AFC West: Herman Edwards

AFC West news and notes

March, 12, 2009

Posted by's Bill Williamson

• Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson said he did think about his life after the Chargers as insurance if he had not re-done his contract, which he did Tuesday. Tomlinson said he thought he'd fit in with New Orleans, Baltimore and (gasp) Denver.

Could you imagine LT playing for the Broncos? The sky would fall in San Diego. With Denver signing three veteran tailbacks already, the Broncos likely wouldn't have had a need for Tomlinson.

Had Tomlinson hit the open market, the likely landing spot would have been the Saints. They have a need and the presence of Tomlinson's former teammate and good friend Drew Brees would likely have made that a workable pairing.

• The Raiders are still considering Buffalo center Duke Preston. A final resolution could come within the next few days.

• Former Chiefs coach Herm Edwards discusses his situation in a radio interview.

• The St. Paul Pioneer Press says the Vikings are happy with their quarterback situation and will not pursue Denver quarterback Jay Cutler if Denver makes him available again.

• Raiders running back Darren McFadden says he's healthy and raring to go after a recent surgery.

• Two San Diego radio personalities are off the air after making comments about Tomlinson returning to the Chargers.

Posted by's Bill Williamson

If Herm Edwards remains in Kansas City for the final year of his contract, he may have to reconstruct his coaching staff.

While new Chiefs general manager Scott Pioli continues to ponder whether Edwards will be back or not, his assistants are looking at other jobs. It is being reported that offensive coordinator Chan Gailey is a candidate for the same job in Tampa Bay. Gailey just finished his first season in Kansas City.

Kansas City defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham has talked to the Lions. Last week, secondary coach David Gibbs went to Houston and special teams coach Mike Priefer went to Denver.

The Chiefs coaches have been allowed to pursue other jobs while the Chiefs decide what to do. A decision on Edwards' future is expected sometime this week. The fact that other coaches are looking elsewhere could be an indication that the belief in Kansas City is that Edwards will not be back. But until Pioli makes his decision, Edwards remains in play in Kansas City,

AFC West news and notes

January, 17, 2009

Posted by's Bill Williamson

It's clear that Josh McDaniels, Denver's new coach, wants to put his own stamp on the Broncos' passing offense.  At the same time however, expect him to be open to finding ways to maintain Denver's successful running game.

McDaniels will call the plays and he has brought in Carolina assistant Mike McCoy to be the passing coordinator. Former San Francisco assistant Adam Gase will coach the receivers. They replace Jeremy Bates and Jedd Fisch, respectively.

Some in Denver's building wanted to keep Bates and Fisch but McDaniels was given the final call. Still, he kept Denver's running attack in place by keeping run-game coordinator/offensive line coach Rick Dennison and running backs coach Bobby Turner. Bates is being considered in Detroit and could emerge as a candidate in Tampa Bay.

Elsewhere in the conference:

The Oakland Tribune reports the Raiders are warning against fans expecting freshly fired Tampa Bay coach Jon Gruden and and general manager Bruce Allen to return to Oakland. The return of the two men, especially Gruden, is a long shot for many reasons. Give Oakland credit for trying to keep the speculation of a Gruden return from growing.

The Kansas City Star is reporting defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham is interviewing in Detroit. Two other Kansas City assistants have taken jobs elsewhere. The fact that Cunningham is talking to another team could be a sign inside the building that the expectation is that new general manager Scott Pioli will end up firing coach Herm Edwards.

The idea earlier in the week that Steve Spagnuolo would be high on Pioli's wish list. That, of course, is out of the question as Spagnuolo became the coach in St. Louis Saturday. Chris Mortensen's report that the Giants are targeting Dom Capers as Spagnuolo's replacement could affect Denver's pursuit of him as an assistant.

Former Chicago secondary coach Steve Wilks is a candidate for the same job in San Diego.

