AFC West: Marty Schottenheimer

One of the most impactful coaches in AFC West history is Marty Schottenheimer

Schottenheimer was a commanding, successful head coach in both Kansas City and San Diego. He turned both franchises into winners.

Fair or not, Schottenheimer is famous for his team’s failures in the postseason. Often dominant in the regular season, Schottenheimer teams were 5-13 in the playoffs. While Schottenheimer never won big when it counted, some of his protégés have.

Schottenheimer is famous for his coaching tree. It is one of the most impressive in NFL history. Two of his former assistants, Bill Cowher and Mike McCarthy have won Super Bowls as a head coach.

Schottenheimer also affected several other coaching careers. So, while he never won the big game, Schottenheimer’s NFL impact is undeniable.
Weekend mail call:

Ben from San Diego wants to know if I think the injury-prone running back Ryan Mathews will be a Charger in 2013.

Bill Williamson: Yes, he will be a Charger next year. Sure, he has been a disappointment after being the No. 12 pick in the 2010 draft because all of his injuries. But he will be given another year to prove himself.

Ian John from Pueblo, Co. wants to know if I think Denver could sign Kansas City free-agent to be Dwayne Bowe.

BW: I think we have to see where Denver is as far as what and where it wants to spend. A Denver receiving trio of Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker and Dwayne Bowe would be explosive. But Denver may want to spend elsewhere but it could be an interesting possibility.

Eric from Kansas City wants to know if I think St. Louis' offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer could end up as a head coach in the AFC West.

BW: Well, there are two teams in the division that very likely will be looking for new head coaches -- Kansas City and San Diego. Marty Schottenheimer, was the head coach in both cities and he remains popular in both places. I think the hiring of Brian Schottenheimer would play well in both cities. I also think he fits each team’s philosophy and financial guidelines So, yes, I can see Schottenheimer being an option for both the Chiefs and the Chargers. But the reality is, Marty Schottenheimer still has a close relationship with Kansas City’s ownership, while he left San Diego on bad terms. Perhaps that would sway his son’s thinking.
Here are some highlights of our AFC West chat, which was held earlier Thursday:

DENVER

Bill from Corona, Calif..: How close to 100 percent is Peyton? Give me a percentage. He silenced the questions about the deep ball, throwing to the right etc. Also he was floating a lot of balls and his arm strength looked shaky early in the year, now his arm looks as strong as ever to me.

Bill Williamson: I'm not sure if a certain percentage even matters. He's proven everything. He is back.

KANSAS CITY

Paul from K.C.: How hot is Scott Pioli’s seat considering Clark Hunt is seeking opinions from Marty Schottenheimer?

BW: Regardless of the Schottenheimer chats, the seat is hot. Hunt knows how the fans feel and if this team wins 1-3 games it will be very tough for Hunt to keep the current brass.

OAKLAND

Thomas 43 from Loveland: I can understand the fan unrest in SD & KC the way their seasons are going, but think OAK fans should cut back on their bashing of D. Allen and Reggie. Your thoughts?

BW: I agree. It's the first year of a program. This season was to be expected because of the cap and draft pick issues. McKenzie and Allen have not been perfect, but it takes time to build a program and they deserve some time.

SAN DIEGO

Samuels from Colorado: What is your read for the Broncos / Chargers game? Can Denver pull off the sweep here?

BW: It comes down to whether the Chargers can play a full game. If they can and Rivers doesn't make mistakes, it could be a close game.

AFC West notes

November, 13, 2012
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In an Insider piece, our playoff predictor projectsInsider that the AFC West is all but over. How confident is it that the Broncos will win the division? How about 99.2 percent sure?

Former Kansas City coach Marty Schottenheimer told USA Today that he does keep in touch with the team’s ownership, but he does not want to coach again and he supports the current team’s brass. Schottenheimer is a sounding board to the Hunt family and I'm sure he will continue to be in the future. It seems like he will remain simply a sounding board, however.

David Garrard is ready to work out for some teams. Could Kansas City be interested? I think the only way there would be a fit is if there is an injury. At this point, with the Chiefs 1-8 and Garrard being 34 and rusty, I’m not sure the team should be rushing to examine him. It’s not like he could be the quarterback of the future.

Mel Kiper Jr. expects a strong finish by Denver rookie defensive lineman Derek WolfeInsider in an Insider piece.
It’s that time of year. Rumor time.

There was a radio report that Kansas City owner Clark Hunt met with former coach Marty Schottenheimer at the team’s offices Friday. That would please Chiefs fans, because Schottenheimer is one of the most popular figures in team history.

