Coaching : D
This is the most important part of being a General Manager. I still believe that the saying is true " 1/4 of coaching is calling plays on game time. 3/4 is turning your players into champions during the days between."
And to be specific , I think that's what Pioli wants and loves in a great coach.
Todd Haley (D- )
I considered giving Haley an F. He had 3 wins over teams that finished the season with a higher record than him. 2 of those games with backup quarterbacks at the helm.
Pioli didn't have a personal relationship with Haley prior to hiring him. He went off of references - specifically his father-in-laws. And he went off one great swan season by Kurt Warner. And he went off the respect he had for the Pittsburgh Steelers of the 70s.
We'll talk player development after this.
Romeo Crennel ( C- )
Pioli hired one of his closest friends to replace Haley. Although I might stand alone, I think Crennel is an excellent developer of defensive talent. What Crennel decidedly isn't perfect at is game time decisions and management. His philosophy feels more 1960s than it does 2012.
Whereas Haley would get crushed , Crennel's slow and steady philosophy ends up hurting him after 2-3 bad plays.
Potential ( ???)
VS. Carl Peterson B-
Herm Edwards ( B- ) Like Crennel, Edwards rarely excelled at coming up with creative Xs & Os or combatting teams that did. But where Edwards became masterful was in half-time speeches and development.
Dick Vermiel ( A-) Vermiel was a terrific, flashy hire. He won a Super Bowl at a later age. He was motivational. And he brought instant success on all levels. Free agents wanted to play in Kansas City (Holmes , Barber). He brought in a QB that knew his style. If he had a flaw it was in developing the players he drafted.
He also knew how to combat a GM flaw ( the Chiefs losing Grbac AFTER they sacrificed a better QB in Gannon ) and a personal tragedy ( Derrick Thomas) .
Gunther Cunningham ( D ) Gunther was given the keys to the City after Marty's exit. He wasn't mentally ready for head coach material. Especially when it came to motivation.
Marty Shottenheimer ( A) Almost everyone associates Shottenheimer as the greatest coach to ever set foot in Kansas City. Vermiel's tenor was intended to be quick and swift. Marty's was long and steady.
Not only did he find ways to develop players at all ranks , but he installed a winning spirit. His assistant coaches became some of the greatest head coaches in the NFL. Cowher & Dungy both won Super Bowls.
Quarterback Grade over 4 years : F ( Potential = F , sorry Stanzi & Tanney fans )
If there's a curse that Kansas City has it's at Quarterback. Lack of drafting the position / developing it is a large part of the problem.
Pioli's first and perhaps most important splash of his career has been the trade for Matt Cassel. ( Outside of Cassel , he's only TRADED FOR a player once ). To the Hunt family, this was to be the signature deal that recreated the same momentum that Trent Green's trade brought Kansas City.
Cassel has only beat 1 team that won a playoff game in that year. His record against teams finishing over .500 is also low.
This isn't why Scott Pioli gets an F. His F should come from the fact that competition at the Quarterback position has been non existent. Brodie Croyle replaced Cassel after appendicitis and looked horrid. The unknown Tyler Palko became the replacement the next year (after Croyle was cut). Palko is no longer in the NFL.
After a season where a half-decent QB could have put the Chiefs into the playoffs , Pioli signs Brady Quinn to a 1 year contract. 3rd year Quarterback , Ricky Stanzi , has yet to play a single down in the NFL.
Pioli also hired Jim Zorn , perhaps the top Quarterback Coach in the league to train the Quarterbacks on this roster. Zorn helped Joe Flacco, Matt Hasselbeck, and Jason Campbell have record years w/ the Dennis Erickson/ Mike Holgrem system.
With a limitless cap space and almost sure-to-be mid & late round bust picks like DeQuan Menzie, Gabe Miller, Donald Washington the fact that Pioli isn't drafting players to be developed under this system raises enough questions.
Grading the Position Prior to Pioli - F
Halfback & Fullback ( A- / B+ ) ( Potential A - if Cyrus & Drauhgn improve )
The development of Jamaal Charles is a bright spot on Pioli's record. To most draft followers, Charles was a 3rd round pick due to some of the development that would be needed for him to progress. Some said he was a talented special teamer and nothing more. Others thought he could have Marshall Faulk potential.
Very few people give Charles credit for being a back that not only came off an injury , but for being a smaller player at his position that puts up 100+ yard games in close 8 man boxes.
Thomas Jones had a solid season during the playoff run. But started to play his own age when Haley took over playcalling. He is no longer in the league.