Pros and cons of keeping Edwards

January, 16, 2009

Posted by's Bill Williamson

With new Kansas City general manager Scott Pioli considering whether to retain coach Herm Edwards, here are some pros and cons that Pioli may be pondering as he works toward making his decision:


The rebuilding program has already begun: The Chiefs have some decent young players and Edwards is well respected by much of the roster. Many around the league think the Chiefs' issues were all because of youth and not Edwards' inability to coach.

Ownership likes him: Chiefs owner Clark Hunt is said to be a big fan of Edwards. Edwards is universally liked in Kansas City and around the league. He is considered a bright light for the league. The final decision is Pioli's, but many people are rooting for Edwards to stick around.

Stability: There was a belief around the organization that the biggest issue was general manager Carl Peterson and that was the only change that was necessary. Many around the league believe Pioli and Edwards could form a winning partnership.


It could stall the franchise: If the Chiefs, who were 2-14 in 2008, have another bad season, many will wonder why Edwards was kept around and it could stall Pioli's program. Pioli won't want to fire Edwards next year and waste his first season in Kansas City.

Fan support: The Chiefs had many empty seats at Arrowhead Stadium in the final month of the season. The firing of Peterson and hiring of Pioli helped with fan support but many fans may want the team to complexly divorce itsself form the leadership of the 2008 season.

Bringing in his own guy: Most general managers hire their own coach when they go to a new team. Pioli, who was highly sought after, probably has his own lists of candidates. He may be tempted to bring in his own coach to Kansas City.

Posted by's Bill Williamson

For those expecting a fast resolution to the head coaching situation in Kansas City, you may have to adjust your time frame.

There are indications out of Kansas City that new general manager Scott Pioli will take his time in deciding whether to keep coach Herm Edwards or bring in a new coach. The expectation is now for the decision to spill into next week.

Assisstant coaches in Kansas City have been excused for the weekend.

Pioli, who was hired Tuesday, has met with Edwards and others and is expected to continue to gather information before he decides what he wants to do.

Pioli can't be blamed for taking his time. In fact, this lack of a fast decision shows he is studying and examining Edwards fairly. He said he'd have an open mind about the current staff and he is clearly taking his time to ensure he makes the right decision.

If Pioli were to quickly dispatch Edwards, who was has been in limbo for nearly three weeks, the coach would know he was never given a fair shake by his new boss. That is not the case. It may keep Edwards, who is in the last year of his contract, hanging well into next week, but at least Edwards knows he still has a chance to be the team's coach.

Posted by's Bill Williamson

It's very possible that Michael Smith's report that the Chiefs could retain Herm Edwards is true. Yes, it doesn't make sense according to conventional wisdom. But there have been indications coming out of Kansas City in the past 24 hours that many think Edwards will, at least, be considered by new general manager Scott Pioli.

The team's ownership would like the current coaches at Pioli's press conference which starts at 6 ET. Also, Pioli is expected to meet with coach Thursday.

It seems he will at least consider keeping Edwards. The word from Kansas City during this entire process is that owner Clark Hunt likes Edwards and wants to keep him. The change was all about replacing general manager Carl Peterson and not about the coaches.

However, a general manager with the credentials of Pioli could have a difficult time agreeing to come to a new team with the existing coach, especially one that is coming off a 2-14 season. Still, the fact that Edwards is still in Kansas City means Pioli is at least open to talking.

Yes, it still may be long shot that Edwards returns. But he hasn't been fired yet so his chances of returning, despite the long odds, are still in play.

AFC West mailbag

January, 14, 2009

Posted by's Bill Williamson

JP from Visalia, CA: Hey Bill. You do a great job. I always check the AFC West blog first thing on I am a Raider fan and was wondering about the possibility of Herm Edwards to the Raiders (if he is fired by the new GM, of course) as a coach or, even better, as a defensive coordinator. He is a defense guy, right? He is from the bay area. Keep Cable and have Edwards on defense.

BW: Thanks for the nice words, JP. Yeah, sure, I could see it. The only snag would be that Edwards is a defensive-minded coach. The last 11 head coaches in Oakland were offense-first coaches. With the development of JaMarcus Russell so crucial in Oakland, I think offense is what Al Davis will look at first. However, he is interviewing Green Bay assistant Winston Moss, who is a defensive coach, so maybe Edwards would get a look if he is fired in Kansas City.

