Blame Game Won't Work For Chiefs

Now that the Chiefs have rolled to their 12th consecutive loss, with a 13th looming Sunday against Denver, it's time to stop playing the blame game. Firing everyone is certainly one direction to take, but Kansas City's recent slide didn't happen overnight. It's taken years to get to this point and more is required than mass firings to right the ship.

The focus for Chiefs fans this week will be to demand that Clark Hunt fire everyone - Carl Peterson, Herm Edwards, Gunther Cunningham and Chan Gailey - just to start the healing process.

Is that the answer? When you examine things logically, probably not. However, that's the problem for Chiefs fans - they are emotional, and in some eyes cleaning house is the best fix.

But it's not prudent for Hunt to take that route. Instead, what he has to do is clearly define his team's direction now and in the future. He then needs to execute that plan based on what he's observed this season.

But I would not want to be Hunt right now. He not only has to find solutions to get this organization back on track, but attempt to do that while still living in the large shadow of his late father.

Lamar Hunt was a remarkably patient and loyal man. Clark has all those same attributes, but what's different - and he knows this better than anyone - is that the NFL has changed. It's all about winning games and filling the seats at the same time. It's not an easy task by any means, but the fact he's from a different generation than his father may help Clark Hunt in the days to come.

So what will he do?

First and foremost, Hunt has to make a decision on General Manager Carl Peterson. His contract is set to expire at the end of the 2009 season. What Hunt gains by firing Peterson now is a possible increase in ticket sales to the seven remaining games at Arrowhead Stadium this season. What that doesn't do is improve the Chiefs or give them a better chance to win games this year.

Peterson has known since he signed his last contract extension that his tenure would soon end in Kansas City. Good or bad in the eyes of the fans, Peterson is partially to blame for the Chiefs' failures this year, but he's not alone in some of the decisions. He's worked with numerous personnel people and head coaches who hold different philosophies, and he's had to blend their styles with his own.

In talking to Peterson a few weeks ago, he was critical of some in the media who have gone after Hunt and Herm Edwards. Likely that's because Peterson's job is to protect those two people at all costs. As he told me, he's the man who is supposed to take all the criticism. You can say all you want about some of his personnel decisions, but I doubt there is anyone more upset over the Chiefs' decline than Peterson.

This is not the way he wants his Chiefs legacy to unfold. As I wrote Sunday, Peterson needs to be bold by trying to shake up the roster and send a message to the players that losing isn't acceptable. That's why I say he should trade KC's number one pick in 2009 to Cleveland for quarterback Brady Quinn. Peterson was aggressive in the draft this past April and should roll the dice again now.

Peterson's certainly at the top of the food chain, but we can't blame him completely for 12 straight losses. Herm Edwards' contract also ends after the 2009 season. Hunt has backed Edwards with the youth movement, so it wouldn't be smart to fire his head coach at this point in the season, and in my opinion this is essentially Edwards' first year on the job.

He has finally drafted his players while ridding himself of players he didn't want and making over the coaching staff. Giving Edwards just one season to improve this football team under those circumstances isn't fair, but this is the NFL, which is rarely fair. Edwards might have to pay the price for Kansas City's failure this season.

However, Edwards knows that no NFL team can win without a steady quarterback. Right now he does not have one, and has holes in his defense at linebacker and defensive end. All of that can't be fixed in one year. It's not remotely possible, and fans have to understand that.

Edwards has told me countless times that this team will get better. These young players have to learn how to win. The Chiefs need time for all the parts to gel into a real football team.

That can happen in Kansas City but Edwards may not be allowed to finish the job if the Chiefs continue to lose games. That's the pressure he's under every day. But he won't panic or make any excuses, because at the moment he's taking responsibility for the losing streak.

So that brings us back to Clark Hunt. He's also at a crossroads. He's as in-touch with the fans as anyone, so don't think for a minute he does not hear you. Kansas City's discontent with his football team is eating at him just as much as all of us.

But that's why he can't make any emotional decisions right now. As bad as we want that as fans, it could end up hurting the franchise even more.

So while some are calling for mass firings, now is actually the time to be patient, think logically and realize that eventually, the wins will come. Hunt has to make sure the next steps are the correct ones. Though it may take another season and a half, patience is the only way to ensure this team becomes a winner again. Top Stories