Kansas City Chiefs general manager talks to the River Falls crowd at Saturday's Family Fun day event (via uwrf.edu)
I know Scott Pioli couldn't have timed this. But even the things he cannot control end up making him look brilliant.
The latest "master stroke" comes courtesy of circumstances. Then again, it also shows that addressing a need quickly and decisively is usually a strong course of action. Early going in this pre-season time, the hailed WR guru Todd Haley apparently radioed up the chain of command saying there wasn't enough playmakers with the receiving corps already on the roster. Of course, even casual fans could note that after trading Tony Gonzalez, you're bound to have a lot of need for some capable hands out there. But, as we've noted before, you need time to observe what you already have in hand.
But once just a couple days were under the belt, it became clear the Chiefs were completely deficient at the wide receiver position. New addition Bobby Engram will have a very calculated place in the slot as a veteran possession receiver. And Dwayne Bowe, as promising as he is, is just now entering his third year himself. There's still much to work on within his own game to move from good to great. No, what the Chiefs needed was a Tony Gonzalez type of presence - someone who's been around, someone who prepares well and someone who could elevate the receiving corps by being a part of things.
Amani Toomer was signed to fill that role and the early chatter is that it's been a move that works. Toomer's been an instant professional on the field and provided some of the personal experience as well as competition that should motivate the younger guys. And the timing couldn't have been any better.
Look at some of the names already going down at the receiver position. The Ravens lost Mark Clayton for the offseason and hope the effects don't carry over into Week One (versus the Chiefs). Atlanta will be glad they traded for Gonzalez since another receiver, Harry Douglas, is now out for the season with a torn ACL. The Rams just lost promising breakout candidate Donnie Avery for several weeks and the 49ers just lost Brandon Jones (to go with the Michael Crabtree saga). Deion Branch continues to be touch-and-go for Seattle and will likely be the same all season and the Redskins have three guys hurting: Santana Moss, Devin Thomas and Malcolm Kelly.
While some of the injuries are more serious than others, what it shows is that no other position on the football field has experienced as many injuries in the early going than wide receiver. And it's here that the Chiefs struck before anyone else could get in on the bidding for a valuable veteran like Toomer. Perhaps Pioli counted on this a bit in his approach, but either way, he continues to look good no matter team he's running.