Warpaint Roundtable – Regular Season Week 2

This week our crew discusses Damion McIntosh, Tyler Thigpen, Herm Edwards, and team morale.

If the Chiefs are really going with a youth movement why is Damion McIntosh our starting right tackle? Shouldn't we see Wade Smith, Herb Taylor or Barry Richardson as the starter?

Nick Athan: I can't see anything wrong with this logic. Richardson isn't close to ready but could be by late season. As far as Taylor, he should be playing right tackle and Smith should be moved to right guard. I expect we'll see these moves made after the bye week if McIntosh and Adrian Jones don't play any better.

Michael Ash: I don't see it as a youth movement issue. The Chiefs love Brandon Carr, but prior to Pat Surtain's shoulder injury, the veteran was still the starter. Not every young player is able to step into a starting job right away.

The question is why is McIntosh still starting when he's been playing so poorly? I'm not sure if Richardson would fare much better at this point, but at least he'd be a young player gaining experience, which you can't say for McIntosh. Then again, you don't want to see an overmatched young tackle have a Winston Justice experience.

Herm Edwards said this week that he doesn't want to disrupt the continuity on the offensive line, but he certainly left the door open to making a move. Hopefully his comments were something of a final message to McIntosh that he needs to pick it up or a change will be made.

C.E. Wendler: There's been no word of anyone but McIntosh or Richardson practicing at right tackle. If the Chiefs wanted to start Taylor at that position, you'd think they'd have made some sort of move to prepare him by now. At this juncture McIntosh is going to have to play himself out of a starting job by sinking to the depths that Chris Terry found last season, or get injured. Smith isn't a viable candidate for the right tackle job, by the way.

Does the benching of Huard in favor of Thigpen mean the organization has given up on this season?

Nick Athan: Edwards isn't giving up and I can argue that Thigpen gives the Chiefs the best chance to win until Croyle comes back. If anyone read our two-part feature with Edwards before the Patriots opener, you know he expects this team to hit some lows and then some highs. The second half Chiefs will be far better than the first half Chiefs.

Michael Ash: If by "giving up" you mean "admitting they aren't going to win many games this season," the Chiefs did that five months ago when they traded Jared Allen. At that point it became clear this season was about going with youth and building for the future.

Keeping those goals in mind, giving up on this season would entail the abandonment of that philosophy – namely playing Huard while Thigpen sits on the bench. More than at any other position, the Chiefs need to get an idea of what they have at quarterback. With Croyle out, they have to give Thigpen a fair shot -- one that involves him actually preparing as the starter and getting to practice with the first-team offense.

C.E. Wendler: The Chiefs will never come out and admit that they're not doing everything they can to win, but that's exactly what they're doing by going with Thigpen instead of Huard. The veteran quarterback still gives Kansas City the best chance to win games. He's not a Pro Bowler by any means, but at least he can throw an accurate pass – something Thigpen struggles with.

I wouldn't read too much into any personnel moves made over the next month. Until Brodie Croyle returns from his injury, it's going to feel like the Chiefs are playing a second exhibition season. Thigpen belongs on someone's practice squad roster.

How much worse does this season have to get before the team just quits?

Nick Athan: Nobody is going to quit. The last few days was probably the best week of practice this team had all year. After talking to several players, they feel the worst is behind them. This Chiefs team is young and they're taking their collective lumps. They're not as bad as people think they are nationally, and I expect them to play well this weekend. In fact, I'm predicting a Chiefs win.

Michael Ash: I can't pinpoint any situation through two weeks where it would be understandable if the Chiefs quit. While we can list complaints about the team's performance all day, in both games they've played, didn't the Chiefs have the ball with a chance to tie the score in the closing minutes? It's not as if they're getting their heads handed to them every week.

C.E. Wendler: Well, there's a rumor going around the internet that one player – Damon Huard – has already quit. Again, it's just a rumor, but it might explain why Tyler Thigpen is starting, not to mention the mysterious circumstances surrounding Huard's injury a week ago.

However, I don't think you'll see anyone on this team quitting. Edwards gets his players to play hard all year. The effort the Chiefs put forth at the end of last season was incredible considering the circumstances. Who can forget the thrilling game in Detroit, or overtime against the Jets? No one was quitting then, and now there are even more young players who have bought into Herm Edwards' message.

Do you think Herm Edwards is to Kansas City what Bill Callahan was to Nebraska?

Nick Athan: I would not go that far yet. Callahan was a bad coach. He was a solid coordinator, but Edwards has proven he can take some also-rans and young draft picks and turn them into a playoff team. He did in New York three times and in Kansas City once. Right now, Edwards is simply paying the price for the poor player personnel decisions that took place before he came to Kansas City.

Michael Ash: If Herm Edwards were to be fired tomorrow, he still will have accomplished something positive that no one else with the Chiefs has been able to do for decades. He's completely changed the culture here, moving the team away from the days of trading high draft picks for veterans and throwing money at middling free agents. Edwards has the Chiefs on a path that several successful teams have taken.

Even if Edwards doesn't win another game as head coach, he'll still deserve credit for shaking up the stale, failed status quo at Arrowhead Stadium. I don't follow the Huskers that closely, but I don't think the same can be said about Bill Callahan.

C.E. Wendler: We don't know yet. Callahan had some good moments at Nebraska before it all finished up terribly. Meanwhile, Herm Edwards is just getting started rebuilding the Chiefs. We should really be treating 2008 as we treated 2001, when Dick Vermeil started his own "unique" rebuild of the Chiefs. In short, it's too early to compare Edwards to any failed head coaches. Check back with me at the end of next season.

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