The Chiefs Wake-Up Call

From the FanPosts -Joel

Todd Haley desperately needed the win against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

He needed something concrete to show his players that there is a method to the madness he has unleashed on the team this season.

His team needed to see that his program of discipline and conditioning could give the Chiefs a chance to win a close game against a top-tier team.

The team needed evidence that the new administration's penchant for putting certain players on the field in preference to established Chiefs veterans could pay dividends.

And finally, Haley needed his team to see that he really isn't such a bad guy.

I never would have wished it on them, but Chiefs fans needed Sunday's horrible loss to the Chargers just as desperately.  They needed to be reminded that the Chiefs just aren't a very good football team right now.

The win against Pittsburgh didn't change the known facts.  Over this season, the Chiefs rank 27th in scoring, and 28th in points allowed.  The team is ranked 30th in yards gained and allowed, and 31st both in sacks and sacks allowed.

I could go on, but you've already endured enough this weekend.

As usual, Jason Whitlock would like to take the easy way out, and paint a villain in the loss.  After the game, he asked the head coach if he regretted letting his players have Thanksgiving off.  Even though Haley temporized in his answer, Whitlock chose to report that Haley did, in fact, regret the decision.

Not only was Whitlock's reportage of Haley's position inaccurate, but the whole question was ridiculous in the first place; Haley did give the team Thanksgiving off, but that was because they had come in and practiced on Tuesday, which is their normal day off.

No… this loss had nothing to do with players eating dinner with their families on Thursday, or being overconfident after the emotional win against the Steelers.  To my knowledge, there is no such thing as an overconfident 3-7 football team.

This loss happened because the Chiefs aren't very good yet.  As such, they can't afford to give up four turnovers to a team that's just won five games in a row.  Truth be told, even if Scott Pioli and Todd Haley turn this team around - which, I must remind you, hasn't happened yet - it will be a rare game indeed that they can afford those turnovers.

I'm as happy as anybody that Jamaal Charles is getting a chance to play, and he is showing that he can be a very exciting and productive player.  But he's given up four fumbles in 246 touches.  That's 1.6%.  For all his other problems, Larry Johnson fumbled on 0.96% of his chances.  Priest Holmes coughed it up on 0.75% of his, and Marcus Allen did it on just 0.47% of his.

If he's going to be an every-down back in the NFL, Charles is just going to have to do better.

At first, I felt bad for Matt Cassel.  At first glance, it doesn't seem fair to blame the quarterback for an interception that bounces into the stratosphere from a defensive lineman's helmet.  But the more I thought about it, I realized Cassel deserved that pick; there are defensive linemen in front of him on every play.

And while I don't wish to excuse Rudy Niswanger a pair of very bad snaps, Cassel is the guy that has to cover them.  If you like, you can blame the Chiefs offensive line for those plays.  Generally speaking, they stink, too.  But Green Bay has given up even more sacks than Kansas City.  Even so, Aaron Rodgers has 22 touchdowns against only five interceptions, and has a quarterback rating of 104.9.  Cassel has 13 TDs and seven picks, and a rating of 77.6.

So if Cassel wants to be the franchise quarterback Pioli and Haley believe he can be, he's going to have to do better, too.

I could go on... but again, you've suffered enough.

Much as we would all like to believe that a new administration could come in to Kansas City, wave a magic wand and make it all better, that's just not the way it works in the NFL - at least not in the long term.  It was fashionable during last season's Chiefs meltdown to point to the Dolphins going to the playoffs after a 1-15 season as proof that with the right people in the front office and the sidelines, anything was possible.  Yet the Fins are 5-6 this season.

For all the talk about the NFL being scheme-driven, it really isn't.   Oh, sure... schemes are more important than they are in the college game, where the talent level isn't as high.  But the fact remains: in the NFL, most games aren't won because there's a genius in the front office or the sidelines.  Instead, they're won because individual players win more of their individual battles than the other guys.  To be sure, coaches and GMs have a hand in this, too - that's why some coaches and GMs consistently have better records than others.  But it still comes down to players winning games.

And right now, most Chiefs players just aren't good enough to win very many of them.

I said after the Pittsburgh win that the character displayed by the Chiefs in that game wasn't going to be enough.  I said that they needed more talent and more experience to even come close to a decent record this year.  Well... nothing has changed.  It is, of course, possible that the Chiefs could win a few games down the stretch, and we'll be able to point to an improved record as progress toward the final goal.

But Sunday's game was the wake-up call for Chiefs fans:  there is still a long way to go.

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of Arrowhead Pride's writers or editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of Arrowhead Pride writers or editors.

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