As is tradition, when an NFL coach is "relieved of his duties," like Todd Haley was on Monday, we'll plow through a list of potential candidates to replace said coach.
The Chiefs search is a little different though, because it's widely assumed that Scott Pioli will chase a "Patriots Guy," which is someone with, duh, connections to the Bill Belichick coaching tree. The success of the next Chiefs coach will likely determine whether or not Pioli continues at the helm of the Chiefs, and thus it would be surprising to see him go in a different direction and hire someone he wasn't truly confident could succeed.
Leave your suggestions in the comments.
Romeo CrennelCrennel's going to be running the team for the final three games of the 2011 season, and it's possible that Scott Pioli would be comfortable with Crennel as the full-time coach going forward. After all, Romeo was the defensive coordinator for championship-caliber teams in New England when Pioli was working for the Patriots, and Crennel's got head-coaching experience with the Browns. That wasn't the most successful tenure, but, hey, neither was Bill Belichick's first gig in Cleveland either.
Josh McDanielsMcDaniels was canned in Denver and took over as Offensive Coordinator for the Rams this past season. His star has fallen mightily from the 6-0 start with the Broncos in 2009 to the 2-10 effort the Rams have put forth so far in 2011 and the regression St. Louis has shown on offense. McDaniels real downfall in Denver, though, was his personnel decisions (although you could argue he made some smart calls after all) and he wouldn't have to worry about that in KC. At the very least, he'll warrant strong consideration as offensive coordinator for his old boss Pioli. (Added bonus: Haley hates him!)
Kirk FerentzMy buddy Nathan and I have a running joke about how Ferentz is the hottest coaching candidate on the planet every year (seriously: his name gets dropped into every single coaching search at every single level of football) but never even considers leaving Iowa. This is actually one gig that could truly entice him to make the jump to the NFL, though, as he and Pioli go way back to the early 90's when they worked together in Cleveland and Baltimore. Plus, you never know -- he could be the AFC's version of Jim Harbaugh!
Jeff FisherFisher's going to be one of the hotter names in most coaching searches this offseason, because of all the success he had in Tennessee, and the fact that he ultimately just left because he and Bud Adams couldn't really agree on Vince Young. Or something. The Chiefs have a lot of cap room and their roster actually resembles the construction of his Titans teams the last few years he was there.
Bill CowherLittle-known fact about all NFL coaching searches: you must include Cowher's name or else it's not complete. Also, Cowher coached in Kansas City for two years and apparently loves it there. So I'm changing my tune from earlier when I didn't include Cowher. I still don't think he's the answer here, though, because Pioli isn't going to just hand over a pile of player-personnel power to Cowher and it's widely believed that's something he'll require.
Rob RyanRyan's refusal to cut his hair and stop running his mouth prior to games has hurt his reputation as a strong candidate to succeed at the head-coaching level, but he's done good work with the Cowboys defense this season and his track record as a defensive coach is pretty damn impressive. He also worked for the Patriots (linebackers coach for three years) and given how much Rex Ryan's succeeded in New York, it's hard to ignore the possibility of success by the other sibling. On the other hand, given the tenuous nature of Pioli's relationship with the fiery Todd Haley, he may want to avoid a big personality with this hire.
Brian DabollDaboll was brought to the Dolphins in 2011 to revamp the Fins offense, and while Miami isn't the most high-powered offense in the NFL, the rejuvenation of Reggie Bush and the late-season success of Matt Moore is impressive. Daboll's offenses haven't ever finished in the top half of the NFL -- he was quarterbacks coach of the Jets in 2007 and 2008 and offensive coordinator of the Browns in 2009 and 2010 -- but he hasn't exactly been working with the same personnel you might find on the 1999 Rams or anything. No head coaching experience probably makes this a dealbreaker, but he could warrant consideration as an assistant.
Eric ManginiBut, no, seriously. Mangini's been known to have interest in returning to the NFL and as recently the past month he's been rumored as someone who might come in as a consultant for various teams. He's currently working for ESPN (and is actually doing a fantastic job, in my humble opinion), and may have burned bridges with comments he made about the Patriots while working as the Jets head coach. But people forget he did a pretty good job there of rebuilding the Gang Green before struggling in a rebuild job in Cleveland.
Pat HillHill, the recently-fired Fresno State coach, is a bit of a darkhorse, especially since "getting fired by a non-BCS school where you've been since 1997" isn't usually the career step taken before "getting hired to take over an NFL team." But again, he's part of the Belichick tree, so it's impossible to count him out completely.
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