let the speculation begin.
Mike Shanahan. Todd Haley. Paul Pasqualoni. Kirk Ferentz. Bill Parcells. Jon Gruden. Bill Cowher. Jason Garrett. Chan Gailey.
Anyone missing? All are names being floated as candidates to replace Herm Edwards as the Chiefs’ new head coach.
Before the Chiefs hire any of them, they also must abide by the Rooney Rule, which requires them to interview a minority candidate.
Minnesota defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier, who interviewed for some of the recent openings, and Green Bay assistant head coach/linebackers Winston Moss, seem to be the leading candidates among minorities.
The ink had not even dried from the Chiefs’ news release announcing Edwards’ dismissal when ESPN started reporting the club had talks with Shanahan, and then backtracked by saying the Chiefs were merely “targeting” Shanahan, who is still due about $20 million on the remaining three years of his contract with Denver.
“I know Shanahan loves to coach, and I know he loves coaching in the AFC West, and I know there’s nobody he’d like to beat more than his former employers,” former Broncos offensive lineman and ESPN analyst Mark Schlereth said by phone Friday night.
“Who knows? Is that the best situation for him? I don’t know. Should he hold out and maybe get the Dallas Cowboys job (next year)? Maybe. … People say the Chiefs aren’t a talented team, but I disagree. They’re a young, inexperienced team, but they have some young talent … who would know better than Mike Shanahan where they are.”
While Shanahan, a two-time Super Bowl winner, might be a sexy choice, past relationships cannot be ignored. New Chiefs general manager Scott Pioli, who is making this hire, has no connection to Shanahan.
Pioli and Haley worked together with the New York Jets during 1997-99 when Bill Parcells was head coach and Pioli was in the personnel department. Haley went on to Dallas during 2004-06 under Parcells, who is one of Pioli’s mentors and his father-in-law.
Haley’s star has risen during his two seasons as Arizona’s offensive coordinator, capped by the Cardinals’ reaching the first Super Bowl in club history. NBC analyst Cris Collinsworth told The Star this week before Edwards was even fired that he expects Haley to become the Chiefs’ new head coach.
The Chiefs will have to wait until after next week’s Super Bowl before speaking with Haley.
Ferentz, the current Iowa coach, worked with Pioli under Bill Belichick in Cleveland during 1993-95 when Pioli was in the personnel department. But college coaches have not made successful transitions to the NFL in recent years, and it’s doubtful Ferentz would want to leave the Hawkeyes at this point because his son will be a sophomore tackle. Pioli was a graduate assistant coach at Syracuse during 1988-89 when Pasqualoni was on the staff. Pasqualoni was the Orange’s head coach during 1991-2004, and followed Parcells to Miami this year after working for him in Dallas during 2005-07.
Gailey, the Chiefs’ offensive coordinator, did an impressive job in retooling the offense under neophyte quarterback Tyler Thigpen in 2008 after injuries ended the seasons of Brodie Croyle and Damon Huard. Gailey, who guided the Dallas Cowboys to the playoffs in both of his seasons as head coach in 1998-99, could be a compromise candidate, especially with the Chiefs on the hook for the last year of Edwards’ $4 million contract.