We're just past the midpoint of the season, and it's not looking good. I expected little from this team after we lost our arguably three best players, but like a true fanatic, I was unable to give up... even after 0-3.
And then we won four straight. The warning signs were there. Close games, except for the Raiders. Terrible opposing teams. The Raiders starting the a QB that might actually be worse than Matt Cassel, followed by a guy that knew six offensive plays. Every victory should have been taken with a grain of salt.
And then there were the Dolphins. We don't like to talk about that. It was a fluke, maybe. The Dolphins were desperate, finally getting healthy, etc. There's no way we'd lose to Tebow... right?
I think it's time for a just-passed-midseason report card. And maybe, just maybe, it's time to blow the whole thing up.
The only QB we've played this season, other than a handful of Palko at the end of the Denver game, is Matt Cassel. Quick disclaimer: I hate Matt Cassel. It's not his fault, but he's just not very good. There's a reason he didn't start at all in college. Matt Leinart wasn't that good. USC was good. They made him look good. And then Cassel started that season in New England after Bernard Pollard tore Brady's knee. Randy Moss, Wes Welker, coaching, and a damn good line made Cassel look good. This is the same team that would eventually go 16-0 under Brady.
As a Chief, Cassel has had his ups and downs. We keep hoping for the breakthrough. This season, he was terrible. Awful. Pathetic. Then he had that one good game. Since then, though we've managed to win a couple, he's continued to be bad. And against Denver? Awful. Pathetic. I'd rather have Tebow. And Tebow can't throw.
Cassel's had two and a half seasons to develop and start to show some consistency. He hasn't. With this team's remaining schedule, there is no realistic hope for the playoffs. It's time to blow the QB spot up and let Stanzi start. Hell, let Palko start. I'd almost rather see Colquitt start than continue to watch this crap. And if no one looks like a potential starting QB by the end of the season, Matt Barkley or a free agent (Vince Young is on a one year deal, isn't he? He's looked real good at times and he's still very young. And his scrambling could help behind our OL. And what about Brady Quinn? He got to start, what, six games before he was benched in Cleveland?)
I knew when Charles went down that things would be bad. If you had told me that Battle would be our only decent option, I'd cry like a six year old school girl. But really, McCluster is a gadget player. He should be used in a Sproles sort of way. Thomas Jones hasn't shown ANYTHING since mid-season last year. And yet, Battle only ran the ball nine times against Denver. And he even had a damn good 6.8 ypc. We don't need to draft a RB in the off-season. We should be running Charles and Battle. As for this season, get the ball in Battle's hands more and leave McCluster for screen passes and occasional sweeps.
And if you really want to motivate the team, cut Thomas Jones. I love the guy's swagger. I love his resilience over the course of his career. But he's done.
As for fullback, McClain needs to get more involved. Do you remember that catch a couple weeks back where he got blown up while catching the ball? He got killed, creamed, crushed, and still kept possession. He's never been a big YPC guy, and I'd hate to see him running the ball more, but the occasional power run and more short passes to him would be an improvement over his current block-only role.
I knew he'd be special. Ever since that preseason almost-catch where he reached around the defender with one hand and pulled the ball in. If he hadn't been pushed out of bounds, that would have been a ridiculous catch. I'm talking about Baldwin. He is a number one receiver. Look at his almost-catch today. Had the offsetting penalties not ruined the play, that might've been the best catch in the NFL in years. Baldwin is going to be special. We need to get the ball in his hands more.
The same goes for Bowe. He's had a few great games this season. I think we all know what we have with him, so I don't really need to elaborate, but we better sign him to a long-term contract. Soon. Breaston's also been pretty damn good in limited opportunities. We truly have the best receiving corps I've ever seen on the Chiefs. It might be a contender for best in the NFL, if we had Moeaki and someone to throw the ball to them. Like Fitzgerald in Arizona last year, it doesn't matter how good the receiver is if Derek Andersen or Matt Cassel is throwing the ball. A receiver can't carry a team. Nor can three.
