The natural question to ask after getting over the initial shock of the news that Charlie Weis may be poised to go to the University of Florida is to ask who could possibly replace him as the offensive coordinator of the Kansas City Chiefs.
Keep this name handy: Josh McDaniels.
The recently fired head coach of the Denver Broncos could be an interesting candidate to replace Weis, whom he succeeded as the offensive coordinator in New England. ESPN’s Adam Schefter said on the air last Sunday that if Weis ended up being one-and-done in Kansas City, McDaniels is a logical replacement.
I know, the first thing you’re going to think of is the handshake controversy with Kansas City head coach Todd Haley in November. Haley was upset with McDaniels and refused to shake hands after a Denver win. Haley apologized the next day and the two embraced after a Kansas City win three weeks later. McDaniels was fired the next day.
I think that issue was isolated and the two have already gotten past it. It would be ironic and a funny storyline, but it would not really be a major issue.
McDaniels is close with Kansas City general manager Scott Pioli and others in Kansas City’s building because of their history in New England. I know Pioli highly respects McDaniels even though Haley picks his own coaches. If Haley doesn't want McDaniels on his staff, he won't be on it.
If Weis does leave, the Chiefs will need to find a quality replacement. The offense has flourished this year and it is a big reason why the Chiefs are a surprising 10-5 and have won the AFC West division title. The team has to ensure it keeps up this high level of play next season.
Kansas City quarterback Matt Cassel has made big strides in his development this season. Reuniting him with McDaniels wouldn’t hurt. Cassel had a fine season in 2008 in New England after Tom Brady was hurt in the first game of the season against the Chiefs. One of the reasons why Denver was attracted to McDaniels, who was 32 at the time, was his work with Cassel.
I’m sure McDaniels would be interested in this job. He will likely have to go back to being an offensive coordinator as he tries to pick up the pieces of his career after the Denver debacle. Even though McDaniels’ stay in Denver was a failure, he did continue to show he is a fine offensive coach. Players like Kyle Orton and Brandon Lloyd blossomed under McDaniels.
As an offensive coordinator, he wouldn’t be in charge of personnel decisions like he was in Denver, so he would be able to concentrate on areas that are his strengths. I’m also sure McDaniels would relish the opportunity to return to the AFC West and get the chance to face his former team twice a season.