Crennel Doesn't Want to Be Embarassed

Last Monday night the Kansas City Chiefs were willed to victory by some inspired play from the defense and special teams. But on Sunday afternoon, Todd Haley, Charlie Weis, and Romeo Crennel will be the key to victory as they head to Cleveland to take on former coaching mate Eric Mangini's Browns.

With Monday night's contest ending in the wee hours of Tuesday morning, it has made the Chiefs' weekly preparation for Sunday's contest anything but typical from a scheduling standpoint. Add some tough weather conditions into the equation and this coaching staff has quite the task in getting these players ready both mentally and physically for Sunday's confrontation with the Browns.

"The players are going to be sore because the field was wet and soggy and had a lot of give." Haley said of his team's physical status after Monday's grueling contest. "They were more sore than maybe they would've been, so that's a factor. We've just got to push them and continue to let them know what they're in for this Sunday. I think each day has gotten a little better, and I think that's a good sign."

Let's hope Haley's observations are correct, because the possibility of starting the season off 2-0 would be a major dose of confidence to a franchise that has been consistently shaken. And after an embarrassing loss to the Browns last season in which Jerome Harrison pounded the Chiefs with a 286 yard performance, the rush defense will be an emphasis on Sunday.

With the Chiefs only addressing one position on the defensive side of the ball during the offseason (safety), the task of stopping the Browns' rushing attack will fall solely on the shoulders of their new defensive coordinator.

Crennel returns to Cleveland for the first time since being fired after he compiled a disastrous 24-40 record as head coach. Despite his record, Crennel still has a lot of ties to the Cleveland community and some leftover players from his time there. But don't think this will be a distraction for the veteran D-coordinator.

"You have to focus on your job and what that entails." Crennel said of returning to Cleveland.

"Generally that entails a lot of late nights and so I don't have time to answer my phone. My daughter got a message to me that my phone was full and she couldn't leave a message. That is the way it goes and you really don't have time to think about acquaintances and things like that because you are focused on the game plan and how your players are practicing and what they are doing. Maybe after the game you might be able to say, ‘hey, I remember Joe Smith' or something like that. Leading up to the game you are focused on getting your guys ready to play."

Regardless of the fact that the defensive unit of 2010 is almost parallel of that of 2009, this defense looks brand new, and that is almost certainly all contributed to Crennel and what he has brought to Kansas City. The Browns ran up and down on the Chiefs last year at Arrowhead, but don't expect the same from this Crennel-led defense.

"It was embarrassing," he said. "I don't want to be embarrassed on Sunday." Speaking of embarrassing, offensive coordinator Charlie Weis may have the toughest task on Sunday –instilling some confidence in the Chiefs' $63 million dollar QB.

Cassel's 68 total passing yards on Monday were good for dead last in the league, although his QB rating of 68.0 helps to dig him out of the cellar of the NFL standings. But Scott Pioli did not give Cassel the hefty contract to simply be Trent Dilfer. I still have faith that Cassel can be a good QB in Kansas City, but last Monday's game plan told me that Weis doesn't exactly feel the same way.

When questioned on the topic of why the coaches took the ball out of Cassel's hands on Monday night, Haley over and over again blamed the weather conditions. I am highly skeptical of this excuse, but Weis and Haley have a golden opportunity to prove me wrong on Sunday.

Although the Chiefs rushing attack with Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones appears to be the strength of this offense, Weis needs to give Cassel an opportunity to put this team on his back and lead them to a victory Sunday. Even if Cassel fails, at the very least, Pioli and the rest of the Chiefs brass will know what they have in the struggling QB.

If the Chiefs are actually what they appear to be, which is a team on the rise, they can't afford to wait to determine the franchise QB of the future. If Cassel is that QB, they need to find out now as opposed to hiding his flaws by avoiding letting him make passes down the field. Cassel has the arm, size, and dedication to get it done in the NFL, and I for one believe that given a dose of confidence, he can put it all together.

But there is only one way to find out. Top Stories