At one point the prospects to fill the Chiefs vacant offensive coordinator position, seemed bright. Names like Josh McDaniels, Mike McCoy and Darrell Bevell were once atop the organizations wish list to replace the departed Charlie Weis.
But McDaniels has interviewed with the Minnesota Vikings and over the weekend the St. Louis Rams. He may also speak with the Miami Dolphins. McCoy, the current Denver Broncos Offensive Coordinator, was at one point the front-runner for the Kansas City gig.
However, the Denver Broncos never gave the Chiefs permission to speak with McCoy. And when veteran Head Coach John Fox took over the reigns in Denver, he made it a point to keep McCoy on his staff.
Strike two for the Chiefs. Kansas City Head Coach Todd Haley did manage to speak with Bevell but not as a candidate to become the teams’ new offensive coordinator. Instead, he spoke to him about being the teams Quarterbacks coach in 2011.
But at the heart of the issue to find a replacement for Weis, is Haley who has been unable to work with either of his offensive coordinators (Chan Gaily or Weis) since he was hired in February of 2009.
And that limits Haley and General Manager Scott Pioli from brining in a qualified candidate from another NFL team. Because the longer the search lasts, the Chiefs in order to get their staff in place before the Senior Bowl, will likely have to hire from within.
And the man likely to be the Chiefs new offensive coordinator could be assistant head coach Maurice Carthon. So is that the right move?
At first glance, you’d have to say no. In six NFL seasons as an offensive coordinator for three teams, the Detroit Lions, Dallas Cowboys and Cleveland Browns, Carthon produced just a single playoff game.
He never had an offense average more than 19 points per game that came in 2002 at Detroit. And he never had an offense that was ranked higher than 21st that came in his first year at Dallas in 2003.
In 2010, the Kansas City Chiefs finished the season as the NFL’s 12th rated offense. They were woeful in the passing game ranking 30th but were first in rushing. If there is a silver lining for Carthon, should he be promoted to take over the offensive duties in Kansas City, the Lions ended the 2001 season as the sixth best passing team.
And that was an impressive feat considering he had to manage four different starting quarterbacks that season. Charlie Batch, Ty Detmer, Mike McMahon and Lamont Warren each started at least three games for the Lions that season.
He won’t have that issue in Kansas City. Quarterback Matt Cassel, despite struggling in the season finale against Oakland and the playoff game at home against Baltimore, made terrific strides this season. However, Cassel who spoke on Jim Rome’s radio show last week indicated that much of his success this season was directly attributed to the leadership provided by Weis.
The knock on Carthon is that he isn’t known for developing quarterbacks. In 2003, he was in charge of developing Oregon Duck Rookie Quarterback Joey Harrington. And that didn’t go well. In twelve starts that season, Harrington finished the season with a passer rating of 59.7 and that led to Carthon’s departure from the Lions.
A year later in 2003 Bill Parcells, his former New York Giants head coach, hired him to run the Dallas offense. To his credit, he did manage to get the most out of Quarterback Quincy Carter. In fact so much so, that the Cowboys finished the season with a 10-6 mark and made their only playoff appearance during Carthon’s six seasons as an offensive coordinator.
In 2004, Carter was gone and 41-year old veteran quarterback Vinny Testaverde was horrific in guiding the Cowboys to a 6-10 record. And that four game turn around from a year ago, sealed the fate for Carthon who was fired at seasons end.
However, he wasn’t out of work very long. Current Chiefs defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel, hired Carthon to run the Cleveland Browns offense in 2005 and 2006. But the results weren’t any better. With an anemic offense, the Browns managed just ten wins in two seasons and Carthon was out of work again.
So how can a man, who has guided only one team to a winning record in six seasons as an offensive coordinator, be hired to run the Chiefs offense? Well Kansas City might not have a choice.
Haley, despite his stellar performance though 15 regular season games last season, could be on the hot seat in 2011. The Chiefs schedule is very daunting and at first glance getting six or eight wins might be a massive feat. And should he struggle in year three, then his coaching tenure in Kansas City could come to an abrupt halt.
And that could deter the Chiefs from finding on offensive coordinator outside of the organization. Because in order to get a top coordinator like McDaniels or anyone else with a solid resume, that coordinator is going to want a contract a three-year contract. That means if the Chiefs do find someone who is willing to work under Haley, the new coordinator would have a longer contract than the head coach.
Haley has two years remaining on his initial contract.
So that’s why you may hear a few offensive coordinator candidates thrown around the Chiefs in the next few days. But don’t look for them to hire anyone outside of the organization. It’s just too risky.
That means by default and not qualifications, the job likely will go to Carthon. And that means for better or worse, the Chiefs offense will have a far differing look in 2011 than the one fans saw in 2010.
BY THE NUMBERS MAURICE CARTHON
2001 (Detroit) - Rank 26th - 270 Points - 16.9 Points Per Game
Passing 6th, Rushing 28th
2002 (Detroit) - Rank 26th
Total Points 306 - 19.1 Points Per Game
Passing 25th, Rushing 29th
2003 (Dallas) - Rank 21st
Total Points 289 - 18.1 Points Per Game
Passing 17th, Rushing 12th
2004 (Dallas) - Rank 25th
Total Points 293 - 18.3 Points Per Game
Passing 15th, Rushing 20th
2005 (Cleveland) - Rank 32nd
Total Points 232 - 14.5 Points Per Game
Passing 23rd, Rushing 25th
2006 (Cleveland) - Rank 30th
Total Points 238 - 14.9 Points Per Game
Passing 23rd, Rushing 31st
WARPAINT ILLUSTRATED MESSAGE BOARDS:
Should the Chiefs turn the offensive reigns over to Carthon?