The Chiefs strongly deny it is true. I believe them.

However, I do find it plausible that Hunt could have met with Schottenheimer, 69, or that the former coach could meet with the team in the future. Perhaps Schottenheimer could be in the team’s plan in a major role if changes are made. Regardless, I could see Hunt relying on Schottenheimer as a sounding board. Schottenheimer knows Kansas City and he knows the NFL. He could offer good advice for Hunt in a difficult time.

Again, the Chiefs deny anything happened Friday. But I do think it is worth keeping an eye on the situation as the season continues to unravel in Kansas City. When a team is 1-7 and there such uproar in the fan base, I think all options are on the table.
New Oakland head coach Dennis Allen told the Bay Area News Group that if the Raiders use a 3-4 defense that Tommy Kelly would be the nose tackle. Allen has yet to commit to a base defense and he has said Oakland will use multiple fronts.

There have been indications that the 4-3 defense will be the team’s base, but I do expect some 3-4 looks.

Matt Williamson of Scouts Inc. thinks Oakland should use multiple looks and he thinks Kelly could fill the nose tackle role in some instances.

“I think it would be foolish for Oakland not to be multiple and I am sure they know that is the plan,” Williamson said. “With defensive linemen like Lamarr Houston and, especially, Richard Seymour and Kelly, they have a lot of versatility where they line up up front. … Looking over the roster, the Raiders do lack a true plugger early down nose tackle. Kelly would fit that mold best.”

In other AFC West news:

Former Chiefs and Chargers coach Marty Schottenheimer mourns the death of Junior Seau.

New Denver quarterback Peyton Manning hit the field with his new teammates and coaches for the first time.

Bill Barnwell thinks the Raiders and Chargers are among the teams still with a glaring hole.

Baltimore star pass-rusher Terrell Suggs could miss the entire season with a torn Achilles. The Ravens play the AFC West this season.

No L.A. Chargers quite yet

January, 9, 2012
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As expected, the San Diego Chargers will remain the San Diego Chargers in 2012.

The San Diego Union Tribune reports the team has exercised its yearly option with Qualcomm Stadium. The lease runs through 2020, but the team can trigger an out clause each year.

With the Chargers considered a potential favorite to land in Los Angeles each year, this could be an issue. But it won’t be this year. Thus, Norv Tuner and A.J. Smith will be working for their Chargers’ lives in San Diego.

In other AFC West news:

ESPN Stats & Information looks at Denver quarterback Tim Tebow’s accomplishments Sunday in a stunning wild-card win against visiting Pittsburgh. Meanwhile, Tebow probably had something to do with Sunday’s game being the highest rated wild-card television game in 24 years.

Former Chargers and Chiefs coach Marty Schottenheimer will interview with Tamp Bay for the head-coaching job.

Final Word: AFC West

December, 23, 2011
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» NFC Final Word: East | West | North | South » AFC: East | West | North | South

Five nuggets of knowledge about Week 16:

Will the Denver Broncos' playoff hopes get buffaloed again? Good thing there aren’t many players from the 2008 Broncos team still in a Denver uniform. The situation is eerily similar. The Broncos are playing the Buffalo Bills in Week 16, just as they did three years ago. Like that game, Denver can clinch a playoff berth this week against a Buffalo team that has lost seven of eight. In '08, the Bills entered the Denver game having lost seven in a row. What happened in that Week 16 meeting in 2008? The Bills came back and won a close game, preventing the Broncos from being able to clinch a playoff berth. The Broncos couldn’t get the job done and the 14-season run of former head coach Mike Shanahan era was suddenly over. Will the Bills mess with another Denver playoff push this year?

[+] EnlargePhilip Rivers
Christopher Hanewinckel/US PresswirePhilip Rivers will try to keep the Chargers' playoff hopes alive when they take on the Lions Saturday.
Last AFC West-NFC North game is meaningful: The AFC West’s matchup against the NFC North ends Saturday when the San Diego Chargers play at the Detroit Lions. Both teams are trying to keep playoff hopes alive with a victory. That may be a bad sign for San Diego. It is 1-3 against the NFC North this season, while Detroit is 3-0 against the AFC West. Overall, the AFC West is 8-7 against the NFC North this season. Last-place Kansas City has the best record against the division at 3-1, while Denver and the Oakland Raiders both went 2-2. The AFC West plays the NFC South next season.