Curtis from Colorado Springs: With Denver hiring milke nolan to run the defense will denver be switching to the 3-4?

BW: Yes, the Broncos are expected to be a 3-4 team with Nolan taking over. The Broncos tried using the 3-4 defense earlier this season but it didn't work because of personnel. So Denver will be looking for players to fit the 3-4. It does mean there is now a spot for both D.J. Williams and rookie sensation Wesley Woodyard in Denver's starting lineup. The Broncos missed Woodyard when he didn't play.

Brian from Des Moines: Will Kirk Ferentz be the next coach in KC?

BW: He could be a candidate if Edwards is fired. He has always been reluctant to leave Iowa in the past. Perhaps Scott Pioli could sway him this time.

Scott from Pittsfield, MA: Hey bill, the raiders let 4 or 5 games slip away this year that they could have won, which would have landede them the afc west title, do you think if they get that o-line figured that 2009 is they're turn around year? and do you think if they get a veteran reciever such as marvin harrison, could jamarcus russell play like the number 1 over-all draft pick.

BW: Scott, the Raiders were also blown out many times so you have to look at it that way, too. This team has a lot of work to do before being considered a contender. Yes, I see Oakland trying to get some type of veteran receiver in the offseason.

Mark from Wilmington, DE: Bill, I love the way you cover the AFC West, every team unbiased...GREAT JOB! Do you have any idea how Mark Davis will run the team once he takes

BW: Thanks, Mark. Interesting question. The Raiders have said Mark Davis, Al Davis' son, will run the team. What I know about Mark is he is a nice guy who has kept a low profile. Not sure how he'd change when he runs the team.

AFC West news and notes

January, 13, 2009

Posted by's Bill Williamson

• It is expected around the league that new Kansas City general manager Scott Pioli will fire coach Herman Edwards. But the word in Kansas City is that the situation is still being mulled.

Edwards has a big fan in owner Clark Hunt.

Don't be surprised if Edwards attends Pioli's introductory news conference on Wednesday. Pioli is expected to meet with Kansas City coaches Thursday.

If Pioli does fire Edwards, don't be surprised if San Diego defensive coordinator Ron Rivera gets a look. Rivera interviews in Detroit on Wednesday for the Lions' head job.

• San Diego running back LaDainian Tomlinson admitted he has heard rumors he could be traded but he hasn't heard anything concrete. I get the feeling San Diego hasn't even thought about that notion.

• The idea of the Chiefs heading to Missouri for training camp in 2010 has taken another step toward becoming a reality.

• In Denver, the offensive coaches are expected to talk to new coach Josh McDaniels about staying. However, assistants Jeremy Bates and Rick Dennison already have had or will have interviews elsewhere.

• Don't be surprised if former Denver general manager Ted Sundquist's name is connected to a potential opening in Detroit's front office.

• San Diego cornerback Antonio Cromartie said he played the season with a fractured hip. That could help explain a down season for Cromartie.

• Kansas City special teams coach Mike Priefer interviewed for the same job in Green Bay.

• The Rocky Mountain News is reporting that Mike Nolan is officially Denver's defensive coordinator and the team is also pursuing Dom Capers for a spot on the coaching staff.

Posted by's Bill Williamson

The AFC West is changing dramatically.

Comfortable names such as Mike Shanahan and Carl Peterson are memories. New additions to the division are New England hotshots Josh McDaniels and Scott Pioli in Denver and in Kansas City, respectively.

The Broncos and Chiefs have dominated the headlines the past couple of days with high-profile hires. Now it is the Raiders' turn to make some noise. The Broncos are done and the Chiefs may or may not be done depending on if they fire coach Herman Edwards.

With two major hirings complete in the AFC West, all eyes are on Oakland.

There are indications Oakland is moving somewhat on its decision to either retain interim coach Tom Cable or hire someone else. They have already talked to Cable, Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride and Packers assistant Winston Moss.

