Just Another Day Of Change … Thursday Cup O’Chiefs

The only constant in the National Football League is change.

Former Chiefs President-GM Carl Peterson used to say that all the time. The worst thing a person could do in the NFL is dig in and fight change. It would be like digging a hole at the beach and then trying to keep the water out at high tide. No matter what you do, the water races over the sand castle, fills the hole, and 12 hours later, it’s impossible to tell anything was there.

That’s what Wednesday was like around the Chiefs facility, the first full day of everybody coming together in the building after the termination of head coach Todd Haley. There was no remodeling in the locker room or the team areas, but there was also no sign that just a few days before, Haley was the guy running the show.

In the Not For Long, it can happen in a flash.

“It’s just part of the business,” said CB Brandon Flowers. “Coaches and players, one day they are here, the next day they are gone. It’s hard to get used too but eventually you do, because you have to. This is my fourth year and I’ve had three head coaches and three defensive coordinators.

“That’s the way it goes.”

Certainly, it was a different day for Romeo Crennel, the staff and the players. Whether it was a different day for team chairman Clark Hunt and GM Scott Pioli we don’t know, since they were not seen around the locker room. They were likely at the NFL Meetings in Dallas, where league owners approved 9-year extensions on TV deals with CBS, FOX and NBC. That’s right, they backed the Brink’s truck up to the network pay window and lined up a nearly a decade of withdrawals.

But for those around the shop, let’s take a quick look at how their lives were different.


The new head coach – remember no interim title has been used – held his first live press conference Wednesday morning with the Kansas City media horde. Crennel left the humpheads babbling among themselves about what a great talker he was and how it was so much better listening to him than Haley.

About three weeks from now they’ll feel about Crennel the same way they do about the former coach. But, it was obvious from his performance that Romeo had been a head coach before and had four years of dealing with these types of events. Without knowing most of the media’s names, he knew how to give them what they wanted.

First, he got off a laugh in the initial 30 seconds, and that lightened the tone quite a bit. Then Crennel went right to quarterback, the No. 1 attention position with any NFL team. He announced that Tyler Palko was benched, and that Kyle Orton would become the starter to play against Green Bay. If Orton’s dislocated right index finger does not heal, then rookie Ricky Stanzi will start.

This was like feeding raw meat to the big cats at the zoo; the media loved it. It was 15 minutes, 45 seconds and it flew by. Other than change at quarterback, Crennel said he was tinkering with Wednesday’s schedule, moving the lifting session to after practice and added a meeting to watch tape of practice later in the afternoon. He allowed that the Green Bay offense coming to town this weekend was “pretty good” and reminded him of the days when he was with the Patriots and Tom Brady was first putting his name in the record books.

Talked turned back towards quarterbacks and how the Packers may be preparing to face the Chiefs offense. That’s when Crennel showed a pragmatic sense of humor.

“When you look at our guys, they look at Tyler and what he’s done the last couple of weeks,” Crennel said. “They look at Orton and know that he’s got a finger. They look at a rookie, so I don’t think that they are shaking in their boots about those choices.”

When it was over, the media was giddy, chattering amongst themselves like kids on the playground, excited by a new teacher.

Crennel can handle the media; he has four years of training. Eventually, he’ll get back into coach-speak and the horde will be bored again.


Palko, Orton and Stanzi – sounds almost like a Country Club Plaza law firm – went through very different experiences on Wednesday. Palko lost a starting job, Orton got one if he’s healthy enough to play and a third isn’t sure what to expect.

“That’s Coach Crennel’s decision and I’m just one of 53 players on this team,” said Palko. “He thinks this is best for the team, so you would have to talk to him about that and all the details.”

Orton did his best to keep his right hand and dislocated right index finger stuck in the pocket of his jeans as he met the media. He begged off providing any type of scouting report on how many times he threw the ball and how the Chiefs offense planned to handle snaps to him.

“I feel pretty good, just trying to take it as it goes,” Orton said. “We’re just trying to make it work. Nothing in this league is perfect and everybody has to play with injuries.”

Stanzi got more snaps in practice on Wednesday than the entire 2011 season combined. The horde wanted to talk to the rookie about whether he would like to see his college coach Kirk Ferentz move down from Iowa City and take over the Chiefs as head coach.

