When it came to building his staff of assistants, Chiefs coach Andy Reid went mostly with guys he knew. But for a most important hire, defensive coordinator, Reid went with a veteran coach he has never worked with.
Bob Sutton, 61, is the new defensive coordinator. Sutton was for nine seasons the head coach at Army, where he had a record of 44-55-1, and spent the last 13 seasons with the New York Jets, including three as defensive coordinator.
The Chiefs will probably continue to use the 3-4 system, though Sutton has also coached the 4-3.
Otherwise, six coaches hired by the Chiefs on Friday have ties to Reid from his 14 seasons as head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles. Offensive coordinator Doug Pederson both played quarterback and coached for Reid with the Eagles. Running backs coach Eric Bieniemy, a former University of Colorado star rusher, played for Reid.
Matt Nagy (quarterbacks), David Culley (wide receivers), Tom Melvin (tight ends) and Tommy Brasher (defensive line) all coached in Philadelphia under Reid.
Other hires to Reid’s staff announced on Friday include head strength and conditioning coach Barry Rubin and assistant strength and conditioning coach Travis Crittenden, who both come over from Philadelphia.
Mike Frazier will be the Chiefs’ statistical analysis coordinator after nine years in that role with the Eagles.
And Corey Matthaei and Britt Reid, Andy’s son, will be the Chiefs’ quality control assistants. This will be the younger Reid’s first NFL job after three years on the Temple Owls’ staff.
The Chiefs have yet to announce coaches for special teams, offensive line, linebackers and defensive backs. George Warhop is a strong candidate to be the offensive line coach. Warhop, 51, has coached offensive line for five NFL teams, most recently Cleveland.
Two other possible Chiefs assistants have also worked with Reid: special teams coach Dave Toub and offensive assistant Brad Childress.
Pederson, 44, was an NFL quarterback for 12 seasons, mostly as the seldom used reserve for Brett Favre in Green Bay. He’s only been an NFL coach for four seasons, so Reid may wind up calling the offensive plays.
Reid was unavailable for interviews. But in a statement released by the Chiefs, Reid said, “Doug has been around the game a long time, and he has great vision. As a former player in this league, he sees the game from a different perspective, and that will be a great benefit for our players. He has a knack for developing talent, and he’s a good communicator. Doug is ready for this position.”
Pederson inherits an offense that was last in the league in scoring in 2012. He said he’s already spent a considerable amount of time watching the Chiefs on video.
“It’s a talented group,” he said. “It can be an explosive group. There are some great weapons there on offense, very similar to the circumstances we had in Philadelphia this past year.”
Pederson also brought up Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel’s success in New England, when he helped the Patriots to an 11-5 record in 2008, and with the Chiefs in 2010, when they finished 10-6 and won the AFC West.
“I want to look at that and see if the right guy is there on the roster, and if we have to find somebody to come in, we find somebody to come in,” Pederson said. “But we will give our guys every opportunity to compete for that spot.”
Sutton has coached in both the 4-3 and 3-4 systems. Reid hasn’t declared which system the Chiefs would use, though he has hinted he would keep the 3-4 the Chiefs have had in place for the past three seasons.
“Bob is a creative coach that is going to give our defense a variety of looks and packages,” Reid said. “He has a lot of experience and is well respected across the league. Bob has a high football IQ and knows how to get the most out of his players.”
Sutton was the linebackers coach for Herm Edwards when he was head coach of the New York Jets. Edwards said he tried to bring Sutton to the Chiefs when he came to Kansas City but he was still under contract to the Jets.
“They wouldn’t let him go,” Edwards said. “He was going to be the coordinator or the linebacker coach, either one. But I was bringing him.
“He’s very detailed and organized and understands how to put players in position to succeed. He’s a good communicator with the players and has a good demeanor with the players. His defense will be fundamentally sound. He believes in pressuring the quarterback but he’ll play to whatever the strengths of those players is. Whatever those strengths are, that’s how he’ll formulate his defense. He won’t expose those guys.
“It was important for Andy to get a veteran to coach that defense, a guy he could trust, a guy who knows how to do it and has done it before. Bob’s that guy.”
Nagy, 34, was an offensive assistant with the Eagles the past two years. He played quarterback in college at Delaware and in the Arena League.
Bieniemy, 43, was an NFL running back for nine seasons with the Chargers, Bengals and Eagles. He has coached in college at Colorado and UCLA and in the NFL with the Vikings.
Culley, 57, was Philadelphia’s wide receivers coach for each of Reid’s 14 seasons. He previously coached wide receivers for Tampa Bay and Pittsburgh. Melvin, 51, was also with Reid for all 14 seasons and coached tight ends for the last 11.
Brasher has coached the defensive line in Seattle, Tampa Bay, Atlanta and Philadelphia.