So Much Work To Do … Wednesday Cup O’Chiefs

Whether his decisions are good or bad, his assumptions off-base or with some sort of solid informational foundation, there’s one thing you can’t say about Chiefs GM Scott Pioli – he is not a slacker.

When it comes to putting in the hours, Pioli has no problem racking up the 18 to 20-hour workdays. That’s good, because right now he’s got a lot to get done on a lot of different fronts. It’s a time for good work, no matter the number of hours. It’s time to work smart.

And some of them will be among his most important decisions since he arrived at Arrowhead Stadium with the Patriots Way. After three seasons in charge of the Chiefs, Pioli has a lot yet to prove. That feeling of entitlement that came with the three Super Bowl rings in his drawer and his ascension to major football decision maker is gone.

After three years, his record is 21-28. That certainly isn’t something that entitles him the support of the red and gold faithful who have been waiting for so long for another solid shot at the gold ring.

Here’s what has to get done:

1. HIRE A HEAD COACH – Is it Romeo Crennel? If so, why wait? Crennel is under contract for another year with the Chiefs, so there is no deadline to make something happen with him. Any other team that might want to talk with him would have to seek Pioli’s permission and he can simply say no.

Hopefully Pioli is out there talking with as many potential coaches as possible. Maybe they would be legitimate candidates, but maybe he would be picking their brain a bit, finding out their thoughts on the Chiefs and the team as it sits right now. That group would include the guys that he wouldn’t hire and probably wouldn’t come either – Jeff Fisher, Jon Gruden and the like.

2. FIND AN OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR – This has to be part of the process with No. 1 – finding someone to take over and lead the Chiefs offense into 2012. Bill Muir reportedly is headed for retirement, and even if he wants to continue on, he should be limited to the offensive line. This is in no way laying the offensive problems with the 2011 Chiefs all at Muir’s feet. Too much of what happened this year was out of his control.

But the way things go in football is when an offense falls on its face, somebody has to fall on his sword. Part of that was handled with the firing of Todd Haley. But there has to be another sacrifice to the angry offensive gods.

3. MAKE A DECISION AT QUARTERBACK – Do not expect Pioli or the Chiefs to suddenly cut their ties to Matt Cassel. Let’s be realistic here – if they make a change at quarterback, then that would be another Pioli mistake he would have to admit and an expensive one as well. At that point, why would he still have a job when his two major decisions proved bad ones.

But what does that mean for Kyle Orton? I’m not sure it should mean anything; the fascination with Orton and his performance over the last three games has really forced many Chiefs fans into delusions of greatness. But there’s no doubt in my mind if not Orton, the Chiefs need to sign a veteran quarterback who has started games in the league. Going with Tyler Palko and rookie Ricky Stanzi as the only backups to Cassel was a mistake. Finding Orton as they did, when they did, was nothing but a gift from the football gods.

If he’ll sign with only the promise of competition for the starting job, then get it done. I think the best thing that could happen at this point for Cassel is some “real” competition. He needs to take his game to the next level and the best way for that to happen for him or any other player is to have somebody breathing down his neck.

4.- 5. MAKE DECISIONS ON BRANDON CARR & DWAYNE BOWE – Why did Brandon Flowers, Derrick Johnson, Jamaal Charles and others get deals signed before they reached free agency, while players like Carr and Bowe have not? It’s one of two reasons: either the Chiefs don’t value Carr and Bowe as much as the other players, or Carr and Bowe are asking for a lot more money than the Chiefs are willing to pay. Both will become free agents in a few weeks.

They should not have let the situation with Carr reach that point. Right now, there’s no business reason for the cornerback to sign with the Chiefs; the team is going to have to use their exclusive window of the next seven weeks or so to get something done with him.

From Carr’s perspective, he might as well go into free agency and see what price the market will bring him. Understand this – I know of two NFL teams that have Carr ranked among the top five cornerbacks in the league. I’m not talking about soon to be available corners, but all cornerbacks, no matter their contract status. Carr will find a suitor and he will make big money.

Tough call on Bowe’ contract will expire in a few weeks and he can become a free agent. The Chiefs can attempt to re-sign him, ignore him, or hit him with the franchise player designation.

No matter the decision, it’s going to cost the Chiefs money, a lot of money. If they sign him, or slap him with the franchise player for a year, it’s going to be millions of dollars. Even if they ignore him and let him walk, it’s going to cost them millions to replace him. That replacement is not Jonathan Baldwin – he’s two years away from being the kind of generally solid receiver Bowe has become.

