Chiefs Begin Search for New OC

Brian Bahr - Getty

One day after the Chiefs fired offensive coordinator Mike Solari and three other members of the offensive coaching staff, the process begins to find replacements. Names are already beginning to surface.

As we first reported yesterday, the Chiefs have begun preparing a preliminary list of offensive coordinator candidates. Warpaint Illustrated has learned those names include: UTEP offensive coordinator Eric Price, Jacksonville Jaguars quarterbacks coach Mike Shula, former Nebraska head coach Bill Callahan and now Denver Broncos assistant Jeremy Bates.

The Kansas City Star mentioned the name of former Chiefs offensive coordinator Paul Hackett as a potential candidate, but according to our source, he isn't likely to be considered. Nor will the Chiefs give consideration to ex-coordinator Jimmy Raye in the same capacity.

The Chiefs will search both the college and professional ranks in order to find the best man to rebuild KC's offense. It appears that Herm Edwards is committed to rebuilding the program, and a fresh offensive take might be the best choice going forward.

It appears there isn't a clear cut front-runner at the moment, but the Chiefs are high on Price, who worked with incumbent starter Brodie Croyle at Alabama and has history with Herm Edwards in New York, where he tutored Chad Pennington.

The latest name to surface, Bates, served as the quarterbacks/wide receivers coach in Denver this year, but is currently in the midst of a storm. Monday Broncos wide receiver Javon Walker told the local media he wants out of Denver. He didn't blame Bates, instead throwing his ire at head coach Mike Shanahan, but if Bates can't control a player like Walker, how can he run an entire offense in Kansas City?

The other issue is Denver's history with the Chiefs stemming from the Alex Gibbs fiasco in the 90s. The Broncos won't likely grant Kansas City permission to talk with Bates until they decide if he'll be retained for 2008 or not. In other words, just because the Chiefs want him, doesn't mean they'll get him.

Regardless, the Chiefs hope to have their new offensive coordinator in place before the Senior Bowl later this month.

In other Chiefs News:

- Warpaint Illustrated has confirmed that special teams coach Mike Priefer has been retained. The Chiefs felt their coverage units improved this season. We also learned that one of KC's top priorities will be to find a solid return man who can handle both punt and kickoff returns.

Eddie Drummond will not be retained in 2008 and it's not likely that Jeff Webb will be given another shot next season at returner. The Chiefs want Webb to focus on becoming the number three wide receiver.

- According to a report, one of KC's possible free agent targets might be Chicago Bears linebacker Lance Briggs. His contract demands will be the determining factor in the degree of the Chiefs' interest, but the team will look for a linebacker in free agency and in the draft.

With middle linebacker Napoleon Harris struggling and Donnie Edwards aging, the team has no depth at the position. Backup linebacker Keyaron Fox will not be retained.

- Another old friend who could return to the Chiefs in 2008 is Indianapolis Colts guard Ryan Lilja, who was cut by the Chiefs during Dick Vermeil's tenure. According to our sources, Lilja isn't likely to be re-signed by the Colts.

If that happens, the Chiefs will talk to Lilja about becoming a starter on their revamped 2008 offensive line. It appears the Chiefs will move guard Brian Waters to center and Lilja could slide in at left guard. Damion McIntosh will move to right tackle, leaving the Chiefs to fill left tackle via the draft.

The consensus at the moment is that if Michigan tackle Jake Long is on the board when the Chiefs draft either 4th or 5th, he'll be the pick. Kansas City is also high on KU left tackle Anthony Collins, who has yet to decide if he'll forgo his senior season for the Jayhawks.

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