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tk13
01-18-2006, 01:15 AM
http://www.kansascity.com/mld/kansascity/sports/13649274.htm

Delay of game
Chiefs assistant on hold while younger men picked

By ELIZABETH MERRILL
The Kansas City Star

The whispers say something different every day. On Jan. 4, Al Saunders was hotter than Brad and Angelina. Houston, Minnesota and Detroit were calling, and Saunders had just finished a long interview with the Chiefs. It wasn’t a matter of if he would find a head-coaching job. It was when.

Two weeks later, the phone rings in Saunders’ office at Arrowhead, and the voice mail picks up. Saunders, apparently, still has a gig with the Chiefs, if only in name as the incumbent offensive coordinator, the architect of a Kansas City offense that has finished No. 1 in the NFL the last two seasons.

He still hasn’t bagged his ultimate goal, a head-coaching job in a frenetic 2 1/2 weeks that has produced 10 coaching vacancies, five hires and several head-scratchers.

“I am surprised,” CBS analyst Phil Simms said Tuesday. “Here’s why it hasn’t worked: His name hasn’t been in the forefront when his team has gone on to the playoffs and had big success. That’s usually what drives coordinators over the top.

“He didn’t have the right people throwing his name out there on TV enough to get him hot, and then he didn’t have success enough in the playoffs to drive his name over the top. Is he qualified? He’s overqualified.”

Saunders, generally a media-friendly coach who casually calls people “Kiddo,” has stayed away from the spotlight for the last couple of weeks. He was in Oakland last week to interview for the Raiders’ job and appeared to have vaulted to front-runner status by the weekend. He’s still in the running for jobs at Detroit and Houston, though it has been widely reported that the Texans are waiting on Denver offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak.

Somewhere, maybe Saunders is shaking his head. Last week, Green Bay hired Mike McCarthy, who ran a 49ers offense that ranked 32nd in the league. The only constant in the recent wave of hires appears to be youth. With the exception of the Chiefs’ Herman Edwards, all the recent head-coaching hires are younger than 50.

Saunders will turn 59 on Feb. 1.

“A lot of these teams are hiring younger and younger coaches who can put in longer hours,” ESPN analyst Mark Schlereth said. “Mike Shanahan told me a while ago that he loves the grind. He loves the 18-hour days. Younger coaches maybe have the endurance and can put in that grind more than an older coach.

“A lot of things go into it. You can also pigeonhole yourself if you’ve been a coordinator or a position coach for a long time. I’m purely speculating here. But offensively, if you look at what (the Chiefs) have been able to do …. the amazing thing about it is that they’ve been able do it — I don’t mean any disrespect to the receiving corps — but with pedestrian receivers. They put up big numbers on a consistent basis. All that stuff points me to a guy you’ve got to interview.”

Saunders has been known to pull all-nighters in his office and worked through his summer break. His only shot as a head coach was during 1986-88 in San Diego. He came to Kansas City after that as an assistant head coach in charge of the wide receivers.

He’s spent 15 years with the Chiefs and also won a Super Bowl with Dick Vermeil in St. Louis. In the days before and after Vermeil retired as Chiefs coach, he repeatedly expressed confidence that his old friend Saunders would get another shot as a head coach.

Vermeil said it again Monday, when Saunders’ career appeared to hinge on a phone call.

“If I was that new coach coming in,” Simms said, “I’d go right away to Al Saunders and say, ‘How much money do you need?’ and I would keep him there. I like the design of their offense tremendously. It’s varied. It’s power running. They run reverses, screens. They throw it down the field. It’s one of the best I’ve watched schemewise in the NFL.”

■ WESTHOFF WAITING? The Jets officially announced Eric Mangini as their new coach on Tuesday, and that meant that Edwards may soon be calling some friends from his old staff. One person who is believed to be on his list is Mike Westhoff, a well-respected special-teams coordinator who interviewed for the Jets’ head-coaching job.

“I haven’t received any official notification,” Westhoff said Tuesday. “I think it wouldn’t be right for anything to have happened until now, when this position has been resolved. Herm has a great deal of respect for the integrity of the NFL. He has been very forthright about doing it the right way. I’m going to look at all my options, and I know Herm will do it the absolute right way. And so will I.”

John Matrix
01-18-2006, 02:11 AM
The fact that Al has been passed over while drones like Mangini get hired proves what an astounding lack of original thought NFL GMs have. It's like a giant elephant walk where....well, you get the picture.

tk13
01-18-2006, 03:36 AM
http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/sports/13650394.htm?source=rss&channel=mercurynews_sports

John Clayton mentioned this last night. Apparently the Rams are now seriously considering Saunders for the HC job. I guess Vermeil put in a good word for Saunders with John Shaw, so he's now in the mix... the Raiders risk losing him.

