How Good A Job Is It Anyway? … Monday Cup O’Chiefs

If the news that’s been flowing down the NFL grapevine over the weekend is to be believed, the Chiefs should be announcing Romeo Crennel as their new head coach sometime this week. This does not come as breaking news, since some have predicted this from the first days that Crennel held the job in place of Todd Haley.

Whether Crennel’s full-time ascension was from the start fait accompli, or GM Scott Pioli and team chairman Clark Hunt really were out there interviewing candidates because they wanted to see if they could find a better head coaching candidate, the pick of Crennel will surprise no one.

That leaves a couple of questions that need to be answered as the team moves into another new era. No. 1: was Crennel the guy from the start and was everyone else that was interviewed compared to him? No. 2, just how good a job is being the head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs?

It’s understood that there are only 32 head coaching jobs in this league. For those working in the coaching business, there wasn’t a lot of consideration of whether a head job was worth it – if it was offered then the deal had to be taken.

There is no question, however, that some head coaching jobs are better than others. In the last month there have been five head coaching jobs that came open in the NFL – the Chiefs, Jacksonville, Tampa Bay, St. Louis and Miami. That’s just less than the average each year of six new head coaches. Some coaches like former Tennessee head man Jeff Fisher can be picky in what job they select because they have options in more than one place. A guy like Jon Gruden or Bill Cowher would likely have the same multiple opportunities. Not so for those coordinator types that are seeking that shot for the first or second time.

Just how do potential head coaches sort through the options? Like anyone else in any other choice, they sit down and make a list of what’s important. Forget the individual matters of being close to family, living on one coast, or living in the mountains. As much as those items hover over a coach, those are only items that can enhance an opportunity.

They are going to consider four items of importance:

  • Owner
  • General Manager
  • Quarterback
  • Team

Let’s break down each category based on the five teams that have jobs open at this time. In each category, we’ll provide a grade: + is worth 2 points, – is minus 2 points, 0 involves no points,? is a minus 1 point.

OWNER

There are important items a coach is going to need to hear from the owner. How involved is he? Is he willing to spend to win? Does he lock up the wallet when it comes to coaching staff and other football team-related positions? Do they want to call plays or make personnel decisions? Really the most important question a potential coach is seeking from the owner is his definition of winning and his commitment to making it happen. Hey, every owner wants to win, but for many victory or defeat is decided not by the scoreboard, but the bottom line.

  • Chiefs – What can’t be ignored is the fact that Clark Hunt has fired two head coaches in the last three years. That does not present a picture of stability for a coach. The league still hasn’t seen enough to know if Hunt is worried first about the bottom line and then winning or vice-a-versa. Give them a 0.
  • Jacksonville – New Jaguars owner Shahid Khan takes control during a search for a new head coach. Heaven knows what he brings to the party and how much he plans to be involved. It’s a real ? For anybody considering a head coaching job with the Jags.
  • Miami – Stephen Ross is involved and maybe he’s too involved. But he’s willing to spend money and he’d give any coach plenty of resources to get things done the coach’s way. A + for the Dolphins.
  • Tampa Bay – The Glazier family is not a positive, but whether they qualify as a negative is debatable. They now have hired and fired two head coaches in a short period of time. They are not one of the league team that spends money on personnel. At best give them a 0.
  • St. Louis – Now under the direction for Stan Kroenke, there is little information to discern what direction Kroenke is going to go. By nature he appears to be a conservative owner, unlikely to throw big money around all season. His other sports operations are relatively well-run businesses. Right now, give him a +.

GENERAL MANAGER

In St. Louis, they have not yet named a new general manager, but that’s not necessarily a negative for a coach. It means he might be able to have some input on the person who gets hired. That relationship with the GM is huge for any head coach because if it feels like the guy in control of personnel is not pulling his oar in the same direction as the head coach, it’s an impossible situation. Just check the Chiefs 2011.

  • Chiefs – Scott Pioli is fairly well-respected around the league but what went down with Todd Haley in the last year has stained his reputation. It’s left many wondering what’s important for Pioli – winning or controlling every aspect of the franchise. Those type of questions have been asked inside the building as well. Right now, it’s a push 0.
  • Jacksonville – Gene Smith was put in charge two years ago, winning a power struggle with since departed head coach Jack Del Rio. His work on improving the roster has not been very impressive. That’s a negative.
  • Miami – People around the NFL wonder just where Jeff Ireland stands with the Dolphins. Owner Stephen Ross has backed him publicly, but when the organization as out chasing Jeff Fisher, it was Carl Peterson working with Ross, not Ireland. He’s a nice person who will work hard to coexist with any coach, but Ireland so far isn’t a positive as much as a negative.
  • Tampa Bay – Mark Dominik has put together a mixed bag in his time in charge of the Buccaneers and there are certainly question marks on how helpful he’d be to a new coach keeping his job. It’s a negative.
  • St. Louis – Unknown at this time, but again a new coach may get an opportunity to get his stamp on the GM position. Right now it’s a ?

QUARTERBACK

There are very few teams with proven quarterbacks that are looking for head coaches. None of these teams has a franchise passer. Tampa Bay and St. Louis might, but their young quarterbacks are still in the learning stages.

