Ault joins Chiefs’ coaching staff
Tribune news service
Sports fodder for a Friday morning . . .
On the surface, Chris Ault joining the Kansas City Chiefs as a consultant makes absolutely no sense. Why would Ault go to a team that has an offensive-minded head coach (Andy Reid) and with a quarterback (Alex Smith) that will never line up in more than a dozen or so pistol formations in a game? The Chiefs’ offensive coordinator (Doug Pederson) and quarterback coach (Matt Nagy) are Reid disciples from the Philadelphia Eagles. And the Eagles have also hired another offensive consultant (Brad Childress) to watch over Reid’s precious spread offense. Ault with the Chiefs makes no sense on the surface. But coaching hires these days have nothing to do with the surface. They are all about agents and search firms. Ault is in Kansas City because of agent Bob LaMonte just like Brian Polian is with the Nevada Wolf Pack because of a search firm. Agents and search firms control professional and college football coaching jobs now. It’s not what you know anymore. It’s who you know.
LaMonte, who lives in Reno, is also the agent for Reid and Childress and many other coaches and front office personnel. Another LaMonte client is Polian’s brother Chris, who is now the Jacksonville Jaguars’ director of pro personnel. LaMonte, it now seems, is the real reason why Ault suddenly and inexplicably left the Pack last December. He’s the guy who likely filled Ault’s head with NFL ideas and dreams. If those ideas and dreams end with a silly consulting job with the Chiefs — the place where NFL head coaching careers go to die — then it was a huge mistake by Ault to leave the Pack. Is teaching Alex Smith by telephone to run the pistol for a dozen plays a game really the best job Ault could find after coaching the Pack for 28 years?
Ault will be 67-years-old in November. He didn’t leave the Pack to be anybody’s consultant. This frivolous Chiefs’ job is just something to get his feet in the NFL door and keep his name on the coaching radar until something better comes along. This is not why he left the Wolf Pack. Chris Ault is nobody’s consultant. Never was and never will be. Ault joining the Chiefs is simply Reid doing LaMonte a favor. It’s about making Ault NFL ready, about putting the NFL on Ault’s resume.
It’s more than a little ironic that Ault is now a consultant, isn’t it? A consultant is someone Ault never would have hired while at Nevada. If Ault was going to steal an idea from somebody — like all coaches he stole plenty — he’d never put that person on his payroll because then he’d have to give that person credit. Ault rarely even gave his own assistants credit. Have you ever heard him in public give credit to Chris Klenakis, Jim Mastro or Scott Baumgartner for helping him invent the pistol? Ault a consultant? Good one. But maybe Ault, finally, is right where he should be with the Chiefs. He won’t actually call any plays. He won’t be around to harass his quarterbacks in practice or the other coaches in meetings. He won’t be around to criticize the head coach, the defensive coordinator or the general manager.
Offensive coordinator Doug Pederson and quarterbacks coach Matt Nagy must be the Chiefs’ version of what Nick Rolovich was last year under Ault at Nevada. They are just guys whose only true responsibility is to become the quarterback’s coaching buddy and make sure the light is turned off when leaving the meeting room. Reid has always been his own offensive coordinator and then he goes and hires Childress and Ault as consultants. What are Pederson and Nagy going to do? It seems like Reid only trusts them as far as their ability to keep Childress and Ault on speed dial and make sure the coffee and donuts are fresh and warm in the meetings.
The most humorous bit of information about Ault’s new job is how he is going to help the Chiefs’ defense learn how to stop the pistol. Good one. The only thing Ault knows about how to stop the pistol is to put Tyler Lantrip in at quarterback. Why would Ault want to teach anyone how to stop the pistol? The pistol is his identity now. It’s his legacy. If the pistol dies, Ault dies as a coach. If the Chiefs really want to know how to stop the pistol, they should call all the teams who played Ault in bowl games.
If you are Alex Smith, are you happy to have so many coaches telling you what to do? And, don’t forget, they are five guys whose careers are hanging in the balance. Reid just got fired in Philadelphia and all he could get was a job coaching a 2-14 team with a quarterback who just lost his starting job. Childress was recently fired by the Minnesota Vikings and Cleveland Browns and the only job he could get was as a consultant. Ault knows nothing about the NFL or how to work for anyone other than the guy he sees in the mirror every morning. Pederson and Nagy, obviously, are window dressing. It was widely reported that Smith’s troubles with the San Francisco 49ers were due to the fact that the 49ers changed offensive coordinators and philosophies seemingly every 15 minutes in his first few seasons. Now he can expect a change every 10 minutes.
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