I'm losing my mind today reading this site.
Call me the eternal opitimist, or naive... but I feel like I have to get a message out there that the Chiefs' season is NOT over. The world is NOT ending. The sky is still up there, and still blue. I'm pretty sure the sun came up this morning just like it usually does.
My analysis after the Jump will help explain why the only thing I'm freaking out about this morning is having to listen to the sound of bodies falling off of each weekly bandwagon, and the doomsday talk of a season ending before it starts.
Bottom line... take a deep breath, and be patient. Teams aren't built or destroyed based on one preseason game, one QB injury or one Offensive Coordinator's job. Yes, there have been a lot of changes... yes, there are more changes and surprises yet to come... especially this week.
* Chan Gailey is out as OC... well, many people were surprised that he was retained in the first place. Speculation was that Haley wanted to call his own plays. However, any casual observer could see that Haley was very frustrated with the offense in each of the first 3 preseason games. They were able to move the ball some, but weren't able to finish games or score enough TD. We don't know if Gailey and Haley had a "falling out" or if Haley just decided he wanted more control over the offense. Either way, I think the playcalling was lacking, and the offense wasn't progressing as well as the defense has to date. Pioli and Haley have shown that mediocrity is not an option, and they won't hesitate to pull the trigger if a change is needed. This wasn't a knee-jerk reaction, it was likely in the works for a couple of weeks.
My guess is that Haley and Carthon will take over, and the offense may be better because of it.
* Matt Cassel is hurt... a mild sprain, probably out 2 weeks. This is the NFL. Players get hurt from time to time. Even with the greatest offensive line known to man, a QB will get hit sometimes, and he may get injured because of that hit. It happens. The good news is that he's not out for the season, and there's an outside chance he could be back for the opener. Cassel is a tough guy, and he'll be fine. 2 weeks ago, many on this site were saying that Croyle was the better QB, and that he should have a shot to start over Cassel. Others thought Thigpen deserved a real shot at starting, because he did an admirable job last year. Now, those guys get a chance to prove their worth again for the next couple of weeks. It's time for them to put up or shut up. When Cassel comes back to start again, The Chiefs will know what they have at the QB position, top to bottom... which is a good thing.
* Speaking of QB... I've never seen more love turn to hate turn to love turn to hate as I have for Tyler Thigpen. This guy was a 7th rd pick from a tiny school that the Chiefs stole off of waivers from the Vikes. He stepped in last season and looked bad at times, good at times, but evolved to be productive as the year went on. He had an OK offseason/preseason before Saturday's game vs the Seahawks, and struggled in that game. Last week, there was a huge debate on this site about whether the Chiefs could afford to let him go for just a 5th/4th/3rd draft pick. Most argued that trading him was a good idea, but that he had significant value because of what he did last year. Then came Saturday's game, where Cassel went down, and Thigpen stepped in. What did you expect to see from him? Thigpen did what he always does... he ran around, threw the ball up for grabs, and the Chiefs came close but didn't win. Why, then, all of a sudden, is he the worst QB ever to play for the Chiefs and needs to be cut or traded for a pack of gum? What changed? (rhetorical question... the answer is NOTHING) My bet is that Thigpen is still traded within the week, for a 5th round pick, or a player.
* That brings us to the OL. Going into 2008, everyone knew the offensive line would be a question mark. By the end of 2008... still a question mark. Going into 2009... you guessed it, a question mark. Everyone knows Albert and Waters are very solid. Everyone knows Niswanger is a question mark. Everyone knows McIntosh is terrible. We thought Goff would be great, he hasn't shown it so far. So, what did Pioli do? He drafted a long term RG or RT prospect in Brown, then traded for quality depth in Ndukwe and Alleman. Did he do enough? It's too early to tell!!! Alleman and Ndukwe have been Chiefs for about a week. Who's to say they aren't the answer? They haven't settled on a starting lineup, or made roster cuts, or finished bringing in OL from other teams. Why is everyone freaking out about how "terrible" this line is now? I showed in my prior Fanpost that the OL did a decent job of pass blocking, but the TE were missing their assignments. I was worried about the runblocking, a little... but the Chiefs actually ran the ball pretty well vs. Seattle, and are showing signs of improvement there. Just because a QB got hurt, doesn't mean the OL is worse than we thought. Give the coaching staff time to pick a starting lineup, and put them on the field for a few games before throwing in the towel on 2009.
* Finally, week 1 vs the Ravens... YES, the Ravens have a great defense. Yes, it's a very difficult challenge for the Chiefs in week 1. Yes, there are still many questions to be answered on the OL and now at QB. But, I think it's crazy that people are saying that the Chiefs should concede week one, or throw in a 3rd string QB to avoid an injury to the 2nd string guy. "you play to win the game" (just kidding with the Herm reference there, I couldn't resist) The Chiefs will put their best team on the field for week one. That much I am sure of. Will it be a finished product and a guaranteed victory for KC? NO. Is it a guaranteed loss and a QB injury and 10 sacks? NO