First of all, let me paraphrase Allen Iverson: We're talking about preseason.
So there is a possibility things will look entirely different in a couple of weeks when the real games begin. But for two straight weeks now the Chiefs have looked really awful against teams that in theory at least don't have nearly as much talent as KC does. I'm not one for sounding the panic alarm full blast until the games that actually count begin but there is a question in all this that I've been thinking about.
How important is it for the success of the franchise for the GM and the head coach to be on the "same page" and to have a good working relationship?
I came of age as a Chiefs fan in the 90s which is also the last time the team was consistently successful. Maybe I'm misremembering, but it seemed to me that in the 90s the working relationship between Marty Schottenheimer and Carl Peterson wasn't always that great. Either way, the teams was the second-winningest NFL franchise of the 90s. Then Marty moves on the San Diego and by all accounts he and AJ Smith despised each other. That didn't really seem to hurt the team on the field as they won often. They were 14-2 in Marty's last season and Smith's decision to fire Marty and replace him with Norv Turner is widely regarded as total idiocy. Norv and AJ may get along better but the onfield results have dropped off considerably -- there's no question the Chargers have underachieved under Norv Turner. In fact, many would say they're surprised Norv has avoided the ax as long as he has.
Now let's look at the Chiefs.
I think most of us would look at the job Scott Pioli's done and be more or less fine with his work in assembling a talented football team through the draft and free agency. If this team fails this year it won't be because of a lack of talent. But there are two decisions Pioli has made that may undermine the good work of the scouting staff and those are his two choices as head coach.
In hindsight there's very little question that Todd Haley was the wrong guy for the job. His clashes with Pioli seem to be legendary at this point. But he was mainly hired because he had ties to Bill Parcels.
After Haley is fired Pioli hires a 65-year-old head coach who was not a success in his first head coaching job. And again the main criteria here seemed to be a tie to the Parcels/Patriot system. To be fair, RAC is 2-1 as Chiefs head coach in games that actually matter. But the last two preseason games make me fearful that his time in Cleveland may be a bad omen of things to come. Maybe the guy isn't a good head coach. But what the hell, he comes from the Parcels tree, right? Whether he works out or not it's obvious that at his age RAC is not a long-term solution to the head coaching position. In counterpoint the Steelers have had the same number of Head Coaches sine the 70s that the Chiefs have had in the last 5 years. The Steelers seem to always pick head coaches well.
So, how much does the GM/Head Coach relationship matter? Should the GM hire a guy he's comfortable with or should the GM hire a coach that's the most competent and capable of winning? Does it matter if they're at each other's throats so long as the team performs on the field? Can an antagonistic GM/Head Coach relationship work for an organization? Does the Head Coach working as his own GM scenario seem to make a lot more sense?