Figuring Out What's Already in Pioli's Hand

The cries can grow loud 'round here at times, including from yours truly. As the various free agents remaining find homes on other teams or coordinate trades you'd swear we could have been in on, it's difficult to not question the direction of the Chiefs front office with so many glaring holes still remaining before training camp. Of course, we all put on our best face and cross our fingers for the young unprovens found throughout, but let's be honest - most of the guys will have a short shelf life and were a lower draft pick (or undrafted FA) for a reason.

In our dream world (which also flows with rivers like the land of Dairy Queen), Quentin Lawrence becomes the new Marques Colston or Eddie Royal, giving us an Arizona-like WR tandem for Haley to display to the rest of the NFL. Brad Cottam, in this sequence, not only provides as a serviceable replacement for Tony Gonzalez but becomes a sure-handed promising young tight end that make us all thankful we picked up the second round pick when we could. And the news of Damien MacIntosh shedding all that weight? Yep, even here he finds a second wind and solidifies the right side of the line.

Of course, on the other side of the ball, Tyson Jackson indeed becomes the next Richard Seymour with Glenn Dorsey making good on every ounce of promise displayed at LSU. Tamba Hali creates a permanent home at the pass rushing linebacker position and walks away with double digit sacks. And let's not forget the embattled veterans like Mike Brown and Zach Thomas being injury-free and finding young legs again as they lead a playoff-caliber defense. Oh yeah, Bernard Pollard takes out Josh McDaniels in the process somehow.

More after the jump...

But we know these things aren't true. Sure, one or two might develop and, if so, that's a great development for the Chiefs. But reality must set in as the Chiefs hold only one of 30 or so fan bases around the nation hoping for the exact same thing with the exact same passion (give or take). So as the rose-colored sunglasses come off, we wonder why we don't make the big move to give us one more variable to at least hope will turn out.

But Pioli and company, besides a few veteran signings and the big Matt Cassel/Mike Vrabel trade - seem content with some of the "holes" in the line-up. And after some complaining, I think I'm rather glad. Why? Because in year one of the regime, one thing is most important: Figuring out what you're already playing with.

Some players have already seen the door because they didn't fit (i.e. Will Franklin). But I'm sure the levels of pain in an NFL front office go something like this:

3. Watching a trade go down only to realize you could have pulled off the same thing

2. Watching the guy highest on your draft board go the pick before yours

And the worst...

1. Watching a guy you already had on your roster develop and thrive on another team

Some of this has to do with schemes (in fact, much of it). But sometimes this happens simply because a team didn't pay attention to what they already had on the roster. Sometimes in the name of purging, a team simply moves on from someone quite talented to get "their guys in here." And for a professional organization and competent front office, you simply can't make those mistakes.

Keeping Tony Gonzalez around surely would have made Cassel's entry much sweeter and easier and definitely would have kept a fan base much happier. But how many years do you go without knowing what the third round pick sitting can do? While some were pining for KC to just shed Dorsey in a trade, the best thing to do is give him at least 16 games to show what he can do before you prematurely label him one way or the other.

If we end the season with the same holes we started with, that's not necessarily a bad thing. It simply means that we now have a complete idea of what we're working with. And really in the first year of what hopefully builds into a dynasty, that's exactly what we should be hoping Pioli is up to.
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