Also says Saunders is apparently a candidate to be Kubiak's OC in Houston. First I've heard of that.

huskerdooz
01-18-2006, 03:46 AM
“A lot of these teams are hiring younger and younger coaches who can put in longer hours,” ESPN analyst Mark Schlereth said. “Mike Shanahan told me a while ago that he loves the grind. He loves the 18-hour days. Younger coaches maybe have the endurance and can put in that grind more than an older coach.

“A lot of things go into it. You can also pigeonhole yourself if you’ve been a coordinator or a position coach for a long time. I’m purely speculating here. But offensively, if you look at what (the Chiefs) have been able to do …. the amazing thing about it is that they’ve been able do it — I don’t mean any disrespect to the receiving corps — but with pedestrian receivers. They put up big numbers on a consistent basis. All that stuff points me to a guy you’ve got to interview.”

Atleast one of the talking heads is saying what we've been saying all along. This may be why Al will decline any overtures by the Chiefs to return as OC. If he can do what he's done with our WRs, just think how he'd do with say... Randy Moss, Jerry Porter, Ronald Curry, and Doug Gabriel. Even Roy Williams, Carlos Rogers, and Mike Williams would be quite an improvement over Kennison, Parker, Bo, Hall, and Horn.


“If I was that new coach coming in,” Simms said, “I’d go right away to Al Saunders and say, ‘How much money do you need?’ and I would keep him there. I like the design of their offense tremendously. It’s varied. It’s power running. They run reverses, screens. They throw it down the field. It’s one of the best I’ve watched schemewise in the NFL.”

I like the way Simms thinks. Come on Herm, Carl, Clark, and Lamar....someone needs to step up and show Al the money.

tk13
01-18-2006, 03:48 AM
It didn't say anything about Westoff but the NY Times today hinted Donnie Henderson might come to Kansas City. That would be pretty exciting.

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/01/18/sports/football/18jets.html

There has been speculation that Heimerdinger will join his former college roommate Mike Shanahan in Denver if Gary Kubiak, the Broncos' offensive coordinator, is named the coach of the Texans.

Henderson could end up following Edwards to Kansas City to coach the secondary.

Westhoff, the 58-year-old special-teams coach, said he did not know what he was going to do.

tk13
01-18-2006, 03:54 AM
Atleast one of the talking heads is saying what we've been saying all along. This may be why Al will decline any overtures by the Chiefs to return as OC. If he can do what he's done with our WRs, just think how he'd do with say... Randy Moss, Jerry Porter, Ronald Curry, and Doug Gabriel. Even Roy Williams, Carlos Rogers, and Mike Williams would be quite an improvement over Kennison, Parker, Bo, Hall, and Horn.




I like the way Simms thinks. Come on Herm, Carl, Clark, and Lamar....someone needs to step up and show Al the money.
Yeah, I think that's garbage. I'm sure Al can keep up with the lifestyle. He's probably in better shape physically than 90% of these guys. He's a marathon runner, come on now.

I'm just not real confident he's coming back though. We'll see. I think it'd take a good sell job by Herm and guys like Trent to keep him around. I would say that if he wants to get a HC job and can't get it this offseason, he should probably come back and keep this offense humming, it'd look better on his resume. Then again, we've got some offensive guys with less than stellar resumes getting jobs, so who knows.

huskerdooz
01-18-2006, 04:37 AM
Yeah, I think that's garbage. I'm sure Al can keep up with the lifestyle. He's probably in better shape physically than 90% of these guys. He's a marathon runner, come on now.

I'm just not real confident he's coming back though. We'll see. I think it'd take a good sell job by Herm and guys like Trent to keep him around. I would say that if he wants to get a HC job and can't get it this offseason, he should probably come back and keep this offense humming, it'd look better on his resume. Then again, we've got some offensive guys with less than stellar resumes getting jobs, so who knows.

I think the age thing is complete BS as well. I just think that sometimes NFL owners and GMs are like sheep. Al must not be enough of the Rah Rah type. Too intellectual, too smart.

I'd feel bad for him if he didn't get a HC position but then part of me is hoping that the rest of the NFL remains blind to the fact that he'd make a good HC so that he will stay as OC. Their loss = our gain.