There have been indications that Oakland owner Al Davis is making calls examining other coaches.

The team has made some coaching moves, including the firing of receivers coach James Lofton. The team has also sought to talk to Denver passing game coordinator Jeremy Bates.

This is very intriguing. Bates is a highly-respected coach who called plays in Denver last season. He was credited for helping quarterback Jay Cutler become a Pro Bowl player in 2008. He'd surely help Oakland quarterback JaMarcus Russell, who will be entering his third NFL season in 2009.

It is likely Bates is being pursued in Oakland as an offensive coordinator candidate. He fits Davis' mold. He is young, bright and aggressive in his offensive scheme. He'd be a great addition in Oakland.

The Broncos wanted to keep him and Cutler wanted him back. But with McDaniels calling the offensive plays, Bates may want to go elsewhere.

Posted by's Bill Williamson

Scott Pioli's first order of business when it comes to his new roster in Kansas City will be on the offensive side of the ball.

Two major issues need to be cleared on offense and Pioli, whether he keeps head coach Herm Edwards or not, needs to tackle them. Pioli needs to clear up the Tony Gonzalez situation and he needs to figure out if Tyler Thigpen will be the team's quarterback in 2009 or if a franchise quarterback will be pursued.

Gonzalez could ask to be traded and he did in October. He said last month that he'd want to return to the Chiefs if they were committed to winning in 2009. The Pioli hiring has to impress Gonzalez.

Pioli needs Gonzalez. He is coming off one of his best NFL seasons. At 32, Gonzalez can still play. Pioli needs to convince him the Chiefs can win soon.

The Thigpen situation will be interesting. Because he is a no-huddle, spread offense player, Thigpen's style is an acquired taste. Pioli may not want to continue with Thigpen and may want to start the future now.

The Chiefs have the No. 3 pick in the draft so the team could go get a franchise quarterback such as Sam Bradford or Matthew Stafford. It would make sense if Pioli's first move in Kansas City was to try to answer the quarterback issue. His former colleague in New England, Thomas Dimitroff, did just that in his first year in Atlanta last year when he drafted Matt Ryan with the No. 3 pick. That move worked out fairly well, didn't it?

There isn't much deliberation time needed on the Kansas City defense. The questions on defense are simple. It needs a whole lot of help, particularly on the defensive front seven. The Chiefs' concentration in free agency and the draft will likely be on improving the defense.

Pioli has a lot on his personnel plate, but it starts with the Gonzalez and Thigpen questions.

Edwards' fate still up in the air

January, 13, 2009

Posted by's Bill Williamson

Herm Edwards deserves better.

The Chiefs' season ended 16 days ago. Edwards has been in a holding pattern since then. Those close to him say Edwards had been hearing totally different stories and rumors in the interim. He didn't know what to believe.

When the Chiefs opened the general manager's job 29 days ago, Edwards was told the new general manager would make the decision on his fate. It's doubtful Edwards thought nearly a month would pass with his situation still unclear.

Meanwhile, he showed up to work every day since the end of the season as defensive coordinator jobs started to fill.

If Edwards is fired and he wants to work in 2009, he needs to know his future as soon as possible. It could be a few days before Edwards' situation is clear.

Same goes for the Chiefs' assistants. Some are already making plans elsewhere. Don't be surprised if highly touted secondary coach David Gibbs ends up elsewhere, perhaps Houston.

Edwards has been unable to tell his assistants what to do because he doesn't know. The Chiefs' ownership is said to be big fans of Edwards. But he needed to be communicated with better during this time of flux.

While the last couple of years have been poor on the field, Edwards has represented the Chiefs and the NFL well. He is a good man and he is good for the league.

Yes, we believe the Chiefs' decision to hire Scott Pioli was the right one. And it is prudent for Pioli to make his own hire in Kansas City as he moves forward. It is unlikely an executive as sought after as Pioli was would agree to go to a team in a rebuilding phase without the opportunity to hire his own coach.

If the Chiefs do fire Edwards it is totally understandable, but is also several days too late.

