Handicapping early K.C. candidates

Let’s look at some of the early candidates Kansas City Chiefs general manager Scott Pioli may look at to replace Todd Haley, who was fired Monday. Many more names will surface, but here are a few who could interest the Chiefs, listed in alphabetical order:

Tom Cable, assistant coach, Seattle Seahawks

Why there could be interest: Cable impressed folks in Kansas City with the toughness he brought to the Oakland Raiders as its head coach.

Upside: He’s tough, he works hard and he would likely be very happy to work in Kansas City.

Downside: He doesn’t have much cachet, and his inexperience may not sell in Kansas City. He’s a long shot.

Romeo Crennel, interim head coach, Chiefs

Why there could be interest: He has head-coaching experience, he’s been part of this program and he’s well-liked in the organization.

Upside: The Chiefs’ defense plays hard, and he was the former head coach of the Cleveland Browns.

Downside: Crennel may be one of the coaches who is best suited to be a coordinator rather than a head coach. Plus, the Chiefs may feel they can keep Crennel as defensive coordinator.

Kirk Ferentz, head coach, Iowa

Why there could be interest: Ferentz and Pioli are old friends.

Upside: Ferentz has long been considered an NFL coach-in-waiting. He’d reunite with quarterback Ricky Stanzi and tight end Tony Moeaki in Kansas City,

Downside: Ferentz has turned down many overtures before. I don’t know whether he’d be interested in waiting several weeks for this job because of recruiting issues.

Jeff Fisher, former Tennessee Titans head coach

Why there could be interest: Fisher is considered one of the best coaches on the market.

Upside: Fisher is experienced and is a consummate professional. He’d probably be open to working with general manager Pioli, and he would bring instant credibility to Kansas City.

Downside: Fisher might be out of the Chiefs’ price range, and he may get a better offer.

Eric Mangini, former New York Jets and Browns head coach

Why there could be interest: He has experience and a history with Pioli.

Upside: He’s a strong defensive coach who knows what Pioli wants from a coach.

Downside: He quickly burnt out of two jobs. If Mangini failed in Kansas City, Pioli would be in trouble.

Josh McDaniels, offensive coordinator, St. Louis Rams

Why there could be interest: McDaniels and Pioli have a good working relationship.

Upside: Pioli was a big fan of McDaniels, and Pioli saw Bill Belichick have great success in his second job after failing in his first. McDaniels and Matt Cassel have a great relationship. Crennel could stay on as well.

Downside: McDaniels was a disaster in Denver, and the Rams’ offense is faltering under his guidance. He could be a tough sell.

Bill O’Brien, offensive coordinator, New England Patriots

Why there could be interest: He fits the Patriots’ Way from which Pioli has molded the Chiefs.

Upside: He’s a young, talented coach who is considered a future star.

Downside: He may not be ready. Pioli needs to hit a home run with this hire. Hiring O’Brien may be risky.