What's next for the Chiefs Coaches?

Now that the dust has settled from the 2005 season, it's time to look ahead at what's in store for the Kansas City Chiefs this offseason. Dick Vermeil is out the door, and the Chiefs have welcomed former Jets head coach Herman Edwards into the fold to lead the team for the next four years. Now, the work begins assembling a new coaching staff.

Although Vermeil accomplished exactly what he set out to do five years ago, restoring order to a franchise that was in total disarray, it was definitely time for a coaching change. Not that this team had started to tune him out or anything, it just felt that the time was right to step down.

By the players own admission, things had gotten pretty lax around the locker room, highlighted by a training camp that played out like an episode of COPS. It's time for some discipline, some tough love. If Vermeil was like a father figure, then Edwards is like a cool uncle that lets you drink a beer at his house, but will hit you over the head if you get out of line. He'll love you to death, but he won't put up with any of your crap or lackadaisical efforts on the field.

Edwards is a smart man. He kept defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham, and got rid of basically everyone else on the defensive staff. This will allow Gun and Edwards to pick a staff that buys into what they're trying to do defensively. When Gun was brought aboard two years ago, he was only able to bring linebackers coach Fred Pagac with him. All the others were more Vermeil's guys than Gun's guys, and at times it appeared that Gun was having difficulty getting his message through the layers of coaches to the players.

Right now, the only two guys that appear to be solid candidates for the Chiefs defensive staff are Pagac, who may or may not be on staff already, and Tampa Bay defensive line coach Rod Marinelli. They Chiefs will want to move quickly, good assistant coaches are hard to come by.

Offensively, things are a bit trickier. The Chiefs are set offensively, having a unit that gains more yards than any other in the league. That combined with the fact that this is one of the older units in the league, major changes to the scheme wouldn't be a great idea. The best case scenario would be for Al Saunders, the Chiefs offensive coordinator under Vermeil, to return to the team. He has interviewed for head coaching jobs in Detroit and Oakland. He deserves a shot to be the number one guy, but if he doesn't get one of those jobs, the Chiefs would probably be happy to bring him back. Quarterbacks coach Terry Shea would make a good offensive coordinator if Saunders does go to Oakland.

The Chiefs were also looking at former Raiders head coach, Norv Turner, who has experience with this offensive system but he signed on as the San Francisco but he signed on as the San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator position on Monday evening. .

But the leading candidate appears to be Mike Solari, the Chiefs offensive line coach under Vermeil. He would be a great candidate for Saunders job. His work with the offensive line over the last few years has been stellar and he has a history with Herman Edwards that makes him the front runner for the job. Running backs coach James Saxon may also come back unless he joins Saunders in Oakland.

Regardless it should be pretty interesting in Kansas City the next week or so. Stay tuned to Warpaint Illustrated for the latest.

TOMORROW: THE PLAYERS

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