There were times last year where Weigman looked done. I was surprised when he didn't retire and we brought him back. He'll always be a Chief in my mind, but the guy is done. At best, he should be rotating in for a quarter to half of the snaps. We need to get Hudson in now, so we're not transitioning another spot in the off-season. Richardson is a great backup, but shouldn't be starting. I think he might be mentally retarded. He has games where he gets four or five penalties in a row, or gets blown up on four or five straight plays. And at other times, he looks great. We should be starting Albert/Gaither, though I'm undecided which should be on the left side. As for Lilja and Asamoah, I honestly haven't noticed how good or bad they've been. They're guards, so I have trouble deciding whether to blame them or our geriatric center, and I do believe that given their age and abilities, they'd look a hell of a lot better with a better center between them.
I really, really hate our 3-4. I love the 3-4 in concept. Three big beasts clogging the line, one or two linebackers rushing. It means a lot of bulk in the trenches and a lot of speed to catch plays that go horizontal. It also means the offense doesn't know who is rushing, other than the three linemen. Unfortunately, our linemen suck. Dorsey is a bust. He's shown flashes, but he's Ryan Sims. We don't have a whole lot of alternatives, but we should definitely see what the backups can do (like Bailey). And when he's contract is up, let him go somewhere else. The exact same thing can be said about Jackson. And Gregg is here on a one year deal and hasn't been awful. He's not our first round pick making 30 million. I would like to see Powe a little more, but we know he's learning disabled and a project player. I wouldn't blow up the DT spot just yet.
Unfortunately, we really do have a 4-3 set of personnel crammed into a 3-4.
Well, we've got two keepers. Hali and Johnson have been phenomenal this season, especially Johnson's game against Oakland. Houston has shown flashes of what he can be but hasn't done much lately. Then again, he is a rookie. Overall, its a solid LB corps that could probably use one more play maker if one's available in the offseason.
I'm really liking this Lewis kid. Last year, he was pretty damn decent, but I assumed it was mostly a byproduct of playing next to Berry. This year, he's shown that he can hold his own. I really think that Lewis/Berry, if they stay healthy, can be our starting safeties for the long-term. Depth is obviously important though, and after the last couple games with no McGraw, I'd say I really undervalued him as well. Either that or Guido Piscatelli really does suck that badly. Pioli really needs to get better backups in the offseason. Since our starters are young, why not get at least one veteran backup that used to start but is starting to be just past his prime, a la Dawkins or Sharper for the Saints a couple years back. If they stay as a backup, they can be a player-coach to our talented young starters. If one of them gets injured again, we have a former Pro-Bowler starting in their spot. As is, Piscatelli and Washington are not a good backup plan.
B-Flow is still the man, but really? Really? You gave up on that Decker touchdown. I know you didn't think Teblow would ever complete a pass. He was 1-5 for like five yards at that point, but you still have to try on the play. You were walking while Decker was running and he absolutely schooled you. Unless the scheme called for you to be in a zone and the safety to cover deep, that play was all on you.
I think it's fair to say Bill Muir sucks. Really sucks. Like Mike Solari bad. Haley better start calling the plays soon, or find someone else at offensive coordinator. Otherwise, his job will be the one on the line. Romeo Crennel on the other hand, has been a godsend. If Haley gets fired, I really wouldn't mind Romeo as head coach. He got screwed with a bad GM and bad team in Cleveland.
Changes do need to be made. This isn't an overreaction after a bad game, at least not completely. Cassel has shown almost nothing this season. He's had one, maybe two good games and a whole lot of blah. And though losing Charles and Moeaki really did hurt, he's still got a serviceable RB in Battle and three great receivers. And make OL excuses if you want, but Cassel looked bad early in the season when the line looked good and looks bad now that the line looks bad. Palko went 5-6 behind the same line, and it wasn't exactly garbage time. We were only down 10 with a few minutes left. I'd rather see Stanzi than Palko, but I'd rather see either than Cassel.
As for other changes, I do think it's time to rotate Hudson and Bailey in. Perhaps even start Hudson. I don't think I've even see Powe play this season, so I'd like to see more.
Considering how pathetic our offense has been, I think our defense has been excellent. The Broncos ran the ball over fifty times. They were going to put up some decent yardage. And after Knowshon went down, they really didn't kill the D on the ground. And over the course of the season, with our offense looking like a girl with a club foot running sprints in the Special Olympics, the D has kept the team in most of the games.
With the remaining schedule, there is almost no hope for the playoffs, other than a possible Seahaws in the NFC Worst division type of scenario. The team really should evaluate some of the younger guys to see what we have and what we need in the offseason.