As I’m sure has been the case with many of the KC loyal, I’ve been depressed by the lack of cool-aid in our discussions since…well, about week 5 of last season. There hasn’t been much to get excited about in Chiefs nation. I’ve been trying to get excited over having the number one pick in the draft, but if I’m being honest, I feel utterly cheated by fate once again. My excitement for the potential of that pick faded when I realized just how little number-one worthy talent there was this particular year. Angered, actually describes it better. I mean Really!?!? Of all the years to be at the top of the draft, this one seems about as exciting as a bowl of vanilla ice cream. But now on the heels of all the Alex Smith news I find myself suddenly….excited?
Relax, this isn’t going to be another post trying to sell you on the 49er castoff. The guy will in all likelihood be the same over-rated bust in Kansas City as he was in San Francisco. In fact, if you’re expecting a post chocked-full-o-stats then you’re in the wrong place, my forte is management, and management is exactly what has given me that swig of cool-aid I have so long thirsted for that is the motivation to write this.
Good management is not legitimized by success. In the right situation, most any manager can grab the low-hanging fruit. We call these guys "shooting stars" because when the going is great they can really shine. What really defines a manager as legitimate is being faced with making a critical decision from a choice of outcomes that are all absolutely terrible. Think about it; "Should I open ten new stores on the west coast or the East?" versus "Do I lay off 400 workers or cut every employees benefits?" When the choices are the frying pan, or the fire, the frying pan actually sounds better in my opinion.
Perhaps now you see my view of the decisions that need to be made this off season. In no particular order, I see them as;
• Start all over with a new regime…again… or give them more time?
• Veteran "has-been" coach or "potential"?
• Geno Smith or best player available?
• Bowe, Albert, both, or niether?
• Frying pan, or fire?
I’m glad my job isn’t on the line with these decisions, but if it were, I think I would start by making a list of what the worst possible outcomes could be, then work from the bottom up. After the Pioli/Haley experiment failure I think another shot at "potential" is a worse idea. And Bradford, Stafford, Luck, and RGIII all look a million miles from Geno Smith to me (if I’m looking at them as I did when they were each drafted). I’ll leave this last one to the stat and projection junkies here on Arrowhead Pride; do we mortgage ourselves at left tackle with an injury-prone guy who is better than a lot of what’s out there, or do we take a flier on another bowl of vanilla ice-cream in the draft?
I must digress here for just a moment. Jerry Buss, the owner of the Los Angeles Lakers, died recently. As a Laker fan I was very sad to hear the news, but from a fans perspective I am also very concerned. Dr. Buss was the epitome of a good owner of a sport franchise and I worry about who will replace him. To Buss, there was no mission too difficult, no sacrifice too great, no fish (or fishes) too big to land. There was no un-makeable trades and no player that couldn’t be had. Whether you are a Laker fan or not, you cannot argue the fact the Lakers have been relevant and in the hunt for a championship non-stop since the early eighties.
Now enter Clark Hunt into the picture. I don’t think we (the fan base) really know exactly who Clark is yet. Lamar has his legacy, but Clark has yet to make his own mark. I bet Dr. Buss never shed a tear over trading away a second-round draft pick to get the best prospect on the free agent market at his team’s biggest position of need. Call Smith what you want against the domain of all players in the NFL, but it’s hard to argue there was a better free-agent quarterback to be had, and I don’t think anyone will argue that is our biggest position of need by a landslide. You know what really excites me about this? Clark didn’t wait for the rug to be pulled out from under him by another team either. He made the deal he had to make when he had to make it. I think the same was true with the hiring of Andy Reid. Damn that second round pick! And the third next year! The Chiefs are good now, but we all lack the confidence to believe so. I think the recent decisions that have been made are centered on the need to gain a winning philosophy now, not start all over again.
So there it is, my too much disheartened friends. Clark and the team are doing something about it. I don’t know if these decisions are the best of the worst, but my gut is telling me were are no worse than the frying pan and looking to get out from there. Rest in Peace Dr. Buss, and thank you for all the rings. Hopefully Clark Hunt will get the bug to take your place amongst the tiny circle of owners hell-bent on wining every battle, every time, at any cost.