One of the greatest teachers of all time once said, "Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand." The end of the article will reveal the teacher.
The Chiefs' division came to fruition in the 2007 offseason and in training camp. When Herm Edwards first arrived in 2006 he was very clear that the team he inherited was aging (one of the oldest in the NFL) and needed a strong infusion of youth. Simply put, the roster needed to be turned over.
He never stated this, but judging by his actions and reading between the lines of his actual statements, I believe Edwards' plan was to use 2006 as a talent evaluation year before overhauling the roster in 2007. The only problem was that Edwards' became a victim of his own success, taking a team that probably should not have made the playoffs to the playoffs. The 2006 season was fool's gold and division was born.
I believe for the most part, Edwards wanted to stay with his plan and go full bore with the roster overhaul. However, at the same time, several members of the Chiefs' brain trust saw the glitter of the gold and thought the Chiefs were a few tweaks away from competing for the AFC Championship.
Unfortunately, it follows that Herm himself also allowed himself to be convinced of the glitter of a fourth playoff appearance in his six years of coaching. I think he had an internal struggle between what he knew had to be done and the potential gold within his reach.
So the Chiefs did the unthinkable - they attempted to do both. They tried to tweak the team, while still proclaiming a youth movement. The moment that decision was made, failure was determined.
Our previously mentioned great teacher taught, "No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other." Surely we saw this happen over the course of 17 weeks. By season's end, the Chiefs and their fans hated the roster that had been formed.
The best example came in the management of the quarterback position. If the Chiefs had committed to another season with their sights set on the Super Bowl, they would have committed to Trent Green as the starting quarterback. Even with his declining skills, Green was the best leader Kansas City had in the clubhouse to guide the team through the chase of the glitter.
If the Chiefs had committed to a new regime they would have committed to Brodie Croyle and decided to live with his youthful mistakes from the very beginning. The compromise was Damon Huard, a player who did well enough in 2006 to perhaps lead the chase of the glitter, but was limited in talent enough to allow Croyle a shot to win the job.
The crumbling of the season doesn't lay at Huard's feet, but the decision to commit to Huard as a viable candidate is an example of the division within KC's house.
Most will blame the chasing of the glitter on Carl Peterson, and he probably was behind it. Edwards was complicit, as were others in the organization. It worked for a while as the Chiefs jumped out to a 4-3 record in an uncharacteristically weak AFC West, but then it all came crashing down.
The age and rapidly declining skill level of the offensive line forced the defense to play more snaps early in the season than most defenses. The result was an offense whose foundation (the line) broke down and the defense simply wore down. A current eight-game losing streak is all that is left of this crumbling house.
How to fix it? Fire Herm? Not likely.
He simply needs to execute the plan he came with. The Chiefs currently have at least 10 draft picks and before it's all said and done, may acquire a few more. Kansas City has plenty of cap space to go after a few key free agents (none of which will have more than five years of experience in the NFL).
Fire Carl? It's the prevailing sentiment in Kansas City, but not the correct move.
Instead, Peterson needs to take on the role of execution, rather than strategist. Edwards should be allowed free rein of the coaching staff and the roster. Peterson needs to be the one who executes that plan. Taking a lesser role may be tough for a strong personality such as Peterson, but it's a necessary step.
The question before the Chiefs is "How long will you waver between two opinions?" I believe that question has already been answered. This offseason will see an overhaul of the roster and perhaps the coaching staff (at least the offensive side). Sadly, the commitment to do so is about a year overdue.
As for our teacher, as I braved the bitter cold last week to watch the final bricks come down on this season in a disappointing loss to the Titans. I over heard two of my fellow fans confess to skipping church to attend KC's final home game, and I imagine quite a few of the other 40,000 fans did the same.
That being the case, I mixed in some Biblical teaching to help fill the spiritual gap for some of us. Our teacher is none other than Jesus Christ himself, quoted from Matthew 12:25 and Matthew 6:24. The question posed to the Chiefs is from Kings 18:21.
A House Divided
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