Breaking Down The KC Coaching Candidates

With the Kansas City Chiefs' head coaching search in full swing, plenty of rumors are swirling. In an effort to sort this mess out, we break down some of the names you've heard about and a few others who might find their way onto Scott Pioli's wish list.

1. Todd Haley (Cardinals OC) - The Arizona Republic claims he's likely to be the next head coach of the Chiefs. The Philadelphia Daily News is going further, saying Haley is a lock. Here is what we know.

In every discussion with our sources, his name has never come up. Friday, when asked, one particular source said it was unlikely that Haley would be KC's next head coach. Adding fuel to that fire is the fact Haley has given no indication he wants to leave Arizona.

He really does not fit the profile of the Scott Pioli way. While it's possible that he may follow the "young coach" trend set by Atlanta, Miami and Baltimore for young coaches, I'll pull an Adam Schefter – Haley, without a doubt (for now), isn't going to be the head coach in Kansas City.

2. Brian Schottenheimer (NY Jets OC)
- I'm beginning to think he would make an outstanding fit in Kansas City. He just received a contract extension with the Jets to remain offensive coordinator, but he nearly got the Dolphins' job a year ago was runner-up to Rex Ryan this year.

His experience would give the Chiefs offense a lift. He's smart, talented and destined to be an NFL head coach in the next two years. With his father's history, there's little doubt that he'd come running to Kansas City if Pioli offered him the job. It would also be reasonable to assume Marty Schottenheimer would be around from time to time to assist. The notion of Brian Schottenhimer finishing what his father started has some appeal.

3. Jason Garrett (Dallas OC)
– His tenure in Dallas is on shaky ground. He was the bride's maid for the St. Louis job that eventually went to Steve Spagnuolo. Meanwhile Jerry Jones, has slowly pared down his coaching staff in hopes of luring Mike Shanahan, a Chiefs target.

Garrett turned down the Atlanta Falcons job a year ago because Jerry Jones offered him more money to stay as offensive coordinator in Dallas. That was a big mistake and though Garrett would be a second-tier candidate in Kansas City, he deserves a look.

4. Jim Harbaugh (Stanford)
- With the success of his brother John in Baltimore, there are rumblings that Jim Harbaugh, is interested in following his footsteps to the NFL. Reportedly, the Stanford Cardinals have a new five-year contract extension on the table for Harbaugh that he has yet to sign. He interviewed for the Rams' job and could be a dark horse candidate for Kansas City. It might be difficult for Chiefs fans to get behind Harbaugh because of the playoff upset he pulled off as the quarterback for the Indianapolis Colts following the 1995 season. But his NFL stock is on the rise and if he doesn't get an interview in Kansas City, he'll be a hot ticket in 2010 or 2011, especially if his brother gets the Ravens to a Super Bowl in the next couple of years.

5. Cam Cameron (Baltimore OC)
- For some odd reason, he's not getting any love anywhere. He's a brilliant offensive coordinator, far better in my opinion than Chan Gailey, and he did an amazing job developing Joe Flacco this past season. His tutelage helped Flacco lead the Ravens to the AFC Championship game.

His NFL quarterback resume is fairly impressive as he developed Drew Brees and worked with Philip Rivers. He was a hot candidate two years ago but was fired in Miami when Bill Parcells cleaned house. But given a second chance, he'd be the perfect candidate for the Chiefs. He has experience as a head coach and can develop young quarterbacks.


Other Candidates:


1. Mike Shanahan (Free Agent) - Reports continue to indicate he's going to sit out the 2009 season, but I don't believe any of them. If Clark Hunt or Scott Pioli get a chance to speak with Shanahan beyond the agent stage, you'd have to think he'll listen. Though it's beginning to look a lot like this won't happen, I would not rule it out, either.

2. Bill Cowher (CBS Analyst) - Sources indicate he's not going to coach in 2009. However, if the Chiefs come calling he'll certainly listen. Now will Cowher come out of retirement? That remains to be seen but as we've stated all week his name has not been mentioned besides a report from Adam Schefter.

3. Jon Gruden (Free Agent) - I would hope the Chiefs would consider him for their offensive coordinator job, but that appears to be my personal pipe dream. I'm not a big Gailey fan as most of you know, but that's not the opinion of Pioli and Hunt, who reportedly believe he can bring a Lombardi trophy to Arrowhead with his offensive genius. But Gruden is the best offensive coordinator candidate on the open market right now. Next to Shanahan's offensive clout, no one comes close. Just for that reason alone, he should be a candidate for KC's coaching job.

4. Romeo Crennel (Free Agent) - We're hearing that he will be interviewed for the head coaching position in Kansas City if he hasn't been already. Pioli is high on Crennel for KC's defensive coordinator position. Regardless, his interview will serve as the mandatory 'Rooney Rule' interview, but he won't get serious consideration for the top job with the Chiefs. I suspect he'll end up being Gunther Cunningham's replacement.

5. Leslie Frazier (Minnesota DC) - His name is starting to heat up a bit. He interviewed with the Broncos but didn't make the final cut. However, his ability as a defensive coordinator on a bad coaching staff in Minnesota stood out in 2008. He could also serve as the minority interview candidate, but I give him a better chance to end up as a head coach than Crenell. He's well respected around the league and his work in turning around the career of linebacker Napoleon Harris in midseason tells me he might be a better fit in Kansas City then some of the other assistant coaching candidates.

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