The Kansas City Chiefs Season in Review
Part 1 of 32
The Chiefs unknowingly kissed their season goodbye when they failed to re-sign Kyle Orton in the offseason. Orton, who had been claimed off of waivers from the Broncos in mid-season the prior year, showed he could bring stability to the quarterback position in the absence of Matt Cassel. The Cowboys quickly jumped on Orton in free agency to land one of the best backups in the game. Meanwhile, Kansas City continued their pre-season with a lame duck backup quarterback in Brady Quinn. Quinn hadn’t played a game in two full seasons along with untested 5th round pick and former Iowa QB, Ricky Stanzi. Quinn showed mediocrity in the preseason against second units and failed to fully display an ability to move the offense consistently.
GM Scott Pioli and head coach Romeo Crennel made the call to start the regular season campaign with below-average backups, hoping Cassel could stay healthy while managing the game. However, Kansas City allowed opponents to build leads by multiple touchdowns in the first half, which forced the offense into a scramble where Cassel had to gun the Chiefs back into the game; this failed every time except during their only comeback win in New Orleans. Atlanta, Buffalo, and San Diego opened up double digit leads early which allowed their opponents’ defenses to batter Cassel. The pass protection was shaky which ultimately lead to Cassel’s injury.
After a 1-4 start’ Crennel hoped that the insertion of Brady Quinn would reenergize the offense; this backfired as Quinn proved to be even more inept in moving the ball than Cassel. The Chiefs and Crennel felt the ground game and defense could set the tone and win games. Even though the running game proved to be top notch (5th ranked in the NFL), the defense failed to translate into any success with the talent that the Chiefs had on that side of the ball. This recipe lead to the worst disaster in the NFL, costing Crennel and Pioli their jobs (deservingly), and sending the franchise into a tailspin.
Andy Reid inherits a team that needs the one thing that it has not had in generations: a franchise quarterback. Sure, Joe Montana, Trent Green, and Matt Cassel led the team to their best successes since their Super Bowl IV victory in 1969, but the position has never been held by a franchise-caliber quarterback since Len Dawson. The 2000’s have been especially difficult for the Chiefs as they’ve not been able to find either a stop gap or a future QB. Up until Cassel, Kansas City put forth Damon Huard, Brodie Croyle, Tyler Thigpen, and Tyler Palko to periodically lead their teams; are you kidding me? The joke and headaches behind center should end during the 2013 NFL Draft. Even though there isn’t a clear cut number one quarterback in this year’s class, West Virginia ‘s Geno Smith, North Carolina State’s Mike Glennon and Matt Barkley of USC are at the top of the list with Arkansas’ Tyler Wilson on the outside looking in. The choices will most likely come down to Smith and Glennon who both fit the profile of quarterbacks that Andy Ried likes to develop.
While liking Smith to Donovan McNabb isn’t a perfect comparison, the accuracy and arm strength are the attributes Reid has coveted in the past. Smith is further along as a passer than McNabb was coming out of college. This might appeal greatly to the Chiefs brass. Glennon has the bigger arm and a much better passing skill set than Nick Foles, whom Reid took in the 4th round last year. Both could ultimately be selected number one. Likely, the Chiefs will overdraft because of their desperation at the quarterback position, but the move will be the right one for the franchise and its fan base. Even if the situation becomes Cleveland/Miami like (with Brandon Weeden and Ryan Tannahil respectively), with a losing campaign, a developmental season is needed. A clear cut young signal caller is exactly what the Chiefs need going into next season. Just ask Indianapolis, Washington, and Seattle.