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Tuesday, February 7, 2012
Reviewing the leadership change

By Bill Williamson
ESPN.com

There has been plenty of movement in the front office and on coaching staffs in the AFC West in the past several weeks. Two of the seven coaching staffs that changed in the NFL occurred in the AFC West this year.

There are some more additions as staffs round out throughout the division, but the major hirings and firings have been completed. Let’s review:

Denver Broncos

Recap: After going through a lot of change in recent seasons, Denver was pretty calm this year. It hired former Jacksonville coach Jack Del Rio to be the defensive coordinator after Dennis Allen went to Oakland as head coach.

Comment: Del Rio is Denver's seventh defensive coordinator in seven years. However, he has coached for coach John Fox before, so there shouldn’t be too much flux.

Kansas City Chiefs

Recap: Interim coach Romeo Crennel, who replaced Todd Haley with three games remaining in the season, was made the permanent head coach. He hired Brian Daboll as the offensive coordinator and Crennel will likely oversee the defense himself.

Comment: The key here is Daboll. Crennel has the defense going in the right direction and he is well-respected by the entire team. Daboll needs to take this potentially strong offense to the next level.

Oakland Raiders

Recap: The Raiders underwent the most change in the division this offseason. The change began sadly when owner Al Davis died in October. After the season, former Raiders’ linebacker and former Green Bay executive Reggie McKenzie was hired as general manager. He quickly fired coach Hue Jackson and replaced him with Allen. He hired Greg Knapp (a former Oakland offensive coordinator) to run the offense and Stanford co-defensive coordinator Jason Tarver to head the defense.

Comment: It’s an exciting time in Oakland with lots of great potential. But there is no question that much of the new leadership is inexperienced in their new roles.

San Diego Chargers

Recap: The big news in San Diego is what didn’t happen. After the Chargers finished 8-8 and out of the playoffs for the second straight season, coach Norv Turner and general manager A.J. Smith were expected to be shown the door. But owner Dean Spanos made the surprising move to keep them both. Defensive coordinator Greg Manusky was fired and linebackers coach John Pagano replaced him.

Comment: The pressure is on everyone in San Diego. If the Chargers don’t make the playoffs in 2012, we’ll likely see the type of wholesale changes that occurred in Oakland.