Commentary

Where the Chiefs should turn

It might surprise, but Scott Pioli has a good coaching candidate right in front of him

Originally Published: December 12, 2011
By Seth Wickersham | ESPN Insider
Romeo CrennelAP Photo/Ed ZurgaRomeo Crennel coached the one winning team the Browns have had in the last nine years.

Scott Pioli's third year as general manager of the Kansas City Chiefs will end without the two people who happened to be the biggest, most essential decisions of his tenure: quarterback Matt Cassel, who's on injured reserve three seasons after Pioli traded him for a second-round pick, and coach Todd Haley, whom Pioli fired today after Sunday's 37-10 loss to the Jets.

Defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel, his old friend from New England and New York, will coach the final three games. Then in January, Pioli will have one chance to atone for one bad decision and another one that looks very bad.

It's natural that Pioli would look for a coach, again, inside the Parcells-Belichick tree from which he hails: Kirk Ferentz, Josh McDaniels, maybe even Eric Mangini, though that's hard to imagine, given the Spygate drama. Pioli needs a coach who shares his philosophies, and probably one who believes in Cassel, a quarterback who doesn't look like a long-term answer but will receive another chance to prove himself after an up-and-down run as a starter. McDaniels seems like the likely candidate: He is of the Belichick ilk, worked with Cassel in New England and is dying for another shot after being fired by the Broncos last season.

But if that's the case, Pioli should reconsider.


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Seth Wickersham

ESPN The Magazine senior writer
Seth Wickersham joined ESPN The Magazine after graduating from the University of Missouri. Although he primarily covers the NFL, his assignments also have taken him to the Athens Olympics, the World Series, the NCAA tournament and the NHL and NBA playoffs. Email him and follow him on Twitter at @sethwickersham.