It’s no secret to loyal Chiefs’ fans that there is trouble in River City. It seemed that fan expectations were on the rise after our four game winning streak. I’m afraid many of us misinterpreted this streak. We beat the Vikes, who, to date, have a whopping 2 wins, the Colts, who have two fewer wins than the Vikes, the Raiders, who were right in the midst of a QB crisis, and the Chargers, who gave us a huge gift. Those four wins were something of a mirage. What in the hell happened?
First, sh** happens. We lose Tony Mo, Berry, and JC in rapid succession. Now Cassel has joined the ranks of the injured. OK. Look at what happened to the Giants. They lost half of their D to injuries. Our "Brain-Trust’s" reaction to the injuries is open to some second-guessing.
Under the category of "You got some "’splainin’ to do", there were some miscalculations and questionable moves made this season. It would appear that Pioli miscalculated how long the lock-out would last this past off-season. As far as I know, the only football-related drills our players took part in during the off-season were one or two days of passing drills for the QB’s & WR’s. Apparently Pioli thought the CBA would be settled early enough for at least one OTA, and a normal start of camp. That didn’t happen. As for Coach Haley, he treated camp in a very lackadaisical manner. That may be why the team sleep-walked through the Bills’ and Lions’ games. They simply seemed to lack focus and concentration. In all fairness, it is possible Cassel was nursing some sore ribs, but that doesn’t explain the rest of the team’s lack of concentration. During the off-season, Pioli made one error of note; when Carr and Leinhart both were free agents; we made no move for either, choosing to go with Stanzi and Palko as our only back-ups at QB. Now we’re going to see how that works out. OT was an area of concern, too. Yet Pioli was unable to sign one of the premier FA OT’s, instead grabbing Gaither after the Raiders passed on him because (according to reports) he failed his physical. He has yet to see significant playing time, while our QB’s have been at the mercy of the opposition’s pass rush. I’m wondering when we might see Gaither?
Next, we need to address a sore point to many of us loyal fans…our OC (yes, I guess we have one). It seems to me that, in the wake of the loss of Tony Mo and JC, that Muir (& I’m assuming Haley) took a reactive approach to formulating game plans. Battle became their new darling. Now, let me say right now that I’m satisfied with Battle’s play. He’s run tough, and his ball security has been good. However, with the injuries to JC and Tony Mo, the talent in our skill positions is strongly centered at WR. Bowe, Breaston, and now Baldwin, should be our main offensive weapons. I suppose that means we should have been passing the ball more. Let me beat the critics of my dissertation to the punch; if we can’t keep the opposition’s pass rushers away from Cassel, we can’t pass the ball. Right? Think back to the Indy game. We kept their DE’s off Cassel by using a 3 step drop & throwing quick passes. Yeah, the D can react to that. We could keep O’Connel or McClain in to help out on five step drops. Oh yeah! What about that guy Gaither? To reiterate, we need a better OC, & Haley needs to leave him alone.
Finally, it is entirely possible that we will end the season with a nine game losing streak. We could well be drafting in the top five, possibly as high as #2. It is likely that a franchise-quality QB will be on the board for us. Will Pioli take him? Bear in mind that he’s already passed on one (Sanchez). I don’t see how Pioli could justify passing on another. With the talent on this roster, we only need to fill two more positions, and this team looks like it should be ready to roll. The only missing piece would be the franchise QB. With Cassel at the helm, barring another rash of injuries, and more strange doings by Haley, it is doubtful that we would get another shot at a franchise-level QB after next April. I know Cassel’s Pioli’s fav, and his big trade to date. The trade that brought Cassel here was a good trade for us. The QB situation had to be stabilized, and Cassel has done that, but Pioli/Haley now need to take the next step. Take the QB in the first round, and then look for an OT and a push rushing DE in the next two rounds.