Me telling you that Pioli protects information isn’t news. In fact we just call that the "Patriot Way" and go on because that’s just how they do it. But what if it’s for a different reason? Now take this as being 85% serious. I’m going to take these instances and exaggerate some of my points to a ridiculous conclusion but at least chew on it and consider it.
Pioli was signed as GM on January 13th, 2009. Herm Edwards was the coach at the time. Actually Herm Edwards was the coach for the next 10 days under Pioli. It then took another 10 days after that to get Todd Haley. In fact the Chiefs were the last that year to make a coaching change and hire a new coach. Maybe the reason that Herm wasn’t fired quickly and a coach wasn’t brought in sooner is because he doesn’t know how to evaluate a coach. To be honest I think he wanted Josh McDaniels or Eric Mangini and when he couldn’t get them to follow him he didn’t really know how to evaluate the next head coach. I think he thought that the Patriots just follow each other and he was making another franchise like the one he just came from. Why wouldn’t they just jump on board? Maybe this was an early sign.
The trade for Cassel was a decent move at the time. The problem though was that he was married to him for no apparent reason. He was trying to recreate the only thing that he knew which was the Patriot Way. Bringing in discarded Patriot's players speaks to the one way thinking that Pioli had. Then the draft came that year and it was a disaster. Now it wasn’t a great overall player draft and trading down was harder with the old CBA but I’m not thinking impossible. What we thought for sure when Pioli signed on was someone who could get the most of out of the draft as far as number of picks. To my knowledge I remember one year when we moved down in the first 2 rounds since Pioli was here. I personally think that the draft is overvalued in many ways but I do believe in strength in numbers or limiting risk as it were and Pioli couldn’t recreate what Bill Belichick made famous. In fact now that we have seen 4 Pioli drafts, it is pretty obvious who was pushing the buttons, pulling the triggers and setting the sights in New England. Pioli was probably just lucky to be in the room at the time.
Pioli said that it’s just smart business to draft a QB every year. You can never have too much talent at the QB position. Not that I am going to hold him to that, but when you have drafted one in the last 4 years which was in the 5th round, isn’t exactly sticking to plan. Now I think Pioli manages a little scared. He doesn’t take big risk, only hires people he knows, and doesn’t admit mistakes. It could be that he has no idea how to evaluate a QB or develop one. If there was ever a time to get a couple of young QBs and see if there was something of a future for any of them it was these last two years. If Pioli does pick QBs though he has to admit at some point he is wrong with Cassel and if that QB doesn’t work out then he apparently isn’t the draft guru that he perceives himself to be. Good teams continue to look for options when one isn’t working and we probably have been the least creative team when he comes to finding a QB the last 4 years.
This week we see Stanford Routt released. Some reports say there was something that happened in the locker room while other people say that it was just time for a change. To me this reeks of a move made to appease the fans. The problem was that it was wrong move. Releasing though not very good, the second best CB on the team makes no sense from a financial, short term or long term sense. There is not a young CB on the team who is in need of playing time. There isn’t some great depth at the position. If there was a fight in the locker room it probably is because the team is 1-7 and the coach is losing this team. Instead Pioli makes Routt this week’s scapegoat and puts the label "change" on it.
Then we come back to Todd Haley who we will see Monday. The story came out that Haley was paranoid because he thought his office and phone was bugged. Employees were made to turn the shades in their offices during practice and he lectured everyone about the candy wrapper in the hallway. One could say that he micromanages but I think he just doesn’t know what he’s doing. Maybe he thinks as GM it also means he is in charge of the electric bill and wants the shades down to keep the cost lower. And maybe he thinks that part of his job includes custodian work. Or maybe he was never really a good GM at any point from when he started, to what will hopefully be his last year. He’s throwing stuff at the wall and hoping something sticks. Fake it till you make it. His secret is out; he isn’t a good GM. Never was and probably never will be.