AFC West: Cory Undlin

AFC West hirings: What's left?

January, 16, 2013
It’s been a busy 17 days in the AFC West since the end of the 2012 regular season.

The Kansas City Chiefs and the San Diego Chargers both fired their general managers and head coaches and they each found replacements for both spots.

Thus, the heavy lifting of the AFC West firing/hiring season is over, but there still is some work to do for each team. Let’s take a look at what is left for all four teams in the division.

Denver: It has been a light offseason for the division champions, but it is getting a little busy. The Broncos must now replace offensive coordinator Mike McCoy, who took over as the Chargers’ head coach Tuesday. Among the potential replacements are former Arizona coach Ken Whisenhunt (if he doesn’t get a head coaching job), former Colts offensive coordinator Tom Moore, Colts quarterbacks coach Clyde Christensen and Denver quarterback coach Adam Gase. The Broncos quickly replaced secondary coach Ron Milus, whose contract was not renewed. Cory Undlin replaces him. He was with defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio in Jacksonville.

Kansas City: The Chiefs have moved fast. Coach Andy Reid and GM John Dorsey are in place and much of the staff is in place. Among the potential coaches who could join the staff are Brad Childress (senior offensive assistant) and Tony Sparano (offensive line).

Oakland: The Raiders have four assistant openings -- offensive coordinator, special teams, offensive line and linebackers coach. The only coaches reportedly interviewed in a very quiet process have been Mike Martz (OC) and Juan Castillo (OL), while there has been rumbling that Marc Trestman and Greg Olson could be offensive coordinator candidates. I think one name to keep an eye on for that job could be Stanford offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton.

San Diego: McCoy will likely keep the defensive staff together while hiring several other assistant coaches, including a new offensive coordinator.

There are usually ramifications to all-time postseason blunders and this is no exception. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that the Denver Broncos have fired secondary coach Ron Milus.

His firing comes three days after second-year safety Rahim Moore was out of place and allowed Jacoby Jones to get behind him on a desperation 70-yard bomb from Joe Flacco that tied the game. Baltimore would eventually win in double overtime.

UPDATE: The Broncos have acted quickly to replace Milus, whose contract was not renewed. Cory Undlin replaces him. He was with defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio in Jacksonville. Team maintains the Milus firing was not all on Moore.

Countless former NFL players have said that they’ve never seen a safety so out of position like Moore was on that play. Moore, a second-round pick in 2011, made strides in 2012 and the team is not going to give up on him.

So, Milus is paying for not putting his player in position. Is Milus’ firing all about that one play? Perhaps not, but the timing is curious. Plus, He was brought to Denver by head coach John Fox in 2011 after coaching three years for him in Carolina. At the very least, the Moore play was a major part of Milus’ firing.

Denver’s secondary, overall, had a good season in 2012. But the Moore play will forever be remembered for costing Denver the Baltimore game and ramifications were bound to concur.

In other AFC West news:
  • Denver left tackle Ryan Clady has withdrawn from the Pro Bowl because of a shoulder injury. It is not expected to affect him in 2013.
  • New San Diego coach Mike McCoy coached both San Diego tight end Dante Rosario and receiver/returner Eddie Royal in Denver, so he has some instant familiarity.
  • As expected, New Kansas City coach Andy Reid hired former Chicago special teams coach Dave Toub for the same job. Toub is considered one of the best special teams in the NFL. Toub worked for Reid in Philadelphia earlier last decade.
  • Also, former Kansas City defensive coordinator Gary Gibbs was retained as linebacker coach and Emmitt Thomas has been kept as the secondary coach. Reid has brought in Eugene Chung as the assistant offensive line coach. He was in the same role on Reid’s Eagles’ staff last season.
Ben Garland will continue to serve his country as he tries to make an NFL roster.

The Denver defensive tackle will be sworn in as a member of the 140th Wing of the Colorado Air National Guard on Wednesday at the team’s facility. Garland will serve as a public affairs officer in the National Guard.

Garland played at the Air Force and for the past two seasons, he was on the Broncos’ military reserve list. The Broncos view Garland as an interesting project, who could make the 53-man roster.

In other AFC West news:

In a radio interview, Denver receiver Eric Decker said he is looking forward to the focus being on football in the post Tebowmania days in Denver. I think everyone in the organization is thinking the same thing. The focus on Tim Tebow got to be overwhelming at times in Denver.

The Broncos have hired Cory Undlin as defensive quality control coach. He previously worked for new Denver defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio in Jacksonville where Del Rio was the head coach.

Oakland free-agent offensive tackle Stephon Heyer has signed with the Jets. He started two games for the Raiders in 2011.

The Chargers have signed several players to help fill out the roster.