Alphaman
01-18-2006, 05:21 AM
Atleast one of the talking heads is saying what we've been saying all along. This may be why Al will decline any overtures by the Chiefs to return as OC. If he can do what he's done with our WRs, just think how he'd do with say... Randy Moss, Jerry Porter, Ronald Curry, and Doug Gabriel. Even Roy Williams, Carlos Rogers, and Mike Williams would be quite an improvement over Kennison, Parker, Bo, Hall, and Horn.

If AS gets offered the Raiders or Lions HC job he'll definitely take it. However, if he doesn't get one I can't see him taking another OC job over KC. Yes I know the Raiders WRs are 3 times better than KCs. I know Detroits are 2 times better than KCs. Houston's are probably better than KCs but that one is debatable. The problem is that Al's system requires 3 things:

1) A Dominant O-Line
2) An intelligent, accurate QB
3) WRs who know the offense and will be at the right place at the right time.

The Chiefs are stellar on the first 2 points (the most important). The WRs aren't great talents (as a whole), but they know the offense and get to their spots.

The Raiders don't have #1 or #2. The Lions don't either. Houston, doesn't have a line and it will take their QB 2 years to learn the offense.

If AS doesn't get a HC gig this year, but still wants to get one, taking 2 or 3 years to get the personnel to run his offense effectively will set him back (especially at his age).

the Talking Can
01-18-2006, 05:39 AM
Hello, McFly?

Saunders is the head coach at Detroit.

chiefsfaninNC
01-18-2006, 06:01 AM
AS will be the OC with the Chiefs in 2006

Hailchief
01-18-2006, 06:33 AM
The Chiefs need to step up and make him an offer

Bob Dole
01-18-2006, 06:57 AM
Why do we never read any quotes from Al?

Ralphy Boy
01-18-2006, 07:04 AM
The only way Saunders comes back is if he's offered what would essentially amount to the head coaches salary and even then I doubt it. I think Carl passing him over has made him look like a guy who isn't right for the job and Al knows that as well which is why he probably hates Carl about as much as Sadaam hates GW.

Don't see any way he comes back.

nychief
01-18-2006, 08:32 AM
I think that Saunders has to still be candidate with the Chiefs to OC - why else would Herm be waiting? To hire Heimerdinger? Maybe I guess - but he is a west coast offense guy. I best guess is that it is between Sauders/Heimerdinger and Solari.

Mr. Laz
01-18-2006, 09:46 AM
The only way Saunders comes back is if he's offered what would essentially amount to the head coaches salary and even then I doubt it. I think Carl passing him over has made him look like a guy who isn't right for the job and Al knows that as well which is why he probably hates Carl about as much as Sadaam hates GW.

Don't see any way he comes back.
yep ... the only way Al Saunders comes back is if he decides that he is just gonna be a OC for the rest of his career.


he needs to either

a. get a HC job and prove he can handle it.

b. take another OC job and turn that offense around so he proves that it was him not just vermeil.


no way saunders should return to KC unless he gives up on his career.

htismaqe
01-18-2006, 09:50 AM
no way saunders should return to KC unless he gives up on his career.

Yep. If he has no aspirations of further advancement, that's the only way he would return, IMO.

RedThat
01-18-2006, 09:51 AM
I think that Saunders has to still be candidate with the Chiefs to OC - why else would Herm be waiting? To hire Heimerdinger? Maybe I guess - but he is a west coast offense guy. I best guess is that it is between Sauders/Heimerdinger and Solari.

That's what Im thinking. I think Herm is waiting to see how this pans out.

RedThat
01-18-2006, 09:55 AM
no way saunders should return to KC unless he gives up on his career.

It's still possible he could return as our OC. What other options does he have really?

I mean the only team that's strongly considering him to be their next head coach is the Raiders. If that doesn't pan out, I can't think of any other job he would take besides coming back to KC and being our OC.

htismaqe
01-18-2006, 09:57 AM
It's still possible he could return as our OC. What other options does he have really?

I mean the only team that's strongly considering him to be their next head coach is the Raiders. If that doesn't pan out, I can't think of any other job he would take besides coming back to KC and being our OC.

The end result is the same -- he's resigned himself to finishing his career as on OC.

Whether he decides on his own, or the lack of HC job offers forces him to, is really irrelevant.

BigChiefFan
01-18-2006, 09:59 AM
I can EASILY see Saunders coming back to the Chiefs. The Chiefs haven't made any moves for a reason, IMO. I believe they told Al to find a job and if he couldn't land a head coaching gig they would match any offer on the table if he comes back to be the O Coordinator. Saunders is one of the highest paid coordinators in the league, another team either needs to exceed that pay or I see Saunders staying.

