Philbin could challenge Crennel in K.C.

If you can’t get Kirk Ferentz, perhaps you go get one of his former assistants.

It may be significant that the first name to emerge as a candidate for the Kansas City Chiefs opening -- Green Bay offensive coordinator Joe Phlibin -- has ties to Ferentz. He was the offensive line coach on Ferentz’s Iowa team from 1999-2002 prior to joining the Packers staff. Kansas City general manager Scott Pioli and Ferentz are close friends, Ferentz was mentioned as a potential candidate in Kansas City when Todd Haley was fired in December. However, Ferentz has long been reluctant to move to the NFL.

A Ferentz protégé could intrigue Pioli.

Meanwhile, according to an NFL source, interim Kansas City coach Romeo Crennel is expected to interview for the permanent job in the next several days. Earlier Wednesday, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that Philbin is interviewing this week in Kansas City. He can’t be hired until after the Packers’ season is over.

There is a growing sense that Philbin will be a serious candidate. It has been widely assumed in the past few days that Crennel will be a slam-dunk hire. He went 2-1 as the interim coach, including giving Green Bay its only loss of the season.

Kansas City’s players are behind Crennel, 64, and Pioli and Crennel have a long relationship. However, there is a sense the Chiefs could opt to hire a younger candidate. If Crennel is not the choice, Philbin, 50, could be an interesting option.

He comes from a winning team with a powerful offense. He is known for having a level personality. That could be appealing in Kansas City. The high-strung Haley often clashed with Pioli, coaches and players. Pioli needs to find a personality that will get along with others.

One ding against Philbin is that he doesn’t call the plays in Green Bay. But he is known as a strong leader. He could always hire a coordinator to call the plays if he is hired.

I think Crennel is still very much in the mix -- his interview confirms that -- but it may not be a foregone conclusion.

UPDATE: There is a report out Kansas City that said the Chiefs interviewed Jeff Fisher last week, but he will not be coming to Kansas City. Fisher is currently considering St. Louis and Miami.