Since the frantic Scott Pioli era mercifully was ended after the 2012 season, the Chiefs largely had enjoyed prosperity on the field and seemingly serenity off it under the Andy Reid-John Dorsey regime.
Sure, there were games you wanted back and some contract negotiations that became unnecessarily costly and probably some behind-the-scenes tiffs that were well-cloaked.
Between them, though, they built a team that went 43-21 in the last four regular seasons and along the way claimed the organization’s first playoff win in more than two decades.
So there was little prelude at all to this bizarre offseason.
It featured the Chiefs cutting franchise pillar Jamaal Charles (not surprisingly, actually, given his injuries), surprisingly letting go of Jeremy Maclin (almost certainly because of internal financial mismanagement) and abruptly, stunningly, parting ways with Dorsey.
Then there was this convenient reminder of the tumultuousness on the eve of training camp:
Veteran linebacker Tamba Hali — one of the most worldly and thoughtful men on the team — ranted on Twitter and in a podcast about his lack of playing time last season and teammates who didn’t take part in voluntary offseason workouts.
This was the immediate backdrop for the official introduction on Monday of new GM Brett Veach, who laughed as he remembered hearing of Hali’s outburst and thinking, “Great timing … That’s awesome.”
In fact, though, this was as good a time as any for Veach, 39, to get started and try to hit something like a reset button in assuming the job of his friend Dorsey.
Time for a fresh start.
“I’ll do whatever we need to do to get this thing going in the right direction,” he said, quickly adding, “Keep it in the right direction.”
For openers, Veach and Reid each did a fine job of tamping down the Tamba-drama as part of the team began reporting to camp in St. Joseph.
Veach seemed at ease and genuine when he said he loves Hali and will look forward to talking to him; Reid expressed similar fondness and joked that Hali “sounded like an angry coach there, and he doesn’t need to go there.”
Technically, Reid even dismissed the idea of drama defining the offseason, allowing only as how there have “been things that happened” and at once expressing sympathy for Dorsey as a friend but standing by owner Clark Hunt’s decision to not extend his contract.
(Hunt said the decision was his alone, although in the same moment noted he speaks regularly with Reid.)
In his first public appearance since the decision was announced on June 22, Hunt generally avoided any direct reference to his reasoning but either inadvertently — or vertently? — spread some bread crumbs.
His offerings seemed to both point toward issues with salary-cap management and to affirm the reporting of Star beat writer Terez Paylor, who last month wrote that the firing of Dorsey at least in part was fueled by issues with his internal communication and management styles.
Hunt spoke repeatedly Monday of the need to have the personnel department “operating at a very high level” and noted that in the spring his approach to renewing Dorsey’s contract changed when “there were enough issues that popped up that caused me to want to do a full evaluation” before he extended contracts.
While declining to speak specifically to the cap issues, he did say, “I had concerns about our ability to sustain the success that we had, and that’s really what led to the decision to make a change.”
The real question now, of course, is how well-equipped Veach is to do whatever it was that Dorsey wouldn’t or couldn’t do to Hunt’s satisfaction.
Veach came with Reid from Philadelphia and most recently has been the Chiefs’ co-director of player personnel.
It’s understood that he’s deeply respected by key co-workers, from coaches to scouts and support staff.
That lends him a certain instant credibility and presumed loyalty from within at a time the argument for continuity was strong regardless of the unraveling of Dorsey’s stature with Hunt.
When Hunt spoke of Veach’s attributes, it probably was no accident that he stressed his communications skills and the fact that he’s “a very collaborative person.”
For his part, Veach joked that if anything he tends to over-communicate and added, “I’m all about trust, respect, collaboration. Communication won’t be an issue.”
He intends to “foster that environment of proactive thinkers, so you don’t want to just (have it be) ‘my way, my way, my way.’ I encourage people to think outside the box and bring ideas to me. That’s how I’m wired. I think there are many solutions to the problem.”
As for managing the intricacies of the salary cap, Veach suggested that particular collaboration will emphasize delegation.
“My job isn’t to figure out all the small numbers,” he said. “My job is to give them the plan: ‘This is the vision, this is where I want the team, these are the guys I want to extend, here is how I want to build this thing, then you guys get creative with moving the money.’”
That may or may not have been the approach of Dorsey, who has encouraged Veach with phone calls before and after he interviewed with Hunt.
But apparently as much as on-field wins, the measure will be not in the process, but the results.
Meanwhile, it’s easy to wonder to what degree this move might reflect Reid wanting more influence over personnel. After all, he hired Veach 10 years ago and has cultivated his rapid rise.
But Hunt said that the flow chart still will have the GM, coach and president Mark Donovan all on the same line reporting directly to him.
And he stressed his belief that Veach is “very much his own man” with “independent thoughts about how you build a championship team.”
Veach further makes the point that he’s disagreed plenty with Reid in their decade-plus together.
“I don’t think Coach would have respect for me if I were saying, ‘Yes, yes, yes’ for 10 years,” he said. “I think my ability to go in there and challenge him in certain areas … raises his game.”
Reid says he likes the “cut-and-dried” separation between coaching and personnel departments.
And if they should clash, well, bring it.
“We’re not going to get any better,” he said, “if you’re sitting there comfortably.”
The Chiefs definitely didn’t sit there comfortably this offseason … but it remains to be seen how they’ve gotten better through it all.