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Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Chiefs reunite keys to Patriots' glory days

By Bill Williamson
ESPN.com

Charlie Weis and Romeo Crennel
Charlie Weis, left, and Romeo Crennel are back together, working in Kansas City.
What does Todd Haley have that Bill Belichick doesn’t have?

Belichick’s top two lieutenants from New England’s dynasty.

A week after landing a huge coup by adding Charlie Weis as offensive coordinator, Kansas City has come to terms with Romeo Crennel to guide its defense. This completes a special tandem.

The Chiefs are officially on the right track.

Crennel and Weis were a big part of New England’s Super Bowl run. They helped make Belichick’s teams special. Yes, New England has had plenty of success after Crennel (Cleveland) and Weis (Notre Dame) parlayed the Patriots’ success into head-coaching jobs following the 2004 season. No assistant in New England had as big of an impact as Weis and Crennel did.

After mostly unsuccessful runs as head coaches, both Crennel and Weis are back where they should be -- working as coordinators.

Crennel is clearly hungry to coach. He didn’t need to coach with three years left on his Cleveland contract. But he clearly wanted to reunite with Weis and the man who brought them together, Kansas City general manager Scott Pioli. All three enjoyed success in New England. Crennel had other opportunities, but he was most comfortable with coaching in Kansas City.

Pioli knows that his Chiefs are a step closer to being a playoff team with Crennel in town. The Chiefs, who finished 4-12 in 2009, went to the 3-4 defense under Clancy Pendergast last season after Crennel turned down Kansas City because he was having hip surgery.

Crennel is a 3-4 master. He will help the defense take the next step. There is some decent young talent on this defense and Crennel will get more out of it. It needs to start on the defensive line where Kansas City spent the No. 5 and No. 3 overall draft picks on Glenn Dorsey and Tyson Jackson, respectively, the past two years. Both players have shown glimpses of major production, but the Chiefs need more than glimpses from both of them.

Expect Crennel to get these players to play up to their potential.

Crennel, along with Weis, will help Haley. Entering his second season as an NFL coach, Haley will benefit greatly from the leadership and expertise of his top two assistants. He now has two coaches with head-coaching experience to lean on.

Credit Kansas City for recognizing the importance of coordinators. The Chiefs are a much better organization today than they were at the end of the 209 season.

If you don’t think so, just ask Belichick.