RedThat
01-18-2006, 09:59 AM
The end result is the same -- he's resigned himself to finishing his career as on OC.

Whether he decides on his own, or the lack of HC job offers forces him to, is really irrelevant.

True.

Mr. Laz
01-18-2006, 10:06 AM
I can EASILY see Saunders coming back to the Chiefs. The Chiefs haven't made any moves for a reason, IMO. I believe they told Al to find a job and if he couldn't land a head coaching gig they would match any offer on the table if he comes back to be the O Coordinator. Saunders is one of the highest paid coordinators in the league, another team either needs to exceed that pay or I see Saunders staying.
at this point in his career, money shouldn't be Saunders top priority. He needs to raise his stock in the league.

He does that by taking a HC job or taking a NEW offensive coordinator job, preferably in a high profile situation.

by coming back to KC Saunders is basically raising a white flag on further promotions.


he might take the easy money ... but it's a career mistake if he does.

milkman
01-18-2006, 10:10 AM
at this point in his career, money shouldn't be Saunders top priority. He needs to raise his stock in the league.

He does that by taking a HC job or taking a NEW offensive coordinator job, preferably in a high profile situation.

by coming back to KC Saunders is basically raising a white flag on further promotions.


he might take the easy money ... but it's a career mistake if he does.

He already made a huge career mistake when he took the Chiefs WR coach job under Marty and the hapless OCs that he worked for in Pendry, Hackett, and Raye.

Would Al be in this position if not for those morons?

Woodrow Call
01-18-2006, 10:15 AM
[url]

“I am surprised,” CBS analyst Phil Simms said Tuesday. “Here’s why it hasn’t worked: His name hasn’t been in the forefront when his team has gone on to the playoffs and had big success. That’s usually what drives coordinators over the top.

“He didn’t have the right people throwing his name out there on TV enough to get him hot, and then he didn’t have success enough in the playoffs to drive his name over the top. Is he qualified? He’s overqualified.”

At his age would it be to big of a gamble to come back have another great offense and hope to get deep into the playoffs? If that happened he might get his choice of coaching jobs instead of settling for Oakland. Of course most NFL execs know that it wasnt Al's fault that the Chiefs haven't made it deep into the playoffs.

htismaqe
01-18-2006, 10:17 AM
at this point in his career, money shouldn't be Saunders top priority. He needs to raise his stock in the league.

He does that by taking a HC job or taking a NEW offensive coordinator job, preferably in a high profile situation.

by coming back to KC Saunders is basically raising a white flag on further promotions.


he might take the easy money ... but it's a career mistake if he does.

Bingo.

Brock
01-18-2006, 10:18 AM
Of course most NFL execs know that it wasnt Al's fault that the Chiefs haven't made it deep into the playoffs.

It would appear that at least some NFL execs don't care whose fault it was.

BigChiefFan
01-18-2006, 10:27 AM
yep ... the only way Al Saunders comes back is if he decides that he is just gonna be a OC for the rest of his career.


he needs to either

a. get a HC job and prove he can handle it.

b. take another OC job and turn that offense around so he proves that it was him not just vermeil.


no way saunders should return to KC unless he gives up on his career.
Again, he's one of the highest paid coordinators in the league. Why take a pay cut to go somewhere else?

I don't think coordinating the number 1 offense in the league a couple more years is detrimental to his career in any way, shape, or form.

Some coaches, like Monte Kiffin are happy being coordinators, because they enjoy the X's and O's of the game more than delegating authority. Saunders could be one of these type of men. It's not like he's been a coordinator for decades, he was the WRs coach at St. Louis.

htismaqe
01-18-2006, 10:38 AM
Again, he's one of the highest paid coordinators in the league. Why take a pay cut to go somewhere else?

I don't think coordinating the number 1 offense in the league a couple more years is detrimental to his career in any way, shape, or form.

Some coaches, like Monte Kiffin are happy being coordinators, because they enjoy the X's and O's of the game more than delegating authority. Saunders could be one of these type of men. It's not like he's been a coordinator for decades, he was the WRs coach at St. Louis.

Why take a pay cut? Because when you're already making millions per year, money takes a backseat to power.

And yes, in Saunders' case a couple more years means he'd be over 60 the next time around. His age is likely the number 1 reason he's not getting offers now. The longer he waits, the worse off he is.

Your 3rd paragraph is the only scenario where Al Saunders returns to the Chiefs. And it happens to be the exact scenario that both Laz and I were talking about.