Based on the candidates in the open market, replacing Weis's Super Bowl winning experience is virtually impossible. You just don't find offensive minds as solid as his. Still that doesn't mean the Chiefs offense in 2011 can't be better than it was in 2010.
But in order to do that, the next guy in line has to be someone who can bring even more out of Cassel than Weis did this past season. Weis's tenure and demeanor with Cassel was evident from the onset of training camp. And ultimately it was his patience that allowed Cassel to grow into his role as the teams franchise quarterback.
With Haley still acting as head coach in Kansas City, whomever General Manager Scott Pioli hires to replace Weis, should be able to make sure the new offensive coordinator will have a better working relationship with Haley.
But paramount to that, I think Cassel should have a say as to whichever candidate the Chiefs bring in next to fill Weis's shoes. Now that's not going to happen. But as we've seen in the playoffs this season, the best quarterbacks on any given Sunday have led their teams to victory.
There are some good candidates right now. Former Chiefs quarterback Tom Clements who serves as the Green Bay Packers quarterback coach, Jim Zorn, who has the same role in Baltimore are two that come to mind.
But if I had to choose anyone, it would be Clements. The fact he's not garnered more consideration for an OC position in the NFL is a bit mind boggling. As my Out of Bounds Co-Host Nick Jacobs researched, Clements has developed the likes of quarterbacks Aaron Rogers, Brett Favre, Elvis Grbac, Tommy Maddux, Kordell Stewart, Kelly Holcumb and Rick Meier.
He's worked under some legendary coaches such as Lou Holtz at Notre Dame, Mike Ditka and Bill Cowher. Since 2006, he's been a member of the Packers staff and in that time, he's raised Rogers into a playoff winning caliber quarterback. Plus the fact, he was able to guide him through the troubled waters of replacing a legend like Favre. To me, there is no other candidate on the market that could help the Chiefs more than Clements.
He's a standout coach, he's stable and from most accounts really doesn't appear to be a man who wants to be a head coach. Sure he probably has aspirations but nothing in his resume would suggest that's something he aspires to be at this point in his career. And that means Haley won't be threatened by someone who might want his job in the very near future.
Clements does have NFL experience as an offensive coordinator. He spent two seasons in Buffalo under then Head Coach Mike Mularkey. However, he didn't have much to work with in regards to the quarterback position. He was saddled with an aging Drew Bledsoe his first year and then Kelly Holcomb and J.P. Losman in year two.
Neither of them are even close to the quarterback that Matt Cassel is today for the Chiefs.
But in looking at all the candidates available to Scott Pioli, to me he's a far better choice than Maurice Carthon. If Pioli can't get McDaniels to Kansas City, then to me there is no other man to lead the Chiefs offense next year than a proven winner like Clements.
At this point of the offseason, he's as proven a candidate that could co-exist with his head coach.
2. Should Tony Hang up his Cleats? - I think after the Atlanta Falcons pasting by Green Bay on Saturday night, that former Chiefs Tight End Tony Gonzalez should retire. In his brilliant career, he's headed into the playoffs, twice with the Chiefs and once with the Falcons, as a conference number one seed.
Falcons Tight End Tony Gonzalez had another short and disappointing playoff run in Atlanta.
In all three instances, he's been one and done. After the bitter loss to the Packers, reporters littered his locker with questions about his future. Though he admitted that coming back for a 15th season is possible. In reality, the rigger of another offseason and the ‘what if' scenarios that will likely play out until training camp opens next July, might derail his desire to play next year.
The Falcons remind me a lot of the Chiefs teams that Gonzalez was a part of for 13 NFL seasons. They were well coached, fundamentally sound and flawed. Now Gonzalez has to decide if being away from his family, not to mention a likely acting career should he choose to go down that path, is something that can be trumped by his desire to win a playoff game or better get to a Super Bowl.
My gut tells me that he'll return but if not, he will leave the game as the best modern day tight end in the history of the game. Though many consider Hall of Fame Tight End Raymond Berry as the best ever, that's not bad company for Gonzalez to keep when he enters the Hall five years from now.
3. Gotta love the Jets Attitude - Say what you want about Jets Head Coach Rex Ryan. But in two NFL seasons, he's guided the New York Jets to a pair of AFC Championship games. And make no mistake about it, his in your face style has rubbed off on his players.
Say what you want about Jets HC Rex Ryan but he's back in the AFC Championship game for the second straight year..
