AFC West: Clancy Pendergast

Denver signed Miami nickel cornerback Nathan Jones on Friday evening. He has three interceptions in six NFL seasons.

This may be a sign that second-year player Alphonso Smith may not be completley ready to contribute. Smith was replaced by undrafted free agent Tony Carter late last season. Denver gave up its 2010 No. 1 pick (No. 14 overall) to Seattle to draft Smith at No. 37 last year.

  • Kansas City re-signed backup running back Jackie Battle. He played in 17 games the past three seasons for the Chiefs.
  • Here is a chance to keep up with all the free- agency movement on
  • Oakland brought back left tackle Khalif Barnes. He was hurt last year, his first in Oakland. If he stays healthy, he could vie for playing time.
  • Oakland hired Kevin Ross to work with the secondary. He replaces Clancy Pendergast, who quit Oakland two weeks after he took over as the defensive coordinator at Cal.
  • Detroit cut massive defensive tackle Grady Jackson. Jackson, 37, could interest both Oakland and San Diego. He could fit both the 4-3 and 3-4 defenses.

You pick it responses

February, 26, 2010
As expected, we had a runaway winner in our AFC West “You pick it” story this week.

Really, how could it be any story other than LaDainian Tomlinson being released in San Diego? This is colossal news and will be one of the biggest stories in the division all year.

For the record, the other candidates were San Diego shopping cornerback Antonio Cromartie and former Kansas City defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast leaving his job as a defensive backs coach in Oakland after less than two weeks, to become the defensive coordinator at nearby Cal.

Below are some of your responses. Thanks to everyone who participated.

Dan from Pratt, Kan.,: With all due respect to the other persons involved: NO story has the impact of the loss of L.T., in any week or month. That from a Football Fan. Not a Chargers fan, but a 'Football Fan'.

Ryan from San Diego: It definitely has to be LaDanian Tomlinson being cut by the Chargers. Although, it was expected it is still so, so sad to see him go and potentially put on another jersey. He has meant so much to this town and is such a great, classy guy. It will bring tears to my eyes for a long time but a Super Bowl would definitely help things.

Daylon from Wyoming: I think its Cro being shopped. He was supposed to be an elite corner a couple years ago, but how that is now forgotten. What I dont understand is how they think that they will get a starting caliber RB for a CB that they themselves have devalued by questioning his toughness and his attitude. Heck it took Champ Bailey to get Clinton Portis, and Champ is 100 times the CB that Cro is...

Kyle from San Diego: This isnt even a question this week. There is only one story this week and that is LT. We will never be able to fully show LT our appreciation for what he did for this city and this team the last 9 years. He is the reason the Chargers have been as succesful as they have been in recent years and will be for years to come I think. It is the end of a great era and a sad time in SD. If the response to his release by the fans isnt enough to show people nationwide that there are passionate football fans in SD then I dont know what will.

Mike from San Diego: It’s L.T. this may be the biggest story in San Diego in 10 years. It’s huge.

Joe from Fresno: It’s the Tomlinson story. This is a celebration of a legendary career. He’ll be missed.

You pick it: AFC West storylines

February, 24, 2010
The candidates are:

Tomlinson cut: As anticipated, San Diego cut legendary running back LaDainian Tomlinson after it became clear Tomlinson, 30, could no longer be a primary back for the team.

Cromartie is being shopped: ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reported that San Diego is offering cornerback Antonio Cromartie in trade talks as it tries to find a new running back.

Pendergast jumps ship: Less than two weeks after accepting a job to new coach the defensive backs in Oakland, recently fired Kansas City defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast left Oakland to become the defensive coordinator at nearby Cal.

Pick your story of the week and hit my mailbag with your thoughts. I will post some of your responses later in the week.
Apparently, Clancy Pendergast will not be staying in the AFC West.

But, he will be staying in the Bay Area.

