After months of speculation around the Kansas City Chiefs play-calling for 2011, head coach Todd Haley has officially stated that new offensive coordinator Bill Muir will be choosing the offensive plays this season.
Many expected Haley to take over play-calling duties in addition to his head coaching duties, much like he had done in the 2009 season. Haley, though, has admitted to being stretched too thin this season and has left Muir in charge, lightening his load a bit.
Formerly the offensive line coach, Muir was named coordinator after the departure of Charlie Weis. Under Weis, the Chiefs’ offense stepped up in a big way, becoming the best rushing offense in the country as well as helping wide receiver Dwayne Bowe and quarterback Matt Cassel reach their potential. That is a very tough act for Muir to follow.
While this is not the first time Muir has served an offensive coordinator, holding the position for Jon Gruden’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers, it will be Muir’s first time calling plays for the offense.
Is Muir up to the challenge?
All indications from the preseason point towards no as the answer. The Chiefs struggled mightily all season with Muir’s own area of expertise, the offensive line, becoming one of the main areas of trouble. In fact, very rarely in the preseason did the offense seem capable of handling any defensive pressure.
That, of course, is just the preseason, though. If you were to base all of your opinions on Muir through that, the outlook would be bleak, but very incomplete.
While Muir’s lack of play-calling experience may be a bit alarming to Chiefs fans as well, there is less of a reason to worry then one might think.
While Haley will allow Muir to call the plays, extensive sessions throughout the week will team Haley and Muir, along with quarterback Matt Cassel, to come up with that week’s plays. Sure, Muir will be deciding which play to use when, but the crafting of the plays will be more of a team effort.
For the most part, Muir is confident in his ability.
“Do I think I’m qualified to do it? Yes,” Muir told The Kansas City Star on Friday. “I’ve been coaching in the National Football League for 34 years. I don’t think calling plays is going to be something I’m not up for.”
While Chiefs fans seem to expect Haley to take over play-calling duties throughout the season, there is no indication that this will be the case. Haley will still have his hand in the offense without having to handle the whole thing. This should be enough to keep him satisfied.
No, Muir does not have a lot of experience, but no judgment can really be made about Muir until the end of Week 1 against Buffalo. Muir will have his chance to build on the success that Weis left behind in Kansas City.
If Muir struggles, there is a chance that Haley might take over more of the offense, but for him to completely take it over would require an epic downfall by Muir.
Hopefully, Muir’s confidence is justified.