The Kansas City Chiefs had two glaring weaknesses duing the 2012 season. The first was the head coach whose most basic answer was, “I Don’t Know.” (!) This was solved of course with the firing of Romeo Crennel and the hiring of Andy Reid.
Let’s turn our attention to the other significant weakness that remains for the Chiefs, the quarterback.
As Andy Reid put his staff together over these past few weeks we have seen glimpses of his plans to address that position.
His selection of Doug Pederson as the team’s offensive coordinator is in itself telling. Because Andy Reid will be calling his own plays, Pederson’s job is much more about creating the system and preparing whomever the quarterback will be in the Chiefs offense.
Pederson has a history of working with quarterbacks, including Nick Foles this past year for the Eagles. By most accounts he did a good job in the short term. Even thought Pederson’s coaching history is short, this bodes well for his ability to lead and show those around around him, especially Reid, that he can handle the position.
Pederson was responsible for leading the quarterbacks in 2011 when the Eagles set franchise records in yards and first downs. He also helped Vick to set career highs in yards, attempts (not a good thing), and completions.
Although Pederson was not an elite quarterback, he spent time backing up guys like Marino, Favre and McNabb during his career. We can assume that the Chiefs new OC learned a few things from these guys along the way including how top QBs in the game prepare, function, practiced and lead.
Pederson’s hire provides some insight into Reid’s plan and I’ll go out on a limb and suggest that Matt Cassel might be a Chief again in 2013. He is by far the best quarterback currently on the roster. Reid surely believes in his own abilities and the abilities of Pederson to help Cassel take the next step.
It’s also a near certainty that Pederson will also be tasked with coaching up a rookie quarterback. That’s why it is so important that our new offensive coordinator was a QB himself. He will be able to formulate the offense around the skills of the individual on the field.
Finally, Pederson could be working with a free agent quarterback, or one acquired via trade, who may be the starter in 2013. The rumors are already swirling around Matt Flynn and his eventual destination being Kansas City, but there are many other possible options, such as Alex Smith.
Pederson was brought in to help Reid install his offense but also to make sure that offense works with the quarterbacks the Chiefs will have on the roster. Reid has made a good hire in this situation but only time will tell if his plan will work. Unfortunately, Pederson’s future and legacy may be as much determined by “who” the quarterback is, rather than “how” that quarterback was coached.