Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Pioli needs to pick a coach and get on with it

Kansas City Chiefs general manager Scott Pioli is already a day late and a dollar short. What the hell is he waiting for?

If Romeo Crennel is to be the team's next permanent head coach, the thing should have been done yesterday. Literally.

Seriously, am I missing something here? I thought the reason Pioli canned former ringmaster Todd Haley with three weeks left in the season was to get a head start on the coaching search. Was I wrong?

The season is over now. The playing field has been leveled. The Buccaneers and Rams joined the Chiefs, Dolphins, and Jaguars Monday as the teams looking for new head coaches in 2012. The Colts will soon be next, as reports surfaced Tuesday that owner Jim Irsay has relieved vice chairman Bill Polian and general manager Chris Polian of their respective duties.

When Pioli was hired as GM in 2009, the consensus was the Chiefs were late to the show in getting a new head coach. It took Pioli two weeks to determine Herm Edwards had to go, and by then his probable first-choice and love-child Josh McDaniels had already been stolen away (thankfully) by the rival Broncos.

More importantly, though, this time around Pioli has seemingly already found his man. Crennel went 2-1 as interim head coach, including a victory over the 15-1 Packers, and for better worse, has just about every one of his players campaigning for him to get the job.

The consensus is Bill Cowher and Jon Gruden won't return to coaching next season. According to some, Jeff Fisher isn't impressed with the current situation in Kansas City. Not much has been said about Tony Dungy, but that likely means he isn't interested in coaching in 2012, either.

So what does that leave? For Pioli, the answer should be an easy one.

If Crennel is the right choice for the Chiefs, nothing could be gained from making the fan base or the coach wait much longer. If this thing drags out another two weeks, it'd wreak of a swing-and-miss attempt by Pioli to try and land someone outside the organization. It wouldn't sit well with the players, fans, or Crennel.

Besides, the sooner a coach is hired, the sooner the GM can focus on the real issue facing the team this offseason. The Colts and Rams — two teams that have now ousted the front-office responsible for each's current roster situation — have the first two picks in this April's draft. That means out of Peyton Manning, Sam Bradford, Andrew Luck, and Robert Griffin III, two of the four will be available to the team(s) that value them most.

From now until the draft, any time spent by Pioli not in an effort to get one of the above quarterbacks in Chiefs' red would be a complete waste.

This team has gone too long cycling through coaches to not realize by now what's really going to make the difference. Pioli, who would have likely never been offered a job as general manager if it weren't for Tom Brady, should know better than most.

It's no coincidence all of the established former winning coaches — Cowher, Gruden, Fisher — are all rumored to only be interested in coaching teams with established quarterbacks.

It's also no coincidence that none of those coaches have even batted an eye at the Matt Cassel/Kyle Orton-ridden Chiefs' vacancy.

It's a glaring sign Pioli needs to promote Crennel and get on with it, because if this team goes status-quo at the quarterback position again next season, the head coach selected to run the show won't be all that relevant.


  1. Pioli is going to ride this out as long as it takes, as one more misstep will quite likely cost him his GM job. To quickly pick up Crennel, who must terrify Pioli for being such a "player's coach" is not a good move, especially if Pioli has a couple of well-dropped fishing lines in the water for a surprising candidate, such as a Billick or a Cowher.

    Do I think that the Chiefs will ultimately hire Crennel? Yes, I do..... and I'm not too thrilled about it...... Many of these same Chiefs played for another "player's coach" in Herm Edwards, and the results were disasterous. Should this cycle repeat itself, Pioli and his interim-to-head coach selection will both be packing their bags by 2014.

  2. Word is they've interviewed Jeff Fisher already and the talks didn't go anywhere. And they're gonna interview Packers offensive-coordinator Joe Philbin this evening (another would-be first-year head coach).

    It seems blatantly obvious, to me at least, that Pioli is looking for a coach who'll convince him the Chiefs can win with this current roster — and in specific, Matt Cassel. If this is the case, the GM's ego is still a huge issue.

    The coach just isn't as important as the QB. Look at Tony Dungy with the Bucs compared to Dungy with the Colts & Peyton Manning. Mike Shanahan with Elway/Shanahan with Grossman. Cowher pre-Big Ben/Cowher with Big Ben.

    It ain't rocket science. Cassel ain't winning playoff games. THAT'S the biggest issue the Chiefs need to solve this offseason.