All week long he made it clear that his team was going to beat the team many felt were a lock for the Super Bowl, the New England Patriots. And the war of words that resulted in the NFL finally cracking down on the banter, was a catalyst for the Jets in their domination on Sunday.
They simply beat up the Patriots with their words all week long and then proved it on the field. And when I look at the Chiefs, outside of defensive Shaun Smith, the team doesn't have a fire it up player, especially on defense, that can play a similar style of gamesmanship off the field.
The Jets had plenty of them from linebacker Bart Scott, defensive end Shaun Ellis and cornerback Darrelle Revis. On offense they were led by running back LaDanian Tomlinson who chose a different path in helping young quarterback Mark Sanchez understand that moments like Sunday don't happen to players with his lack of NFL experience. So when they do, you better seize the opportunity.
And that's just what the Jets did against the highly favored Patriots. Though the NFL's league office probably wasn't a fan of the comments made from both teams, they had to love the fact the game was Sunday Must See TV. And further, you know the TV executives are loving the prospects that the Jets very well could be the AFC representatives in the Super Bowl in Dallas.
4. The Patriots are the NFL's NY Yankees - Since Joe Torre left the New York Yankees as the teams manager back in 2007, the Yankees haven't come close to making a return trip to the World Series. In New England, head coach Bill Belichick hasn't won a Super Bowl since he lost his top two coordinators, Charlie Weis and Romeo Crennel.
That's more than coincidence. It's a fact.
It appears Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick can't duplicate his post season success without Weis and Crennel.
I'm no Yankees fan. In fact, I think the freewheeling spending that has forced major league baseball to change it's focus on developing through the minor leagues, is poetic justice for their recent failure. And that's not a knock on their current manager Joe Girardi. He's a great baseball man but managing the Yankees is difficult.
In the other league the Patriots, year in and year out, are one of the best regular season teams in NFL history. In 2010, they had a 14-2 record and there were very few signs that would indicate that they'd lay an egg in the post season. The Yankees can say the same thing. They are one of the premier regular season teams who understand the grind of a 162 game schedule that tests their merit and skill.
However, where both teams fail miserably is when they get to the post season. Sure they have talent but winning series in baseball or a one and done format in football boils down to a couple of key items.
In baseball your starting pitching and the strength within your bullpen determine your success in the post season. In football, it's the game management and field position that can swing a game one way or another.
The Patriots failed to do just that against the Jets on Sunday. And the Yankees couldn't matchup against the Texas Rangers in the AL Championship series.
However for New England the fact they no longer have their extraordinary coordinators on hand, have not been able to hoist the Lombardi Trophy again. And the Yankees without the leadership of Torre, seems to be relying far more on their payroll than their overwhelming talent.
5. NFT: Pitching Might Carry the Royals - On Friday, the Kansas City Royals made their most significant offseason move of the year. Sure the Zack Greinke trade was big. And the move they didn't make, trading supreme closer Joakim Soria to the Yankees in a deal that could have reshaped the Royals roster for the next two or three years.
For a bargain basement price, Royals GM Dayton Moore found a potential staff ace in Jeff Francis.
Instead for a mere $2 million they found their staff ace when they signed left handed starting pitcher Jeff Francis. The former first round pick of the Colorado Rockies joined Kansas City on Friday. He instantly moves to the top of the rotation and gives the Royals instant credibility in regards to their number one starter.
I'm not going to say he's going to regain the form that made him one of the best pitchers in the game a few years back. Shoulder surgery derailed his career the last two seasons but Royals General Manager Dayton Moore did his homework in nabbing Francis.
And if Francis has the kind of year that some expect, he could make another $2 million in incentives. Even further, he could be a brilliant trade chip for Moore in the future. If not, he could be just the staff ace to tutor the young pipeline of pitching prospects that will be in the rotation in 2011 or 2012.
This move also allows Luke Hochevar a bit of breathing room in his development as the teams top starter. Now he can settle into the second spot behind the veteran Francis.
And that means Bruce Chen, also signed on Friday, will be the third man in the rotation. Now Moore will have plenty of options that could delay the rotation debut of Danny Duffy, Mike Montgomery, John Lamb or Aaron Crow until mid season.
Suddenly the Royals have the beginnings of a decent five-man rotation. Because of the experience and talent of the top three, pitchers like Sean O'Sullivan, Kyle Davies and Vin Mazzaro will fill out the rotation as the teams' fourth and fifth starters.
And that's where they should be.
WARPAINT ILLUSTRATED MESSAGE BOARDS:
What do you think of Packers QB Coach Tom Clements replacing Charlie Weis?