Nobody Said It Was Going To Be Easy

Seconds after he left the podium following KC's 20-10 loss to the Baltimore Ravens, Herm Edwards' facial expression said it all. He looked at team President Carl Peterson and the two shook hands. For the first time all year, I saw for a brief moment that Edwards was visibly affected by a loss. It might end up being painful today but it could pay dividends in the future.

So much for the Chiefs December record at Arrowhead. It's clear that this football team isn't quite where it needs to be. The offense played scared at times and struggled in picking up the Ravens constant blitzes. On defense, players were out of position and generally didn't have the manpower to match up against a very solid Baltimore offense.

The differences between Baltimore and Kansas City was glaring. The Ravens are the team the Chiefs hope to be someday. Baltimore is a team that trusts its players and coaches. The Chiefs, to date, don't, and that's not all that unexpected when you consider the fact this is Edwards first year as KC's head coach.

Let's make this clear: Edwards is the right man for the job. There is no question about that. But he can only do so much with what he has in personnel.

In Baltimore's locker room after the game, former Chiefs linebacker Gary Stills referred to the Chiefs as an "almost" football team. They almost won some games they should have won this year. They were almost a playoff team. But close doesn't cut it in the NFL and it won't cut it for Edwards as he starts to look ahead to 2007.

The question now for Edwards is how long will it take the Chiefs to become a football team that can win games on the road and against the better teams in the AFC. They already solved the NFC issues by going 4-0 against the other league, but they're an astonishing 3-6 against the AFC. That has to be disturbing. With two road games coming up in back to back weeks, the Chiefs will likely finish below .500 in the AFC.

That's not a playoff team.

Edwards indicated last week after the Browns loss that some of the on-the-field performances are beginning to shed some light on the players who might not be on this roster next year.

And as hard as it might be to think that way with three weeks left in the 2006 season, he has little choice. The Chiefs have an outside chance at the post season but if they make it, the stay isn't going to be a long one. But honestly, if you asked Edwards today, he probably doesn't think his team deserves a post season invitation.

But one thing is certain: Edwards won't give up on this football team. Some of the players might – probably the ones that will not be on the roster next season – but the head coach won't.

A man's heart and soul are generally defined by what he can overcome and accomplish in his darkest hour. Edwards is there right now because two weeks ago the Chiefs controlled their own destiny, only to unravel right before his eyes.

Edwards jettisoned over half the roster from a year ago and he'll likely knock off a few more players that either underachieved or don't fit his mold.

And that's what it's all about. I'm sure Sunday night was rough for the Edwards family, but as Monday rolls around he'll be back at work with his sleeves rolled up ready to get back to work.

That's the only way Edwards knows how to do it.

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