Reid’s Big Staff Comes up Short

The proof will be in the season’s final record but as the Chiefs begin the Andy Reid Era they do so with a large coaching staff that on paper comes up not quite as big as its numbers.

Sitting in the driver’s seat because he was hired less than a week after the 2012 season was over, Reid had first shot at the available coaching talent. It was expected and even welcomed that he would bring with him some of the men who served him in Philadelphia. As the smoke has cleared, 10 of the 21 assistants were with the Eagles last year.

One of those coaches was offensive coordinator Doug Pederson, a former NFL backup quarterback who spent 12 years on the sidelines, but has been a coach for just five seasons, all of those with the Eagles and the last two years as quarterbacks coach. A coordinator in just a fifth season of coaching is almost meteoric in the NFL, but he rolls in as a rookie at the position and that’s a risk.

Some of that is diminished by the fact Reid will continue to call the plays at least at the start of his tenure. And, if he succeeds in getting Brad Childress on the staff then the Chiefs will have another experienced hand working with the offense.

But the offense was the worst part of the Chiefs last season, and now they are changing schemes and diving head first into a complete revamping with likely a new starting quarterback and probably either a new left tackle or new No. 1 receiver. Both LT Branden Albert and WR Dwayne Bowe are free agents and the Chiefs are unlikely to keep both. That’s a lot to put on the table for a first-time coordinator.

Implementing that system will be made easier since Reid-Pederson, WR coach David Culley, TE coach Tom Melvin and QB coach Mike Nagy all worked together in Philly.

Hiring Bob Sutton as defensive coordinator was not the type of splash some were looking for at that spot. Without a doubt it’s the most important position on the staff given Reid’s offensive background. The Eagles were at their best when the late Jim Johnson was running the defense. Since his passing in 2009, Philadelphia has struggled on that side of the ball with 3 coordinators over four seasons.

Sutton has a world of experience with 41 years in the business, including time as a head coach at Army. But only three of those seasons were as defensive coordinator – Jets in 2006-08 under head coach Eric Mangini. Those defenses were not memorable in any sort of fashion and finished 20th, 18th and 16th in fewest yards allowed. They were better in points allowed, giving up an average of 32.7 touchdowns per season and an average of 20.1 points per game

What will be interesting is to see what Sutton learned as linebackers coach of the New York Jets, where for the last four years he’s been working in the Baltimore Ravens-Rex Ryan defense. That scheme has a lot of wrinkles that make it unique, especially when it comes to rushing the passer.

The gem of this staff is special teams coach Dave Toub. His work with the Bears kicking game in the last half-dozen seasons has been outstanding. It does help having a returner like Devin Hester. Beyond all those touchdown returns, Chicago was solid kicking, punting and covering.

Within the rest of the staff, WRs coach David Culley and holdovers with LB coach Gary Gibbs and DB coach Emmitt Thomas are considered among the best at their positions in the league. Add 72-year old Tommy Brasher handling the defensive linemen and the defensive group is strong.

The same can’t be said for the offense, where RB coach Eric Bieniemy and OL coach Andy Heck are not grizzled veterans. Heck has been line coach in Jacksonville for seven seasons and the Jaguars had a lot of success running the ball with Fred Taylor and then Maurice Jones-Drew. It was only last season, when MJD did not play because of injury that the Jacksonville offense fell apart, finishing 30th in the league with an average of 85.6 yards per game. They also allowed 50 sacks.

2 Responses to “Reid’s Big Staff Comes up Short”

  • February 11, 2013  - ChuckXX says:

    There are definitely spots where the coaching staff looks to be “lightweights” in my opinion. I love Reid, Dorsey, Toub, Gibbs, Thomas, but it starts to drop off after that. Iam not real impressed with the selections of Pederson or Sutton in all honesty.

  • February 11, 2013  - ChiefsZed says:

    The big questions I have about this staff concern their ability and willingness to adapt and innovate. NFL play is changing very quickly right now, and the diversity of styles and talent that found success last year is pretty amazing.

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