Chiefs Chatter on QBs . . . Weekend Cup O’Combine

From Indianapolis, Indiana

At the NFL Scouting Combine every February, Scott Pioli comes out of his burrow and for 20 to 30 minutes handles the questions of the media. When the event went down on Friday at Lucas Oil Stadium, Pioli ended up talking at length about quarterbacks. When head coach Romeo Crennel made his media room appearance on Saturday, the talk was quarterback as well.

Quarterback, quarterback, quarterback . . . it must be an important position. Right now it seems to be the No. 1 topic on the minds of NFL media and pundits when they think of the Chiefs.

Are they real players in the potential Peyton Manning Sweepstakes? Is soon to be free agent Kyle Orton going to come back and provide competition for Matt Cassel? Is Cassel going to really see any type of legitimate competition for the starting job? Where does Ricky Stanzi fit in with all this? And, where the Chiefs impressed enough with Robert Griffin III that they’ll actually consider moving up in the first round of the draft to select the Heisman Trophy winner?

Here’s what the weekend brought from the GM and head coach and see if you can figure out what’s truth, what’s fiction and what the red and gold nation can expect at quarterback in the coming months.


Don’t you just love Crennel? The 64-year old head coach is going to toe the company line for the most part, but he’s going to do it in his own way and with his own words.

Asked about the Chiefs interest in Manning on Friday, Pioli said: “There are rules in place and I’d never talk about a player on another team or even a player that’s projected to become a free agent that’s on another team.”

Twenty-four hours later, Crennel revealed just a bit more about what the Chiefs might be thinking about with Manning.

“I’m not supposed to talk about anybody else’s players, and he’s still a player with Indianapolis,” Crennel said on Saturday. “But with a talent like that, I would be crazy not to consider it if he were available. I’ll leave it at that.”

In all likelihood the Chiefs are not “leaving it at that” within the walls of their facility. Expect plenty of discussions and rumors in the mix with Manning in the days to come. It’s still too hard to believe they would go in that direction, with Clark Hunt and Pioli driving the boat.


Just about the only thing newsworthy about Pioli’s weekend comments was when he addressed competition for Cassel this year.

Turns out, Pioli’s definition of competition is quite a bit different than most people watching the Chiefs roster.

The more Pioli talked, the more he indicated that he felt like Cassel had competition in his first three years with the team. With Brodie Croyle, Tyler Thigpen, Matt Gutierrez, Ricky Stanzi and Tyler Palko standing behind Cassel in 2009, 2010 and 2011, that could hardly be called competition. If Pioli was speaking on the level, it’s not a good sign that the Chiefs are going to bring in somebody who can really challenge Cassel for the starting role.

Will there be open competition for the starting job?

“I wouldn’t say that it’s open; Matt is our starting quarterback,” Pioli said. “There is going to be competition. I know that there has been a lot of focus on the quarterback competition, but I want to be clear on this. What we’ve said is that we are going to have competition at every position, including the quarterback position. When we talk about that it’s not just exclusive to the quarterback position or to Matt Cassel. In order to get better as a football team you have to bring in competition at every position.

“That competition between players does several things. It pushes players to be better or it pushes players to fall to the wayside. There’s going to be competition across the board. There’s going to be competition at kicker and long snapper, at every position.”

Cassel has had competition for the starting job? When and by who?

“When we traded for Matt, he was coming to a program that had two starting quarterbacks (Croyle and Thigpen) here already,” Pioli said. “It’s easy to sit here now and say, ‘You can’t say player X wasn’t competition.’ That’s not fair. Look at it in the snapshot of that place and time. It certainly appeared there was going to be competition.”

Fair or not, there wasn’t competition from either Croyle or Thigpen because that wasn’t going to be allowed. Cassel was the GM’s choice, to the tune of $63 million and there wasn’t a chance in Hades that he wasn’t going to be the starting QB for the 2009 Chiefs. If Pioli thought there was going to be an NFL quality starter from Croyle or Thigpen, then he wouldn’t have made the trade for Cassel in the first place.

The 2010 and 2011 seasons did not bring any competition.

“You just don’t wave a wand and magically say, ‘There’s competition’,” Pioli said. “We drafted a quarterback last year (Ricky Stanzi) who I truly believe has good ability and has the potential to start in this league. I really do believe that.”

