*This article was written shortly after Wade Phillips was hired as the Defensive Coordinator for the Houston Texans. The more I read this article I wrote over 8 months ago it shows the Texans do have a plan similar to the Chiefs. Enjoy. P.D.S.
Shortly after hearing the news that Wade Phillips was hired to be the defensive coordinator of the 2011 Houston Texans, which all Texans fans knew was coming, made me realize that Texans are not messing around anymore. I've been reading on Twitter and various sites how the Texans shouldn't do this and shouldn't do that. Also, that there are too many pieces missing on defense and all the players on defense stink and so on. Trust me I am all for getting rid of Frank Bush and his wet paper bag defense, and honestly I am really excited about Wade coming to Houston. I am all for a change of culture in Houston, especially defensively.
While wracking my brain something made me look at one team. Why I thought of this team, is because this team came out of nowhere to put its mark on the 2010 NFL Season. The team??? The Kansas City Chiefs. Yes you heard me the Chiefs, not only do they have the best smelling stadium in the NFL, BBQ heaven, but they are the model the Texans should be looking at, and giving us all Texans fans that word again, HOPE.
This article has nothing to do with 4-3 vs. 3-4, I could care less what Wade chooses to run. He could run a 46 or 3-3-5 or whatever else you can think of. What I care about is results and turning the page on that 2010 season. The Texans should look at what the Kansas City Chiefs did in the off-season prior to the 2010 season and use that as a stepping stone for the upcoming 2011 season. (Hopefully we have one.)
Todd Haley who was coming off a 4-12 season knew there needed a change of culture. Not only did they change defensive schemes in the 2009 season, but they hired an ex-head coach before the 2010 season who has had success before as a coordinator in New England, the man is Romeo Crennel. A man who knows how to run a defense, but couldn't get over the hump in Cleveland as a head coach for some reason or another. Sound familiar? Read on....
While doing some research I found some striking resemblances between the 2009 Chiefs (4-12, 4th in the AFC West) and the 2010 Texans (6-10, Tied for Last in the AFC South) defenses. Check this out:
*Number in Parenthesis show NFL Rank.
You are probably asking yourself what do these numbers mean? Well for starters these two defenses look like mirror images of each other and both of these teams needed change defensively quick. In comes Romeo and the 2010 Chiefs look like this:
Not only did they improve but they had a middle of the road defense and poof....a 10-6 Record an AFC West Championship and a spot in the playoffs. Wait, wait but they don't play in the AFC South like the Texans do, they play in a weaker AFC West. I know what you are thinking, what I'm trying to say is that the proof is in the pudding, the Chiefs like everyone else in the NFL have to play who they are scheduled. Imagine what the Texans would have been if they would have had a least a middle of the road defense. Hmmm....The Chiefs improved by changing coordinators, by bringing a new attitude to Kansas City and now they went from the outhouse to playing in the second season the playoffs.
Not only did Haley change the culture on the defense, he and Scott Pioli had an outstanding draft and signed a few free agents to help their defense. The resigned key pieces from the previous season in Derrick Johnson (LB), Andy Studebaker (LB), and Mike Vrabel (LB), all key parts to their defense. Then they signed Shaun Smith (NT) from Cincinnati to help shore up the middle. Then they Chiefs hit pay dirt in the 2010 NFL Draft. They selected Eric Berry (1st rd. SS), Javier Arenas (2nd rd. CB), Kendrick Lewis (5th rd. FS) and Cameron Sheffield (5th rd. LB). Sheffield is on the inactive roster, but the other three have been contributors from day one. Lewis has started 10 games for the Chiefs at safety, Arenas has helped the return game and given the Chiefs a good Nickel corner and for Berry he has solidified the Chiefs in the secondary and started all 16 games.
In one-off season the Chiefs made it a priority to take care of seven positions on the defensive side, starters or back up, to make sure they improved defensively. By doing this they went from the 30th ranked defense in 2009 to the 14th ranked defense in 2010.
We all know that the offense is not the issue in Houston, the issue is the defense and the Texans have to fix it and in a hurry. Like Crennel, Phillips is coming off a disappointing campaign as a head coach in Dallas and comes to a defense that needs a facelift. The Chiefs did it in one season by resigning a few of their players, a nose tackle and choosing smart in the draft.
Gary Kubiak figured out that he needs to surround himself with good football people, and there is no doubting Wade Phillips knows his defensive X's and O's. Wade's reputation alone defensively will entice other position coaches and ex players of his to come to Houston for a visit, that is the good news. The bad news we have a lot of work to fix our defensive woes and it started on that final whistle against Jacksonville. Hopefully, that some of the Texans that played defensively, this past season, don't step back on the field again at Reliant unless they are with another team.
What I am trying to say if the Kansas City Chiefs can do it in one offseason why can't the Texans do it? We had mirror image defenses at one point, we are getting a coach who has something to prove, and we have free agents and draft class coming also. So why can't we join in on the fun?
The Kansas City Chiefs are a model of what can happen with hard work, calculated moves and a vision. I'm not trying to compare front offices or coaching staffs, but what I am trying to do is show you Texans fans that it can be done and it has been done.