Wednesday night, Chris Mortensen of ESPN broke the news that Charlie Weis — the former Notre Dame head coach — will take over the offensive coordinator duties in Kansas City next season under head coach Todd Haley.
Weis has been the focal point of league-wide speculation about where he might end up —and he became a hot name in league circles. But now that the talk is over and he has a destination, the Chiefs can move forward — and I see this as a great move by the organization.
Haley, who would have considered Bucs offensive coordinator Greg Olsen if he wasn’t under contract, according to a league source I spoke to last night, can now be the head coach of this football team. Give up some of that offensive power. I was very strong in my opinion, just as I was with the Bears’ Love Smith, about NFL head coaches taking on the role of coordinator. From my perspective, head coaches need to take on the role of overseeing the entire team at the NFL level. They can’t stay in one meeting room and on one side of the practice field. Instead, they need to focus on all aspects of the team: offense, defense and special teams.
But as we know, Haley forfeited this when he fired offensive coordinator Chan Gailey during the preseason and took over the responsibilities of play caller in K.C.
You can bet Charlie Weis isn’t coming to Kansas City to watch Haley run the show on offense. And that’s a good move for this team, just as the hiring of Romeo Crennel to replace Clancy Pendergast as defensive coordinator will be, if the talk we hear is true.
These are all steps in the process for Haley, who — like Josh McDaniels in Denver — struggled in his first season as an NFL head coach. He dealt with adversity, he dealt with the drama surrounding RB Larry Johnson and he dealt with the day-to-day operations that coordinators don’t have to. But I can understand that, as taking control of that team meeting room for the first time is not much different than a rookie taking the practice field for the first time in training camp.
There’s a learning curve on the sidelines, and Haley will continue to learn, but bringing in Weis is a big move in his development as a coach and the development of this young football team in Kansas City — and a necessary move.
Weis can coach. He can coach offense and he can coach quarterbacks.
Tom Brady in New England is a prime example because of Weis’ days there, but even with Brady Quinn at Notre Dame — no matter what we think of Quinn as a pro — he was successful. And the same can be said for Irish QB Jimmy Clausen, who will be a high draft pick this April and showed a ton of progress under Weis in South Bend.
I also expect Matt Cassel to develop with a full offseason under Weis, along with an offense that struggled this season en route to a 4-12 record and finished 25th in total offense (303.2 yard per game) and 23rd in average points per game (18.4). Cassel threw 16 INTs to go along with 16 TD passes and ended with a QB rating of 69.9 — after he signed a deal meant for a franchise QB last offseason.
Not good numbers when you talk about Haley’s offense in K.C. this season. But by bringing in Weis and hopefully establishing and installing a proven system in the NFL, the Chiefs can begin to implement the next steps to building a winning franchise under Haley and GM Scott Pioli.
This is a first step, and there will be many more before we can consider the Chiefs a threat to win the AFC West, but Haley is making the right move by giving away some of that control and becoming the head coach of the entire team.
The hiring of Weis will allow this to happen.
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