“I loved him as a coach and I felt he was one of the best coaches I’ve ever had,” Stanzi said. “He’s a great coach and you want to play under a great coach no matter who he is.


Normally Wednesday afternoon features a p ress conference for the starting quarterback. But since there is not yet one this week, the Chiefs brought LB Derrick Johnson in to feed the Horde.

As one of the most tenured players on the roster in his seventh year with the team, Johnson has been around for Dick Vermeil, Herm Edwards, Haley and now Crennel.

“You would think there would be a lot of distractions going on right now, but there are not,” Johnson said. “This business is about change all the time. As players, you have to be professional regardless of what goes on with the coaching staff. You have to adjust on the fly. As players you have to fight your butts off just to be here next year. We are getting evaluated each and every day, so we have to play good, each and every one of us.”

Punter Dustin Colquitt has been around as long as Johnson. “I remember coach (Tom) Moore when he was with Peyton (Manning) in Indianapolis and now he’s in New York, I remember they interviewed him about all the places he had been,” Colquitt said. “Every two years, every three years, the turnover is just kind of part of the business.”

Colquitt said he was surprised by the news of Haley’s firing, saying it was totally unexpected.

“Guys in here are treading water from day-to-day, just working with their head down, trying to make sure everything is getting done the right way,” Colquitt said. “We don’t sit around the locker room every day and talk about the latest gossip.

“I was caught off guard, because it never crossed my mind that something would happen in season. It’s a win or go home league and it can happen to any of us, at any time.”

The Chiefs locker room was no different on this Wednesday than it was on the other seven Wednesdays following a defeat. There was plenty of chatter, but it was subdued probably more related to the Sunday defeat than the Monday firing of their head coach.

“It’s a tough time, because it isn’t just about one person; coaches have families,” said Palko, himself the son of a football coach. “There are a lot of people affected by something like this and it makes you think about those people and what they are dealing with.”

But the game goes on.

“It’s not a happy time, but there isn’t a thing we can do about it,” said Brandon Flowers. “It’s just the way things are.”

It’s just another day in the life of the National Football League.

8 Responses to “Just Another Day Of Change … Thursday Cup O’Chiefs”

  • December 15, 2011  - bhive01 says:

    Change in the name of consistency!

  • December 15, 2011  - johnfromfairfax says:

    Time will tell if it’s change for the better or change for the sake of change. This buys Hunt and Pioli time. If it doesn’t work Bob will attend another of endless press conferences to listen to Clark Hunt announce another change at GM and then another press conference to announce another change at head coach and the beat goes on. That’s the pessimistic perspective. The optimistic outlook is that if this or the next change that Pioli makes at head coach works we’ll have consistency of the sort we haven’t seen for nearly four decades with the Chiefs and flowers will blossom at Arrowhead in January. That would be Brandon Flowers I’m guessing.

  • December 15, 2011  - RW says:

    Just finished viewing the Romeo press confab & do concur that he brings a needed breath of fresh air and candor to the podium. The hope here is that the players will also respond favorably to the new direction Romeo has fashioned and respond with more consistent and better play on the field.

    I’m not expecting miracles in these final 3 games but am looking for at least a win and some enthusiasm from the players showing they’re busting it for their new head coach. If that’s done, I’m good to go with Romeo.

  • December 15, 2011  - el cid says:

    It was a first press con. and I liked it. But we are stuck, as in quicksand, with Pioli and that will not change. Whoever the new HC is, please not McD, hopefully he will have enough guts to stand up to his management and make friends with the fans as well as be some kind of sane coach. The modern era of HCs who are nutty but oh so special wears on me.

  • December 15, 2011  - Tenand6 says:

    I don’t give a rat’s ass about press conferences. I care about talent, with the QB being first among equals.

    Give Romeo a great quarterback and he’ll do just fine. Give Romeo Matt Cassel? Hard to believe we make real progress.

  • December 15, 2011  - Tenand6 says:

    I don’t give a rat’s ass about press conferences. I care about talent, with the QB being first among equals.

    Give Romeo a great quarterback and he’ll do just fine. Give Romeo Matt Cassel? Hard to believe we make real progress.

  • December 15, 2011  - Johnfromwichita says:

    Did Tenand6 just stutter ?

  • December 15, 2011  - el cid says:

    I think he feel strongly.

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