Crennel Has the Look of Head Coach

Crennel Has the Look of Head Coach

Sitting through a Todd Haley press conference was anything but thrilling. As one member of the media put it Wednesday, after listening to Romeo Crennel speak, it was the widest awake any of us had been at a press conference in nearly three years.

Chiefs interim head coach Romeo Crennel certainly has something on his predecessor – he's decisive. His first order of business on Wednesday when he met with the local media was to name his starting quarterback. If healthy, newly acquired quarterback Kyle Orton gets the call. If not, rookie Ricky Stanzi gets his shot at the world champion Green Bay Packers Sunday at Arrowhead.

As I sat in the press conference I was amazed at the ease with which Crennel spoke to the media. Granted, it wasn't the same atmosphere as the one on Monday that announced the firing of Todd Haley. But it was nonetheless just as informative.

Crennel is an old soul. He has a graceful confidence about him. We already know he's one of the greatest defensive minds in the game today, but we also came to learn that just after a few days on the job he's clearly in charge.

That's something we've not seen around these parts in a long time. When Haley was cut loose on Monday there wasn't any doubt Crennel would lead the team the final three games of the season.

What we didn't realize is that the man who has to reassemble the broken pieces left under Haley might just get a chance to coach this team in 2012. Prior to the press conference, I'd have said that's not a good idea.

That's not because Crennel can't do the job or because he struggled in Cleveland, but instead because the Chiefs need a big-name coach to win over an eroding fan base that's not buying season tickets.

But that doesn't mean that Crennel can't win over KC's fan base.

In Cleveland, Crennel was saddled with a horrible general manager in Phil Savage and an owner, Randy Lerner, who never understood the word patience. After three seasons, Crennel was relieved of his duties and any chance that he'd become a head coach again appeared slim.

Even when Chiefs GM Scott Pioli asked Crennel to join Kansas City as defensive coordinator before the 2010 season, we heard that Crennel was content to play out his coaching career as a coordinator.

After working with Haley for nearly two seasons, he feels otherwise now. He's openly lobbying for the job.

But as a true professional, he understands it won't be easy to convince Chairman Clark Hunt, nor Pioli, to hand him the job with some great coaches ready to be hired.

With the likes of Jon Gruden, Brian Billick, Marty Schottenheimer, Bill Cowher and Jeff Fisher likely to receive calls from NFL general managers who have head coaching vacancies, Crennel might have to wait until some interviews have taken place to learn his fate in 2012.

Crennel is under contract with the Chiefs through next season. Even if he doesn't keep his current gig, he's more than happy to return to his old job as defensive coordinator next season. And that's what Wednesday so refreshing. Crennel is blatantly honest.

When pushed by reporters over the quarterback issue, Crennel quickly ended the suspense. However, that means the Packers will be able to prepare for either Orton or Stanzi. Crennel quipped that he doubted the Packers, who are undefeated this season, really care who KC's starting quarterback is on Sunday.

I'm not sure Crennel will win in his Chiefs head coaching debut on Sunday but I can almost assuredly promise that the Chiefs won't get embarrassed.

Will that be enough to make Crennel KC's head coach next season? We won't know until the Chiefs finish out the season against division rivals Oakland and Denver.



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