No, there is not a magic wand. But there is a magic wallet that can be waved at the quarterback situation and that will bring more talented and thus competitive players into the mix.


Yes, the Chiefs want Orton back. In fact, the more they talk, the more like it sounds as if they want him back in a big way. Heaven knows why, since Orton’s performance as a three-game starter to close out the 2011 season did not re-write any history books. He simply had to be better than a struggling Tyler Palko and he was that for sure.

Because they’ve committed publicly to competition for Cassel – even if he wants to water that down now – the quarterback that Pioli would be most comfortable with is Orton. He’s a familiar face, one that the Chiefs got to know last year. If one hasn’t noticed yet, Pioli is very big on hiring people he’s comfortable with, i.e., people he’s worked with before. He’ll go that direction even if there are more experienced or talented options.

“We’ve talked with Kyle’s people and we’ve talked to Kyle,” Pioli said. “It sounds like Kyle would like to be with us and we’ve told Kyle that we’d like to continue working with him. It’s just a matter of seeing if things arrive at the right place.”

There’s no doubt Crennel would like Orton back. “Probably if not for Kyle, I wouldn’t be standing here,” said Crennel. “I’m very appreciative of his effort. If he comes back to us, we are going to see how it works out and we’ll play the best guy. Until that time, we have to let this free agency thing play out.”


“Such an impressive young man,” Crennel said. “I haven’t really studied him but I know that he’s got a tremendously strong arm, he has tremendously fast feet and good speed and it looks like he makes good decisions. He can put the ball where the receivers have a chance to make the play.

“He’s not always looking to run. He’s kind of looking to throw but he’ll run when he has to. He’s a winner. When you win, that says something about your ability and your decision making, particularly at that position.”

Yes, the Chiefs were impressed, but are they willing to pay the price it would cost to move up in the first round from the No. 11 to No. 2? That’s easy – no. It would cost the Chiefs their entire 2012 draft class and likely next year’s No. 1 as well to make that type of jump. That’s what it cost the New Orleans Saints to move from No. 12 to No. 5 in the 1999 NFL Draft to select RB Ricky Williams.

The Chiefs have too many holes in their roster to give up that type of windfall even for a quarterback with Griffin’s abilities.

28 Responses to “Chiefs Chatter on QBs . . . Weekend Cup O’Combine”

  • February 26, 2012  - Blake says:

    Bob, Pioli can not say that Cassel did not have competition. He just can’t, if he does then he is saying that his backup players sucked. And good GM’s do not do that. Pioli wants to upgrade the QB position, there is no doubt about it. I think KC will atleast take a look at Manning. RG3 is out of the equation. It would cost too much plain and simple. Not to mention that Washington has been rumored to give up their draft and next years first for RG3. I think KC will make a big attempt to sign Orton if Manning is completely out of the picture.

  • February 26, 2012  - Johnfromwichita says:

    With a really good defense, a much improved O line and very good running game I don’t think they need Manning. I feel that either Cassel or Orton can get them to the playoffs. But if they do get serious about Manning I’m thinking that Bowe and Carr should start to worry cause it won’t come cheap.

  • February 26, 2012  - Tenand6 says:

    Romeo Crennel knows Matt Cassel. His defense had to save his butt many, many times. That’s not a personal attack, it’s just that Matt doesn’t have the talent/skill set to put a game on his back. Of course Romeo would love to see Manning in Red and Gold. Peyton Manning makes his coaches more millions than what they can earn on their own. RGIII would do the same for Crennel. With either of those two gentlemen, Romeo Crennel would most likely become one of the most beloved HC in team history.

    The best business move Hunt/Pioli can make would be to move heaven and earth to sign Manning or trade up for RGIII. Cassel and Orton won’t sell tickets or jerseys. They won’t get the Chiefs prime time games. They won’t get Hunt/Pioli out of PR hell.

    The Chiefs have talent and will probably do well in the draft. Their problem is and has always been the quarterback position. Hopefully, Pioli understands and will upgrade the one position that matters most. If not, we may still find our way to the playoffs, but don’t be surprised if empty seats will be more prevalent than ever at Arrowhead this next year.

