This franchise has managed to completely collapse after the 13-3 record a year ago. Now they face obstacles that won't make this an easy fix to turn things around.
That means it's time for some changes at Arrowhead and they have to be drastic. This ship needs to be righted and playing out the sting is a forlorn conclusion and if the Chiefs were smart, they'd play every rookie and try to stockpile top draft picks and hope they can reenergize the defense and offense for one more run in 2005.
Now that doesn't mean they'll be successful in drafting the best players but winning any more games this season makes no sense. It's all about 2005 and beyond.
The evaluation for the players by the coaches has to happen with an intensity and accuracy that has eluded management the last three years the last six games of the season. When you lose three of your first five games at home, it's time to move the organization in another direction. The once proud home of the Chiefs, Arrowhead stadium used to be sacred ground. This team had been virtually invincible at home until now. But this year two bad teams and one great team has turned the NFL's best home-field advantage into a walking ground for road victories.
The 2004 version of the Chiefs resembles that of the team Dick Vermeil inherited back in 2001. This team showed little passion nor any type of urgency when they have the ball. The coaching staff has little feel for the game and the play-calling on both sides of the ball leaves little to the imagination; not to mention execution.
The Chiefs have never shown the ability to make enough adjustments during the game or stick with something that's working and that's by far the most frustrating aspect of this coaching staff. They passed all night long against the Patriots but then tried to pound the football in the red zone with Derrick Blaylock. That failed and last weeks solid performance by Priest Holmes back-up when he rushed for nearly 200 yards; proved that he can't get it done against a superior defense. Blaylock was held to 58 yards rushing on 19 carries.
Though it might not be time to chuck the whole defensive and offensive philosophies; it certainly needs some new blood on the field and in the coaching box. But before they can do that the Chiefs need to look deep within their roster. They should bring up every man on the practice squad and bench the veterans in lieu of massive whole sale changes even before the season ends. This was a Super Bowl contending team that has lost in every conceivable way this season. That's inexcusable and liability needs to be claimed by someone in this organization.
The offense has been horrible at times and the defense simply has refused to play the style of football that Gunther Cunningham wants them to play. The problem is the talent level is poor and the veterans who should be leading the way are instead contributing to the defensive demise. One thing is certain rookie defensive end Jared Allen certainly gets it as he leads all NFL rookies in sacks with five.
On special teams, Dante Hall has simply lost the ability to return punts or kicks. He's not running with the same authority or confidence that he displayed a year ago. It's not the blocking nor the schemes, Hall simply is not using the one thing that made him successful last season; his speed. He's waiting and waiting and committing himself to moving one way as soon as he gets the ball. He's not even trying to change directions or break outside and use the speed that made him the Human Joystick like he did in 2003.
The players are to blame but the coaching staff is far more responsible. They've simply failed at communicating the things that are necessary to make these players believe they can be winners on the field. Kansas City does not know how to win ball games. The Patriots have now won 24 of their last 25 games by an average winning margin of only seven points.
The Chiefs have lost by an average margin of seven points and that's the difference between a team that has won two of the last three Super Bowls and a team that simply does not have enough talent to win consistently or is as focused as they need to be on every play. The Patriots are not much better in regards to talent than the Chiefs; they just understand how to win close games and they make plays! It's really that simple.
The Chiefs unfortunately have been afflicted with the same disease that killed their parking lot mates the Kansas City Royals, they couldn't live up to the expectations or the hype. They fell victims to the belief that they had enough talent to win when clearly they were the last ones to realize what everyone in the NFL and in Kansas City knew when they decided to let free agent after free agent sign with other teams. Instead they focused on veterans who clearly don't have the talent or passion to bring it on the field.
That means this organization is back to the drawing board and that's a shame if you're a Chiefs fan; especially when you consider that 2005 will be the last season for both Head Coach Dick Vermeil and President Carl Peterson. That means it could be several years before the Chiefs are in contention and the reality is that someone other than those two men will have to lead this organization back to respectability and contention in the AFC West.
That's too bad for the fans of Kansas City who have done what they could do in the stands and in the community to support this organization. It's time to pay them back with changes that will make an impact.