The National Football Post is reporting that Pendergast is ending his short stint with Oakland to become the defensive coordinator at the nearby University of California. Pendergast was hired less than two weeks ago to work with Oakland’s secondary.

It has been a whirlwind month for Pendergast. First, he was replaced by Romeo Crennel as Kansas City’s defensive coordinator in January. At the time, Kansas City coach Todd Haley said that Pendergast could stay on the staff, but later the team decided to let him go.

His decision to go to Cal clearly shows Pendergast feels it’s more important for his career to remain a defensive coordinator than to stay in the NFL.

Now, Oakland has to scramble to adjust its staff. Pendergast was replacing Willie Brown, who retired. Lionel Washington also coaches the secondary. Oakland can either hire someone to replace Pendergast or simply let Washington handle all of the secondary responsibilities.

Evening news and notes

February, 8, 2010
Kansas City cut linebackers Weston Dacus and Justin Rogers on Monday.

Dacus was on the injured reserve all of the 2009 season after playing in eight games as a rookie free agent in 2008. Rogers played in one game in 2009.

Denver signed running back Bruce Hall on Monday. He spent most of the past two seasons on Buffalo’s practice squad and was with new Denver running backs coach Eric Studesville. Hall also played for two seasons at Mississippi.

Oakland announced the hiring of former Kansas City defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast. He will work with the secondary. ESPN’s John Clayton reported Pendergast's hiring in Oakland on Saturday.

Pendergast goes to Oakland

February, 6, 2010
I just received a call from ESPN’s John Clayton to inform me that Oakland has hired former Kansas City defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast to coach the defensive backs.

Pendergast was replaced by Romeo Crennel as the Chiefs defensive coordinator last month. Initially, Kansas City coach Todd Haley said he was interested in keeping Pendergast on the staff. But last week, the team and Pendergast parted ways.

Oakland has not announced the Pendergast hire. On the team’s Web site, Lionel Washington is listed as the defensive backs coach.

Pendergast is a quality coach and he will add good experience on the Raiders’ staff. He is innovator and he is known for his work with defensive backs. He is the third coach added to the Oakland staff, joining new offensive coordinator Hue Jackson and defensive line coach Mike Waufle.

The team has not said whether head coach Tom Cable will be back or not, but ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that he will return.

This is a nice addition for Oakland as Pendergast moves West in the AFC West.

You pick it responses

February, 5, 2010
We had a runway winner in our “you pick it’ feature. I’m a bit surprised by it.

But the readers thought Denver promoting linebacker coach Don Martindale to defensive coordinator is the story of the week. Martindale replaced Mike Nolan, who, in a mutual decision with the team, parted ways after one mostly-successful season on defense.

The other candidates were Kansas City not bringing back former defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast after it originally thought about keeping him, and the Chiefs bringing back former star defensive back Emmitt Thomas to coach the secondary.

I understand readers thinking the Martindale story was big because of his new position. However, I would have voted for the Thomas story. He was a Hall of Fame player in Kansas City and now the 66-year-old is back as part of a strong, new coaching staff.

But you set the agenda here. Thanks to everyone who participated. Here are some of your responses:

Dan from Denver: The Don Martindale story is the story of the week. He is an up-and-coming coach who will take off where Mike Nolan had this unit.

Joe from Boulder, Colo.: Denver players like Martindale and I think they will play well for him. I think Josh McDaniels really made the right call here.

Townsend from Arkadelphia, Arkansas: Definitely the hiring of Emmitt Thomas to the Chiefs. Todd Haley has assembled quite possibly the best coaching staff anyone in the AFC West has seen in years and hiring Thomas and tight ends coach Bernie Permalee was the icing on the cake in establishing the legitimacy of that franchise again. This is a huge step in solidifying a weakness the Chiefs have had for years. Not only do they have Super Bowl winning coaches but one that's in the Hall of Fame as well. Theres a storm brewing in KC.

