Dominoes Start to Fall … Tuesday Cup O’Chiefs

It’s always part of the collateral damage when a football team decides to change head coaches.

The top man is only the first domino. When he gets knocked over, it knocks down other dominos on the coaching staff, and even into other areas of football operations. No head coach has been asked to leave without others joining him.

That process with the Chiefs started becoming public on Monday, as the hiring of a new special teams coach was announced. Tom McMahon joins the team after three seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals. Kansas City is the third stop in the NFL for the Montana native, starting in Atlanta and moving on to St. Louis.

That McMahon was hired means that someone else was fired, and that was the Chiefs special teams coach of the last three years, Steve Hoffman. That happened right after Crennel was named the team’s head coach and he started talking with members of the staff. Hoffman was asked to stay with the team and coach only the kickers, but he decided against that choice and the serious pay cut.

That’s too bad for the Chiefs because Hoffman’s work with kickers and punters has always been top shelf in the NFL during his time with Dallas, Atlanta, Miami and Kansas City. In those earlier stops he worked only with the punter and kicker. When he was hired by the Chiefs, Hoffman was given the entire special teams package to coach.

While the kicking game did not produce what the team was looking for in returns and coverage, the unit’s overall performance was not bad, but average. Here’s how the Chiefs finished on special teams in the league rankings, compared to the Rams with McMahon in charge.

Statistical Category

NFL Average

 Chiefs

NFL Rank

 Rams

NFL Rank

Punt return

9.9

11.9

6

11.0

11

Kickoff return

23.8

21.3

30

23.3

20t

Punt coverage

9.9

11.4

18

12.3

26

Kickoff coverage

23.8

24.2

17

25.1

24

Gross punting

45.0

45.9

12

44.3

21

Net punting

na

40.1

9

37.0

26

Field goal %

81.3%

80%

21

75%

30

Avg. start-offense

22.1

20.6

30

32.2

29

Avg. start-defense

22.1

23.1

28

21.9

14

Touchbacks

na

31

20

15

30

Average NFL rank    

19.1

 

23.1

In St. Louis, McMahon worked with kicker Josh Brown and punter Donnie Jones. Plus, they had the advantage of having all eight home games indoors at the Edwards Jones Dome. The only action they found in the return game came from Nick Miller, signed off the waiver wire at mid-season. His first game, he took back a punt 88 yards for a touchdown. The Rams longest kickoff return was 47 yards.

Coverage-wise, the Rams problems were with one player – Arizona rookie Patrick Peterson. He returned two punts in two different games for touchdowns against St. Louis, including one for 99 yards. On kick coverage the longest return against the Rams was 54 yards. They allowed a blocked punt and a blocked FG, one of seven that Brown missed over the season. St. Louis also got a blocked punt as well.

In avenues beyond Succop’s kicking and Colquitt’s punting the Chiefs did not get enough things done and that didn’t help Hoffman’s position on the staff. They’ve not had a return touchdown since the opening game of the 2010 season, and only two in the last three seasons. Their longest kick return was 35 yards and longest punt return was 37 yards. They gave up a 72-yard punt return TD, and while they allowed a 91-yard kickoff return, it did not go for a touchdown. They did not have a blocked punt or placement, but allowed two blocked FGs when playing the Raiders that cost them a chance to win an important game at the end of the season.

The announcement of McMahon was matched with the information that along with Hoffman, WR coach Richie Anderson and assistant offensive line coach Pat Perles will not return.

No word yet on the direction that Crennel is looking for the offensive coordinator’s position.

TD FOR D.J. IN ALOHA LAND

So amidst the silliness of Sunday’s Pro Bowl, the final score for the AFC team in its 59-41 victory over the NFC was an interception return TD by Chiefs outside linebacker Derrick Johnson.

Actually the interception wasn’t his, but that of San Diego safety Eric Weddle, who grabbed the Cam Newton overthrow to TE Tony Gonzalez. As Weddle was being tackled, he threw the ball to Johnson, who then ran the final 60 yards into the end zone.

He’s the first Chiefs defensive player to score a touchdown in the Pro Bowl since DE Art Still took a fumbled snap by St. Louis QB Neil Lomax and ran 83 yards for a score on January 27, 1985.


11 Responses to “Dominoes Start to Fall … Tuesday Cup O’Chiefs”

  • January 31, 2012  - johnfromfairfax says:

    Thanks for the info Bob. Stats don’t always tell all you need to know but they don’t lie either. We fired the special teams coach (a move I agree with) and hire another coach who’s team trailed us in 7 of 10 ST categories and finished 4 spots below us in overall ST rankings. Maybe that speaks more to what McMahon was given to work with in St. Louis. Hopefully we’ll see improvement in this important area that has been a problem for us as demonstrated repeatedly under Hoffman. I’m waiting to see what we do with our offensive hires. Romeo has never been know for his offensive acumen and hopefully we’re not going to trade friends of Haley for friends of Pioli in the shuffle to fill spots. We can argue over Pioli’s role on acquiring player talent in New England but I’ll guarantee you he had no input into hiring coaches for Belichick and he shouldn’t here either.


