Chief Opinions 1-6-2013January 6th, 2013 by Lee Eldridge
Yesterday we discussed the hiring of Andy Reid. Today we’ll wrap up a few final thoughts about the Chiefs season, and recent events.
The Firing of Romeo Crennel
On black Monday, the Chiefs fired head coach Romeo Crennel. I had my reservations a year ago when the Chiefs hired him, but I had no idea it would be this bad. He’s a good man. A good defensive coordinator. He represented himself and this city well. Maybe if the Chiefs had signed Kyle Orton, the quarterback Crennel clearly preferred, things would have turned out differently. Crennel often seemed confused and uncertain about how to proceed. It never appeared that Crennel had confidence in Matt Cassel. And after a few losses, it appeared that the team had lost faith that it could win with Crennel and Cassel leading the way.
The Firing of Scott Pioli
On black Monday, the Chiefs publicly neutered general manager Scott Pioli, and left him twisting in the wind. Clark Hunt stripped him of many of his responsibilities, and rearranged the structure of the organization. It was Hunt who would interview and hire the next head coach. And the head coach would report directly to Hunt. Pioli’s fate would be decided soon.
What were the Chiefs waiting for? Were four years of mistakes not enough of a track record to fire Pioli? Chiefs fans became nervous that Hunt was going to give Pioli another chance. Then the news came down that Pioli was accompanying Clark Hunt and the rest of the Chiefs’ brass during the head coach interviews. I was nervous.
This is purely a guess. There were reports that Pioli had received a contract extension before the season, though this was denied by a source within the organization. I bet that Pioli got the extension, and that it took a few days for the Chiefs and Pioli to reach a buyout agreement for him to step aside. Remember, before the season began, there were high expectations for the Chiefs. Many pundits had picked the Chiefs to win the division. If the Chiefs had announced a contract extension before the season, most fans would have understood. Though after the season went south, it would have been a publicity nightmare to admit that Pioli had received an extension.
If it wasn’t the contract, then Hunt really was leaving the door open for Pioli to remain in Kansas City. Shudder.
The Hiring of Any Reid
This is pure speculation on my part. I think Clark Hunt knew all along who he wanted to hire for his next head coach. And it hit me when I listened to an interview with Dick Vermeil.
Dick Vermeil has close ties to both Andy Reid and the Chiefs organization. Plenty of speculation existed that the Eagles were going to fire Reid. If you were Clark Hunt, who would you call to gauge Reid’s interest in Kansas City without violating the NFL’s tampering rules? I’m betting that Hunt called Vermeil in the last few weeks for his input, and to test the waters about Reid, in case he became available. Vermeil has said that he told Reid that he can win in Kansas City, and that he should take the job. But Vermeil was never asked when this conversation took place. Not that Vermeil would likely admit if it had happened before the Eagles fired Reid. Vermeil was clearly pleased that the Chiefs had hired Reid.
And think about the timing of events. On Monday, the Chiefs fire Crennel. On Tuesday, they interview a couple coaches in Atlanta, one of whom is black, which means that the Chiefs have met the requirements of the Rooney Rule (which I think needs to be eliminated, but that’s a discussion for another day). And on Wednesday, Clark Hunt and his top executives fly to Philadelphia, and conduct a nine hour interview with Andy Reid.
Kudos to Clark Hunt for getting his man. And doing it quickly.
Finding a Quarterback
We’ll talk more about the draft in upcoming weeks, but I’ll be very disappointed if we don’t draft a quarterback this year. I don’t want to trade for a veteran backup. I don’t want to sign a guy who has failed elsewhere. I don’t want to trade for Alex Smith, Kevin Kolb or Michael Vick. I want to draft and develop our own quarterback.
The pundits have said that there isn’t a quarterback worth drafting number one overall. They’re wrong. Somewhere in this draft is an elite quarterback. And elite quarterbacks are worth the number one pick. It may not be a “value” pick, but I don’t care. And if I were running the Chiefs, I’d do exactly what the Redskins did last year. I would draft a quarterback in the first round, and then draft another one in the third or fourth round.
Who should they draft? I don’t know. There’s a handful of quarterbacks who are potential first round picks. I’m still betting that by April one or two of these quarterbacks will climb into the list of top ten prospects, and it won’t be so much of a reach to draft one of them. I do think it’s interesting that several analysts have compared West Virginia’s Geno Smith to Donovan McNabb, the quarterback that Reid drafted with the second overall pick in 1999. And you still might end up with somebody like Mike Glennon from NC State on the board at the top of the fourth round.