Week Four – Issues Surrounding the Chiefs

After a 38-14 drubbing in Atlanta, there are plenty of issues surrounding the Kansas City Chiefs. This week Michael Ash discusses Brady Quinn, KC's running game, and the possibility of Bill Cowher and/or Marty Schottenheimer returning to Kansas City.

During halftime of the Chiefs/Falcons game, I was planning to write about benching Larry Johnson.

Then the second half started, and Johnson made that idea look pretty silly. Still, you can't blame me for considering such a topic. In the first two quarters of Sunday's game, Johnson amassed only 19 yards on 7 carries.

I'm not putting the blame entirely on him, and the column I had in mind wasn't going to attack him for not producing. It was just going to be a reflection of what I thought would be best for the Chiefs. With the way Johnson never seemed to find any room to run, I couldn't help thinking that smaller, shiftier, quicker backs like Kolby Smith and Jamaal Charles would be better options while the offensive line is still meshing.

This is an issue to revisit in the future, but for the moment it was certainly nice to see KC's running game finally get on track. However, one has to wonder what will happen when defenses figure out how to stop that toss play. Or, for that matter, what will happen when the other team isn't already ahead by 24 points.

The Chiefs should not trade for Cleveland's Brady Quinn.

This is probably a moot point anyway, as it appears to be just a matter of time before Quinn is named Cleveland's new starter.

But there are plenty of good reasons why the Chiefs shouldn't trade for him – the key one, obviously, is that the team simply can't afford to give away what looks to be another top-five draft pick. Especially for an unproven player who wasn't considered worthy of that draft position when he came out of college.

Would Brady Quinn have value in Kansas City?
Matt Sullivan

But if Quinn were to actually come to the Chiefs, who's going to be here to coach him up?

I'll give Herm Edwards credit for the fact that it appeared he was ready to replace Dick Curl as quarterbacks coach early in the offseason. If former UCLA head coach Karl Dorrell had taken the job as KC's wide receivers coach, Eric Price was reportedly set to take Curl's job with the quarterbacks. But when Dorrell went to Miami instead, Price took over as wide receivers coach and Curl continued to coach quarterbacks.

I'm still not aware of any quality NFL quarterbacks Curl has developed, and neither Brodie Croyle nor Tyler Thigpen have shown much. What's the sense of giving up such a high ransom for Quinn, only to saddle him with coaches who haven't proven they can develop talent at the quarterback position?

You might say, "but these coaches won't be here that much longer." That may well be true, but look what's happening in Arizona with Matt Leinart, who wasn't drafted by Ken Whisenhunt's staff. What if the next group of coaches aren't high on Quinn?

Then what have we done?

Speaking of Kansas City's rushing attack, an interesting point was raised during the coverage of NBC's Sunday night game.

One of the numerous talking heads mentioned that the Patriots' offense has suffered since Tom Brady's injury. While that may seem like a fairly obvious statement, the issue being raised was that New England has dumbed down their offense for Matt Cassel and they're suffering because of it.

Without the fear of the Brady-to-Moss vertical passing game, defenses aren't worried about getting beaten deep. So when the Patriots run the ball or attempt screen passes, defenders are closer to the line of scrimmage and can stop those plays for short yardage much more frequently than they used to.

Doesn't that sum up Kansas City's offense? It's been three games, and you can count on one hand the number of shots taken down the field. I was especially surprised by the lack of play action during the second half Sunday, when the Chiefs had finally established the threat of a running game.

Obviously, KC's coaching staff doesn't want defenders teeing off on their quarterbacks, but they have to try taking some shots at some point. Don't they?

What's with all the talk out there about Marty Schottenheimer and Bill Cowher?

It seems there are an inordinate number of people who'd like to see both men return to the Chiefs. They either want Schottenheimer to return as the general manager, to see Cowher return as head coach, or both.


Don't get me wrong – Cowher is a fine coach and the Chiefs could certainly do a lot worse. But the simple truth of the matter is that absolutely no one would be pining for Cowher to come to Kansas City if he hadn't won a Super Bowl in 2005. Without that singular win, he'd be seen exactly the same way Schottenheimer is - a good coach who could never win the big one.

Who in their right mind would want to see that kind of "he'll get you close, but he'll never take you all the way" coach leading the team again? Nobody would be interested in another version of Marty. If not for that ring on his finger, Chiefs fans would be avoiding Cowher like the plague.

So how did Cowher finally manage to get over the hump and win a championship? The Steelers struck gold when they drafted Ben Roethlisberger. With their rookie phenom at quarterback, Pittsburgh won 14 straight games in 2004. The next year, they won the championship. That was Big Ben's second year with the Steelers – for Cowher, it was his 14th.

Would The Chin fit in Kansas City?
Jamie Squire

If you give most coaches 14 years to build their roster, then add the once-in-a-lifetime element of a quarterback coming into the league and immediately playing at the level Roethlisberger did, a championship should be within reach. Cowher put together some good teams in Pittsburgh, but he only has a ring because he lucked out with a young quarterback and because he worked for an owner who was patient enough to give him all those years on the job.

It's not exactly a formula he can bring with him to a new team.

But the strangest part about all the Cowher talk is the fact that the biggest knock on him in Pittsburgh – and stop me if this sounds familiar – was that he was too conservative on offense. So conservative, in fact, that he and Roethlisberger reportedly clashed over it. Incidentally, in the time since Cowher's retirement, Roethlisberger has made it quite clear that he and his former head coach weren't on the best of terms.

Why are so many of the same people who are fed up with Herm Edwards' philosophy crossing their fingers for a coach who sees things the exact same way Herm does? Both are notorious for following that same old Marty Ball style.

That moves us right into the idea of Schottenheimer becoming KC's general manager. I just can't understand the interest in bringing back someone who has such strong ties to the current front office. Has this team been so successful over the past 20 years that Carl Peterson's dynasty has to be preserved? Can we not promote anyone unless it's a person who Carl himself once hired?

If you're hoping to see Clark Hunt do some housecleaning at Arrowhead – and it appears many of you are – let's hope he actually cleans house. When a new general manager is brought aboard, no one wants to see some retread that got the job because he has ties to the Chiefs from days gone by.

When Peterson is gone, I want to see an inspired hire – someone who offers a fresh direction and a sense that things have changed in Chiefs Kingdom.

Wondering why there haven't been any updates on the WPI fantasy league? The other seven members have quit due to my total domination.

Okay, that isn't true – although I am sitting rather comfortably atop the standings at the moment. The lack of updates is just the unfortunate result of some circumstances beyond our control, but an update on the first three weeks of league action will be available in the coming days.

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