The Kansas City Chiefs’ defensive staff has taken shape for the 2012 season.
Appearing with me and co-host Jim Miller on Sirius XM NFL Radio, Chiefs general manager Scott Pioli said he expected new head coach Romeo Crennel to double as the team’s defensive coordinator. Crennel handled both duties for the final three games last season when promoted on a then-interim basis to replace the fired Todd Haley.
“I’m not sure if he stated it publicly, but I get the sense Romeo wants to be the coordinator on defense,” Pioli said while attending the Senior Bowl. “I don’t know if he’s made the absolute final decision, but I’m pretty sure that’s the way he wants to go.”
Chiefs defensive back coach Emmitt Thomas also will be returning to the staff, a source told FOXSports.com. Numerous media outlets reported Thomas had drawn interest from Oakland to join the staff of new Raiders head coach Dennis Allen, which was confirmed to FOXSports.com by two sources. The 68-year-old Thomas served as a mentor to Allen when the latter landed his first NFL coaching job with Atlanta in 2002.
It’s unknown whether the Raiders officially asked permission to interview Thomas for their defensive coordinator role and were denied.
Pioli said “the head coach makes the decision” when it comes to deciding whether they want to also serve as a coordinator. This happened with the Chiefs in 2009 when Haley fired offensive coordinator Chan Gailey during the preseason and handled play-calling duties himself.
“What it does is add other responsibilities to the staff,” Pioli said. “I was very happy ‘Rack’ wanted to keep his defensive staff because that is a good group of coaches.
“I also watch around the league. Even if sometimes a head coach doesn’t say they’re coordinating something, we’re all able and smart enough to watch how things go. There are a lot of [head] coaches who run their offenses and defenses. I don’t think it’s that unique.”
The Chiefs excelled defensively under Crennel late in the 2011 campaign. The unit limited Denver to a field goal in the season finale against Denver and also keyed a Week 15 victory over Green Bay that ended the Packers’ chances at an unbeaten season.
Kansas City remains in the search for an offensive coordinator. One possibility is Brian Daboll, who will not be returning to Miami.
“We’re talking (about candidates) internally and externally,” Pioli said. “It remains fluid right now.”