Next Up for the Chiefs is 2005

The Chiefs hit the fork in the road in New Orleans and stubbed their foot on the way to playing out the string in 2004. Facing a must win situation the Kansas City Chiefs made mistake after mistake against the Saints in the big easy as they lose 27-20 and any hopes of making a post season run fell by the wayside as this organization needs to make some changes.

For the Chiefs it all started to go bad in the off-season when they put their entire salary cap in resigning their own free agents. It was clear re-signing safety Jerome Woods to a long term, salary grabbing contract that appears to be in hindsight as the dumbest personnel move since letting wide receiver Joe Horn slip to the New Orleans Saints for $2 million per season.

It all starts at the top and this organization needs a shake-up and there is little point in waiting until the end of the season. The Chiefs need to start dumping veterans and they must get a decision from Priest Holmes if he intends to come back. If not, he needs to stay on the sidelines because Derrick Blaylock deserves to be a starter. He's entering his free agent season and the Chiefs can't do anything but try and lock him up. But the way this defense is playing, I can't see why Blaylock or tight end Tony Gonzalez for that matter would want to stay with the Chiefs.

I've not been too critical of Chiefs Head Coach Dick Vermeil but in all honesty he's suffering from Marty Schottenheimer disease. Though Schottenheimer struck gold this season but that's only because of Drew Brees.

For Vermeil, the game appears to have passed him up as well. It's tiresome to hear how the coaches aren't doing things better. He must have sensed this season would not turn out very good because he started making excuses early in the pre-season about doing things different.

Still, it's one thing for your players to love him to death but it they he can't get better play out of them week in and week out; he needs to turn the reigns of this team over to a younger coach.

For Chiefs President Carl Peterson and Chiefs owner Lamar Hunt, they need to have a sit down this week and start working on the 2005 season. Peterson like Vermeil is entering their final year of his contract with Kansas City and Lamar Hunt needs to turn the franchise over to son Clark and let him run the show. Part of that has already taken place but its time for him to run the show and make the hard choices. The Fans of Kansas City deserve much better and its time to reward them for their loyalty. Unfortunately when you lose, heads should start rolling.

The Peterson, Vermeil duo died last January in Kansas City when they lost to the Colts in playoffs. Each of the three other AFC West combatants made some bold moves in the off-season but Kansas City dictated by their salary cap and lack of vision; simply showed little guts and creativity in trying to lure some top defensive help.

Even this season the Chiefs could have traded for veteran cornerback Mike McKenzie from the Packers instead they let him slip to the Saints for a pair of draft picks and you saw what he can do on defense against the Chiefs on Sunday. Instead they stick with an injured Dexter McCleon who is under-sized and not talented enough to play cornerback in the NFL.

This team now faces extinction and with most of their age on offense, Kansas City does not look like it can get any younger unless some of the veterans retire. On defense players like Woods and Vonnie Holliday should be cut on Monday. No sense keeping them around because neither can play in the NFL anymore. Woods spent the entire week pointing fingers and he's the one who was out of position on all four of Joe Horn's big play receptions.

Granted the defense has some injuries to contend with but this secondary is so bad especially the safeties that their better off playing Shaunard Harts and Willie Pile. Kansas City needs to bench Woods if their not going to release him and Greg Wesley, who also received a fat contract in the off-season.

It's obvious now that the Chiefs defense can't win even with the addition of Gunther Cunningham. In fact, I would not be surprised if Cunningham said the hell with all of this because the Chiefs Helen Keller defense can't see the obvious. The Saints have one wide receiver who can catch the ball and that's it! Nobody else and they let him catch a 42-yard touchdown pass because neither safety rolled over to cover him out of the slot.

That type of coverage is taught at the high school level and Woods and Wesley continue to play out of position and their antics on the field with penalties especially are disheartening. It's not about talent but about attitude and desire and neither safety; especially Woods has very little of that.

I'm at a loss for words and this season of promise has turned into a disaster and it all starts with coaching. Clearly this organization needs to make some changes and the only one person that can do that is Lamar Hunt. No sense waiting for the inevitable because this team has NO shot at the playoffs and after listening to Vermeil after the game on Sunday, its clear he's given up on any hopes of playing past their January 2nd game in San Diego.

For Chiefs fans, they'll start to turn their attention to other things like College Football and Basketball. All the local establishments or organizations that depend on the Chiefs, like Warpaint Illustrated, will have to try and package it together and put up a good front and start talking it up for next season.

It's hard as a Chiefs fan but at least its honest. If Vermeil is going to give up, so will the fans. It's time for a lot of changes at One Arrowhead Drive!

How soon they take place is up to the Hunt Family and how willing they are to break some of the blood lines that have made this organization so successful; remains to be seen. But if they don't, the Chiefs four remaining home games will be playing to anything but a full house.

One thing is certain the Chiefs will take one final NFL curtain call next Monday Night when they face the New England Patriots in what will be their 2004 prime time Super Bowl. Any hopes of reaching the Super Bowl in 2005 were lost after they laid their second egg in two weeks on the road losing back to back games against NFC doormats Tampa Bay and New Orleans.

What a shame! What a colossal waste of some great talent on offense that might have peaked this season because its going to be much harder to be successful next season especially if Holmes retires as many expect. Too bad the defensive veterans who held out for bigger paychecks at the end of last season couldn't earn those dollars this season. What's even worse is that they failed to show up for the most part this season.

But it's really too bad for Lamar Hunt who isn't getting any younger and that elusive AFC Championship Trophy that bares his name remains farther and farther out of his grasp. It certainly won't happen in 2004 and its not likely it will happen in 2005 unless he flexes his muscles.


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