Mike from Seattle: I can’t believe All Denver could do to replace Nolan is promoting Martindale from LB coach. That will kill this team in 2010. It’s the story of the week.

Erik from Chicago: Don Martindale was considered for a promotion in Oakland. The Raiders should have given it to him. I think that the linebackers slid back without him, and I was not impressed at all with what John Marshall did this year.

Aaron from Syracuse: BW, The storyline of the week is a two-for-one. It might have been an awkward situation for KC to keep freshly demoted Pendergast on board. So, instead of letting him coach the D Backs, they bring in the man and legend Emmitt Thomas. He knows the game, and should be a great help to the secondary, but let's not overlook how nice it is for the fans. 10 wins in 3 years is stomach turning. Putting Emmitt Thomas on the sideline is a little piece of hope to the fans that someday the Chiefs will be back on top of the AFC West.

You pick it: AFC West storylines

February, 3, 2010
The candidates are:

Chiefs bring back Thomas: Kansas City hired former Chiefs Pro Football Hall of Fame defensive back Emmitt Thomas to coach the defensive backs in 2010.

Martindale gets the nod in Denver: The Broncos promoted linebackers coach Don Martindale to replace Mike Nolan as defensive coordinator.

Chiefs don’t bring back Pendergast: The Chiefs gave some consideration to keeping replaced defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast as secondary coach. But Pendergast and the team parted ways.

Pick your story of the week and hit my mailbag with your thoughts. I will post some of your thoughts later in the week.
The Kansas City Chiefs made some more changes to their staff. None were overly surprising.

The announcement that sticks out is that former defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast is no longer with the team. He was replaced by Romeo Crennel two weeks ago. At that time, Kansas City head coach Todd Haley said he wanted Pendergast to stay with the team in some form.

Pendergast’s unit struggled last season, but he is a solid secondary coach and the Chiefs could have benefitted from his presence on the 2010 staff.

Former tight ends coach Bob Bicknell and receiver coach Dedric Ward are officially parting from the team.

Richie Anderson was named receivers coach. He worked heavily with the unit during the season. Anthony Pleasant, a 14-year NFL defensive lineman, was named a defensive assistant. Former defensive quality control coach Pat Perles is now the assistant offensive line coach.

Pendergast could stay in K.C.

January, 14, 2010
The Kansas City Chiefs' decision to bring in Romeo Crennel as defensive coordinator doesn’t necessarily mean 2009 defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast will leave the organization.

Head coach Todd Haley indicated Pendergast could stay, likely as a position coach. Thanks to the Chiefs’ Web site, here is what Haley had to say about the subject during a conference call with local media to discuss Crennel’s addition:

“I would imagine he would be coaching a position. Again, we are adding another guy to the mix and Romeo is going to be in charge of the ultimate defense. But every one of those guys plays a critical role and I am fortunate enough that, last year and now this year, I have a bunch of guys who have run the defense before, guys that have been coordinators, some of them that have been head coaches, Romeo being one of those. If the fit is good and I know that everybody can work together towards the common goal then we have a chance to succeed and that is what is going on right now. I know Gary Gibbs is going to coach linebackers and Clancy was coaching the defensive backs last year, and that is where I would think he would stay.”

If Pendergast sticks around, this will be a big part of the defensive staff Haley wanted last year. Crennel was offered the coordinator job last year. He declined because he was having hip surgery. If Pendergast sticks around, it gives Kansas City another experienced coach and one who knows the team. It will only strengthen Crennel’s defensive staff.

Meanwhile, it was smart that Kansas City jumped on Crennel when it did. The Patriots now have an opening at defensive coordinator. Crennel would have been a natural choice to return to New England, where he enjoyed his greatest success. But he’s signed, sealed and delivered in Kansas City. That’s a positive for the Chiefs.

Chiefs announce Crennel hiring

January, 14, 2010
The Kansas City Chiefs have officially named Romeo Crennel as defensive coordinator. Here is my take on the hiring.

