Roughly three months ago I first broached the subject of confidence versus credibility in regards to our GM. Mr. Pioli has skillfully improved the fan bases’ confidence in his abilities as a GM. His moves during free-agency were only slightly short of masterful. He replaced a CB who seems to be a rising star in this league with another solid veteran CB. He transformed our OL from a question mark to an exclamation point. He replaced one of the last of the "band-aids" of the Haley era with a genuinely solid TE. When he publically pronounced that Cassel should, and would, have competition, most fans expected the team to finally draft a QB with a reasonable shot of becoming a future starter. At the very least, we fans expected him to sign a free agent QB, most likely Orton or Campbell.
Nope. Not by a long shot. Pioli has taken a monumental gamble. The success of this draft will be measured by the play of one player. It isn’t Poe. It isn’t Allen. It isn’t Stephenson. The success of this draft will be measured by the success, or lack thereof, of a player who won’t even wear red on Sundays. If Brandon Weeden turns out to be as good as a man from Oklahoma I met on my Alaska cruise thinks he will be, the Chiefs’ draft will suck, even if Poe is an all-pro for the next ten years. This isn’t a good position for the Chiefs to be in. One would prefer that the Chiefs’ draft be measured by how well the players chosen by the Chiefs play. If Weeden has a great career, ’12 will be remembered as the year the Chiefs passed on another good QB. It also puts Cassel in an uncomfortable position. He will be judged not only by how well he plays, but also by how well Weeden plays.
If we’d drafted Weeden rather than Poe in the first round this year, and not even made the play-offs this coming season, I suspect most fans would feel that if we drafted a NT in the first round in ’13, we’d be well on our way to a championship. As things stand now, we have to hope there is still a quality QB available when we draft in the 20’s next year. Many fans think there will be one for us. I’m not so sure. I can see Arizona, Jax, and Buffalo all looking for a QB in the first round next year. What happens if the Vikes decide they reached too far for Ponder? Considering the run on QB’s in the first rounds the past two years, it is reasonably likely we won’t get a shot at a QB as good as Weeden next year.
So what’s with Pioli, anyway? Is he just dense? How can he have the gall to publically wonder why fans are dissatisfied with Cassel? It isn’t just an ego thing (“I made this trade, and it is a good trade”). Doesn’t it dawn on him that there must be some reason analysts at NFL. com, the NFL network, ESPN, and Fox think Cassel is the weak link on the Chiefs’ roster? The bulk of this post was written the week of June 15th; today, July 5th, the NFL channel basically said the same thing again; Cassel and Daboll will be the limiting factors on this team’s success. Even writers who predict good things from the Chiefs qualify their predictions with “…if Cassel can return to his ’10 form”. In fact, other than Gruden (and he doesn’t count; he likes everyone), I have yet to hear one commentator, one announcer, one writer even suggest Cassel is a good QB. Pioli has to realize that Kansas City fans are starved for their own, home-grown QB. The fans are tired of the Chiefs bringing in some other team’s retread QB, and announcing the problem solved. It’s just too bad Pioli didn’t make the move this year, when the pickings were good.
So I guess we fans just have to grin & bear it. Maybe you, but not me. Keitzmann showed us the way. Pioli needs to be taken out of his comfort zone. Every time he is interviewed, the interviewer must ask about the QB position. When Cassel has a bad game, the question must be asked, “Will the Chiefs take a QB in the first round next year?” The fans have to get involved. When Cassel throws an interception, or is sacked, fans must boo lustily. I know it sounds mean, but look at it this way; you aren’t booing Cassel, you’re booing Pioli.