  • February 26, 2012  - txchief says:

    I do not care about the Chiefs “getting to the playoffs.” I want them to win the friggin’ Superbowl(R), and they need a franchise QB to do that! If he’s truly healthy, Peyton will enable the team to achieve a Superbowl(R) victory. He will only cost the Chief money, not the boatload of draft picks it will take to move up for RGIII. There should still be funds available to sign veterans and draft picks. With the return of Charles and Moeaki, there is more talent on offense for Manning to work with in KC than any other realistic destination for him. I think Peyton wants another ring, and he wants it soon! He is an incredible competitor. He will make his decision about a team based primary upon the chance to win, not only the dinero. I hope the Chiefs franchise is willing to take the neccessary steps to end the 42 year drought! I know I’m ready.

  • February 26, 2012  - KC_Guy says:

    Just wondering – didn’t hear a word about Brandon Weeden at the Combine. Didn’t he attend?

  • February 26, 2012  - Johnfromwichita says:

    tx – no team has nor will ever win the “friggin Superbowl” without first making the playoffs. We should all care about “getting to the playoffs”.

  • February 26, 2012  - Blake says:

    txchief, I agree. I think fans are too worried about the playoffs, like getting to the playoffs was the main goal of their season. The main goal for every single team in the NFL is to win the Super Bowl. Not just make the playoffs. Who cares if Cassel can get us to the playoffs if he is never able to win us a game in the playoffs or win us a super bowl. Manning can do both, get us to the playoffs and win in the playoffs!

  • February 27, 2012  - Tim says:

    Pioli needs to stop with the QB talk & let the coach decide who plays & where they are on the depth chart. His job is to acquire players. What he said is revealing. Crennel is a puppet.

  • February 27, 2012  - el cid says:

    tx, across the board, total agreement. Probably means we are both totally wrong. Between now and the beginning of training camp, it will be interesting because I believe the major stumbling block is Pioli. He would be stepping way out of character to make the moves for a QB than many feel the Chiefs need.

  • February 27, 2012  - Tim says:

    el cid…agreed! He tries to nuance everything & appear more intelligent than he is in talent evaluation, I believe. We have enough of a core, a new collective bargaining agreement that will prevent the unbalanced nature of our cap dollars & existing cap space to sacrifice greatly to move up to get a quality QB prospect & let them grow together. Take the heat, pay the price & move up to acquire superior talent at the most important position on the field.

  • February 27, 2012  - RedandGold says:

    RGIII is still an NFL unknown, to trade away your draft picks to get him could be professional suicide. Pioli is far to yellow to make that move. Manning would be the best move. Then draft OL and our offense would be set for a run to the Super Bowl. Unfortunately if Manning has to talk to Pioli to make that happen then he will never sign with KC. After watching Pioli for three years I don’t know how anyone can like the guy. Two more years of him and the whole KC nation will be screaming for Peterson to come back. The only thing that Pioli is good at is making excuses and putting the blame on other people.

  • February 27, 2012  - Tim says:

    RedandGold… Yes, that’s a reasonable point of view, but you can say that about ANY QB that’s drafted. What you’ve espoused is what’s been done forever in KC. It hasn’t gotten us very far. we’ve passed over so many QBs in the draft its not funny. If we go Manning, its no sure thing with his neck. Even if healthy, you have to change just about everything on O for only a few years, then he’ll be gone as will Romeo most likely. Then another period of transition for an organization that’s striving for stability.

  • February 27, 2012  - David says:

    I’d start with the premise that since time immemorial, the sole purpose of GM comments made shortly before the draft is to misrepresent what you really plan to do, in the hopes of throwing your competitors off the trail. True of the Peterson regime; the Belichick regime; the Pioli regime; and just about everyone else.

    The theory is that if in reality KC wants to draft (say) the best nose tackle on the board with pick #11; and the Chiefs worry that if some team with a later pick who also needs a NT knows that’s the Chiefs’ plan, that opponent might trade up to pick #9 or #10, to beat the Chiefs out for that player. Hence, it pays to put up a huge smokescreen about your obsession with QBs, and not talk about nose tackles.

    I believe the conventional wisdom is true: don’t believe a word any GM says about positions of interest, just before the draft.