Hue can’t get his Haley revenge: We are missing a fun Christmas Eve storyline because the Kansas City Chiefs fired coach Todd Haley last week. Oakland coach Hue Jackson had some words for Haley after a 28-0 Kansas City win in Oakland in October. After the game, Jackson wouldn’t say what his problem with Haley was, but he did say the Raiders would get their second chance against the Chiefs. It was a chippy game the first time, with several players being fined for their actions. Expect tensions to be even higher this time around with both teams trying to keep playoff hopes alive.

Will Dareus get back at the Broncos? Prior to the season, Buffalo rookie defensive lineman Marcell Dareus said he had the Bills’ Christmas Eve game against Denver circled. Dareus was offended the Broncos didn’t draft him with the No. 2 pick and said he wanted to show the Broncos what they missed. Dareus was one of a handful of defensive players the Broncos considered, but they ultimately opted for Texas A&M linebacker Von Miller. Dareus was scooped up by the Bills with the next pick and has been solid. The Alabama product has 38 tackles and 5.5 sacks so far. The Broncos, however, are not second-guessing their choice. Miller has 11.5 sacks and is a major building block for the franchise going forward. He is the favorite to win the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year award.

Chargers' bosses working for jobs: The Chargers have won three straight games to improve to 7-7. Their playoff hopes are still alive, but their odds are not great. Still, because the Chargers have made some noise, people are wondering if San Diego general manager A.J. Smith and coach Norv Turner will be retained even if the team’s playoff push comes up short. While missing the playoffs a second straight season would be disappointing, both Smith and Turner have done good things during their stay in San Diego and this late surge is a reminder of it. Smith has led the Chargers to division titles in five of his eight years with San Diego, and he is five wins from becoming the most successful general manager in team history. Turner has the best regular-season winning percentage (48-30, .615) in team history, ahead of the likes of Sid Gillman, Don Coryell and Marty Schottenheimer.

AFC West mailbag

December, 7, 2011
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Mid-week mail call:

Jesse from San Antonio wants to know if I think the Chargers will go after an offensive-minded coach if Norv Turner is fired.

Bill Williamson: Often, teams usually move away from the type of coach they had just fired. When Turner was hired by San Diego in 2007, the Chargers went for an offensive coach after departing ways with a defensive-minded coach in Marty Schottenheimer. But I think this situation is different. I think the Chargers will look for the best possible fit regardless of what side of the ball a coach specializes on.

Jim from Rock Port, Mo. wants to know if the fact at Ricky Stanzi has not been in the mix is a sign that the Chiefs are not happy with him.

BW: You must remember, Stanzi was a fifth-round pick. He is a project. The Chiefs don’t expect anything from him this year. He is a long-term prospect, who may or may not have a future in Kansas City. The fact that he isn’t playing now means little.

Raider Will from Miami wants to know if I think Oakland cornerback Stanford Routt is having a Pro Bowl season.

BW: Routt has been good. He has done a nice job this season as the Raiders’ No. 1 cornerback after the departure of Nnamdi Asomugha. I think Routt is a good player, whose cover skills are underrated. He may not be a Pro Bowl-caliber cornerback, but he’s not far off.
Philip RiversHarry How/Getty ImagesUnder Norv Turner, Philip Rivers and the Chargers never delivered on championship potential.

The championship window has closed in San Diego.

Once considered the best roster in the league, the San Diego Chargers have seen impressive depth dwindle, they’ve gotten old in key spots and they have lacked toughness. The result has been a steady decline in the last two years.

“They are one of the most confusing teams I’ve ever seen,” Gary Horton of Scouts Inc. said. “You expect so much from them and then they don’t deliver … They should be so much better, but then you watch them and they can’t do it. I just don’t get them.”

The Chargers -- widely considered as a Super Bowl contender going into this season -- stagger into a Monday night game at Jacksonville on a six-game losing skid. It is the Chargers’ longest such streak in 10 years.

After starting 4-1 and looking like a playoff team, San Diego is now 4-7 and apparently on course to miss the playoffs for the second consecutive season. After owning the AFC West for four years, the Chargers are 13-14 since the start of the 2010 season.

When a rift developed between general manager A.J. Smith and coach Marty Schottenheimer after the Chargers went 14-2 in 2006, Smith hired Norv Turner to take a stacked roster to the Super Bowl. That probably won’t happen. Turner, who is 45-30 as Chargers coach, is expected to be fired unless the Chargers, who are three games behind in both the AFC West and the AFC wild-card races with five games to go, make a miraculous playoff run. Smith's job could also be in danger, particularly if San Diego ownership wants to break the bank and make a run at someone like Bill Cowher or Jon Gruden. There have also been indications that the team is open to continuing with Smith as the top football decision-maker.

However, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported Saturday that the team may be leaning toward firing Smith.

