The Kansas City Chiefs entered the 2012 season with the intent on putting last year in the rear-view mirror and taking back the AFC West crown from the Denver Broncos, who finished atop the middling division in 2011.
However, a 1-7 record at the season’s midway point has shifted this team’s fundamental goals and has everyone in and around the organization on different planes as to what must be done to fix the franchise.
What is happening in Kansas City this year is beyond laughable; it’s pathetic.
However, this franchise has been run the same way for pretty much its entire existence. And one of the areas it has always fallen short in is drafting and developing top talent at the quarterback position.
The Chiefs took Penn State quarterback Todd Blackledge with the seventh overall pick in the 1983 NFL draft. Kansas City has since used a total of three draft picks in the first three rounds on signal-callers (Mike Elkins, second round in 1989, Matt Blundin, second round in 1992 and Brodie Croyle, third round in 2006).
From Len Dawson to Matt Cassel—and any significant quarterback in between—the Chiefs have gone with a we’ll-just-take-another-team’s-trash-or-guy-well-past-his-prime approach when it comes to who takes the snaps in Kansas City.
Besides Dawson, that methodology has provided the Chiefs’ fanbase with nothing but a permanent frustration. However, in 2012 that disappointment has quickly turned into embarrassment and things look to only get worse before they can get better.
This is the Chiefs’ quarterback situation in a nutshell:
Cassel played historically awful through the team’s first five games, turning the ball over 14 times and leading the Chiefs to a 1-4 record.
If not for a near-impossible collapse by an equally disappointing team (New Orleans Saints), Kansas City would be winless and well on its way to joining the Detroit Lions’ and Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ club of ultimate futility.
Cassel then got injured in the fourth quarter against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 5’s shockingly close 9-6 loss. He would later be diagnosed with a concussion.
Enter Brady Quinn—though no one had faith in him to lead this team, either. At that point, it didn’t matter if Peter Brady was under center: change was essential.
Insert cheers. Then silence. Then more frustration because of offensive lineman Eric Winston’s comments regarding said cheers.
Quinn led the Chiefs to a 38-10 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers prior to the team’s much needed bye in Week 7. He was then named the starter for the remainder of the season, despite Cassel being cleared to play.
During the first quarter of their 26-16 loss to the Oakland Raiders in Week 8, the Chiefs would be forced to reinsert Cassel in at quarterback with Quinn going down with his own head injury—which would ironically be diagnosed as a concussion.
With Quinn still out, Cassel is yet again the starting quarterback for the Kansas City Chiefs.
Confusing? Imagine being a devoted fan of this team.
Cassel, Romeo Crennel and Scott Pioli apologists are very few and far between these days. However, all are still employed by this organization and will continue to be the faces of the franchise until wholesale changes are made.
There aren’t many around that wouldn’t welcome any one of, a combination of two, or all three of these guys no longer being associated with the Chiefs.
With Crennel only in his first year as head coach with the Chiefs and conflicting reports of Pioli being offered a contract extension, these two look to be afforded more time to have their hands in turning this franchise around.
This means it is now time for this organization to do a complete 180 in how it views the quarterback position.
Nobody blames Pioli for bringing in Cassel as his first big move as general manager back in 2009. But after three-and-a-half years, the Cassel era in Kansas City has proven to be a colossal letdown.
This franchise needs to move on from its idea that retreading other team’s signal-callers will work in this league. It happens far too seldom for this team to continue latching on to this flawed approach.
But with Pioli in charge of this roster, should Chiefs’ fans trust that the quarterback problem will be fixed?
@kcpopflyboy No. And he'd better not still be in charge.— Dan Noellsch (@tigerdan4) November 7, 2012
@kcpopflyboy No, but drafting a QB is such a crap shoot, you can't seriously say it'd be fixed with any GM.— Johnny Coltrane (@Chief_Wildcat) November 7, 2012
@kcpopflyboy QB problem was a problem before this season and everyone knew that, he chose not to fix it (Orton) and went with Cassel, so no.— Lawrence (@KC_Tyga) November 7, 2012
@kcpopflyboy I will make this simple. NO!— Joseph Sullivan (@j_sullivan15) November 7, 2012
@kcpopflyboy yes as long as he entrusts scouting hierarchy below him..they, collectively can fix the problem. On his own now, too stubborn— Jinx Allessio (@JinxAllessio) November 7, 2012
@kcpopflyboy yes. Not sure he'd have a choice. Picking a new coach on the other hand...that's the scary part.— BJ Kissel (@bkissel7) November 7, 2012
@kcpopflyboy yes, but based more on the fact that the #1 pick will fall into his lap, not because he found a diamond in the rough— Stacy Strickland (@crash121ss) November 7, 2012
@kcpopflyboy judging his draft history, no. Emphatic no.— Matt Pelzer (@MattPelzer) November 7, 2012
@kcpopflyboy no way! Pioli is trying to coach this team from the owners suite. Can't trust him to do his job, which means he should be gone— Toby(@TobyTheBaber) November 7, 2012
@kcpopflyboy No way in hell can I trust ANYTHING that Scott Pioli puts his hands on.Period.— Nathan Halter (@KansasCityTiger) November 7, 2012
The fans have spoken.
The most significant point to draw from all this is that the Kansas City fanbase is still very passionate about its team, even in the lowest of low times.