Kansas City, Mo. Kansas City has hired its fourth offensive coordinator since head coach Todd Haley arrived two years ago, but nobody’s saying who will be calling the plays when the Chiefs take the field next season.
The Chiefs on Thursday named offensive line coach Bill Muir as offensive coordinator to replace Charlie Weis, who was in Kansas City one season before leaving to become offensive coordinator for the University of Florida.
Muir, who came to Kansas City with Haley in 2009, also worked with Haley for seven years with the New York Jets. He has been in the NFL in some capacity for 34 years, serving as both defensive and offensive coordinator.
During a telephone news conference Thursday, Haley praised Muir for his role in helping Kansas City’s offense lead the league in rushing last season. Haley said Muir also has worked closely with quarterback Matt Cassel and will continue to assist in his development.
“The key thing here is that we get it right, and I feel like we got it right with Bill Muir,” Haley said.
Haley took some heat in his first season after firing offensive coordinator Chan Gailey two weeks before the start of the 2009 season, then assuming the role himself. Haley — who had been offensive coordinator for Arizona when the Cardinals made it to the Super Bowl — later admitted that taking on the role was a big task for a rookie head coach. The Chiefs finished 4-12.
After the 2009 season, Haley hired Weis, who had been his boss when both were with the Jets and who’d been fired the year before as head coach at Notre Dame. Weis was one of the NFL’s most respected coordinators, with three Super Bowl rings as offensive coordinator at New England.
How much Weis had to do with the Chiefs’ success is open to conjecture, but players said he contributed greatly to the improvement that took Kansas City to a 10-6 record. Running back Jamaal Charles, wide receiver Dwayne Bowe and Cassel made the Pro Bowl after the Chiefs won their first AFC West title since 2003.
Cassel’s improvement was dramatic; he had 16 TD passes and 16 interceptions when Haley was calling plays, but under Weis — until the last two games — he played nearly mistake-free.
After word got out that Weis was leaving to become offensive coordinator at Florida, the offense faltered and Chiefs lost their final two games by lopsided scores to Oakland and, in the first round of the playoffs, to Baltimore.
Haley said that Muir’s promotion will give the team a continuity it wouldn’t have had if someone from outside the organization had been brought in. That’s especially important for Cassel, who will be working under his fifth offensive coordinator in four years.
“The development of Matt Cassel is a key ingredient in us continuing to make progress,” Haley said. “We have a chance to go into a third full year relatively unchanged from a system terminology standpoint. On top of that, Matt and coach Muir have had to work really closely together over the last two years.”
Before coming to Kansas City in 2009, Muir was offensive coordinator for seven seasons with Tampa Bay, including in 2003, when the Buccaneers won the Super Bowl.
Muir said he has never had sole responsibility for calling offensive plays, but has been heavily involved in various aspects of play calling.
“I think that really good play calling is the result of a staff that works very well not only offseason, but specifically in the season,” Haley said. “That’s when the play calling gets done. A staff that works well together in harmony and is on the same page.”