The Chargers have long been lauded for their roster of big-name talent. In the past decade, they drafted potential Hall of Famers in LaDainian Tomlinson, Drew Brees, and Philip Rivers and signed potential Hall of Fame tight end Antonio Gates. They also drafted Shawne Merriman, who had a strong first three years as a premier pass-rusher before disappearing because of injuries.

All the Chargers have remaining from that group is Rivers, who turns 30 this month, and Gates, who is 31 and who has been dealing with serious foot injuries for three years.

Whoever coaches the Chargers in 2012 – Cowher and Jeff Fisher are already being mentioned as potential candidates – will have some work to do. Some solid core players remain, starting with Rivers, who is struggling through his worst NFL season. Still, the Chargers probably will have to be rebuilt in several areas.

“They aren’t as deep as we always thought they were,” Horton said. “They have problems on the offensive line, their receivers aren’t that strong and the defense doesn’t pass rush anymore."

Matt Williamson of Scouts Inc. thinks San Diego has some core players -- but not a ton of them, and some of them have question marks. Williamson says Rivers, receiver Vincent Jackson, Gates, guard Kris Dielman, defensive tackle Antonio Garay, linebacker Shaun Phillips, cornerback Quentin Jammer and safety Eric Weddle are all players who can help the team in the future. Williamson also thinks the team’s last two first-round picks, running back Ryan Mathews and defensive lineman Corey Liuget, have a chance to be core players.

Jackson, who has been inconsistent this year, is a free agent after the season. The Chargers may place the franchise tag on him. Rivers, Gates, Dielman (out for the season with a concussion), Garay, Phillips and Jammer will be 30 or older next season. Still, Williamson believes a coaching change could help provide a spark.

“It’s not all Norv’s fault, but he is not maximizing his team’s potential, which is obviously a key component to his job,” Williamson said.

Horton said he believes that if the Chargers do make a coaching change, they need to bring in a taskmaster. There have been whispers among scouts the past couple of years that the Chargers get outmuscled too often. There have been times when San Diego has been manhandled on both lines, including a few instances against the more physical Raiders.

“I like Norv, but I get the feeling they are not playing hard for him,” Horton said. “They always look soft to me, and they often don’t play with a sense of urgency.”

Still, the Chargers have not been blown out this season and they could have won all seven of their losses; indeed, they have made crucial fourth-quarter (or overtime) mistakes in each of their losses. Turner said this week that effort is not a problem.

“Go through the tapes and there’s great effort,” Turner said. “These guys play hard.”

The players I have talked to in San Diego’s locker room know that change is likely to come, and they say they feel bad that Turner is probably going to be the person to pay for the team’s failures. But it is clear that the Chargers’ time as elite playoff contenders is over. If they are going to re-open their Super Bowl window, it will probably be with new leadership.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter is reporting the Raiders will sign Dave Rayner to kick Sunday against Kansas City.

Star Oakland kicker Sebastian Janikowski has a hamstring injury. There is hope he will be back to play when the Raiders return from their bye at home Nov. 6 against Denver.

Losing Janikowski, even for a game, is a hit for the Raiders. He has an amazing leg and he has shown great accuracy this season, making 12-of-13 field-goal attempts. The addition of Rayner means the Raiders are going to have to get as close to the end zone as possible. With Janikowski, the chance for points is still in play if the Raiders can get to their opponent's 40-yard line.

Rayner, 28, was chosen by the Raiders after he was among a group of kickers to try out Friday. The Raiders’ will be his eight NFL team. He has also played with the Chiefs and Chargers, both in 2007.

In other AFC West nuggets Saturday:

An Insider piece looks at the winner label on new Denver starting quarterback Tim Tebow and whether it will hold true in the NFL.

Congrats to former Kansas City and San Diego head coach Marty Schottenheimer. He led his UFL team, the Virginia Destroyers, to the league title Friday. And people said Schottenheimer couldn’t win when it counts.

Jets defensive coordinator Mike Pettine offers a scouting report on Chargers’ quarterback Philip Rivers, who will face the Jets on Sunday.

Former Denver quarterback Jake Plummer feels for former Denver starter Kyle Orton. Like Orton, Plummer was replaced as the Broncos’ quarterback during the season (in 2006). He abruptly retired after the season.

As expected, Jackie Battle is the Chiefs’ lead runner. Why not? He had 119 yards on 19 carries in Week 5. He needs to be given more opportunities to show he can salvage the Chiefs’ run offense in light of Jamaal Charles’ season-ending knee injury.

The home of playoff chokers?

