Today could be ‘Black Monday' in Kansas City. With over 20 players preparing to never set foot on this roster again, at least half the coaching staff on the outs, and a possible change in the front office, one thing is obvious – this team will take more than one year to fix.
The Chiefs were bad Sunday, but showed some grit until overtime. The brightest spot was quarterback Brodie Croyle, who tied the game with a solid drive in the fourth quarter. It's amazing what happens when he's given time to throw the ball.
For those who doubt his future, wait until he has a competitive offensive line in front of him and a good offensive coordinator behind him. Until then, the jury is out.
Both units – line and coordinator - should change significantly in the offseason. Mike Solari is out, and the Chiefs are closing on a new offensive coordinator. But ending with nine losses in a row, one has to wonder if team owner Clark Hunt will clean out the entire front office and coaching staff.
That option appears remote at the moment, but it's clear this organization needs a leader. It has to be Hunt, who needs to make some decisions before the growing apathy in the fan base gets worse. Chiefs Nation wants change, and they want it now.
A 4-12 season wasn't necessarily unexpected, but the Chiefs made decisions that were void of practicality and only delayed the change that should have occurred the day after Edwards was hired. Instead this organization hung its future on aging players and put the financial future in 28-year old running back Larry Johnson and 31-year old tight end Tony Gonzalez. Those big-time contracts may come at the expense of defensive end Jared Allen, who right now is the best defensive end in the NFL.
Johnson and Gonzalez are great players, but by the time Kansas City is good again - in 2009, or worse, 2010 - their prime NFL years will be behind them.
I'm not sure what's going to unfold over the next week or so but something positive must transpire so the fans gain some hope in what will be the most uncertain offseason in team history.
Five To Remember
1. HC Herm Edwards - For the third week in a row his team didn't give up. Despite a deficiency in talent, the Chiefs made enough plays to get the game in overtime and tried to win it for their head coach. The reaction on the sidelines after Croyle's touchdown pass to Jeff Webb was electric. That shows me this football team still cares and there's a base to work with in 2008 and 2009.
2. WR Jeff Webb - He was asked to be a bigger part of the offense and responded against the Jets. His touchdown catch late in the game should give him confidence as the teams number three receiver in 2008. The Chiefs will say goodbye to Eddie Kennison and Samie Parker, and they'll take one of the top wide receivers in the draft. That leaves Webb as a guy who will have to play like he did against the Jets on numerous Sundays next year.
3. K Jon Carney - I was a bit pessimistic about the Chiefs adding Carney late in the season, but I've changed my mind. They should sign him to a one-year contract next season and keep him around. His leg was strong on Sunday and his kickoffs weren't bad. I think he still has some game left and the Chiefs would be wise to get another year out of him. He nails field goals from inside the 40-yard line and with this offense being more productive next season, his accuracy could produce victories.
4. LB Keyaron Fox - The Chiefs might want to reconsider letting him go in free agency. He had his best game as a Chief on Sunday. Fox was all over the field and penetrated into New York's backfield at times. I know he has a history of injuries, but given the fact he was a tackling machine in college, he might be someone who this team can count on next season as a solid backup and possible starter. Gunther Cunningham might want to consider cutting ties with Napoleon Harris, moving Donnie Edwards to the middle and placing Fox opposite Derrick Johnson.
5. TE Tony Gonzalez - Another record for the NFL's premier tight end, as Gonzalez broke Shannon Sharpe's career reception mark Sunday, but it has to be bitter sweet. He's a soldier and one of the hardest working men in the game today, and all he wants to do is play a significant game in January at Arrowhead. He'd throw away all the records for that. Let's hope the moves made this offseason make it possible for Gonzalez to do just that.
Chiefs' Nightmare Season Ends
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