KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The news this morning was a little startling that Scott Pioli was back with an NFL team until I heard he had been hired by an old friend, Thomas Dimitroff, and he won't be in charge. Pioli will be the assistant general manager for the Atlanta Falcons.
Not sure exactly what Pioli's duties will be. Probably some contract negotiations and some scouting. If so, this will be a good hire for the Falcons. Those are Pioli's strengths and he does a good job with them. Pioli's four years as Chiefs general manager were often rocky, but when he departed last January he left behind some good players and a salary cap situation that was the envy of many other teams. Pioli was extremely responsible in that area.
But if Pioli has intentions on becoming a general manager again, it's going to take more than budgeting, negotiating and scouting skills. He'll have to set a tone for the entire organization built on more than mistrust and paranoia, like the one he set in Kansas City. The change to general manager John Dorsey and coach Andy Reid was so refreshing for the Chiefs and don't overlook that as a factor in how quickly they were able to start this season. A candy wrapper in the stairwell now is just that and not the obvious sign of a sinister plot to ruin the whole operation.
Pioli will also have to learn there are many ways to build a successful program and the New England way is just one of them. Beyond the fear and paranoia that infested the Chiefs organization at the time, my biggest problem with Pioli was he knew only the Patriots way and couldn't adjust when things didn't go as they did in New England. Pioli couldn't trust outsiders, which is why both of the head coaches he hired in Kansas City had a past with him. Neither of those guys worked out, by the way.
And now Pioli is back on the path to rebuilding his career. Here's hoping he learned from his failures in Kansas City.