  • Chiefs – It’s hard to point to Matt Cassel and/or Kyle Orton as a positive in job selecting. The concern is that Cassel has played as well as he ever will and that Orton hasn’t been sent packing by two teams because he’s the answer. This is a negative.
  • Jacksonville – Rookie Blaine Gabbert got smacked around this season and did little to convince the Jaguars that his upside is as high as they thought it once was. Right now it’s a negative.
  • Miami – In the time that Bill Parcells-Jeff Ireland-Tony Sparano were in charge of the Dolphins, they were unable to create a top level quarterback. They ran through plenty of bodies and now are left with Chad Henne, who has been less than impressive. A negative on this job.
  • Tampa Bay – It was not a good season for Josh Freeman, but that does not wipe away the fact he performed so well at the start of his time with the Buccaneers. Any coach would like to inherit a young QB with the physical tools that Freeman has. In Tampa Bay it’s a positive.
  • St. Louis – It was not a good season for Sam Bradford; chalk it up to a new offense and QB coach in Josh McDaniels and the normal struggles of a young quarterback. It’s a positive, rather than a negative.

TEAM

Generally teams are looking for new head coaches because they didn’t win enough games in the last few seasons. And, generally teams do not win enough games because they do not have enough talent. Of these five teams the only one that made the playoffs in 2010 were the Chiefs. They went in the opposite direction this past season largely because of injury and poor depth on the roster.

  • Chiefs – Of the available jobs, the Chiefs have the best roster and the group that appears most ready to win quickly. Just a year removed from the playoffs, the only key performers lost were injured players last year. This is a positive.
  • Jacksonville – They were 13-19 in the last two years and it’s a struggle to find enough talented players to see where his team could be .500 with better coaching. A negative.
  • Miami – Among the five teams, the Dolphins have a few more pieces to build on than other teams looking for a coach. They have no big names and offensive game breakers and that hurts. It’s a push for the Fins.
  • Tampa Bay – Some talent on this roster, although not enough. They went from 10-6 down to 4-12 and that had more to do than with just coaching. A push.
  • St. Louis – Far too many holes remain to be filled with the Rams, on both sides of the football. They are 9-23 in the last two seasons and that’s barely competitive. A negative.

TOTAL

The Rams job appears to have the best circumstances for a new head coach, while Jacksonville has the worst. The other three all came in about the same. To break the three-team tie, we’ve pegged Miami as No. 2 behind St. Louis because the Dolphins showed two positives – in ownership and the roster. The Chiefs and Tampa Bay had only one positive ranking in the four.

  • Chiefs – 0.
  • Jacksonville – minus-7.
  • Miami – 0.
  • Tampa Bay – 0.
  • St. Louis – +1.

14 Responses to “How Good A Job Is It Anyway? … Monday Cup O’Chiefs”

  • January 9, 2012  - Milkman says:

    I can’t see why everybody is so intriged with old coaches just because they had previous success with another team. All of these coaches got out of coaching under questionable circumstances. Jeff Fisher for example. Who could say his last couple of years in Tennessee were a success? Everyone always brings up the name of Bill Cowher. Yes, he did win a championship and went to another Super Bowl. But this was in a 15 or 16 year period while working for arguably the most loyal, well ran organization in the league. No head coach has won Super Bowls for two different teams in the modern history of the league. This is why I think I would rather see my favorite team bring in a head coach with something to prove, whether it is one who is a first time head coach or one who’s out to prove he’s not the reason for his last team’s lack of success.


  • January 9, 2012  - TDKC says:

    Crennel may be the best choice for the chiefs but I wonder if he would get any consideration by other teams for their open head coaching positions.


  • January 9, 2012  - johnfromfairfax says:

    Any coach who has been in the league for any length of time will have some years that are better than others. The only thing you can and should take into account regarding a person you’re considering to hire in any profession is his resume. You point out two coaches who have taken their teams to Super Bowls and have winning records throughout long tenures in the league. Even with all positives for the factors Bob used in rating the franchises it is still extremely difficult to get to a championship game let alone win one. Going for a first time coach with promise is one way to go but I’d like to see some data on how often they turn out like Cowher and Fisher. I don’t know the odds on it but I can tell you it rarely happens. It may not work out going with a proven commodity that has demonstrated over a long period the ability to coach teams to success but it’s a much better gamble for a billion dollar enterprise than the alternative. Look no further than Marty Schottenheimer and Todd Haley to illustrate the difference. I’ve said I like Romeo and given the circumstances want to see him hired but not for the same reasons I would support either of the two coaches that wouldn’t consider taking the job that Milkman and others would dismiss. P.S. Good, thoughtful post Bob and a good example of why people should subscribe even if you aren’t merely cheerleading for our team on a daily basis.


  • January 9, 2012  - Tenand6 says:

    I’ve mentioned this before: Robert Kraft says winning franchises must have strong, constructive owners. They are just as important as the GM and HC.

    Take a look at the Chiefs over the past decades.

    Outstanding analysis, Bob.


