Coaching Wheel Spins – Muir Retires, Saunders Visits

The work on putting the final pieces together on Romeo Crennel’s coaching staff took two surprising turns on Wednesday.

A week after saying he had no plans to retire, offensive line coach and last year’s offensive coordinator Bill Muir announced he was in fact retiring.

And, visiting the Chiefs yesterday to talk about the offensive coordinator’s job was Al Saunders, former offensive coordinator under Dick Vermeil and long-time assistant coach with the franchise. Last season, Saunders was with Oakland as the Raiders offensive coordinator.

“Al is there today talking with Romeo,” Vermeil said Wednesday in Indianapolis as he was making the rounds of radio row. “He wants to see if there’s any chance to go back to Oakland, but if not he’d love the Chiefs job.”

The Raiders have a new head coach in Dennis Allen and he reportedly has hired Greg Knapp as his offensive coordinator. That would seem to leave Saunders out in the cold as far as a position of any offensive significance with Oakland. But that does not mean the Raiders, even under new leadership with GM Reggie McKenzie, would allow him to break his contract, especially to join the Chiefs.

As for Muir, the veteran coach said he simply changed his mind on continuing his coaching career that began in 1965 at his alma mater Susquehanna College.

“I have had a change of heart on what I told you last week,” said Muir on Wednesday in a phone call he initiated. “I am retiring from the Chiefs. My intentions when I spoke last week were conflicted to a degree and I did not want to speak to that at the time.

“But at the time we spoke at the Senior Bowl, my intentions were to continue to coach. For personal reasons, I’ve changed my mind.”

Said Crennel via a PR release from the team: “I am excited for Bill as he moves into retirement. I have known him for a long time and he is one of the finest coaches I’ve ever been around and an even better person. Bill is a very good friend and I have a great deal of respect for the way he worked. It was a privilege to work alongside him.”

Added GM Scott Pioli, also from a statement released by the team: “I have a tremendous amount of respect for Bill. I have worked with him for a long time and have witnessed him develop a number of very good football players. His contributions are very much appreciated and he will be missed. We wish him the best moving forward.”

Muir’s retirement leaves another important hole in Crennel’s coaching staff for the 2012 season. Why it’s taken so long to finish the staff seems to be an indication that the Chiefs are waiting or a coach who is still working, meaning the Giants or Patriots in the Super Bowl.

18 Responses to “Coaching Wheel Spins – Muir Retires, Saunders Visits”

  • February 1, 2012  - el cid says:

    Interesting since we have some opinion on Al but does he fit the current Chiefs style? Do not see it. Cassel is not his type of QB, WR do not fit, running attack is not Saunders perference. Just does not seem the right combination to me. Just cannot get my head around Pioli saying Cassel is the guy and Al saying ok with me.

  • February 1, 2012  - Niblick says:

    el cid-I agree on the wide receivers. He liked smaller quicker receivers. I do think he liked to run the ball wth Priest and later with LJ. I’m not sure on QB. I guess you are thinking he liked stronger armed and accurate QBs. Trent didn’t have the strongest arm but he was very accurate. I do think he likes pocket passers and Cassell does fit the bill there. It may not be his preference on the personnel we have, but he wants an OC job. I guess we will just have to wait and see.

  • February 1, 2012  - txchief says:

    I think all coaches ad NFL fans like strong-armed accurate QBs. Unfortunately, Cassel doesn’t have either attribute. A good OC would be able to adapt and make the most of the player talent he has at his disposal. Saunders has a wealth of experience, and is a good candidate for the job.

  • February 1, 2012  - Niblick says:

    txchief-I totally agree. I think Al could adapt to our personnel and do well. An OC never has the exactly the personnel he wants. I hope he gets the job.

  • February 1, 2012  - Tim says:

    Al woul be fine. Oakland’s WRs, several of them anyway, are fairly tall. Jacoby Ford is the exception. I believe the issue would be Cassel. I just don’t believe Cassel’s mind processes what he sees fast enough to be effective. He’s way too methodical, not instinctive enough & not accurate enough for that offensive scheme. He’d have to greatly improve in a hurry.

  • February 1, 2012  - BigJimInWisconsin says:

    I’d rather see Al Saunders than Mike Martz as OC.

    We now need an OL coach too, right?

    Go CHIEFS!

  • February 1, 2012  - txchief says:


    Everything you said about Cassel is true. His performance is even worse when you see him in the stadium and not on TV. On the small screen, you don’t see the open receivers running free that he doesn’t pick up.

