Edwards Likes Gailey's Experience, Toughness

Wednesday the Chiefs hired Chan Gailey as their new offensive coordinator, but according to Herm Edwards, the former Georgia Tech head coach has been hanging around Arrowhead Stadium for a few days now. The pair met to watch tape of Brodie Croyle earlier this week, enough that Gailey was able to formulate an opinion on his new quarterback.

"We watched enough tape on Brodie Croyle, so [Gailey] knows what he's getting into and the type of player he is," Edwards told Warpaint Illustrated.com. "He likes what he sees, and he knows what we have to do to make him successful."

If the Chiefs are to be successful as a whole on offense in 2008, however, Edwards knows it will go beyond the quarterback. Wednesday he voiced support for his new offensive coordinator in two main areas – experience and toughness.

Gailey has significant familiarity with running NFL offenses after short stays in Denver, Pittsburgh, Dallas and Miami over the past 20 years. That's in direct contrast to his predecessor, Mike Solari, who had never been a coordinator in the NFL before the Chiefs promoted him from his position as offensive line coach in 2006.

"You want a guy, in my opinion, when he stands before the players, he's done it at this level," said Edwards. "When he stands before those offensive players, they can say, now this guy has done it. He's been successful at this level. He's done it. If it's a guy that hasn't done it yet, it's more of, 'we're going to find out if he can do it or not."

"He's about winning," added Edwards. "He's won. All of those things to me were very, very important, and he's called plays on Sunday. To me, that's big. He has a feel of calling plays. He can adapt and adjust as the game is being played, and for me that's big. And that's me, playing against him when he was a coordinator, trying to defend what he does."

The Chiefs also chose Gailey because of his hard-nosed offensive philosophy. In Pittsburgh, running back Jerome Bettis enjoyed career years under Gailey's supervision, and in Miami, running back Lamar Smith ran for a career-high 1,139 yards in 2000. Gailey's offenses at Georgia Tech featured a dominant running attack more often than not.

But Edwards maintained his decision to hire Gailey wasn't simply about running the ball, an area in which the Chiefs struggled last season.

"Our philosophies match up," he said. "People wonder, what does that mean, are we going to run the ball? No, we're going to be a balanced football team. The good thing that he agrees upon and I agree upon – it's about winning the game. How are you going to win the game this week? We're going to win the game this way."

"But in the end, he believes what I believe," continued Edwards. "You have to be a tough football team. You have to have toughness. Whatever you do, whether you throw 40 passes or you run the ball 30 times, whatever the gameplan is designed to do for that game, it's still about being tough and having that mental toughness. He understands that. He's been successful that way wherever he's been."

Edwards also sees a mistake-free approach to offensive football as a Gailey hallmark. Three of Gailey's four teams in Pittsburgh and Miami finished with positive turnover ratios, a subject of frustration for Edwards' own team this year. The Chiefs committed 33 turnovers in 2006 and ranked 28th in turnover ratio (-11).

Kansas City's offense also committed 100 penalties and was thrown for 125 negative plays. Chiefs quarterbacks were sacked 55 times.

"I've never coached a team like that, ever," said Edwards. "That's the first time. You want to know why we won four games? That has a lot to do with it, right there. So we've got to clean that up, there's no doubt about it, and we have to play better on defense to take the ball away and stop the run. What helps you in stopping the run is when you can score points because the team in the third quarter doesn't try to run the ball for the rest of the game, because they're trying to catch up with you."

At 56 years of age, Gailey is the older than some of the other candidates who interviewed to fill Kansas City's offensive coordinator vacancy - Mike Shula and Eric Price are both in their early 40s. Edwards insisted, however, that Gailey should be able to relate to the youth on the Chiefs' roster because of his experience as a college head coach.

"Some people say, well, you know, you need a guy that is in touch with the players," he said. "The guy has been a head coach in college for six years. Those same guys on college campuses that are coming to pro football now? He's coached those guys. So to me, that's another plus. He can communicate with young players."

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