11-10-2012, 04:30 PM
The effectiveness of their methodology is yet to be determined, but the Kansas City Chiefs are certainly moving around a lot in an attempt to change their fortunes after a 1-7 start and a minus-109 point differential, second-worst in the league behind the Jacksonville Jaguars. Head coach Romeo Crennel recently replaced himself as defensive coordinator with Gary Gibbs, the team cut starting cornerback Stanford Routt despite signing him to a multi-year deal this preseason, and there are rumors afoot that team owner Clark Hunt recently met with former Chiefs head coach Marty Schottenheimer for some unknown reason. On Friday, Crennel put everyone still in the building on notice -- from now on, any offensive turnover will result in an automatic benching. It sounds like a drastic move, and we're not aware of a precedent here, but if there's any team where such a move is justified, it's this one. The primary reason the Chiefs have been so bad this year is that they simply can't hold on to the ball. They have a minus-20 turnover ratio -- the second-worst team is the Dallas Cowboys, and they're at minus-11. There hasn't been a team with a worse turnover ratio in a full season since the 2006 Oakland Raiders, who bottomed out at minus-23. So, Crennel said that when the Chiefs face off against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday Night Football, he's pulling anyone who fumbles or throws a pick. "I have to impart on them the importance of protecting the ball for this team," the coach said , "and sometimes to get that done, you basically have to threaten them. If you fumble it, I'm going to take you out of the game. And they will get the message." "They" certainly include quarterback Matt Cassel, who has thrown 11 picks and fumbled the ball an unbelievable eight times this season. "Yes, you can make a change [at quarterback]," Crennel said, "but the thing is, you always have to know exactly what happened on the play and why it happened. If a receiver tips the ball up in the air, is that on the receiver or is that on the quarterback? I have to make that determination, so I'll make the call." The players responsible for those turnovers can apparently return to the same game, but there's no star system here -- even running back Jamaal Charles, by far the team's best offensive player, would get yanked. "Look, Jamaal Charles has fumbled the ball," Crennel said. "So if he fumbles, and he stands over there with me for a little bit, then I put him back in, because he's the guy who runs for a touchdown." This all sounds a bit ridiculous at the NFL level -- you'd expect it of a coach trying to turn a Division III or high school team around, and you'd expect professional football players to know better.