AFC West: Grene Bay Packers

While in transit to Denver on Friday, the Kansas City Chiefs made several expected coaching hires official.

Andy Reid’s new staff is near complete. There was no surprise in the announcement. Former Eagles’ quarterbacks coach Doug Pederson is the offensive coordinator and former Jets’ linebacker coach Bob Sutton is the defensive coordinator. Sutton -- the most important hire on this staff in my mind -- had a two-year stint as the Jets’ defensive coordinator in 2006-08.

Here are the rest of the new Kansas City staff members: Eric Bieniemy (running backs), Tommy Brasher (defensive line), Travis Crittenden (assistant strength and conditioning), David Culley (assistant head coach/wide receivers), Mike Frazier (statistical analysis coordinator), Corey Matthaei (quality control), Tom Melvin (tight ends), Matt Nagy (quarterbacks), Britt Reid (quality control) and Barry Rubin (head strength and conditioning).

Reid has great familiarity with this staff. All but Sutton, Bieniemy and Reid’s son, Britt, were on the Eagles’ staff last season.

The Chiefs are also expected to hire former Minnesota head coach and former Eagles’ offensive coordinator Brad Childress in a role and veteran George Warhop to coach the offensive line.

Pederson played for Reid in Green Bay and has coached for him. Reid clearly trusts him. Pederson is a young coach, but because Reid and Childress will be on the staff, Pederson should be fine.

In a conference call with media Friday, Pederson said he and Reid have not discussed who will call the plays. But if it is Reid (there’s a good chance of it, I’d say), Pederson seems onboard.

“It worked tremendously in Green Bay when I was there as a player,” Pederson said. “Mike Holmgren called the plays; Sherm Lewis was the offensive coordinator. Even my first year in Philadelphia as a player, Coach Reid called the plays and Rod Dowhower was the coordinator. If it works, it works well. The two definitely have to be on the same page. That’s something that Coach Reid and I will discuss as we get into this offseason, especially as we get closer to the season.”

While Reid has a handle on the offense, the Kansas City defense will be Sutton’s charge. Reid’s defenses in Philadelphia faltered in recent years and was a big reason why he is no longer the coach there. Sutton doesn’t have a ton of coordinator experience, but he is valued coach and he’s worked with some good defensive minds.

Expect the Chiefs to continue to use the 3-4 defense because that is what the unit is best suited for. This group has potential and it is Sutton’s job to get the best out of it.

More changes in Oakland

May, 8, 2012
The Oakland Raiders announced Tuesday that four long-time members of the Al Davis front office -- George Karras, Bruce Kebric, Jon Kingdon and Kent McCloughan -- will leave the team.

The departures of Kindgon and Kebric had been reported, and wholesale changes have been expected since Reggie McKenzie became the team’s general manager in January. Davis died in October at the age of 82.

The team said Kebric and Kingdon were relieved of their duties, while Karras and McCloughan will retire.

“This was a very difficult decision, because these individuals have been part of this organization for all or parts of four decades,” McKenzie said in the statement. “We’re grateful for their dedicated service to the Raiders.”

Former Green Bay front office member Shawn Herock reportedly will become Oakland’s director of college scouting. In its release Tuesday, the team said McKenzie plans to announce a restructuring of the team’s player-personnel department this month. Expect major changes in the scouting personnel.

McCloughan, who first joined the team as a cornerback in the 1960s, had this to say about his time with the Raiders in the team’s release:

“I had talked to Al Davis when I turned 65 and he said, ‘Listen, young man: You’re not quitting before I do.’ I owe him a lot. He was so nice to my family and me. We had some great years, including when Ron Wolf was with us. We won a lot of games. I had the opportunity to work 47 years with one team. I enjoyed it so much. I thought Al Davis was an outstanding person and boss. I enjoyed the scouting department, the coaches and players I had the opportunity to work with, and I’ll always be a Raider. I’m going out about as good as a person can go out. You couldn’t have written a better story for me. I have the NFL Sunday Ticket, and I’ll still be watching all the games. I might even come out to training camp. I wish Reggie and the entire organization the best.”

