The Kansas City Star interviewed a couple members of the Kansas City Chiefs brass in head coach Romeo Crennel and GM Scott Pioli and the headline of the story says it all: "Chiefs narrow coordinator search, want QB competition."
We already talked about the latest offensive coordinator updates so let's move onto the comments from Crennel and Pioli on the quarterback competition.
Read the KC Star story by Randy Covitz and you see quotes from both guys saying they want quarterback competition and they've always believed in competition, even at quarterback.
A little exciting, no? A couple thoughts on the idea of adding quarterback competition...
My first reaction is to look at the quarterback depth chart last season -- Matt Cassel, Tyler Palko and Ricky Stanzi -- because Pioli said adding competition has been part of their philosophy since he got here. To me, that depth chart doesn't scream legitimate competition behind Cassel considering how the season went down. And even the season before you had Brodie Croyle, who still hasn't won an NFL game. Maybe it was just a miscalculation on their part, though, and not an indictment on their philosophy, but it certainly doesn't seem like the Chiefs have applied this competition-is-good philosophy to the quarterback position. Perhaps they're just becoming more focused about it this year.
My second reaction is to look back at previous public comments from Pioli on the quarterback situation. I've never really gotten the feeling the Chiefs were considering moving away from Cassel. The Chiefs have never really wavered on whether Cassel is the future. So these latest comments from Pioli and Crennel in the KC Star are hard for me to wrap my head around because the idea that Cassel isn't the firm starter in KC is something we've never really heard from the Chiefs.
My third reaction is that, while the Chiefs may bring in competition, what are the chances they find someone better than Cassel? (Hint: Not very good.) Take a look at what Pioli said about Cassel this week in an interview on SiriusXM NFL Radio:
"I think a more fair assessment of Matt as a player is to go back to 2010," Pioli said. "You have to pay attention to what happened in 2011. For a lot of reasons, not just with Matt -- we lost one of the best running backs in the league and one of the better tight ends in the league -- a lot of things were different. And with that happening, not just Matt, the entire offense struggled early on, and then even in the middle of the season. We never got into a groove for whatever the reasons were. Going back, when we had a good, strong offseason, we had an organization where everything was known and you go back to the 2010 season and those numbers don't lie, nor does his performance. A guy who threw 27 touchdowns, had 7 interceptions, went to the Pro Bowl, helped guide the team to the playoffs, win the division. That's more of what we're looking for and hoping for and that's what Matt's hoping for as well. It'll be an interesting year to see how Matt comes around and stays healthy."
So, what I see here, is that any quarterback the Chiefs try to acquire, they're going to be comparing him to 2010 Matt Cassel because they feel that's the real Cassel. My issue with that assessment is that, through four years as a starting quarterback, Cassel has had two good seasons and two bad seasons. So maybe Cassel turns in another 2010-like performance. Or maybe he plays like he did last year (before getting injured) with a nearly 1:1 touchdown to interception ratio. Or maybe he wins 10 games like he did in New England. Or maybe he plays like he did in the 2009 season.
We just don't know which one we'll get. But the Chiefs appear to be confident that the 2010 Cassel will return, even if it means some extra competition to get him there. I really, truly hope they're right.
So the real question here, since it seems the Chiefs will add someone at quarterback, is whether we'll have a competition that Cassel could potentially lose (like Cassel vs. Orton) or a competition in which Cassel is destined to win (like Cassel vs. every other quarterback the Chiefs have had in the Cassel era).