Kansas City Chiefs owner Clark Hunt is clearly mulling different options and I think he is open to keeping general manager Scott Pioli.
I think one of the ways this could happen is if Hunt decides to hire a coach who is powerful enough to run a big part of the organization and allow Pioli to operate as a top decision maker behind the scenes.
That’s how Pioli made his name in New England. He was Bill Belichick’s right-hand man. In that role, Pioli worked on personnel moves and such. For that to work in Kansas City the right coach would have to be brought in and everyone would have to be on board.
Hunt hasn’t closed the door on Pioli yet and if he does stay, it’s clear it will be in a reduced role. Hunt has said the coach and general manager will report directly to him.
Meanwhile, Kansas City center Ryan Lilja told the Kansas City Star he is retiring. He had a nice season. The Chiefs will be fine because youngster Rodney Hudson will be coming back from an injury. The team likes him. But Lilja’s leadership will be missed.
Fox Sports is reporting the Chiefs will interview Atlanta special teams coach Keith Armstrong. The Chiefs are also talking to Atlanta offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter. I think both may be long shot candidates.
Meanwhile, Hunt sent emails to season-ticket holders Monday, promising better days ahead.
In other AFC West news:
The NFL Network reported that the Chargers have been granted permission to speak to 49ers’ executive Tom Gamble about San Diego's general manager’s job. Gamble is a hot candidate.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter is reporting Denver offensive coordinator Mike McCoy will interview with Chicago and Arizona. McCoy is also a hot candidate. I expect him to get a job.
AFC South blogger Paul Kuharsky thinks recently-fired Oakland offensive coordinator Gregg Knapp could provide instant help to his former team, Houston, in the playoffs.
I wonder if the Raiders will consider making offensive assistant Al Saunders Knapp’s replacement. He did a fine job under Hue Jackson in 2011.
Oakland coach Dennis Allen said he doesn’t plan to make any other coaching changes. He needs to find an offensive coordinator, special teams coach, offensive line coach and a linebackers coach. Allen had some issues filing his staff last year as far not getting his first choice. Now, he will have a jump on the process and this will give him a chance to build a better staff.
ESPN columnist Ashley Fox thinks the Broncos are heading toward a victory parade.