  • February 27, 2012  - Niblick says:

    David- Great post I totally agree. GM’s have been putting out false smokescreens for years to try throw other teams off on who you might want to draft. If I remember correctly in 2010, all indications were that we were going to take Okung with the 5th pick. We took Berry and Okung was drafted next.

  • February 27, 2012  - txchief says:

    Everyone, this is definitely the time of year for all of the owners, GMs and coaches to bluff one another and engage in gamesmanship on many levels. So what. The Chiefs need a leader, a field marshal, a captain of the ship. Peyton can provide the mental toughness and leadership on the field that KC needs. Peyton, by himself, makes the Chiefs a contender.

    I’m tired of being teased every few years by “getting to the playoffs” and being blown out instantaneously. I’ve been cheering loudly and paying throught the nose for season tickets for a very long time. I want satisfaction. I want to pay tens of thousands of dollars to see the Chiefs win a Superbowl(R)! I, and most Chiefs fans, forgave Lamar because of his prior achievements, but patience is wearing extremely thin. It is time for Clark Hunt and Scott Pioli to earn their own NFL cred.

    The stars are aligning, and the funds are there to sign the greatest QB of a generation as well as to retain the team’s key free agents. I’m about ready to see the Chiefs to make a run, but fail in an Al Davis-esque blaze of glory, rather than sit around watching timid moves for the rest of my life! AARRRGGGHH!!! It is time to f**k or walk!

  • February 28, 2012  - cychief24 says:

    Lot’s of unhappy people here.
    As a 34 year STH I look at things a little differently I guess. I sat through herm’s dismantling of the Chiefs (4-12 then 2-14).
    The last 2 years have given us a Division Championship and missing by one game. After all the years of driving almost 3 hours each way to see meaningless games in Nov/Dec…I am thrilled to have been in the hunt in the last home game of the season 2 years in a row.
    Sure, I want us to win the Lamar Hunt Trophy and then the Lamar named Super Bowl again. I was 13 when we did. But I am happy when we are in the hunt at the last home game every year. I am thrilled when we make the playoffs. I literally cry for joy when we win playoff games.
    That all being said…
    I would be ok with us signing Manning if we also signed Saturday and Wayne. We would also need to sign a ready to play RT.
    Just realize that would be a huge gamble on the health of those 3 thru a 16 game schedule.
    (Dave Krieg had to start 5 games for Montana in ’93 and play in several others).

    On the other hand we could build for the long term, knowing we are a RT, NT, health, and depth away from winning the Division again.

    Maybe some of you haven’t noticed, but getting into the playoffs is the goal. The ’05 Steelers were the last team in and won it all. The ’10 Packers the same. The ’11 Giants were 7-7 and ran the table.

    I do feel a little pity for you haters. It must suck to hate your “favorite” team.

  • February 28, 2012  - RedandGold says:


    What are you talking about. All I see here are guys that hate losing. Maybe they don’t like some of the idiots running the ship but the Chiefs are becoming the Detroit Lions of the league and that is what people hate.

  • February 28, 2012  - ED J says:

    How can you call yourself redandgold and you compare us to Detroit Lions. Pioli record been 4 and 12 10 and 6 and 7 and 9 wouldnt call that Detroit Lions. If anything Pioli has established one of most talented teams on both sides of the ball since the 90s. I know he is lightning rod for criticism but my money on guy with 3 rings and not the field when it comes to long term success of this team under his reign as GM

  • February 28, 2012  - RedandGold says:

    Ed, You have said that about every single person at one time or another that has walked through the revolving doors at Arrowhead Drive. Just because your are positive ALL THE TIME does not make you a great fan. Wishing it so will not make it so. It does make you sound ignorant at times. Half the talent here Pioli had nothing to do with. New England hasn’t missed a beat since his departure which leads me to believe that he had little to do with that. Pioli has got to be the most fan unfriendly GM in the League (it is unbelievable to me that any of us still support the guy). Up to this point the only thing that he has proven that he can do and do well is fire people with little or no explanation why!

  • February 28, 2012  - txchief says:

    Red, I couldn’t give a rat’s arse whether Pioli is or is not “friendly” to the media. I just want a winning team on the field, and I hope Pioli is wise enough to that the time to make some moves is NOW!