Dexter McCluster at Running Back is the tough part. McCluster had a highlight reel that was a little similar to Jahvid Best. He was undersized but used it to his advantage in the SEC. But a lot of people though McCluster would be used more in a 3rd down situation. The problem w/ McCluster is that he was a very high 2nd round pick and hasn't paid off as much as ( picks like Ron Gronkowski , Nate Allen , etc) .
Peyton Hillis is an enigma. The feedback I'm hearing is that he refused to play fullback and he has been in hot water since.
Coming In : B / B+
Larry Johnson was in hot water on & off the field. Charles had started to show signs of improvement in his rookie year. 3rd sting back Dantrell Savage did not play in the NFL after leaving the Chiefs.
WR / TE / Utility ( D+ ) ( Potential = B- , Bowe likely leaving but Baldwin , McCluster , Wylie turning into a solid option )
Outside of Quarterback, the Patriots ability to find utility players in the draft was a calling card to Pioli.
Dwayne Bowe had on and off seasons under Herm Edwards and was considered a fringe bust when Pioli took over. The fact that he is still a no.1 WR and a Pro Bowler should give Pioli some credit.
Chris Chambers was a shinning star on a bad first season under Haley. And seemed to be hope after years of Mark Bradleys and Eddie Kennisons.
Outside of trading for Cassel , the 2nd most significant offseason move from Pioli HAS to be the trade of Tony Gonzalez. Tony Moeki appears to be a middle of the pack Tight End who might be better suited to play a 2nd TE in a two tight end system (due to his size).
As mentioned prior Dexter McCluster has never had a 100+ yard total offense game. That is underwhelming for being a top 40 pick.
Jon Baldwin has also spent 2 seasons without a 100+ game. And has only had 2 games where he was targeted over 6 times. Especially since Baldwin is considered to be the Red Zone threat.
Steve Breaston is one of the top 5 Free Agent names Pioli has signed. But his production has been non existent since Haley left the team. Not sure what is going on w/ Breaston. But he is not expected to finish this season or be on the team next year.
None of the other late round projects have turned into much - Terrance Copper is a special teamer , Jake O'Connel is no longer on the team , Chambers was sat during the playoff game , Jerhme Urban had one great preseason followed by injuries , Keary Colbert is now out of the league , Jeremy Horne is out of the league , Steve Maneri is a goal line package TE , kick and punt unit blocker.
Coming In : C+
The bottom line has to be that Pioli hasn't actually brought in anything to brag about and gotten rid of a Pro Bowler. He didn't draft Dwayne Bowe and although he has juiced him for all of his talent. Bowe will be gone next year and what Pioli has brought in from Market (without Bowe ) is very ugly.... you SAW the game without Bowe today.
Pioli didn't have it EASY with Gonzalez. But you'd have to think that there should have been a conversation that could have shown Tony that he could have stayed and reached the playoffs within one year (which is what Pioli delivered on).
Offensive Line : B / B- ( Potential A- , Hudson, Asamoah, and Allen all look like they can have 10+ year careers if healthy. Stephenson, unknown thus A - )
If there's one thing that I truely respect with Scott Pioli , it's the fact that he decided to get younger with the offensive line.
4/5 starters are new to the regime. In my opinion an offensive lineman usually doesn't hit their stride until their 4th or 5th season. I'm actually fairly confident that Jon Asamoah , Jeff Allen, Rodney Hudson, and Eric Winston stay on the team. Infact I think many people could argue that Jon Asamoah is the 2nd best draft pick from Scott Pioli (after Justin Houston ).
I envy his ability (or coach's ability) to let these men grow into the right size and sit on the bench.
Brandon Albert could be re-signed in the offseason. Or franchised. Or let go. I am not sure if he'll ever be a Pro Bowl left tackle. But he is easily in the top third of Left Tackles in the league.
Casey Weigman and Ryan Lilja both held their own.
Only up until this year have we seen consistancy with Right Tackle. Barry Richardson and ____ (enter former Patriot here) have been busts. Nuff said.
Coming In : C+
Will Shields retired the day Pioli stepped foot in the Front Office. Brian Waters had 2 great seasons in Kansas City before he was cut (and conveniently went to the Patriots ) . Casey Weigmann left Kansas City for Denver and was replaced by the mediocre Rudy Nwisanger (sp?) , Herb Taylor and Damion McIntosh were not long term players.
