As Todd Haley scrambled to put together his coaching staff back in February, he got unexpected help.
When the Arizona Cardinals decided to part ways with defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast (right), Haley wasted little time in getting his former counterpart in the desert on board with the Chiefs.
He eventually named Pendergast his defensive coordinator, after former Cleveland head coach Romeo Crennel decided to spend the year out of coaching; in the early off-season he was recovering from hip replacement surgery and faced a lengthy rehab. That was one of the reasons he decided to sit out this season.
Crennel would have been a big get for the Chiefs staff. But Haley likes how his defensive staff has come together through the off-season program.
On Tuesday, we covered Haley and his comments on his offensive staff. Today, here’s what the Chiefs head coach had to say about the rest of his coaching staff.
CLANCY PENDERGAST/Defensive Coordinator & Secondary
Haley eats, sleeps and breathes football. But even he’ll admit that he can’t match Pendergast when it comes to living the game.
“Sometimes we go out for a beer I’ve got to shut him up because all he wants to do is talk football,” Haley said. “He lives and breathes football. He comes over, and before you know it, he’s talking about this or that and I’m like ‘Clancy let’s talk about the weather, let’s shut it down for a few minutes.’
“Clancy is a highly intelligent guy that’s all about football.”
The 2009 season will be Pendergast’s 15th year coaching in the NFL and his 19th-year in the coaching business. He did previous stints with the Oilers, Cowboys, Browns and five seasons in Arizona, where he was first hired by Dennis Green.
“We had to play Arizona a bunch when I was in Dallas and they were pretty good on defense a couple of those years,” Haley said. “I thought there was some creative, outside-the-box thinking that I liked. He’s done some unique things over the years.”
TIM KRUMRIE/Defensive Line
So Todd Haley, why did you make Krumrie one of the six holdover coaches from the ’08 Chiefs staff?
“Just to watch him work,” Haley said with a smile.
For those who have never experienced watching Krumrie handle his defensive linemen, then they don’t know about his high energy, high intensity and highly vocal style. But just about everybody in the NFL knows about Krumrie’s way.
“I didn’t know Tim at all until getting here, only by reputation,” said Haley. “But as I got to know him, he’s kind of like what I’m asking of the players. I want guys that live and breathe football. That’s all they care about. It’s not always the case with players and coaches, believe me.
“But Tim is about football. You’ve got to pull the reins on him every once in awhile, but I think he’s as passionate as they come. He’s tough as nuts in every area. He’s what we want our players to be – mentally tough guys that cannot be affected by anything.”
This is Krumrie’s fifth season coaching with the Chiefs and his -year working in the NFL as a coach. He also played seasons in the league on the defensive line.
“I think Tim is excited about having the opportunity to show his ability and work with these guys,” said Haley.
Gibbs may have the most difficult job on the Chiefs coaching staff. It has nothing to do with the linebackers under his charge. It’s just that Haley views him as the calming force on his staff, and the head coach says he knows that’s going to be needed.
“Gary is a former head coach and I’ll lean on him a bunch and already have,” Haley said. “He’s probably the steadiest guy we’ve got. I need that and I know I’m going to need that as we get into the real stuff.”
“That calming, level headedness is a big item with Gary.”
A 20-year coaching veteran, Gibbs will be in his eighth season of coaching in the NFL with previous stops in Dallas for four years and New Orleans for three more. He broke into coaching at his alma mater, the University of Oklahoma, as a graduate assistant in ’75 and was eventually promoted to linebackers coach, defensive coordinator and head coach (’89-94).
“He’s another smart guy that understands defenses,” Haley said. “He’s been around the 4-3 and 3-4. He’s been around the transition from a 4-3 to a 3-4 in Dallas.
“The big thing to me, other than the fact he’s an excellent linebackers coach, is that he’s a big picture guy with that head coaching experience.”
RONNIE BRADFORD/Defensive Assistant
Before they sat down to talked in Indianapolis back in February, Haley knew little about Bradford.