  • February 28, 2012  - el cid says:

    You can achieve any goal with hard work. Pioli works hard but does he work smart? He was a 4X Exec of year, that means something, doesn’t it? Well, he seems more average in his talent acquisition. Average in his drafting, anti-establishment in his veteran FA policy. The question is he right or wrong. This year should show us what he is capable of doing. Free agency is around the corner, will he freeze or spend some of the extra Hunt money?

    Win some games and the “haters” will change but the Pioli Stooges will always be there. Got to believe if Pioli had wanted to he could have had the media and fans eating out of his hand, he chose a different way, much to the apparent love of cy, ED and tx. Good for them.

  • February 28, 2012  - Johnfromwichita says:

    Cid, I’m not sure if it’s what Pioli can do as much as it is what Hunt will let him do. But you are right, free agency is coming quickly and I’m dying to see what happens. And the draft. If done well, and not just cheaply, this off season could shine.

  • February 28, 2012  - el cid says:

    For me John, it will be how fast he can move on his feet or will it be a case of how “smart” he is to not take any chances because the there is no talent who could “help” the Chiefs. Got a feeing that will not fly any more. So far he signed 3 veterans cut by other teams, Routt, a S, and a DB who has been out since 08. Decent moves but not expecting a free pass to the playoffs, more of a keeping your head above water move.

  • February 28, 2012  - txchief says:

    el cid, I neither love nor hate Pioli. In his three years in KC, his grade is not an “A” or an “F.” He scores an “incomplete” in by book at this time. He’s made some good moves and some bad moves. There is the potential for great improvement this offseason IF Hunt and Pioli will take the neccessary risks and sign the checks. The Chiefs organization will prove to the fans what they are made of over the next couple of months. I hope they don’t blow the opportunity.

  • February 28, 2012  - el cid says:

    More that reasonable, tx. But if Pioli was worthy of 4X Exec of year awards he recieved, incomplete is a sad commentary of his skills since coming to KC. For me, he is a solid C and that is a failing grade. He is smarter than that, supposedly. For a guy, at the time of coming to KC, was the “hotest GM candidate”, anything less than a B average indicates he is a bust. Either cannot or is not allowed to do the job.

  • February 29, 2012  - ED J says:

    REDandGold wanting a fan friendly GM shows your ignorance. GM job is not to be my friend its to bring in talent. So far only talent on this team that is contributing that was here prior to Pioli arrival is Charles,Bowe,Albert,Flowers,and Hali. Everyone else were either guys drafted or signed that Pioli brought in so don’t understand that argument you’re talking about when you say most of talent on team he didn’t bring in that’s only about 5 players I just named. Anyways like I said holla at me at end of the season and next season we’re see how often you’re blogging about how stupid Pioli is when he’s winnning. Common theme I’m seeing is its obvious you and el cid are strongly against Pioli and that’s fine. I’ll take the guy with the championship rings over you guys in the long term lets see how things play out.

  • February 29, 2012  - ED J says:

    One more thing I’m not always positive. I’ve criticized Cassel when he’s made mistakes. In the past I criticized Gunther Cunningham and his horrible defenses. Carl Peterson when he was here. I’ll say this for bunch of guys that are Chiefs fans you sure have hard time seeing when the team is actually better last 3yrs than it was back 06-08. I mean Seriously. We lost Charles,MOeaki, Berry, and Cassel and still almost one the division. What does that tell any of you Pioli bashers how far this team has come????

    If that had happen in 06,07, or 08 we would’ve went winless. Even in 2006 when we made playoffs as wildcard if we would’ve lost LJ that yr no way in HELL we would’ve even won 4 games that season. Either way keep on being Pioli haters I can’t wait to see the A$$ kissing that is going to be going on at end of this upcoming season and also the yr after it either that or you guys want be blogging any more one or the other. I hope Bob does manage to stay around 1 more yr at least so I can get you guys reaction when Pioli has this team one of top team in AFC looking forward to it.

  • March 3, 2012  - el cid says:

    Ed doubt any imput from you will make anyone not “stay around 1 more year”.

    As for Pioli, I would believe everyone want/demands he is successful. He is going to be here win or lose. Yeah, we want him to succeed. We just did not start out “ASS kissing” quite as soon as some of on this site.

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