    While he is by all accounts a wonderful guy, Cassel seems indecisive and reluctant in the pocket. Whether that was due to Haley’s kooky golf coaching, I’m not sure. Matt has been paid well, clearing more than most will earn in a lifetime. Time to really find a franchise QB. Workmanlike “game manager” QBs don’t win many Superbowls (R).

  • February 1, 2012  - Johnfromwichita says:

    I think Saunders is creative enough that he could live with Cassel. Maybe last year was an anomaly for Matt. Crap, he couldn’t make up his mind fast enough, compared to Orton.I think there’s enough seperate players on offense that Saunders could find a way to move the ball. Plus we have the draft and free agents to help. That said, if we don’t get Saunders I would be happy with Zorn. Love having a QB as OC; it only seems natural.

  • February 2, 2012  - Chuck says:

    I’ll stand by what I have been saying now for over 2 weeks. Zorn will be the OC. I just can’t believe this is going on 6 weeks now. Must be something to Kent Babb’s story afterall.

  • February 2, 2012  - txchief says:

    There probably won’t be any news on the OC and other coaches until after the Superbowl (R) anyway. The league doesn’t like teams to make major announcemnents in the days leading up to the game.

  • February 2, 2012  - jim says:

    I agree with el cid, but to a point. Any good coach, HC or OC/DC, coaches to his talent rather than try to make the talent fit his single minded aproach. IF, bit IF, Saunders is our guy moving forward, hopefully he will have the ability to make his approach fit our talent. Eventually, thru drafts/FA he might get some of “his” type folks, but we could sure make worse moves than Al.

    I would think Al has been around long enough to realize all this.Having a good OL coach to work closely with him will be immportant, and how he works with his assts. will be critical. Time will tell.

  • February 2, 2012  - Rick says:

    I find it interesting that not only does Muir retire, but that his assistant with the o-line, Perless was let go as well. Makes me wonder if the Chiefs aren’t considering going in a different direction as far as line play goes.

    I also agree that Saunders could easily adapt to the talent at hand. This notion that he has to have specific types of players is nonsense.

    I’m also not completely convinced, yet, that Cassel is going to be the guy in the coming season. I wouldn’t be shocked to see us move in another direction, I don’t think Romeo is in Cassel’s corner. Time will tell.

  • February 2, 2012  - David says:

    Bob – if in fact the delay in announcing an OC means that the Chiefs are looking at someone with the Pats or Giants, who might that be? The local and national press have been tossing around the names of potential OC candidates for the Chiefs and various other teams for about a month now, and I don’t think I’ve heard anyone seriously discuss a current Pats or Giants coach as a candidate to take an OC position for another team.

  • February 2, 2012  - Craig says:

    HI Bob,

    Great article as always. Does everyone remember in camp where Zorn set up the 90 gallon garbage can in the endzone and he was the only QB on the team that could hit it from 40 or 50 yards? Im not sure who ran the story, but my point is if the 50 year old is the most accurate QB on the team then the team is in alot of trouble.

    Dave, I’ll throw out a name, Kevin Gilbright OC of the Giants, former HC. I would be happy with Zorn.

  • February 2, 2012  - Tim says:

    I have no doubt if Saunders is the guy, he’ll do his best to adapt to whoever is here. That’s what a good coach does. How quickly we would be able to evolve into what the “vision” may be is going to depend on the committment of mgmt. to acquire the players that give us the best chance to do so.

    txchief…I agree with you. It is much clearer when you see what happens in person. I view from Sec. 322 row 7. Its clear as a bell his hesitation & his lack of instinct in too many instances.

  • February 2, 2012  - el cid says:

    David, multiple sites has mentioned the NE TEs coach, son of the Iowa HC. Probably garanteed to not be the guy, since the Chiefs talk to on one.

    Right now it is Saunders (media can comment on him with his past in KC) and the kid and…..silence.

    If Pioli plays to form, it will be someone he can work with which would include Cassel being the man for at least 2 more years, someone familiar with the NEway concept as in keep his mouth shut, and not be a wave maker.

    That means… one knows.

  • February 4, 2012  - cychief24 says:

    NFL Network reports Brian Daboll from Miami. Worked with Romeo at Cleveland.
    From my seats in 325 row 1, I saw one of the most miserable O-lines in 34 years of having Season Tickets. I usually hesitate right before a car accident, that’s what Cassel went through on every play.
    Glad to see both O-line coaches go.

  • February 4, 2012  - cychief24 says:

    My bad. Daboll coached with RAC in NE, then Mangini in Cleveland.

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