Sunday, January 2, 2011

Timing of Weis news may be sign of things to come

Charlie Weis jumping ship to become the University of Florida's next offensive coordinator less than a year after his hiring in Kansas City should come as no surprise to anyone. Given he and Chiefs' head coach Todd Haley's respective personalities, one could have suspected the marriage would be short-lived.

No. It's the timing of the news of Weis' departure that is a bit concerning.

The Chiefs, having just clinched their first division title in seven years, are in the rare position of having raised expectations and added pressures as the NFL playoffs near. The team, loaded with a fragile roster full of youth and inexperience, would have been best-served avoiding any potentially damaging distractions heading into the final game of the regular season.

News breaking of the team's play-caller having one foot (or rascal wheel) out the door isn't exactly ideal.

Chiefs' offensive coordinator, Charlie Weis on his rascal during training camp in St. Joseph, MO in August.

Weis will remain with the Chiefs through the playoffs, but at least one report has the coach set to begin calling recruits for the Gators immediately. In such case, the Chiefs' coaching staff would begin game-planning Monday for their first home playoff game since January of 2004 with a coordinator whose attention is divided (Florida's official announcement of the hiring is scheduled for Monday).

That's a scary feeling if you're a Chiefs fan.

Also, it seems extremely odd the team would allow this to become known before the season comes to a close given the tightly-run ship Haley and GM Scott Pioli have strived to create since coming to Kansas City.

This couldn't have been part of "the process".

So the feeling was likely mutual, with Haley having taken over more of the play-calling as the season has progressed. The word around Arrowhead, according to numerous media outlets, is that Weis' impact on quarterback Matt Cassel and the offense's success this season has been highly overstated, and the coaching staff as a whole deserves more of the credit.

The team suddenly downplaying the efforts of its soon-to-be former offensive coordinator sounds more like insecurity and damage-control than truth. The fact of the matter is, the Chiefs went from having one of the worst offenses in the league last season to one of the most efficient this season and their Pro Bowl-robbed quarterback's play has been matched by only Tom Brady and Michael Vick.

The difference is Weis, and without him Haley's ego is bound to regress back to its ugly, 2009 form (see: Cassel's benching in the middle of the Titans game).

My guess is the Chiefs will (and would have, regardless of the news) fall short of the Super Bowl. The team is still, at the very least, another pass-rusher and Larry Fitzgerald short of being a perennial contender.

The news of Weis leaving simply affirms what many have already suspected — the Chiefs' luck will soon run out.

Pioli will then have the offseason to ponder whether he may have kicked the wrong coach to the curb.

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