Early AFC West notes

January, 1, 2012
PM ET floats the name of Elliot Wolf as a possible candidate for the Oakland general manager job. Wolf is the son of former Green Bay and Oakland executive Ron Wolf. Also, Elliot Wolf works in Green Bay with another top Oakland candidate, Reggie McKenzie, a former Raiders linebacker. Expect the Raiders to begin the process of adding an executive after the season. That has been the plan since the Oct. 8 death of owner Al Davis.

The Chiefs put running back Jackie Battle on injured reserve and added Shaun Draughn from the practice squad. He is from North Carolina.

Norv Turner has the support of his players going into Sunday’s season finale at Oakland. Still, don’t expect the support to sway ownership. Turner is expected to be fired after the Chargers have failed to go to the playoffs for the past two seasons.

Perhaps a chain of events will prevent former Denver coach Josh McDaniels from being the offensive coordinator in Kansas City.

Chargers add to battered O-line

November, 15, 2011
The last time we saw the San Diego Chargers' offensive line it was battered and barely able to give quarterback Philip Rivers any protection in a home loss to Oakland on Sunday.

The Chargers could be in a similar bind this week at Chicago. To help beef up the unit, San Diego signed veteran Tony Moll. He has started 21 games for Green Bay and Baltimore, from 2006 to 2010. He was last with Jacksonville this summer.

To make room for Moll, San Diego cut linebacker Darryl Gamble, who was a preseason star. The Chargers will likely try to put Gamble on the practice squad. I could see Gamble being promoted back to the 53-man roster once the Chargers’ offensive line is healthy.

The San Diego Union Tribune reported that guard Kris Dielman will miss his fourth straight game with a concussion. Tackle Marcus McNeill (stinger) and guard Louis Vasquez (ankle) were both hurt against the Raiders. It is uncertain if they will play against the Bears.


Reggie McKenzie’s name is, once again, being connected to a potential general manager’s opening in Oakland. McKenzie’s name was one of the first to be connected to a possible opening in Oakland after the death of owner Al Davis. The Green Bay front-office executive is a former Raiders’ player.

The Raiders added to their practice squad.

Posted by's Bill Williamson

Jay Cutler should be careful what he wishes for.

Wherever he ends up, Cutler might find it hard to match the offensive weapons he had with the Broncos. If he ends up in Washington, for example, he won't have the offensive line protection he had last season. If he goes to Chicago, he won't have the caliber of receivers he had last year.

Take a look at what Cutler will miss when he leaves Denver.

Offensive line: The Broncos had one of the best lines in the league last season. Cutler was sacked just 11 times, the second-lowest total for a starting quarterback in the NFL. His backup, Patrick Ramsey, was sacked once. The Broncos have one of the league's best young left tackles in Ryan Clady, who protects the quarterback's blindside.

Receivers: Denver has a nice complement of receivers in Brandon Marshall, Eddie Royal and Brandon Stokley, along with tight end Tony Scheffler. That group helped Cutler amass more than 4,500 passing yards in 2008, a Denver team record.

The running game: Denver routinely has a deep backfield and one of the best running attacks in the NFL. The running game always set up the pass in Denver under Mike Shanahan. New Denver coach Josh McDaniels will use some of what Denver used to do and some of what he learned in New England. Still, Denver's running attack should continue to be solid.

It wasn't all good in Denver, of course. Here are some things Cutler won't miss in Denver.

The trust issue: Cutler feels he can't trust McDaniels after the ill-fated Matt Cassel trade talks. Sources in Cutler's camp feel McDaniels is happy about owner Pat Bowlen's decision to pursue a trade and never really wanted Cutler. Those sources say Cutler could never feel good about playing for McDaniels.

The defense: Denver's defense has been a disaster the past two years. There has been some modest improvement, but the front seven is still underwhelming. Much is made of Cutler's 17-20 record as Denver's starting quarterback. But chew on this statistic: Cutler's record in Denver is 12-1 when the Broncos defense has allowed opponents 22 or fewer points. The one loss, to Green Bay in 2007, was in overtime. A defense that limits opponents to three touchdowns is not too much to ask. Denver's problem has been its defense, not its quarterback. Without Cutler, the Broncos may have trouble in both areas.