Was It Charlie? … Wednesday Cup O’Chiefs

Could one man who didn’t play really have made that much of a difference?

It’s a subject worth consideration in light of the offensive problems the Chiefs have had in the 2011 season. And, difficulties from the game in the playoffs back in January against Baltimore. And, problems going back one more week to the final game of the 2010 season against Oakland.

All those games were played after it became public that Charlie Weis was leaving the Chiefs as offensive coordinator to take over the same job with the University of Florida. Since that news became known, the Chiefs offense has tanked.

Up until that game, the Chiefs had been average to slightly above average in offensive production. They were not a great offense in 2010, but the running game worked with Jamaal Charles and Matt Cassel was taking care of the football, making good decisions and protecting the ball. They owned a 10-5 record and an AFC West division championship with Weis molding the offense each week. There had been ups (503 yards and six TDs vs. Seattle) and downs (67 yards and no points at San Diego).

But since then, the offense has not been a productive part of the Chiefs. Here’s the numbers that reveal vividly that the offense has taken steps backward in the last five games that counted:









































San Diego








5g Average








2010 Average








*-Offensive TDs only.

Has the bottom dropped out of the Chiefs offense because of Weis’ departure? The easy answer would be yes, just look at the numbers. There’s an obvious drop-off in production and efficiency in the last five games.

Now, it’s not like the Chiefs were one of the best offenses in the NFL last year with Weis coordinating the unit. They finished No. 12 in yards thanks to their No. 1 finish in rushing. They were No. 30 in passing yards, finishing ahead of only Arizona and Carolina.

Both of those teams have new quarterbacks this season. The Panthers have a new head coach and offensive coordinator. Neither team was anywhere near the playoffs in 2010; both finished last in their divisions.

But the Chiefs were in the playoffs, did finish first in the AFC West, and they have the same head coach and quarterback this year as last. The only thing different coming into the 2011 season was that Weis was gone and Bill Muir was promoted from his spot as offensive line coach to take his place.

Whatever the reason Weis left – whether for personal reasons or the fact he did not like the working situation with Haley and the Chiefs – since that decision became public, the Chiefs offense has been a major factor in their 0-5 record in the last two games of the ’10 season and the first three of the ’11 season.

A Charlie cause and effect? Not in the mind of head coach Todd Haley

“I don’t see any correlation in this year and last year,” Haley said. “There’s just too much time passed to in any way, shape or form tie the two things together.”

That’s logical, because certainly at the end of three games in the 2010 season, the Chiefs offense did not have the NFL chattering about what an influence Weis had been on the attack. Here are the three-game numbers of these offenses:








































The numbers this season are down across the board and the few that are up, are up in a bad way.

Haley said it would be four or five games into the season before anybody would be able to recognize an identity in the 2011 Chiefs offense. After three games, it’s hard to see where they’ve taken any steps at all to developing an offensive identity. The running game has lost its best player in Charles and last Sunday’s attempt to fill the void with running back by committee left a lot to be desired. At 0-3, they’ve not yet scored a rushing touchdown.

The passing game has been flaccid, with little in the way of big plays and no consistency, Cassel’s completion percentage is up above 65 percent this year; his career percentage is just 59.2 percent. Yet, the production from those completed passes has been limited. There have been only six of Cassel’s 54 completions that gained 20 yards or more. That’s the same number he had last year in fewer throws.

Cassel’s more than willing to acknowledge that this year’s offense hasn’t been good enough. But he doesn’t think the reason extends back to last year and the departure of Weis.

“Last year is last year,” Cassel said. “We’re a completely different team. If you want to pick out two games from last year, I understand those were the two (bad) games last year. But you can also say that there are 10 other games that we played really well, so we can also pull off that.

“The last game was last game. We didn’t play with great execution. I think in all phases we just have to execute better. It only takes one game to get into that rhythm. I think that’s the goal for this team is to get into a rhythm and start executing on a higher level. Hopefully you build off that and that’s when you start to roll.”

Right now, the Chiefs offense has to show it can get rolling without Big Charlie on board.

18 Responses to “Was It Charlie? … Wednesday Cup O’Chiefs”

  • September 28, 2011  - Craig says:

    Hi Bob,
    Very thought provoking as usual. I too was wondering about the “Charlie” effect. Florida looks real good this year. With that said, I can’t imagine any head coach admitting that they have problems with their OC or that they made a mistake.

  • September 28, 2011  - Thomas Salmon says:

    To even the most casual observer, it would seem that Mr. Weis was batter able to prepare the offense and select the plays that minimize the effect of subpar QB play.

  • September 28, 2011  - Chuck says:

    Very good article Bob. Well you could say 5 touchdowns and 17 turnovers in those same 5 games are not going to win any football games. Iam going out on a limb and predicting that we win the next 2 games. That would put us at 2-3 and everybody will forget just how bad Cassel really is. Atleast until we play somebody that is really good again, and then it will start all over again with the Anti-Cassel campaign, of which Iam the Chairman.