Posted by's Bill Williamson

The hiring of Scott Pioli as head of football operations is a monster move for the organization.

  AP Photo/Robert E. Klein
  Scott Pioli's first priority will likely be deciding whether to retain coach Herm Edwards.

A strong general manager is as important as having a strong coach. Judging from his work in New England, Pioli could be a franchise-changing GM.

Give the Chiefs a lot of credit for making this happen. When the team announced on Dec. 15 that it was parting ways with Carl Peterson after 20 years, I said that Pioli had to be the target. He was the general manager prize. There were some rumblings around the NFL that the Chiefs could blow it because they were taking their time.

Now that they have secured Pioli, the Chiefs should be recognized.

The GM opening in Kansas City could have been considered the best available in the NFL for several reasons, including a young ownership in place, a good football market, a rich history and a young roster. The Chiefs managed to marry the best opening with the best GM candidate.

Kansas City looks to be on the way up. Yes, there is still a long way to go for a team that went just 2-14 and lost the trust of season-ticket holders. Yes, the Chiefs have many holes and they need another strong draft. But the building blocks have been in place for a year. It is not a total disaster. The rebuilding phase has already begun. Now it is time for Pioli to move forward with the reconstruction of the team.

His first step, of course, is to figure out what to do with the coaching staff. It's very likely that coach Herm Edwards will be replaced. It's been reported that New York Giants coach Steve Spagnuolo could be Pioli's choice. It makes sense, especially now that former New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels is in Denver.

Pioli saw the importance of a defensive coach firsthand in Bill Belichick. Spagnuolo is widely considered the best defensive coach available and the job his Giants did on Pioli's Patriots in last year's Super Bowl will not be lost on Pioli as he prepares to hire his first coach in Kansas City.

If there is a coaching change, there will be other candidates, but Spagnuolo and the Chiefs will likely be mutually interested.

Once the coaching staff is addressed, the attention will turn to players. If Matt Cassel isn't given the franchise tag by the Patriots, he'd likely be very attractive to Pioli.

Many dominoes are going to fall in Kansas City. But, in the end, the first domino may be remembered as the most important as the Chiefs begin an exciting new era.

Posted by's Bill Williamson

The AFC West is represented on the AP All-Pro team by three players.

There is a chance, however, two of the three players could be playing elsewhere next season. The representatives from the division were Oakland's Nnamdi Asomugha and Shane Lechler and Kansas City tight end Tony Gonzalez. The future of all three players is up in the air but should be settled within the next two months.

Asomugha and Lechler are both free agents and Gonzalez could ask to be traded again. The Raiders will only be able to put the franchise tag on one player. Thus, they will have to choose either Asomugha or Lechler, leaving the other unprotected. Due to the Raiders' recent struggles, there is a strong chance they would be open to leaving on the open market. Each figures to be the most sought after player at his position.

While Asomugha is more valuable because he is a cornerback, he will also be much more expensive than Lechler to franchise tag. Oakland could decide to keep Lechler, but odds are the team will at least franchise tag Asomugha, even if it plans to trade him for a gaggle of draft picks and/or players in return.

Whatever the Raiders do, it will be a tough decision.

Gonzalez will also have to make a decision. In October, he asked the Chiefs to consider trading him but potential deals were scuttled at the deadline. Gonzalez has said recently that he is not sure if he wants to stay in Kansas City.

Part of him wants to retire as a Chief, but he doesn't want to go through a long rebuilding phase. If the Chiefs tell Gonzalez they are committed to winning in 2009, he might stay. Gonzalez, 32, had one of the best seasons of his career. His future in Kansas City could come down to who the Chiefs' new general manager is and what happens with head coach Herm Edwards.

AFC West news and notes

January, 5, 2009

Posted by's Bill Williamson

There is interview news in the AFC West on Monday night:

The Chiefs are meeting with New England general manager Scott Pioli. This is significant movement for the Chiefs.

Pioli is widely considered the top executive available and his hiring would give instant credibility to the Chiefs. It would also likely mean the end of the Herman Edwards era in Kansas City. Pioli will almost certainly want to bring his own coach in anywhere he goes.

