Zorn's the Right Fit

The coaching carousel that has transpired since Todd Haley took the reigns as skipper in Kansas City has nearly reached the level of embarrassment, but with the signing of quarterback coach Jim Zorn, it appears Haley finally has his pieces in place.

For the first time since possibly the 2003 offseason (Dick Vermeil's breakout year in K.C.), the Chiefs fan base has real reason to be optimistic about the upcoming season. Kansas City is coming off of an AFC West championship, a playoff appearance, and all signs continue to point up with this young roster of developing talent.

The faith of the Arrowhead fan base has been tested when former offensive coordinator Charlie Weis shocked just about everybody when he made a seemingly lateral move to the Florida Gators with the same job description.

What would follow would be a series of rumors and speculation of when and who would be named the Chiefs new offensive play caller. Offensive line coach Bill Muir would eventually receive the promotion, but not before head coach Todd Haley would bar the label of "hard to work for".

Fair or presumptuous, this is the bed that Haley has made.

Haley removed Chan Gailey from his position as coordinator just weeks before the start of his rookie campaign as a head coach. Again this offseason, Haley found himself looking for a new offensive mind to complete his coaching staff. But those are key words there: "offensive mind".

Haley was not looking for a play caller – he is confident enough in his abilities to navigate this task. He was looking for another assistant coach. The truth is that Haley is an arrogant coach. There is nothing wrong with that, however, and I would argue that being head strong and stubborn is a prerequisite for a NFL head coaching job.

The Chiefs could have hired Zorn as the offensive coordinator, but Haley knew better. Coaches in the NFL are a bullheaded bunch. Every skipper believes their way is the right way, which creates problems after receiving a pink slip and taking a demotion.

I can't say for certain that this is what happened between Haley and Weis, but I do know that Weis' predecessor knows better than to have a pissing contest with the head coach.

This is why Bill Muir was the right fit and why new QB coach Jim Zorn was the right choice as well: they each – or should I say – accept their respective role.

Sure, Zorn comes with a long resume, which includes a head coaching stint in Washington. But Zorn has been humbled.

He has 10 years of NFL experience as a quarterback and 11 more as a quarterbacks coach. The talents of Zorn as a coordinator and a head coach may be debatable, but there is no question over his ability to groom young and talented QBs.

Of the protégées that have been under his wing, a list including Matt Hasselbeck, Charlie Batch, Jason Campbell, and Joe Flacco, all have prospered.

I'm quite sure that Zorn has his own views and philosophies on how a team, and more specifically an offense, should be run. But he knows as well as anyone that Haley is in charge of the offense; Zorn is in charge of Matt Cassel.

Cassel had a Pro Bowl season under the tutelage of Charlie Weis, but with the signing of Zorn, the Chiefs took precaution to make sure there is no learning curve in 2011. The Chiefs' starting QB has all the tools needed to be an elite QB in the NFL, but has a track record of needing a designated QB assistant to perform at max potential.

This is why the Zorn hiring is so important. Every coach on this staff has their niche or role and the lines of communication are beginning to clear up. When Weis was in town there were too many egos and opposing agendas for this young and impressionable Chiefs squad to build through.

Simply put, in hindsight, the Weis hire was a mistake from the beginning. This team needs consistency from their leadership, and let's be honest, Weis was never going to be the long-term answer. He was a big name that had a lot of cache who was looking to polish up his resume. But that's not what this team needed.

This team needs to be doing things in accordance to Haley's philosophy. Anything else just muddies up the process and delays the learning process. I had reservations about the Weis hire from the very beginning, but this newly assembled staff feels like a better fit regardless of the pedestrian names.

Coaching assignments have been simplified.

Haley calls the plays on offense, Romeo runs the defense, and Zorn handles the QB. There is no more confusion or debate.

This team seemed to lose focus late in the season when these roles became less defined. Now that the coaching staff is complete, the team can start worrying about the real task at hand: building a Super Bowl caliber roster.

WARPAINT ILLUSTRATED MESSAGE BOARDS:
Do you think Zorn can return Cassel to Pro Bowl form in 2011?


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