Defensive Line : C+ ( Potential B+ , if Jackson plays at the same level he has the past 3 weeks & Poe turns into a rare freak at NT )
Dorsey, who only had 1 sack in an underwhelming rookie season, was solid in Crennel's scheme. His play against the run wasn't flashy but consistent. He also helped open up
Coming In : F
I had to blink a few times. But the Chiefs highest rated pass rusher in 2008 was Tamba Hali w/ 3 sacks. Granted it was young with Dorsey , Tamba, Ron Edwards, Alfonso Boone, and Jason Babin (who only had 2 sacks).
Although Babin went on to have an on & off career ( many say that he was on PEDs ) I wouldn't fault Pioli on that.
Ron Edwards & Wallace Gilberry left Kansas City for the NFC South. Edwards has had 7 tackles in 2 years. Gilberry has seen limited playing time in Cincinatti as a 4-3 , 3rd down pass rusher after being cut by the Buccaneers for unknown reasons early this season
Linebackers : A ( Potential - A+ )
If Pioli has one point on his resume that just shines , it's at Linebacker. Tamba Hali had yet to have an exciting game, let alone season until Pioli came into town. Justin Houston , without question , is the best player Scott Pioli has drafted. Derrick Johnson was inconsistent and then became the leader of this team, let alone defense.
The death of Javon Belcher is depressing, but Brandon Siler has come in and looked like a boss.
Coming in : D+
DeMorrio Williams , Javon Belcher, and Derrick Johnson were once considered to be the weakest part of the team.
Now this is the strength on this team. Andy Studebaker has regressed a bit , and could be a player that becomes replacable over the next few years.
Secondary C+ : ( Potential : B )
I'm still behind the pick of Eric Berry. A year after an ACL injury he's starting to get back into the flow of breaking up passes. It's almost jaw dropping to see how many dirty shots he gets from WRs. Not sure if it's personal or they are just trying to get him out of the game all together.
I'll even take it one level up and say that Brandon Carr really matured into a solid 2nd Corner while under Pioli & Haley/Crennel.
Kendrick Lewis plays above a 5th round pick, but it appears his ceiling is what it is. And he isn't great at covering taller TEs or WRs.
Brandon Flowers is still playing around the same level.
Javier Areans , also known as the Tony Gonzalez pick ... isn't that threatening.
Donald Washington was a bust.
DeQuan Menzie & Travis Daniels are very up in the air players. Not sure if either would even make the rosters
on either team.
Coming In : C+
Jarrad Page left the NFL for baseball after being traded to the Patriots.
Special Teams : B- ( Potential )
I'd go as far to say that Ryan Succop is one of Scott Pioli's top 5 draft picks. I think he has the potential to be a Playoff kicker. Colquitt has been hot and cold. But ask any punter what it's like punting on every series and they'll tell you that they won't be perfect 99% .
The reason why Pioli shouldn't get too much credit is that Javier Arenas isn't a TD returner. He does get nice yardage. The new kickoff rule is interesting as KR are now almost irrelevant.
Coming In : C
Connor Barth was the kicker coming in. Didn't really excite us.
PK Sams was returning kicks for us.
Bottom Line :
QB - F
HB - B+
WR / TE / Utility - D+
OL - B-
DL - C+
LB - A
DB - C+
SP - B-
Pioli was hired to bring in a Super Bowl caliber QB to the Kansas City Chiefs. Nothing has changed. The tradition hasn't improved. Regardless of whether it's Pioli or someone else. Whoever is in charge will be Drafting QBs and putting 75% of their time into finding this leader.
But you have to ask yourself , who can find the next great KC head coach. And my guess is that Pioli isn't that guy. And that Romeo could maybe have a year where the team goes to the playoffs , but I don't see him calling the right decissions in those games.
They need to find a way to get the offense snapping and looking 100% different.
Quarterback - It should almost be Quarterbacks instead of Quarterback. The idea of just drafting a QB and saying "oh he'll be the Day 1 starter" is foolish and reckless. ESPECIALLY with the draft pool in 2013 looking to be the weakest in decades.
Wide Receiver - I feel like Dwayne Bowe will leave Kansas City. Brandon Carr went for the money (and bigger franchise ) . Bowe could go to New England or Baltimore and be the reason why they win a championship.
Defensive End - I'm still in favor of Kansas City keeping the 3-4 defense. If they played fewer series , they'd be one of the best.
Middle Linebacker - If Siller stays, I don't think the Chiefs are in that much trouble. But if you add a Manti Teo , you wouldn't be hearing flack from me.
Corner - The Chiefs need someone who can help cover the taller more physical WRs.
Free Safety - This player should be able to help out the zone.
Those are 6 starters , in a draft where the Chiefs have 7 picks.