  • January 31, 2012  - Chuck says:

    Speaking of special teams and McMahon. Remember the old days with Tamarak Vanover??? That guy was special. He could return kickoffs for a 100 yard return. Anyway I don’t remember this last season where the Chiefs even had one punt or kickoff return for a touchdown. Do you????? Also whats the “delay” on the OC??? I get the strong feeling that the hire is already on the team. In other words from within the organization. If they truly wanted Daboll or Hue Jackson or anybody for that matter they could have already gone out and secured him before somebody grabs him. Thats why I think the big WAIT and ANTICIPATION thing will end with a DISSAPOINTMENT for many of us.


  • January 31, 2012  - aPauled says:

    Would be nice if McMahon brings some creativity to Special Teams. KC has a long history of big plays on ST and dynamic returners. Rather than the boring old lineup for the kick off, some teams use a huddle and break into odd fronts to get an advantage. So many things that can be done on ST that bring energy and can change a game…but seems like most coaches just stick to the boring old hum-drum basics. Hope that McMahon/Crennel don’t.


  • January 31, 2012  - PAChiefsFan says:

    Bob,
    Is there any rumblings of what the Chiefs plan to do as far as signing free agent Chiefs, specifically Bowe? I hope we don’t go down the Jared Allen route again and trade away a proven player for unknown draft picks. Just wondered if you had any thoughts on what they might do.


  • January 31, 2012  - el cid says:

    The end of this season lots of coaches move on but it was the owners who created the problems of 2011 with the lockout, all about money.

    It is funny, how a coach like Fisher can attract coaching assistants and we get Crennel who, apparrently, has no clue of who he wants on the offensive side of the ball or the coaches who decline to work for the Chiefs, Hunt, Pioli and crew. Speculation, sure, but no facts to dispute it.

    As free agency approaches, we should be arguing who the Chiefs might bring in but, heck, we have no idea if Bowe or Carr is staying, or even if the Chiefs have any interest. Pioli – it takes two to make a marriage.


  • January 31, 2012  - Johnfromwichita says:

    Boy, memory can be fickle. I was at the 85 pro-bowl. I remember Art Still picking up the fumble and running. But I don’t remeber him scoring. I thought he ran out of gas on the five yard line. But Bob, and a couple sites confirmed, that he crossed the goal line. Guess beer was a lot cheaper in 85.


  • January 31, 2012  - jim says:

    Agree with el cid. Fisher put together a very good staff quickly. My concern is that our OC is already on staff. If not, I am cautiously optomistic that it will be someone off one of the teams playing sunday. That’s probably hoping for too much with our FO.


  • January 31, 2012  - el cid says:

    jim, imagine the dancing in the streets if the Chiefs “have” to name a guy on staff as OC after waiting from the Crennel hiring to after the superbowl, just to say no one from outside the organization would take the job or be better than Muir or Zorn. BAM and they hit the bottom.

    I am sure they will bring someone in, will he be any good, not so sure but he will be able to get along with Pioli. That is the important factor, not putting a winning plan on the field.


  • January 31, 2012  - Chuck says:

    el cid; Over on another site (not to be mentioned) they want Brian Ferentz the tight ends coach for the Pats. Here’s the problem the way I see it. He is all of 28 years old and has NO EXPERIENCE at the OC job. He played in the pro’s only 2 years and both times he was on the taxi squad and both times was cut. The OC job is so PARAMOUNT that if Pioli doesn’t get this hire CORRECT I really feel that he may be on the HOTSEAT and not the OC that he hired. Remember Haley was a failure and so was Muir. How many chances is Pioli going to get???????


  • January 31, 2012  - el cid says:

    Ouch, Chuck. Many coaches were fringe players, they stood around and learned the game while the first and second string played (at least they were in the stadium not playing golf). That said 28 and no experience, unless he is a mensa we get to diaper him thru years of failure. Do not care if he is the next Lombardi, who wants to wait 4-5 years for him to learn. Hopefully (said with little hope) Pioli is not that stupid.


  • February 1, 2012  - Rick says:

    .
    I disagree that Fisher has put together a good staff in St Louis. Williams is a one trick pony who has had to move around the league a bunch because his blitz on every down defense has a short shelf life. And Shotty Jr, really, that’s a good hire? Lol. :)




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