“I interviewed Ronnie at the Combine and was really impressed,” Haley said. “He’s a former special teams coach and I like that aspect with him. I like the former DB, player aspect of it. With Steve (Hoffman) being in his first year as the full special teams coach, I have somebody on staff that can really help that end of it.”
Bradford played 10 seasons in the NFL with the Broncos, Cardinals, Falcons and Vikings. He joined Mike Shanahan’s staff in Denver after his career was over and spent six years on the staff there.
“The more I’ve seen of Ronnie, the more I’ve liked him, I like the way he coaches,” Haley said. “A lot of times you get former players and they still think they are a player, and that’s what you don’t want. Ronnie is a great example, like Mo (Carthon), guys that have become coaches. They are out of the playing business. I think he has a bright future.”
PAT PERLES/Defensive Quality Control
Haley and Perles have known each other for a long time thanks to their fathers. Dick Haley was the player personnel guru of the Steelers and George Perles was first defensive line coach and then defensive coordinator of the Steel Curtain. But their sons were never close friends.
“His father and my father obviously worked together with the Steelers and we’d be at training camp together every year,” said Haley. “We lived in the same neighborhood, but because he’s about three years older, we weren’t on the same teams. Back in those days, Tom Moore would actually drive Pat and me into the Steelers games when we were both ball boys. So we spent a lot of Sunday mornings, with a 7 a.m. drive together.
But once Perles went off to college, they lost contact for some time. This will be Perles’ 21st year in coaching, with two previous seasons in the NFL with the Rams, and six seasons in the Canadian Football League.
“We didn’t talk to each other for almost 20 years,” Haley said. “Then one Senior Bowl he bumped into me, introduced himself and we caught up. We stayed in contact after that when he was up in Canada and we stayed in touch when he went back to the colleges at North Dakota.”
Perles served as a training camp intern one summer for the Cardinals and they were able to reconnect again.
“I thought he was good,” Haley said. “He’s pretty much all football and with an added bonus he’s from the neighborhood.”
STEVE HOFFMAN/Special Teams Coach
Haley and Hoffman worked together in Dallas, but with the only Cowboys that Hoffman was in charge of were the kickers. Now, he’s in charge of the all the special teams.
“The guy is very smart, very smart and unlike most of the special teams coaches in the league, he has the ability to teach the specialists,” Haley said. “I think that’s a big item. He’s been around very good special teams coaches and he’s been around it for 19 years.
“He never got the shot, so I figured I would be the one to give him the shot at doing it. I think he’s fully capable. I like the aspect that he can teach the kickers and understands their mindset.”
Hoffman owns 19 years of NFL coaching experience. He most recently spent a two-year tour with Miami as kicking coach (2008) and assistant special teams coach (2007). He also worked in Atlanta and Dallas.
SIGNINGS & MOVEMENT AROUND THE LEAGUE
CHIEFS – officially announced the signing of fifth-round draft choice OT Colin Brown.
DOLPHINS – signed third-round draft choice WR Patrick Turner.
TITANS – signed third-round draft choice CB Ryan Mouton and fourth-round LB Gerald McRath.
VIKINGS – signed fifth-round draft choice LB Jasper Brinkley.
SAY HAPPY BIRTHDAY …
Born on July 1, 1971 in White Plains, New York was the Chiefs Director of Pro Personnel Ray Farmer (left). He played three seasons in the NFL with the Eagles, appearing in 32 games as a linebacker. Farmer has been with the Chiefs since 2006, after spending four years in the personnel department of the Atlanta Falcons.
Born on July 1, 1975 in Charleston, South Carolina was RB Mike Cloud. He was selected in the second round of the 1999 NFL Draft out of Boston College and played four seasons with the Chiefs (1999-2002). He appeared in 56 games with six starts and carried the ball 121 times for 381 yards and four TDs. He caught 11 passes for 89 yards and returned 46 kickoffs for 981 yards. He finished h is career playing three more seasons with the Patriots and giants.