Chiefs finalize defensive coaching staff, emphasize hires with Spagnuolo connections

Nearly a month after hiring new defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, Chiefs have finalized the rest of their defensive coaching staff for the 2019 season.

All of the new hires have previous connections to Spagnuolo, something that was one of the biggest factors in their selection by coach Andy Reid.

“After a thorough process, we are happy to finalize our defensive coaching staff,” Reid said in a news release. “All of these coaches are familiar with Steve, love the game and are good teachers that have had success in their careers. I’m looking forward to working with this group.”

The biggest coup of the Chiefs’ hiring process is luring defensive line coach and run game coordinator Brendan Daly away from the New England Patriots. As then-head coach of the St. Louis Rams, Spagnuolo first hired Daly to be his defensive line coach in 2009, a post he held through 2011. After a brief stop with the Minnesota Vikings from 2012-13, Daly spent the last five seasons with the Patriots as a defensive assistant and defensive line coach.

The rest of the staff is rounded out by linebackers coach Matt House, defensive backs coach Dave Merritt, defensive backs/corner backs coach Sam Madison, linebackers and outside linebackers coach Britt Reid, defensive quality control coach Terry Bradden, and defensive assistant Alex Whittingham.

House, who most recently was Kentucky’s defensive coordinator, was also on the Rams’ coaching staff from 2009-11, serving as a defensive quality control and assistant linebackers coach.

Merritt, who comes to the Chiefs from the Arizona Cardinals, worked with Spagnuolo during his stint as the New York Giants’ defensive coordinator. Merritt was there for 14 seasons, primarily as a secondary and safeties coach from 2004-17. During that time, he helped the Giants win Super Bowls XLII and XLVI.

Madison, who played in the NFL for 12 seasons, has connections to both Merritt and Spagnuolo. After nine seasons with Miami from 1997-2005, Madison played cornerback for the Giants for three seasons between 2006-08. Two of those seasons came as Spagnuolo served as the team’s defensive coordinator. Madison, chosen 44th overall in the 1997 NFL Draft, was on the Super Bowl XLII team, and he made 154 starts in his career. This is his first NFL coaching job.

The only announced holdovers from last season are Reid, son of Andy Reid, Whittingham and Bradden. Reid, who spent the last three seasons as the team’s defensive line coach, is entering his seventh season of with the Chiefs. Bradden will begin his third season with the Chiefs, while Whittingham is entering his second.

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Brooke Pryor covers the Kansas City Chiefs for the Kansas City Star, where she works to give readers a deeper understanding of the franchise and the NFL through daily stories, game coverage, and player profiles. She attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and grew up in Winston-Salem, N.C.