  • January 9, 2012  - RW says:

    Excellent overview and compelling criteria to pore over from the perspective of a potential head coach. Given all that data, it’s doubtful that any high profile guy would want to coach the Chiefs unless it was the last job available and even then, the Jr.Hunt/Pioli tandem would most likely give him pause.

    As a franchise, you’re at a disadvantage if you can’t attract top talent in coaching, players or personnel in general. Given the purging of salaries in the front office under Jr.Hunt/Pioli and, as Bob points out, working on hiring their 3rd head coach in the past 3 years, the Chiefs head coaching job cannot be seen as a primo assignment by the guys who’ve been there/done that.

    So this leaves us with the guys on the wrong side of 60 like Romeo, or the ones who need the job more than the job needs them like Del Rio. You know the current roster players are watching this drama as it plays out as are upcoming free agents. It’s obvious that Jr. Hunt doesn’t know what he’s doing and his lapdog GM is over rated.

    Other than that, ‘How did you enjoy the play Mrs. Lincoln?”


  • January 9, 2012  - Chuck says:

    I still feel that Pioli is a control freak and thats why the Fisher interview was a short one. I would sure like to know who is going to be the OC and DC under our beloved Romeo. Don’t you also find it somewhat interesting that guys like Billik, Gruden, and Cowher weren’t even interested in interviewing for the job???? Doesn’t that give you a clue about working for the control freak Pioli and the tight ass Hunt????????


  • January 9, 2012  - Justin says:

    Haley might have been a hot head but the true problem here is Pioli. His control freak personality is hindering the search and if the established guys stay away, what does that say?

    It says Clark is in over his head and he is being led down the path by his pied piper Pioli. Too bad. We can wait another 2-3 years for a new GM and coach search while we waste time with an undermanned under talented roster.


  • January 9, 2012  - el cid says:

    It is to bad that the world of the Chiefs has gotten to this state. I travel a bit and most owners, GM, and Coaches are not universally loved in their hometowns Even the better teams, fans say if only we had this guy or that and we would be superbowl champs every year.

    Since Clark took over, the Chiefs seem to be a rudderless ship. Moving but in what direction. We have some really good players but will injury or age end their careers befor there are enough pieces around them to make a difference. To date Pioli has been satisfied to stay away from most free agents and ride it out with what is on the roster. Because of Pioli (and Clarks participation or lack of), the Chiefs job is not one you would run home to momma and say – I got a job HC of the Chiefs. Momma would probably start job hunting.


  • January 9, 2012  - Johnfromwichita says:

    I didn’t really understand why they were flirting with other names. Romeo was the most logcial choice because of the backing of the players (that’s important) but even more because it provides some much needed consistency. Consistency may be walking a tight rope with hiring a DC and OC. el cid, I understand your point of not being loved in your hometown. I remeber very well not likeing Len Dawson. If we only had another QB we could win, I said. Ooops.


  • January 9, 2012  - Bill Leifer says:

    Calm and continuity is what this teams needs most right now. Crennel is the right guy. Its Pioli’s job now to get Carr and Bowe signed and, get a real NFL Right Tackle by rook or by crook, get a real NT, and add a little depth. The best thing that could happen right now for us Chiefs lovers is a boring, quiet, under-the-radar offseason, and fan base willing to invest in some patience (again).


  • January 9, 2012  - cychief24 says:

    Well, I watched the press conference and interviews on the Chiefs site with an open mind. I’m very optimistic for the first time since Vermeil was here. It seems obvious that Romeo and Pioli are on the same page. I like that Pioli says Romeo will hold him accountable. I like that he and Pioli will work together to build the staff and roster.
    I believe Romeo will take what he learned at Cleveland be a great HC for us. I also believe Pioli learned from his first hire, of the bipolar Haley, that chemistry was more important than hiring the next “hot” prospect.

    JohnFW- I’m not sure I would admit to being one of the idiots that booed HOF Len Dawson. I do remember hearing a few of those bozos when I was a kid going to games with my parents.

    The Green-haters had to eat crow and hopefully the Cassel-haters will have to also.
    Go Chiefs!


  • January 9, 2012  - Johnfromwichita says:

    Sorry cychief, I was booing. I was the one in red.


  • January 10, 2012  - Milkman says:

    Very good points,johnfromfairfax. I see your point. I guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree on this one.


  • January 10, 2012  - iwriter says:

    I do not understand why Bob is married to Cassel… I do understand why he critisizes Orton but hey give Orton a break. He was plaing with Chicago for Christs sake.. They had no line and recievers and implact players. Remember Gannon…he was a journeyman who went to the superbowl… but he was let go by the Chiefs and blossomed in Oakland. Using the same argument here for Orton as we can for Gannon… But Gannon was a much better quarterback than Cassel. But had we kept him we might have a superbowl right now. The point I am making is that quarterbacks can shine given the right system….but the problems Cassel has are not correctable… He does not do reads very well, He does not throw passes that hit recievers in stride and he does not do screens well… I am totally confused why bob says there is not any upside between both quarterbacks… It is like he and I are not viewing the same quarterback….




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