Vermeil and Peterson Stand Firm on Staff

Though he was feeling some pressure for the second straight year to make changes in his defensive coaching lineup, loyal-to-a-fault Dick Vermeil again is insisting that he foresees no major changes on his defensive staff.

In several interviews, team president Carl Peterson expressed his belief that defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham might be more comfortable and efficient in his second season of his second go-around in Kansas City with some defensive assistants of his own choosing. Only linebacker coach Fred Pagac was a Cunningham hire in 2004.

Kansas City's defensive backfield staff was considered especially rife for a shakeup after the Chiefs fielded a secondary that that gave up more passing yards (4,213) than anyone in the NFL. The only consistent aspect of Peter Giunta's secondary in his four seasons under Vermeil in Kansas City is that it has never been very good.

But Vermeil, who last only had to be handed the resignation he couldn't ask from former defensive coordinator Greg Robinson, says he's not about to turn his back on Giunta, who was Vermeil's defensive coordinator during the 1999 St. Louis Rams' Super Bowl season.

"Peter Giunta is no more guilty now than he was 100 percent responsible for the Super Bowl championship defense and the secondary he coached with the Rams," Vermeil told the Kansas City Star.

"They coached the players we give them to coach to the best of their ability. If I thought they were doing a poor job, I would handle that. But I don't think that's true."

Vermeil's only major staff loss to date has been on offense when tight ends coach Keith Rowen left for Arizona to become Dennis Green's offensive coordinator.


QUARTERBACK: Starter Trent Green. Backups -- Todd Collins, Damon Huard.

RUNNING BACK: Starters Priest Holmes (halfback), Tony Richardson (fullback). Backups -- Larry Johnson (HB), Derrick Blaylock (HB), Omar Easy (FB).

TIGHT ENDS: Starter Tony Gonzalez. Backups: Jason Dunn, Kris Wilson (rookie).

WIDE RECEIVERS: Starters: Eddie Kennison, Johnnie Morton. Backups: Dante Hall, Chris Horn, Samie Parker, Richard Smith, Marc Boerigter (inj).

OFFENSIVE LINE: Starters: LT Willie Roaf, LG Brian Waters, C Casey Wiegmann, RG Will Shields, RT John Welbourn. Backups: G-T Chris Bober, T Jordan Black, G Brett Williams, T Kevin Sampson (rookie).

DEFENSIVE LINE : Starters: LE Eric Hicks, LT Ryan Sims, RT Lional Dalton, RE Jared Allen (rookie). Backups: T John Browning, E Vonnie Holliday, E Jimmy Wilkerson, T Junior Siavii (rookie), E Gary Stills.

LINEBACKERS: Starters: LOB Scott Fujita, MLB Kawika Mitchell, ROB Shawn Barber (inj). Backups: IB-OB Monty Beisel, OB Quinton Caver, OB Fred Jones, OB Keyaron Fox (rookie), IB Mike Maslowski (inj.).

DEFENSIVE BACKS: Starters: LCB Eric Warfield, FS Jerome Woods, SS Greg Wesley, RCB William Bartee. Backups: CB Dexter McCleon, CB Julian Battle, CB Benny Sapp, SS Willie Pile, FS Shaunard Harts.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Kicker: Lawrence Tynes. Punter: Nick Murphy. Returner: Dante Hall. Long snapper: Kendall Gammon.

COACHING: Head coach: Dick Vermeil. Assistants: Al Saunders (offensive coordinator), Gunther Cunningham (defensive coordinator), Mike White (team administration), Irv Eatman (offensive line), Charlie Joiner (receivers), Terry Shea (tight ends), James Saxon (running backs), Mike Solari (offensive line), Jason Verduzco (quarterbacks), Peter Giunta (secondary), Bob Karmelowicz (defensive line), Fred Pagac (linebackers), Frank Gansz, Jr. (special teams), Darvin Wallis (defensive assistant/quality control), Carl Hairston (defensive line), Vernon Dean (secondary), Jeff Hurd (conditioning). Top Stories