played linebacker in 1972-74 and immediately began his coaching career after graduation. 

In 1989, Gibbs had the unenviable task of replacing coaching legend Barry Switzer, and while his six years there were hardly disastrous, they weren’t up to Oklahoma’s standards, and he was unceremoniously fired after a 6-6 record in 1994.

Gibbs remained out of coaching until 2000, when the University of Georgia hired him as their defensive coordinator.  He moved to LSU the next season, and in 2002 made his NFL coaching debut as the linebackers coach for the Dallas Cowboys

Ironically, his arrival in Dallas was just a few years after Barry Switzer had left that franchise.

Gibbs’ personal history might be interesting, but it takes second place compared to that of Pat Perles. 

Perles made his NFL coaching debut in 1992 with the then Los Angeles Rams, coaching two seasons under Chuck Knox but was let go when Knox was fired after a 5-11 season. 

Perles spent the next 15 years bouncing around the coaching community, a tour which included three stops in the Canadian Football League before returning to his alma mater, Michigan State.

Perles has spent the last five years at North Dakota State, most recently as their offensive coordinator.  However his return to the NFL will be as a defensive quality control assistant, which also marks the first time since 1993 that he will coach on the defensive side of the ball.

While Haley, and by extension Pioli’s first staff is certainly colorful, few people can claim they are short on experience.  Whether that experience can translate to wins, is up to them.

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