That’s only the start of a to-do list for Pioli. There are other players who will finish out their contracts. It won’t matter until the first days of free agency what names are on that list, but some will head for free agency and others will move on to their life’s work.

Here’s a limited list, as we know it today (starters in bold):

ILB Jovan Belcher (restricted free agent), WR Dwayne Bowe, CB Brandon Carr, DE Wallace Gilberry, DT Amon Gordon, ILB Cory Greenwood (exclusive rights free agent), NT Kelly Gregg, RB Thomas Jones, FB Le’Ron McClain, SS Jon McGraw, QB Kyle Orton, S Sabby Piscitelli, TE Leonard Pope, RT Barry Richardson, WR Jerheme Urban and C Casey Wiegmann.

17 Responses to “So Much Work To Do … Wednesday Cup O’Chiefs”

  • January 4, 2012  - Duke says:

    My top priority when it comes to making the head coach hiring decision, and I’m not tied to it having to be Romeo (the players all liking him is not remotely reason enough to hire him; anyone remember Frank Ganz? enough said,)… Beat your top two division rivals at home.. it’s totally unnacceptable, not to mention totally disgusting, that we have lost what is it now, either 4 or 5 straight years AT ARROWHEAD, to the stinking Raiders, as well as this year, to the Donkeys.

    One thing Carl Peterson always said was right on; every single year matters; you do everything possible every season to win; there are no red shirt seasons in the NFL.

    Our current ownership (spoiled rich brat) and way too full of himself GM obviously don’t grasp this concept.

  • January 4, 2012  - Kenneth says:

    I read that the Dolphins have already interviewed Jeff Fisher, if the Chiefs are interested in him at all then Pioli better get with it. Also read that Carl Peterson may replace Ireland and be the new GM there and that he wants Fisher as his HC.

  • January 4, 2012  - bhive01 says:

    I don’t think we’re not hearing about the coaching search because Pioli is being secretive, I think it’s because he’s already made up his mind and it’s Crennel. Now he’s focusing on filling the OC, STC, OlineC and whatever else is needed.

    I sure hope he wraps up Carr and Bowe. Despite all the attention that Flowers gets I think Carr has much better size to cover receivers like Calvin Johnson. Bowe… that guy has become invaluable and should get a fat paycheck. He needs to mentor Baldwin into a similar caliber receiver (I think he’s fully capable of it).

    IMO, most of the guys who are free agents can probably retire or find a new team with the exception of Belcher, Bowe, Carr, Gilberry, Gordon, Greenwood, and Orton.

  • January 4, 2012  - Anonymous says:

    I hope they re-sign Carr and Bowe but life will go on if they don’t.
    I’m tired of hearing about how arrogant or bratty the Chief’s management is. I don’t care about their motivation. Bring in some good coaches and players and win some football games.
    Others on this site have commented on the book War Room and they used it as a foil to poke at Pioli. Well, I’m reading it too and I don’t see what’s so bad about him. He took an honest look at the Chiefs as an organization before he interviewed and when into the interview and asked Clark some tough questions about why the Chiefs were not successful. That takes balls, IMO.
    Pioli determined that the existing structure was the problem and it has been rooted out. He’s doing things the way he thinks they should be done.
    So I don’t care about collecting pens in conference rooms after meetings. I care about having a successful football team. If it means firing people who’ve been around for 30 years and are too comfortable in their jobs, then so be it.

  • January 4, 2012  - Nathan says:


    You seriously think that Hunt and Pioli don’t grasp that each season is important? Really?
    Maybe we should just bring Carl back since he had such a wonderful grasp on what it took to build a football team.

  • January 4, 2012  - Roger says:

    Good comments from everyone. A bit of truth in each reply above. The very excessive salary cap tends to support the idea that Hunt and Pioli don’t grasp the importance of every season. Palko was a real “value” find. Probably wound up costing Hailey to have to “fall on the proverbial knife” for the good value redeemed. Nonetheless, it’ll keep us all entertained for a while until we can find another team to cheer.

  • January 4, 2012  - Chuck says:

    The last thing I read about the salary cap was that the Chiefs were 27 million under that cap. There should be no reason that they cannot sign Bowe and Carr to second contracts. It really pisses me off bigtime if they let these 2 elite players get away.

  • January 4, 2012  - RW says:

    I already broke my NY resolution to stop reading any story with “Patriot Way” in its content but I’ll make an exception with Bob’s views which are close to my own. Commenting on each of the above points:

    1) Head Coach. Again, Jr. Hunt & his spending are tighter than a set of rusty lug nuts on a ’55 Ford, so all this ‘process’ is more about brain picking than looking for a new man. Romeo deserves his shot. I still believe that.

