Down — but definitely out
Chiefs’ rebuilding job is only just beginning
By Dan Arkush
Sept. 22, 2008
With 15 rookies on their 53-man roster and 32 players with three years of experience or less, not too many people realistically expected a Chiefs team that lost its 12th straight regular-season game in Atlanta on Sunday to be anything close to a contending team this season.
That said, we hear there are many league observers who believe the Chiefs should be a lot better than they’ve performed three weeks into the season, including some higher-ups in the team’s organization who just might eventually consider making some changes at the top if the team continues to look so inferior to its competition.
Said one veteran NFL evaluator a few days before the Chiefs’ 38-14 shellacking by the Falcons: “When you are sitting on the five-yard line and you cannot score against New England (in Week One), and then you get whipped by an organization as dysfunctional as Oakland (in Week Two), I don’t know how you could have any hope.
“On paper, it looked like they could be 3-2 through the first five games. After what I’ve seen, I don’t think they could be any better than 0-5, and they are likely looking at the top pick in the draft.”
Should that indeed be the case, don’t be surprised if the Chiefs use that pick on the best quarterback available in 2009. With a lot of major concerns from which to choose, the Chiefs’ QB situation is particularly tenuous, with four different signalcallers getting thrown into the fire in the first three games.
The quarterback currently under center for the Chiefs is Tyler Thigpen, a third-stringer entering the season who made his first start on Sunday, with Brodie Croyle, who has suffered three injuries in his seven pro starts, out with a separated shoulder, and veteran backup Damon Huard sidelined with a sore neck.
Fox insider Jay Glazer’s report Sunday morning that the Chiefs tried to work a trade earlier this week for Browns backup QB Brady Quinn didn’t surprise league insiders, some of whom believe Chiefs GM Carl Peterson could be feeling a real sense of urgency to accelerate the team’s progress and, as a result, solidify his job security.
Don’t be surprised if the Chiefs continue to seriously explore other possible “quick fix” solutions in the coming weeks (Jeff Garcia? Daunte Culpepper?) — to the extent that there might be any feasible help available.
“They need so much at core positions — it’s not just a quarterback,” said one league source. “It’s the offensive line, rush end, cornerback. It’s going to take more than another draft to make them competitive.
“The biggest problem is they do not have a quarterback. And it’s scary to think they were going to pass up a franchise quarterback (Matt Ryan, who scorched the Chiefs on Sunday) last year if he were there at No. 5 (in the 2008 draft).”
Chiefs head coach Herm Edwards continues to put up as good a front as he can in his exchanges with the media.
“We’re building,” Edwards said earlier this week.” I’m going through it with everybody else, and I don’t like it. But it’s the best thing for this organization.”
What might not be the best thing for the organization, according to some sources close to the scene, is for Edwards to have any significant input in the team’s personnel decisions.
“He’s an awful evaluator,” said one veteran pro evaluator with firsthand knowledge of Edwards’ personnel acumen. “First of all, he can’t stay awake long enough to watch the film. He’s one of those guys that can watch 15 snaps and then go off for a half hour about what the guy could or could not do for him in his system.”