Does Herm Deserve Another Coordinator?

This week, Chiefs Nation is up in arms over the fourth-quarter controversy around the playcalling with last Sunday's game on the line. While I, too, am disgusted by this turn of events, that's not what we'll discuss today. Whoever is to blame, it's irrelevant.

Our own Nick Athan chose to blame offensive coordinator Chan Gailey in the hours following KC's 28-24 loss to the Jets. While Gailey accepted that blame in full, there is a larger issue at stake. It's bigger than one play or one series or one game.

Last week we discussed why Herm Edwards really doesn't deserve a franchise quarterback. This week, in light of what happened in the Meadowlands, it's appropriate to point out that he really doesn't deserve another offensive coordinator, either. As bad for an NFL quarterback's health as Edwards is, he is kryptonite to NFL offensive coordinators.

Nick wants Gailey fired, even before the 2008 regular season has finished. I say, what difference does it make?

Edwards has employed four different offensive coordinators now in eight years as an NFL head coach. That's a shockingly high number in such a short period of time, but what's even more shocking is what most of those coaches did before running into Herm Edwards.

First, a name Chiefs fans are quite familiar with – Paul Hackett. While none of us have yet forgiven Hackett for the offensive blunders of playoffs past, it is worthwhile to note that while he was KC's offensive coordinator in the mid '90s, Hackett produced a top 10 scoring offense twice, a top 15 scoring offense twice, and a bottom 20 scoring offense just once.

That's solid work for a coach who was dealing with five different quarterbacks (Joe Montana, David Krieg, Steve Bono, Elvis Grbac, Rich Gannon) in five years, and had not the luxury of a franchise running back or wide receiver. No, Hackett was not Bill Walsh, but it's clear the Chiefs fielded a competent attack under his direction.

Hackett arrives in New York to call the plays for Edwards, and what happens? Four years, an offense that finishes 15th or worse in scoring all four years, and more offensive nightmares in the playoffs. All of this despite the fact that the Jets had gobs of talent on offense – Chad Pennington, Curtis Martin, Santana Moss, Laveranues Coles, Wayne Chrebet, LaMont Jordan, Dave Szott, Kevin Mawae, Kareem McKenzie, etc.

Hackett eventually "resigned" following the Jets' 2004 playoff blunders. He has never again worked as an offensive coordinator in the NFL. Did I mention the Jets promptly became one of the worst offenses in the NFL in his absence?

That was in 2005, under Mike Heimerdinger, who again, had some skins on the wall before running into Herm Edwards. He ran good and sometimes great offenses in Tennessee during the Steve McNair era. The Titans finished in the top 10 in offensive yards twice under his direction, and Heimerdinger once even squeezed 18 touchdown passes out of Billy Volek, who has never again had it so good in the NFL.

Heimerdinger hooks up with Herm Edwards, the Jets finish 31st in offense, and only now is he back on his feet running an NFL offense again, in Tennessee. Did we mention the Titans are 10th in scoring this season?

Then there's Mike Solari. It's interesting to note that last season, like he is now doing with Chan Gailey, Nick Athan called for Solari's job by midseason. At one point, he referred to him as "a lame-duck offensive coordinator." Harsh, but perhaps true. The Chiefs did field, after all, perhaps the worst offense in team history a year ago.

But here's something that absolutely cannot be ignored – under Solari, the Chiefs finished 15th in scoring offense in 2006. No team coached by Herm Edwards has ever ranked higher in scoring, and only one Herm Edwards team ever produced more rushing yards than the 2006 Chiefs.

Yes, Mike Solari coordinated darn-near the most successful offense Herm Edwards has ever known. He did it with Jordan Black at left tackle and, for eight games, Damon Huard at quarterback. Despite that, he was dumped last offseason, the scapegoat for more offensive woes, and is now an offensive line coach in Seattle.

Meanwhile, the Chiefs are currently 31st in scoring, averaging the exact same number of points per game (14.1) as they did a year ago. Somewhere, Mike Solari is laughing. Do we owe him an apology?

After all, it keeps happening. Offensive coordinators keep hooking up with Herm Edwards, and the results continue to be mediocre at best, disastrous at worst. Meanwhile, the coordinators keep getting dumped, but Edwards gets a new head coaching gig and a pay raise, and then proceeds to lose 15 of his last 16 games.

Life, as they say, is not fair. Perhaps it's not completely fair to be asking for Chan Gailey's job at this juncture, either. In the event he's replaced, what would really be the point?

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