    2)New OC. I agree and that may explain the guise of looking for a new HC to test the waters in order to lure an OC away from another team. Adam Shefter just tweeted out that the Pack OC is in for an interview today, Wednesday. Interesting.

    3) QB. I’ve long stated that Cassel needs to be pushed so getting Orton convinced of his best competitive opportunity is with KC should be a high priority mission. Then again, with the flinty eyed Jr. Hunt looking over the shoulder of that eventuality, I’m not optimistic it can get done.

    4)Carr/Bowe. One of those guys has to be tagged. Which one is the mystery. Up to me, I’d find a way to sign Carr and tag Bowe. Carr has more longterm upside and worthy of a deal. Bowe still too inconsistent in maturity and as a player to warrant longterm big bucks.

    Betobetobe, that’s all folks.

  • January 4, 2012  - aPauled says:

    Consistency had to be a big factor in signing Charles, Johnson and Flowers while waiting on Bowe and Carr. Both Bowe and Carr can comletely disappear on the field. Ex. Bowe had 17 yards in the Buffalo game and again in Denver(1). Ex. Carr got ate up by 6-5 Malcolm Floyd in SD(2)…a big receiver that should be his forte.

    It would be tough to lose either player but hard to justify top level money for players with that inconsistency. Has to be some give there. Carr a top 5 CB in the NFL…don’t see it…at least not on a weekly basis.

  • January 4, 2012  - Tenand6 says:

    Hopefully, Pioli is getting some good advice from Belichick, Parcels and Demitrof. Locking in on Crennel may be a mistake. I’m thrilled Pioli is looking at other candidates. The NFL is a QB league. The Packers OC is an interesting interview. Would be interesting to know his thoughts on Flynn.

    My hope is Pioli can be introspective about his failures. Arrogance will get him fired. If he can treat this time as an opportunity to reevaluate himself and the team, hopefully he can emerge wiser and more bold—- “The Patriot Way” is the Tom Brady way just like “The Packer Way” is the Rogers way and “The Colts Way” is the Manning way.

    Most every NFL team does a good job of scouting and hiring coaches. Only a few have great QB’s.

    I’d love to see a coach come in with the understanding that the Chiefs will do whatever is necessary to move up in the draft and get Griffin.

    I’d like to see Cassel more than pushed. If that’s Flynn, Orton or Griffin, fine. But the QB position must be improved dramatically. That’s where the league is.

  • January 4, 2012  - Niblick says:

    According to ESPN, they have already interviewed several cnadidates. They are keeping their names under wrap. They are supposed to be interviewing the Packers OC today. I guess Crennel is not a slam dunk after all.

  • January 4, 2012  - el cid says:

    So Pioli puts in a 18 or more work day. There is a difference between being at work and doing work. You need to work “smart” not long. Tell me about Pioli’s 18 hour days this last “lockout” period. He sat in his office and thought and thought, then he let Haley not have a training camp, lost his NT and had to grab Gregg, brought in Breston and absolutely no added depth from veteran free agents. So much for working 18 hours a day, especially if you are so caught up in thinking you are paralysised and incapable of action.,

  • January 4, 2012  - Johnfromwichita says:

    My big fear is that Hunt has Pioli working “18-20 hours a day” looking for ways to make or save money. Once again, that was not an earthquake; just Lamar turning over.

  • January 5, 2012  - rufus says:

    I can’t wait to see matt cassel put up 20 points during the next 5 games.

  • January 5, 2012  - Craig says:

    The 18 hour work day is no big deal. My brother works for the govenment and as long as he is carrying his blackberry he is considered at work, whether he is riding the lawnmower or at the Chiefs game.

    Keep Bowe and Carr, contract carr and fanchise Bowe. Gilberry disappeared this year. Let Orton compete with Cassel for the starting job. Competiton is good. Go CHiefs!

  • January 5, 2012  - Craig says:

    Also, HIRE ROMEO!! The team was playing the best it played all year at the end of the season and Orton had us in a position to when the Oakland game. Special teams mistake cost us the game, not Orton.

  • January 7, 2012  - Milkman says:

    If you all remember, in his initial press conference right after Clark Hunt introduced him as GM, Pioli said “Clark’s patience will be rewarded.” That is a very vague statement, but so far we have no evidence that it’s not true. Pioli has made mistakes and will probably make more. His biggest was hiring the wrong coach to begin with. The quarterback he brought in might be the next biggest mistake. He is in the process of trying to fix the first one. It will be interesting to see if he does anything about the second. He needs to keep in mind that Hunt’s patience will only last so long.

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