Chiefs face a painful offseason
By JASON WHITLOCK
Just as Chiefs kick returner Eddie Drummond went nowhere trying to make a play against a swarm of New York Jets during the second quarter, his team went nowhere again Sunday. Kansas City finished the 2007 season with a team-record ninth consecutive loss and a dismal 4-12 record.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. | The worst team in professional football closed out its season with an agonizing-to-watch, 13-10 overtime loss to the Jets that was really a poorly disguised cry for help.You just hope Clark Hunt, Kansas City’s wet-behind-the-ears owner, was listening.
His organization is in decay, and denial won’t cure what ails the Chiefs, who finished 4-12, their worst campaign in 30 seasons.
“Everyone needs to take a look in the mirror,” defensive end Jared Allen said when it was over.
“Let’s bring the pain,” Tony Gonzalez stated glumly. “Do something and do something drastic. There is something wrong, obviously.”
Obviously. The Chiefs wrapped up the 2007 season extending a franchise-record losing streak to nine games and jockeying for an elite draft position. The Dolphins and the Rams completed the year with records worse than the Chiefs, but there is no real discernible difference between Kansas City and 1-15 Miami.
Put them on the field in a New Year’s Day Toilet Bowl game and Vegas oddsmakers would likely favor the ’Phins. At least they’ve tasted victory in the past two months.
Yeah, it’s time to bring the pain. There is no easy fix for the Chiefs.
“We have to add more depth,” Allen said when asked what the organization needs to do during the offseason. “We’re shallow in a lot of positions.”
Brian Waters added: “Everybody has to be on the same page. There was a tidbit of hesitation about going young. I guess I can’t blame them; no one expected us to be this bad.”
No one? Not true. This 4-12 season was five years in the making and extremely predictable. In a desperate attempt to make the Super Bowl before Dick Vermeil got tired, the Chiefs spent the Vermeil era on a rampage to win it all taking every shortcut available.
They didn’t develop talent; they acquired it through trade and free-agent spending. Those chickens have come home.
Willie Roaf, Priest Holmes, Trent Green, Eddie Kennison, Casey Wiegmann and John Welbourn — the veterans Vermeil acquired for his record-setting offense — have either retired or announced their retirement with their play this season. Meanwhile, Vermeil’s defensive acquisitions — Ryan Sims, Junior Siavii, Eddie Freeman, Kawika Mitchell, Kendrell Bell, Shawn Barber, Patrick Surtain, Ray Crockett, Glenn Cadrez, Dexter McCleon and Greg Robinson — could form an all-bust fantasy team.
Carl Peterson, the general manager who takes enormous pride in being the league’s toughest contract negotiator and in his ability to avoid “salary cap hell because of it,” is locked in an “incompetence hell” of his own creation.
You just hope Clark Hunt is watching. You hope he understands that loyalty has its limits. He briefly slipped into Herm Edwards’ postgame news conference, and disappeared just as quickly.
We don’t know much about Clark. We don’t know how much he values winning. He’s probably not Jerry Jones, a billionaire whose ego is fed by the Cowboys. That’s all right. But 4-12 should hurt. It should embarrass. It should provoke.
Peterson called the nine-game losing streak “unacceptable.”
What then is 15 years without a playoff victory? How about putting together the league’s worst team in your 19th year of leadership?
Sunday was a cry for help. The Jets are nearly as bad as the Chiefs. A mediocre New York defense gutted Kansas City’s offense, holding the Chiefs to 53 rushing yards, sacking Brodie Croyle three times and limiting him to 20 of 43 passing. On offense, the Jets rushed for 199 yards. On their game-winning drive, Thomas Jones ran at will, setting up the clinching field goal.
What did we learn this season about the Chiefs that we didn’t already know?
Tony Gonzalez and Jared Allen are two of the best players at their positions. Nearly everything else is a total mystery. The season was a waste. Someone has to pay for this.
“Let’s bring the pain.”
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