  • September 28, 2011  - Tim says:

    This is apples & oranges. Weis had an entire normal offseason to work with. That was not the case leading up to this year. Just not the same… Having said this however, I believe Muir is not the right guy. Haley needs to take over this area & establish stability for the direction of the offense. This type of offensive instability is eventually what got Parcels the boot everywhere he was. There were issues with this stuff in NY & Dallas. I would think Haley would’ve learned you can’t have too many cooks in the kitchen. Heck! Parcels even had Sean Payton on a yo-yo. Now look at him! He learned. Haley needs to – and fast.

  • September 28, 2011  - the other dave says:

    So Bob, what do you think. Was it Charlie? If not then what? I’m interested in your opinions since you have so much experience covering football. That’s one of the reasons I’m a subscriber.

  • September 28, 2011  - Tenand6 says:

    If Matt Cassel requires Charlie Weis to be successful, then he isn’t the right man for the job. We need a new QB. There are no Joe Montanas out there, but to make a point: At the end of his career coming off a major injury or two, Joe Montana — with an average offensive coordinator– and no skill players around him— moved the ball up and down the field. It can be done if a QB can see the field, find the open man and deliver the ball where it belongs.

    Matt Cassel, by my eyes, can’t do that.

  • September 28, 2011  - el cid says:

    We will not quit playing football if Weiss never returns to KC. But while he was here, it was working. With Muir, it is not working. But win against the vikings and things may change, lose and there may be rioting in the streets (joking)

    ED J will appreciate this, heard today insiders outside the area felt Cassel would be the Achilles Heel of the team. Good backup but not able to deliver as #1. Pretty much says it all, KC fans hate him and outsiders doubt he will succeed. Now what will the Chiefs do? Give away a season for Stanzi or the next college star? Even try to save this season? I am betting they ride it out, more injuries, go cheap, Hunt strays in tx, Pioli stays silent, and Haley gets fired at the end (someone has to fall on the Hunt sword for the wrath of the fans)…..Then we start over after a lengthy search for the right HC, just in time to miss on the draft, then 5 more years of boobs-R-us at Arrowhead.

  • September 28, 2011  - Josh says:

    It finally dawned on me reading this article and the comments from Cassel and Haley: They reason these two are such poor performers, across the board, is that they are both too stupid to realize that they’re bad. It’s like the old poker saying, “If you can’t spot the fish at the table, you’re the fish.” These two losers (Haley is 14 to 21 for a .400 win-loss ratio, Cassel is only slightly better with 22 to 25 for a .468 win-loss ratio) think they can compete in this league, and opposing defensive coordinators in the AFC have a field day planning to embarrass the Chiefs each week by stuffing the box and blitzing every passing down. I’m beginning to wonder if little Clarkie and his playdate pal Scottie PeeOnMe aren’t the other two fish at this proverbial poker table.

    Go (What’s Left of the) Chiefs!

  • September 28, 2011  - rufus says:

    While I agree with the obvious correlation, I also note this offense tanked under Weis’ watch and he was unable to pull them out of it. There is no doubt the offense overachieved last season, with exception to the only legit player – Jamaal Charles.

    In the end, I think it was a natural progression for any cinderella team. The NFL is a place where pretenders are eventually exposed. To me, that’s what happened. The Chiefs simply were and are not as good as their record indicated. Dwayne Bowe had a run. Then he didn’t. That’s his MO. He’s the best they have and well, that’s how it happens.

  • September 28, 2011  - el cid says:

    Becht gone, OConnell back at TE.

  • September 28, 2011  - Tim says:

    I too believe Cassel is not the real answer to our QB situation. We have to understand that Haley & others are not going to blast their own guys. They HAVE to stand behind them. They’re all we have. No player is going to want to play for an organization that will just throw them under the bus. A professional athlete doesn’t like to be told its not going to work, but they can accept it as part of the business – especially when they can say they were given a shot & not torpedoed by coaches. Haley more than anybody knows Cassel’s problems. Heck, he was working with Kurt Warner! This is quite a step back in that regard. Remember the context of how & why we have Cassel. There really weren’t many, if any, clearly better alternatives at the time. What would you do…draft a rookie as opposed to getting a guy that had come off an 11-5 season that proved he could win with enough talent around him? What draftees would’ve been available at the time we drafted in that draft? Now that we have more of the pieces in place, is the time to be looking for our qb. Is it Stanzi? Good chance it might not be. We’d better keep our eyes peeled early in the next draft. I believe the worst thing we could do is re-cycle another vet. Better to keep building other parts of the team.

  • September 28, 2011  - el cid says:

    i agree Tim but what do the do sunday? The vikings and colts are winnable games but not if the Chiefs cannot get some offense, defense, and sp.teams on the field.

