Former Cowboys head coach hopes to revive sputtering Chiefs' offense

Updated: January 16, 2008, 7:37 PM ET
Associated Press

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Kansas City Chiefs hired former Dallas Cowboys head coach Chan Gailey as offensive coordinator on Wednesday, handing him one of the NFL's weakest attacks.

He replaces Mike Solari, who took the Chiefs from being one of the league's top offenses to one of the worst in two years.

Kansas City ended the season with a 4-12 record and on a nine-game losing streak after scoring only 226 points. That's 70 fewer than any Kansas City team has scored in 30 years.

Gailey, fired after this past season as head coach at Georgia Tech, inherits a rebuilding project. He will be working for head coach Herm Edwards, who has a reputation for being an offensive stick in the mud.

But unlike Solari, a respected offensive line coach who had never been a coordinator until 2006, Gailey brings a wealth of college and NFL experience.

In 14 seasons in the NFL, he has been on the staff of 11 playoff teams and coached in the Super Bowl four times, including three with Denver. He has been either a head coach or an offensive coordinator eight years.

At Georgia Tech, he was 44-33 and took the Yellow Jackets to six straight bowl games.

But he ran afoul of boosters for never beating archrival Georgia, winning an ACC title or finishing in the Top 25 and found himself out of work.

Edwards conducted a thorough search before making what most Chiefs fans believe will be his most important decision since taking over for Dick Vermeil in 2006. Under Vermeil and innovative coordinator Al Saunders, the Chiefs had one of the league's most productive offenses.

But age, injuries and Solari's inexperience in calling plays led to a dramatic collapse, and the Chiefs finished near the bottom of almost every offensive statistical category.

A once-dominant offensive line will probably need replacements at three of the five positions. Running back Larry Johnson missed the last eight games with a broken a bone in his foot.

Perhaps most significantly, questions remain whether Brodie Croyle is the long-term answer at quarterback. The second-year pro proved inconsistent and prone to injury this past season.

The Chiefs also interviewed Paul Hackett, Mike Shula, Eric Price and former New York Giants head coach Jim Fassel.

"The best compliment that I can pay Chan Gailey is that he is tough," Edwards said.

"He's been through the battles as both a head coach and as an offensive coordinator. He's called the plays and he has performed under pressure. But just as importantly, Chan is an excellent teacher. Wherever he's coached, he has designed dynamic offenses to take full advantage of his players' skills. He understands how to orchestrate a balanced offensive plan. He's going to be a good fit for our philosophy and our football team. The Chiefs will be better because of Chan Gailey."

Gailey was 18-14 as head coach in Dallas and took the Cowboys to two straight playoffs. His 1998 Cowboys were NFC East champions and committed a league-low 15 turnovers while ranking in the top 10 in total offense, rushing and scoring.

Gailey was offensive coordinator for Miami in 2000-01 when the Dolphins posted consecutive 11-5 records. He was on the Pittsburgh staff from 1994-97 when the Steelers won four straight AFC Central titles and played in one Super Bowl. He was offensive coordinator in 1997 when Pittsburgh ranked sixth in the NFL in total offense and seventh in scoring.


Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press