Pioli had been talking to Cleveland. The fact that he has gotten to the stage where he is talking to the Chiefs may mean he is focusing on Kansas City. The Chiefs are certainly focusing on Pioli. He has been the focus of a slow process.

  • Meanwhile, Denver added Minnesota defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier to its list of head coaching candidates. Frazier will interview Wednesday. He will be the sixth candidate to interview to replace Mike Shanahan. Three are offensive coaches and three are defensive coaches.
  • Here's what, courtesy of the Chargers' PR staff, San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers had to say when asked if he expected a similar game Sunday in the team's divisional playoff game at Pittsburgh Sunday as the Chargers had in Pittsburgh seven weeks ago. The Steelers won, 11-10. It was the first 11-10 game in the history of the NFL. It is somewhat to be cold, possibly snowy conditions Sunday just as it was Nov. 16 when the two teams met:

    "Yeah, as far as a physical standpoint, a weather standpoint," Rivers said. "Obviously it's a heck of a defense and a heck of a team. Same kind of game in that sense. Will it be as low scoring or 11-10 game? Who knows how it will end up, but certainly field position will be key as it always is this time of year and especially in cold weather. It'll be just what you expect this time of year."
  • Weird fact: The Chargers are 0-13 in Pittsburgh in the regular season and 2-0 there in the postseason.
  • The talk around the league that Oakland assistants Tom Rathman and Greg Knapp could end up in San Francisco as assistants. Knapp has also been connected to a job in Seattle.
  • Give Chargers defensive coordinator Ron Rivera credit for saying he will wait to talk about head coaching jobs until after the San Diego season is over. Rivera's focus and integrity is one of the reasons why he will make a good head coach. Detroit had inquired about him but will have to wait until after the season to talk to him.
  • If Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson doesn't play Sunday because of a groin injury, it will be the first time in his eight seasons in the league he has missed a game due to injury.

Cable and Edwards remain in flux

January, 5, 2009
Posted by's Bill Williamson

Just how many head coaching jobs are open in the AFC West?

  • There's the opening in Denver. We know that. The Broncos fired Mike Shanahan last week and they have begun the process to replace him.
  • The Raiders have an opening but they've had one interview, a phone conversation with Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride. Interim coach Tom Cable is still in the mix in Oakland.
  • In Kansas City, the Chiefs are very slowly in the process of hiring a new general manager. That person will then decide whether to bring back coach Herman Edwards. There seems to be no timetable, especially if the team doesn't hire New England's Scott Pioli.

Basically, Cable and Edwards are in flux. They are lame ducks.

It happens in the NFL. But Oakland and Kansas City both need to get moving. Neither Cable nor Edwards deserve to continue to be in limbo. It's been a week now. The Raiders and Chiefs have to get on the ball.

If Cable has a chance to be retained in Oakland he needs to be told that. The Raiders know what he is all about. They know he wants the job. He needs to know his future soon. ESPN's John Clayton reported during the weekend that Cable is a candidate for an undisclosed head coaching opening. He wants the Oakland job but, foremost, he wants to be a head coach. The Raiders need to communicate with him.

The same goes with Edwards in Kansas City. It is starting to drag. After all, it's been three weeks since Carl Peterson's departure from the Chiefs was announced. The team has had plenty of time to construct a plan.

It's understandable that the Chiefs want their new boss to have a major role in Edwards' future. It would be strange if that wasn't the case. But Edwards deserves to know his future sooner than later. The odds are the new boss will opt to hire a new coach.

Wouldn't you think the Chiefs would want to make that decision now? There is competition for the best coaching candidates. There are already teams making moves on the top candidates. If Kansas City is going to be in the market for a new coach, it needs to start the process.

Edwards also need to know his future. Edward would likely be a candidate as a defensive coordinator elsewhere if he is not retained. If he is not going to the Chiefs' head coach, he needs to be able to move on.

It's been a long week of nothing on the Cable and Edwards fronts. For their sake, Oakland and Kansas City need to make a decision soon.