    I just do not want to mail in the next 13 games, not go to the stadium sundays. I have found I hate losing more than I love winning (stole that).

    If you follow football, Hunt’s Chiefs style Cassel is going no where (Haley benched him for a couple of plays last year and what happened, he went back in). Palko is a joke even as a backup, Stanzi is a ?. Haley is going no where, just bait for we fans waiting for Pioli hatchet to fall.

    Not real interested in the next draft, what about the next 13 games.

  • September 28, 2011  - napahank says:

    I think Tim hit the nail on the head. Cassel was the only “proven” commodity at the time who proved he could lead (as long as talent surrounded him). Bring him to KC and bring talent around him and he could do good (2010). Upgrade the talent even more (Baldwin) and expand the existing talent (Dex and Moeaki) and Cassel “may” become special (2011).

    Then along comes 2011. Wies leaves and no OTA’s for new OC Muir (probably wouldn’t have helped), Moeaki, Charles and Baldwin out (hard to overcome that). Finally, don’t forget the Brian Waters departure. He was a stabilizing leader on the line for the 1st half of last season until he wore out.

    In my opinion we will never know whether Cassel would have continued to progress without seeing him in action at least with 3 of 4 of his playmakers out and a non-proven OC calling the plays. This years offense is unpredictable and my evaluation of Cassel for 2011 will include an *. Now if Cassel and the offense overcomes and somehow dramatically improves through the season then….we have a true leader in QB.

  • September 28, 2011  - Tim says:

    el cid…on Sundays we have no alternative to go with what we have & support them the best we can. There is no other alternative than the players we have. Now if Cassel continues to turn the ball over through the first 8 games, the right thing to do regardless of our emotions is to start Stanzi & see what develops.

  • September 28, 2011  - John says:

    What we saw in the first half was what happens when a offense line coach calls plays. Remeber that as a player they seldom get more than 3 or 4 yards down the field. My wife, one of four members in my family with season tickets, nearly ripped my arm off when, needing 4 yards for a 1st, Cassel threw a 3 yard pass. They weren’t passes, they were just long hand-offs. Play calls are making this team look worse than it is. I hope.

  • September 28, 2011  - brainsmasher says:

    Hell yeah it was Charlie. I never thought Michael Jordan was that great until he retired and the truth hit me over the head.

  • September 28, 2011  - ED J says:

    Tim you make great points only problem is at some point as organization you have to take chance and develop Qb. Cassel true enough did go 11-5 but their are laundry list of back QBs who played well for a season starter got hurt. See Scott Mitchell from Lions when he took over for Dan Marino for Dolphins. We could’ve got Freeman who is looking like stud for the Bucs with less talent at receiver position than what we have in Kc. Also same with Sanchez he was huge in playoffs for the JETs.

    Yea we’re stuck with Cassel but I do agree we need to find his replacement this year’s draft unless Cassel manages to get this team to 8-8 or 9-7 and no good QBs are avaible. Stanzi I think can be a really good starting NFL QB. But we want know until he gets on the field. He want play this season unless he really impress in practice and Cassel continues to play worst and our record falls to 2-6 or 3-5.

    Weis leaving made minmal effect. Bottom line Weis can’t make up for the fact Cassel isn’t Tom Brady. He can’t throw receivers open and he’s not as accurate. Matter fact he’s not accurate at all. Raiders would’ve beat us like that whether Charlie left or not last yr. I watched that game again 2weeks ago and he looked awful. Made bunch bad reads and was very inaccurate. Also Ravens game he didn’t read coverage well staired down receivers. He miss Kevin Curtis deep twice in that game wide open. So Weis leaving can’t make up for the fact Cassel just isn’t a starting Qb. IF anything he saved his reputation as play caller. He got exposed last 2 games as Chiefs coordinator so much media created a story like Haley had took over play-calling which we later found wasn’t true. So hopefully Cassel can play well enough for us to finish .500 or slightly better and maybe next yr Stanzi or someone else can challenge him for the job.

  • September 28, 2011  - Tim says:

    ED J: I don’t disagree about looking for another qb. The problem w/ Cassel is that he’s not an instinctive qb at all. That’s why he seems “deliberate” & slow to read as people have said. He’s being schooled in doing the proper things, and at times does them well, but there’s no comparison in how a person with more & better instincts reacts as opposed to somebody that is not as instinctive & always is “methodical” looking. The reaction times are night & day. I just don’t believe there’s enough evidence he can get to that kind of comfort zone to improve his reaction time with the instincts he has. In essence, the ceiling with Cassel is not much above where he is. The only way to significantly improve his play is to put more players around him. He’s not going to ever get to the point where he can win a game with his decisions or his arm. We need a more “instinctive” qb that has the arm that can.

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