June, 14, 2011
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If the fine folks at Football Outsiders have anything to do with it, the AFC West would adopt this slogan: Welcome to the AFC West, where we choke in the postseason.

In the latest installment of their ESPN.com Insider series, the Football Outsiders look at the 10 biggest playoff disappointments of the past 25 years. The division was represented by the No. 1, No. 2 and No. 10 biggest playoff disappointments on the list. No. 1 and No. 2. Ouch.

Things were so bad that the 1995 and 1997 Kansas City Chiefs were tied for first. Both teams were 13-3 and both teams were knocked off in the divisional rounds. Both of the Marty Schottenheimer-led teams had serious Super Bowl aspirations that faded.

The No. 2 team on the list were the 1996 Denver Broncos. They were 13-3 and were expected to get to the Super Bowl. Yet, after the team’s starters rested for much of the final month, the Broncos were stunned at home by the Jacksonville Jaguars. However, the pain of that loss was soothed by two straight Super Bowl championships in the next two seasons.

The final team on the list is the 2006 San Diego Chargers. The Chargers went 14-2 only to lose a divisional round game against the New England Patriots in the final moments. It ended up being Schottenheimer’s final game as the team’s coach.

What do you think of this list? Do you think the rankings are fair? Do you have any other candidates? Fill up the comment section below with your thoughts.

AFC West mailbag

June, 11, 2011
6/11/11
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Weekend mail call:

Alex Perry from Wichita, Kan., wants to know what are the chances of former Kansas City and San Diego coach Marty Schottenheimer being elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Bill Williamson: Alex, Marty was a fabulous coach, and he certainly has a rich history in the AFC West. However, I think it will be mighty difficult for him to be elected into the Hall of Fame. There is a major backlog at many positions. Many Super Bowl-winning coaches have long waits. Thus, a good coach like Schottenheimer who doesn’t have a Super Bowl on his résumé is not going to get a lot of support.

Brady from Fort Bragg, N.C., wants to know what the 2012 NFL draft order will be if the 2011 season is wiped out by the lockout.

BW: Brady, I get that question a lot. The answer is … nobody is saying. The league has been asked that question countless times, and it doesn’t have an answer. I don’t think the league even wants to deal with that. It wants there to be a season in 2011. If there is not, there will be many, many problems, and the draft order is just one of them. If it does get to that point and the lockout wipes out the entire 2011 season, my guess is the 2012 draft order would revert to the 2011 draft order. But that’s just a guess. Let’s hope that is a scenario that doesn’t develop.

Reynell Cabusas from Modesto, Calif., wants to know if the Chargers could land Terrell Owens, Steve Smith or Reggie Bush this offseason.

BW: The Chargers probably won’t pursue T.O. They never have before. I don’t see that changing. Reggie Bush may not be available, I don’t know if the Chargers would shell out big dollars for the local kid if he does become available. I’d say the best bet is Carolina receiver Steve Smith through a trade. It has been reported that Smith would like a trade to San Diego. It has also been reported that the Chargers will monitor Smith, who could be a solid complementary receiver for them. So, of the three possibilities, I’d say Smith is the most likely to end up in San Diego.

Evening AFC West notes

March, 25, 2011
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Current ESPN analyst and former NFL quarterback Trent Dilfer is one of the most astute quarterback students alive. His words need to be digested.

Dilfer compares TCU quarterback Andy Dalton to Super-Bowl winner Aaron Rodgers. This is of interest to the AFC West because Kansas City is working out Dalton. I know he doesn’t have the classic cannon Al Davis loves, but I think the Raiders should consider him in the second or third round as well.
  • Former Kansas City and San Diego coach Marty Schottenheimer talks about his new role as an UFL coach in a radio interview.

Evening AFC West notes

March, 23, 2011
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Wednesday evening AFC West quick hits:

The Broncos have a plan for their season-ticket holders during the lockout.

NFL.com has a look at the draft needs of the teams in the AFC West.

Former Kansas City and San Diego coach Marty Schottenheimer has officially been named the head coach of the Virginia expansion team in the United Football League.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter is reporting that comp picks will be released Friday. Each AFC West team could get, at least, a late-round pick.

Denver will work out Oklahoma safety Quinton Carter. He could be a second- or third-round prospect.

Free-agent safety Michael Huff is clearly not acting like he’s a former Raider.

There really wasn’t much question in the minds of the Chiefs, but running back Thomas Jones will return for the 2011 season. He’ll turn 33 in August.

Former Denver coach Josh McDaniels will serve as quarterbacks coach in addition to offensive coordinator in St. Louis.

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