Kansas City coach Todd Haley is expected to address Crennel’s hiring and the status of 2009 defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast later Thursday. Here's a link to the team’s announcement of the Crennel hiring.
Charlie Weis and Romeo CrennelGetty ImagesCharlie 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.
A source close to former Cleveland head coach Romeo Crennel said that the Kansas City Chiefs will get the first crack at hiring him as defensive coordinator if they choose to pursue him.

Crennel would reunite with general manager Scott Pioli and offensive coordinator Charlie Weis. They were all in New England together during its Super Bowl run. Weis was hired by Kansas City last week.

The source said that four other NFL teams have called about Crennel. The New York Giants are reportedly one of the teams, but Crennel will give the Chiefs the first chance to hire him if they want to. The Chiefs have not fired defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast.

The Chiefs tried to hire Crennel last year. However, he turned down the opportunity because he had hip surgery.

Evening AFC West news and notes

January, 11, 2010
The Denver Broncos could be on the verge of losing two longtime offensive assistants.

The Denver Post is reporting running backs coach Bobby Turner has been offered the associate head coach job in Washington. It would reunite Turner with former Denver head coach Mike Shanahan, who became the head coach in Washington last week. Turner was with Shanahan during his entire 14-year tenure in Denver.

Denver originally denied Turner permission to interview with Washington. But now that he has a promotion available, Turner looks like he could be on his way to Washington.
  • Denver offensive line coach Rick Dennison has an offer to join Houston as offensive coordinator. Dennison is considering the offer. I hear it will be an upset if Dennison turns it down.
  • There is a report that former Cleveland head coach Romeo Crennel is close to becoming the defensive coordinator in Kansas City. The Chiefs have not fired current defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast.
  • The San Diego Union Tribune is reporting that Chargers defensive coordinator Ron Rivera turned down offers to interview for head-coaching jobs in Buffalo and Seattle. Rivera did the same thing last year when the Chargers were in the playoff hunt. With a lack of current opening in the NFL. Rivera may not be in the mix for head jobs if the Chargers take a long playoff ride. You have to admire his focus on his current job. So many assistants have their own future at the top of their priority list. Rivera’s priority is clearly his team’s playoff run.

AFC West mailbag

January, 6, 2010
Mid-week mail call:

Dustin T. from San Diego wants to know which team in the playoffs do I think could give San Diego the most trouble?

Bill Williamson: Well, Dustin, I think Indianapolis has to be considered the biggest challenge. But the Chargers wouldn’t see the Colts until the AFC championship game. In the divisional playoff round, I think the Chargers have to beware most of New England. The other two teams San Diego could meet in the divisional round are Cincinnati and the Jets. The Patriots would be the most challenging. The Patriots aren’t the same team as they have been in the past, still slaying Bill Belichick and Tom Brady in the postseason is never an easy task.

Drew Schmit from Arizona wants to know if I think Richard Seymour will re-sign with Oakland.

BW: He better be, right, Drew? Oakland doesn’t have a choice to re-sign Seymour or to give him the franchise tag. Oakland surrendered its 2011 first-round pick to New England for Seymour in September. If Seymour, 30, doesn’t come back to Oakland, the Raiders will look very silly. So, the Raiders have to do everything in their power to keep Seymour and ideally sign him to a long-term deal.

Jason from Houston wants to know if the Chiefs will hire former Cleveland head coach Romeo Crennel will end up the defensive coordinator in Kansas City.

BW: It makes sense because Crennel worked with Kansas City general manager Scott Pioli in New England. The Chiefs tried to talk Crennel into taking the job last year but he had hip surgery. The word from Crennel’s camps in that he has not decided if he wants to coach in 2010. If he does, Kansas City could be a potential option. But there will likely be other suitors for Crennel if he decides to come back. Also, the Chiefs could decide to keep current defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast.