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How The Chiefs Lost Focus In The Off-Season (And Why The Season Might Be Lost Because Of It)

Football is a team sport. And I wish the powers-that-be in the Chiefs organization would explain their personnel moves under this light.

Perhaps that seems a statement of the obvious sort, but I don't believe that's necessarily true. No other sport exhibits this truth as much as football (since hockey is not a real sport, as we all know). In basketball, you can win championships with one superstar and several other role players or marginal players who, at the very least, don't mess things up. Baseball is more individualistic than any of the majors. But football, you have to construct a team with the entire picture in mind.

I say this because it seems the Chiefs have lost sight of this. In baseball, a fire sale is perfectly okay - to blow the entire structure up and start over on the ground floor. You can start an entire roster of rookies, has-beens and question marks and you'll still uncover some gems and usable parts for the future. Someone will surprise you and play stellar defense, steal 20 bases or uncork 20 homers.

In other words, in baseball AND in basketball, you can have one good or great player and the lack of quality talent around that player doesn't necessarily change their ability to do their job to any great degree. Of course, a quality hitter behind Albert Pujols (like Matt Holiday) certainly helps him see better pitches, but the point is that he was Albert Pujols before Holiday arrived.

In football, the opposite is true. Every unit on the field affects every single other unit. You cannot add personnel at one position without thinking of what you'll do at every other spot on the field. You can't add a quarterback without making sure proper receiving outlets are in place and a offensive line is at least somewhat stable in front of him. You just can't. And if you attempt to do so, you will lose in the most embarrassing ways.

More after the jump...

So why did Scott Pioli and company believe this would be okay? How do you trade for your quarterback of the future, invest tens of millions in guaranteed cash, and then trade your primary receiving outlet - and best player - for a draft pick two drafts from now. I don't care if it sounds like the proverbial dead horse, the reality is that we're seeing the results of that now.

If Haley's main goal is to not have his quarterback hurt - which is what many are saying - then we were doomed from the outset. Football isn't a sport where you can blow things up, add one or two guys this year and then just wait for reinforcements and trade for future assets. Guys get hurt that way. Careers are ended that way. Players regress, morale is lost and a fan base becomes confused.

The bottom line is this: *IF* your plan is to acquire Matt Cassel and build around him, then you absolutely *have* to address the right side of the line and you *have* to keep Tony Gonzalez. Even if he wanted to go, you don't trade every player who murmurs. You have to think of the entire unit on the field, so if the offense is your focus, then you go that route.

And if our plan was to rebuild the defense, then we should have possibly kept Thigpen/Croyle and another FA quarterback off the street and used the second rounder on a LB or pass rusher of some kind. It's in that way that you consider the entire unit and how each affects the other.

Instead, we've added a couple decent options on each side and we're hoping that the glaring weaknesses on each side don't bring down the assets we've gained. Unfortunately, football is a team sport so we're seeing the fruit of that now - to the tune of an absolutely embarrassing early season.