Oh. My. God. W. T. F... That was awful. The Chiefs fully returned to their 2008/2009 form. The opening kickoff fumble by McCluster... immediately followed by Eric Berry being helped off the field had me into a full on FML mode. And the landslide just continued from there. Matt Cassel refusing to take a shot down field until we were down by 10,000 points, Jamaal Charles' resurgence of Fumblitis, and Sabby-Freaking-Pisspoorcatelli illustrating just how key Eric Berry is to this defense. Tyson Jackson looked like he was on roller skates. Dwayne Bowe had one more reception than Matt Cassel. And where the hell did Derrick Johnson disappear to? God help us if he reverts back to his pre-2010 form. Jon McGraw lead the team in tackles. JON MCGRAW!!! There was a lot to lament about over this one. So my question becomes... Where do we go from here?
I guess the first thing to remember is that we can only get better from here... and that's not saying much. But this Sunday the Chiefs head out on the road to play a Lions team that is on the rise. Ndonkeykong Suh is one of the most aggressive, nastiest and violent defensive linemen I've seen in a long time. If it weren't for him then Eric Berry would have been the 2010 Defensive Rookie of the Year hands down. The Lions also boast a real superstar quality #1 WR in Megatron. And they have a franchise QB to throw to him in Stafford. This isn't a Bills team with Fitzpatrick, Stevie Johnson and a DL made up largely from cast offs from other teams. This is a surging Lions team with key players that came from a slew of top 10 draft picks... that actually panned out.
So who's to blame for the Bills debacle, and what can we do to get ready for a rising Lions team that we have to face on the road? First and foremost, Todd Haley assumed 100% responsibility for this in the post game press conference. That's good. Haley should take a lot of the blame, because he was the one responsible for having this team ready to play competitively... and failed miserably. It's good to see that Haley is following the first step of any 12 step program and admitting that he has a problem. From here he needs to return to his 2009 form and ride these players. Start benching the under performers. Scream at them. Tell them their mothers don't love them, I don't care what he does... but in order for Haley to be held accountable for this loss he in turn is going to have to hold these players responsible. Haley has to make this next week of practice the worst week of Hell these players will ever experience. They need their asses woke up... they need a fire lit under them... NOW!
Following Haley, Pioli is next on my shit list. I've been 100% supportive of this guy since he was hired... but my God. I have defended his lackluster Free Agency periods, and took a wait and see approach to his abysmal 2009 draft class... which is entirely made up of the 3rd and last pick in Tyson "Roller Skate" Jackson, and Ryan "I Sure Was Irrelevant Yesterday" Succop. I know Pioli is trying. Maybe my reaction is just a wee bit knee jerk. But still. We're millions under the cap (another thing I have defended), and fielded that team yesterday. Bleh. I hope some moves are made this week. Although at this point it may be to little too late. Regardless, I don't believe this team is deficient in talent, I just don't think they were prepared yesterday. And on top of that our depth is crap.
There are a slew of players I could pick on today. But I don't have the time or want to exert the effort to call all of them out... so I'll just choose one. Matt Cassel. I have defended this guy from day one. I have also said , multiple times, right here on AP, that I would take a wait and see approach to Matt Cassel. Well Matt... the clock started yesterday. I will again give you a pass. But be warned. I am on the verge of converting to the religion of Casshole. KCQB#7 has a nice ring to it. If the best you could do was put together an "OK" year with a great OC/QB coach like Weis in your head all game, then it may be time to look for a QB elsewhere. Because you looked awful yesterday. It seems like everything that your critics use for ammo against you was amplified. Your horrendous progressions, your need for a check down security blanket, and your piss poor accuracy on anything more than a 10 yard throw. You have Dwayne Bowe, Steve Breaston, Jamaal Charles and Dexter McCluster as big time play making targets. And you threw to Leonard Pope more than any of them. Why? Is it because he was so easy to find, with his 6' 8" frame? Does his size just make it that much easier for you to lock onto?
Whatever it is... I don't want to see that shit again. I was stoked at the opportunity for you to have some big play making targets to prove yourself with. And you reward my hope with staring down your 2nd string TE? I don't think so Matt. I applaud Matt's toughness and resolve, but damn... that was embarrassing. Ryan Fitzpatrick looked like an elite QB yesterday with crap receivers while Matt Cassel looked like a high schooler regardless of the fact that he had the NFL TD reception leader and one of the best pass catching RBs in the NFL. Cassel has to get better. At this point, one of his most staunch supporters is ready to start calling for his head. The pitchfork is sharpened. The torch is soaked in kerosene.
Bottom line is that I don't think the Chiefs are as bad as they showed yesterday. I think they were not prepared, and that Haley's preseason plan molded around the lockout was an utter failure. However, they absolutely have to get their heads removed from their asses ASAP. My apologies for titling this "Where Do We Go From Here" and then essentially just ranting. I had to get that out of my system. I'm sure there are a lot of opinions on what can be done to fix this... but outside of "they have to get their heads out of their ass" I don't really have anything. This schedule gets incrementally harder until we reach a stretch that many of had maybe winning two out of five. If the embarrassing product we saw take the field yesterday continues to show up this year, then we are likely to regress into the pre-2010 era and be on a "Suck for Luck" campaign. I don't want to return to those dark ages my friends. Not at all.