INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – The correlation between the continued development of Chiefs QB
“The most important aspect of our recent hires is that we got somebody to coach Matt Cassel and the rest of our quarterbacks, because their development is critical to our future success,” Haley said.
For the first time during Haley’s tenure as head coach, the Chiefs will have an assistant whose sole responsibility resides in coaching quarterbacks. The hiring of Jim Zorn not only filled a void on the staff, but it also gives Cassel a positional coach with actual NFL playing experience.
Cassel has never received positional instruction from a coach who is also a former NFL player. To Haley, Zorn’s playing experience is an immeasurable asset.
“There are very few quarterback coaches in the league with that experience,” said Haley. “It’s kind of like the golf swing. You can see something wrong with different quarterbacks, but how you go about correcting, improving or changing is a delicate line with quarterbacks at this level.
“I’m really excited about Jim Zorn,” Haley would continue. “He played the position for 11 years in the NFL and then coached the position in college for nearly 10 years before coming back into the league. This is an experienced guy who has come in energetic and is excited about the opportunity.”
Though Haley had previously indicated that the Chiefs conducted a thorough coaching search prior to Zorn’s hiring, a little more about the interview process was revealed at the Combine podium.
In an effort to ensure that Kansas City’s next quarterbacks coach meshed well with Cassel, Haley made an hour-long film session with the quarterback part of Zorn’s job interview.
“When we interviewed, I timed part of that interview so Matt and Jim could get together,” Haley said. “Most of the guys that I talked to had the opportunity to sit down and talk to Matt. (Jim and Matt) spent a good hour or so together watching tape and that was really positive.”
The pairing came out so positive that a coach with no previous ties to Haley was added to the staff. The two coaches continue to learn more about one another daily.
“I’ve always kind of looked at Jim from afar and thought he was a West Coach (offense) type of guy,” Haley said. “That’s really not his roots, but rather an area he was able to get great experience in.
“That’s good, because Bill (Muir), Mo (Carthon) and myself have all coached in that system at some time.”
Having already hit it off with Cassel, Zorn has spent the majority of his first 10 days on the job learning Kansas City’s offensive language.
“Terminology is the thing that he’s working the hardest on right now,” Haley said.