The trendy pick: The Chiefs are on their way back
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Perhaps the greatest thing going for new Bears quarterback Jay Cutler (above) is that he's not Rex Grossman.
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Why this pick makes sense:
Scott Pioli certainly knows the formula for success -- he helped draw it up alongside names like Bill Parcells and Bill Belichick. Already, Pioli has turned over the Chiefs' roster in quick order, making several daring moves along the way. No one is expecting a Super Bowl appearance, but there are lots of good vibes in Kansas City and a sense that the turnaround isn't too far down the road.
Pioli is easily among the best personnel in the business. If he says quarterback Matt Cassel is worth a six-year, $63 million contract, then he probably is. It is a huge risk putting so much faith in a mostly unproven backup quarterback. But Pioli and first-year coach Todd Haley, who has Super Bowl experience with the Arizona Cardinals, are establishing an entirely new football culture within the organization and trusting themselves with Cassel.
Gone are the country club days of not holding all players to the same standards of professionalism. The perfect example: It took 2008 first-round pick Glenn Dorsey five days to pass the conditioning test that allowed him to begin practice. While his teammates practiced, the $22 million out-of-shape Dorsey had to go through humiliating conditioning drills on the sideline. The message was clear. No matter who you are or how much money you make, if you slack, you sit.
Also gone are the days of hiring re-tread coaches. And the Carl Peterson front-office that got passed by a younger, hungrier, more eager NFL generation is gone, too.
Let's not forget the importance of 44-year-old Clark Hunt, either. The son of Chiefs patriarch Lamar Hunt, Clark inherited the title of Chairman of the Board of the organization when his father died in 2006. He definitely has the ambition and energy to put his own stamp on the franchise.
Why it may not fly:
This is a bad team. I mean, really, really bad. Winning just six times in its last 32 games tells the biggest part of the story. But the problems run deeper.
There has been a lot of attitude and complacency on this team, a product of the previous regime. That doesn't get better overnight. Veteran players are griping, Larry Johnson is hinting at wanting a trade and the talent holes are gaping.
The offensive line is mediocre: Gone is Pro Bowl tight end Tony Gonzalez, the secondary is pitiful and the linebacking corps has been fortified with Mike Vrabel and Zach Thomas -- proven players and leaders who are on their last NFL legs.
Pioli also added 14-year veteran Amani Toomer, 14-year wide receiver Bobby Engram, 12th-year guard Mike Goff and 10th-year safety Mike Brown.
The club's sponsor should be Band-Aid.
And did we mention that the $63 million franchise quarterback never has started a playoff game or been a regular NFL starter?
So, will it happen?
Nope. It's just asking too much. The Chiefs have cleared some cap space, but they are at least four or five years away.
I think 4 or 5 years may be pushing it, but I appreicate that sportswriters are no longer protecting the Herm era.