We can say what we want about the Chiefs overall performance against San Diego, but there is only one absolute. The defense came to play but the offense didn't. That's going to mean head coach Todd Haley, because his team is now 0-3, is finding that job security noose getting tighter.
Ultimately Haley will take the fall for the Chiefs in 2011 but it's really the play of his starting quarterback that's going to put the nail in his coffin. That leads me to believe that both Haley and Cassel will not see the light of day next season in Kansas City.
Haley, for being an offensive genius, chose to shorten KC's offensive game with multiple running plays mixed in with dink and dunk passes. It's clear that neither the head coach nor the offensive coordinator, Bill Muir, have confidence in Cassel finding any open receivers down the field.
In the first half the Chiefs didn't manage a single first down and didn't have a play of more than five yards. Sadly, despite the fact their defense created two big turnovers, Cassel couldn't do anything with either one of them.
Kicker Ryan Succop, who will be replaced if he keeps missing kicks, shanked a 38-yard attempt that would have given the Chiefs a 3-0 lead in the first quarter. But like KC's offense in general, even he can't convert the simplest of opportunities.
So what do the Chiefs do?
As the losses mount, the organization can fire the head coach, but that might not be enough. They should strongly consider swapping out their starting quarterback. Cassel has regressed so much that it might be time for the team to take a long look at Cincinnati Bengals holdout Carson Palmer.
No one person was higher on Cassel last season than yours truly. But he's hit rock bottom in Kansas City and Palmer, who is demanding a trade, would make sense for the Chiefs. They could offer a late-round pick or deal Cassel to the Bengals straight up for Palmer.
Cincinnati is starting TCU rookie Andy Dalton but thus far the Bengals are 1-2 on the season and adding Cassel, if only for the remainder of the season, would give the AFC North team a veteran quarterback who badly needs a change of scenery.
If the Chiefs are going to do it before their bye, the time to do it is this week. After a home game against Minnesota and a road game against the Indianapolis Colts, the Chiefs return to Arrowhead for three straight games.
By firing Haley and promoting Romeo Crennel to head coach and acquiring Palmer, the Andrew Luck sweepstakes could be put on hold for the Chiefs.
What we saw on Sunday for the third game in a row is that Cassel is unwilling to throw the ball down the field with any real consistency. Sure, the Chargers threw a blanket on Chiefs receiver Dwayne Bowe, but every NFL team has to deal with injuries and Cassel has to step up and overcome the long odds he's facing every weekend.
Perhaps that's harsh but Cassel has been horrific as the KC's starting quarterback since last year's regular season finale against the Oakland Raiders. Forget the statistics in regards to touchdowns and interceptions, the bottom line is that Cassel has lost five straight games, including last year's home playoff loss against the Baltimore Ravens.
With Palmer at least the Chiefs have a known commodity and one who might be a solid replacement for Cassel. The Chiefs probably want Luck, but they'd have to likely go 2-14 to get him.
I'm at a loss for words as to why a team with so much talent isn't more competitive on offense. That falls on Cassel and the head coach.
Sadly, the Chiefs best option might be to play rookie Ricky Stanzi, who was KC's best quarterback in the preseason. But he rests third on the depth chart behind Tyler Palko, who isn't a starting NFL quarterback. We don't know what Stanzi is either but I'll take my chances with him for the remainder of the regular season.
What we do know is that right now, Cassel needs to be replaced.
Chiefs Must Replace Cassel
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