Here's a legitimate question that I don't really know the answer to: are the Chiefs developing a little bit of tunnel vision this season when it comes to free agency? Do you approve or disapprove of the Chiefs bringing in so many players from the Cardinals and the Patriots? Please voice your opinions on this.
It's interesting to note that five of the recent acquisitions the Chiefs made had some experience with one of those two teams: Leonard Pope, Mike Richardson, David Herron, Ryan O'Callaghan, and Lance Long. That's in addition to the moves the Chiefs already made for Matt Cassel, Corey Mays, Matt Gutierrez, Mike Vrabel, and the recently cut Monty Beisel. That makes for ten total acquisitions from those two teams in this season alone. It's also curious that a huge bulk of his other moves (Ndukwe, Alleman, Zach Thomas, Tyler Thipgen trade) were made with the Miami Dolphins, an inner-division team that Pioli played twice a season and that happens to be run by his father-in-law.On the one hand, you could argue that Pioli and Haley know these players well enough to justify a roster spot. Haley knows players like Long a lot better than most teams do, especially since he's seen them practice while other coaches have not. Furthermore, it's not like the Chiefs have a lot of bright alternatives. Their job is to be better than the lousy backup options that they replaced. That's not a particularly daunting task.
On the other hand, you have to wonder if this tunnel vision is causing them to play favorites over outside options. Coaches and front offices sometimes have a tendency to become too attached to players they helped recruit or groom. I remember when Dick Vermeil insisted that the only major change that needed to be made to his 2003 roster was to change the defensive coordinator. I remember when Mike Solari became so attached to his players that he refused to admit that players like Casey Wiegmann and Jordan Black were much more a part of the problem than they were a part of the solution. It particularly bothers me when the bulk of these decisions seem to be made at positions that are of relatively little importance. I don't understand how bringing in Mike Richardson or David Herron solves the Chiefs' major pass protection problems. Maybe that's just me.
My gut tells me that this form of nepotism isn't good business and it leads me to question whether O'Callaghan was really the best player to pull off the waiver wire, or if he was chosen because he was a Pioli guy. That's particularly significant, given that the Chiefs had to use their advantageous waiver wire position to bring him in. On the other hand, my other instinct tells me that this strategy was the best Pioli could do, given that he entered the offseason game so late and without most of his own personnel guys. After all, the guys he brought in from other squads (Eric Ghiaciuc, Bobby Engram, Mike Goff, Amani Toomer) have all been major busts so far.
My feeling? I think Pioli and Haley have most definitely showed an overly strong favoritism to players they previously recruited and coached, but I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt for now. Next season, however, they're going to have to prove that they can recruit players better from the outside.
Let us know your thoughts on this.