Nick Athan: I've talked to about every person I can on Edwards' future, including the man himself. Herm believes he'll be back in 2009, but I can't say that's going to happen. Let's assume for a minute that Clark Hunt hires Scott Pioli - he's going to want to hire his own head coach, and the rumor is he'll nab Patriots' offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels.
Another great choice would be Giants' defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo. However, if the rumors are true about Oklahoma Head Coach Bob Stoops having interest in the KC job, I'd strongly consider him for the Chiefs.
Michael Ash: It's more likely than not that Herm will go, but him leaving is not quite the slam-dunk most seem to think it is. We have a similar example to look at right here in Kansas City – Dayton Moore didn't come right in and fire Buddy Bell, even though it was pretty obvious Bell wasn't the manager who would take the Royals where Moore wants them to go. Bell stayed on for another year.
Like Moore, a new Chiefs G.M. might come in and worry about getting his other ducks in a row before making a change with the man coaching the team. It all depends on who the new G.M. is and his vision, his level of patience, and so forth. Clark Hunt talked about "a fresh set of eyes", and a new G.M. – especially a first-timer -- might actually want to evaluate the current staff before making a change.
I'm not sure there's a #1 guy who I'd like to see to replace Herm, but there are several potential coaches I wouldn't have a problem with. Steve Spagnuolo of the Giants is a pretty attractive candidate. I'm also a fan of Marc Ross, the Giants' scouting director, as a potential G.M choice, so that would all tie together nicely if it could be pulled off.
C.E. Wendler: People are talking like Herm being let go is a sure thing, and it might seem a foregone conclusion with a new GM coming in, but there's already talk that if the Chiefs were to hire Chris Polian he'd be interested in retaining Edwards. That scares me, to be quite honest. Don't assume anything until you see it in six-inch headlines.
As for Herm's replacement, I absolutely love Spagnuolo. What he did with New York's pass rush this year after losing Michael Strahan and Osi Umenyioria was incredible. He appears to be a coach who has a good eye for talent, too, and his defense plays well against top offenses. Another thing I love – the Giants have one of the NFL's top run defenses this year, but I'm betting most of you can't identify their starting defensive tackles without looking it up. Hell, I couldn't!
Why are people scared of Thigpen? A quarterback that can scramble can open up an entire offense, which he does! It just seems people are scared of scrambling quarterbacks, why is that?
Nick Athan: He's only won a single game, and that scares me because the line between winning and losing basically comes down to the quarterback making plays in the fourth quarter. We've seen some of that from Thigpen but not enough to hand him the starting job in 2009. I like his arm, his footwork is decent and he has good pocket awareness but at the end of the day it's about winning games.
However, anyone who knocks Thigpen based on the fact he can run isn't looking at his potential as a starting quarterback. What he needs is a big league quarterbacks coach and an offensive coordinator who believes in all of his skills.
Is Thigpen's scrambling a problem?
G Newman Lowrance
C.E. Wendler: It's not really a criticism in an of itself, but rather a statement on that breed of quarterback as a whole. If you look at NFL history, running quarterbacks can have successful careers, but rarely win it all. Even quarterbacks who started out running quite a bit didn't win Super Bowls until they became more adept playing from the pocket – John Elway and Steve Young, for instance.
And heck, it's not just Super Bowls. Randall Cunningham was an exciting player in Philadelphia, but his greatest success came in Minnesota, where his 1998 season featured a whopping 132 yards rushing.
Right now Thigpen leads the league in quarterback rushing. That's a fun statistic, but does it lead to winning? So far for the Chiefs, it hasn't.
Are there any players that might be on the outs with a new regime coming in that were here strictly because of their relationship with Carl or Herm?
Nick Athan: Assuming Edwards is out as you are suggesting, sure there a few players. Guys like runing back Larry Johnson, tackle Damion McIntosh, linebacker Donnie Edwards, quarterbacks Brodie Croyle and Damon Huard, defensive tackle Ron Edwards and cornerback Patrick Surtain who all represent about $22 million in 2009 cap space. I can't see any of them coming back next year with the exception of Croyle. Every general manager and head coach has his guys and whomever comes in to take over the franchise will add his mix of veteran.
Michael Ash: Jon McGraw is a good example of a player who might not be kept if Herm were to go. Edwards drafted McGraw in 2004 and obviously a new head coach wouldn't have the same relationship with him. A new coach would have his own Jon McGraws he'd want to bring in.
As for bigger names, Donnie Edwards might be playing out his final run with the Chiefs, although that was probably pretty likely anyway with all his injuries this year. But a new G.M. isn't going to have the same fondness for Donnie that Carl Peterson did.
C.E. Wendler: One of the parts of bringing in a new general manager and head coach that always amuses me is the purging of failed draft picks from the previous regime. Think about all the terrible draft busts that the Chiefs kept on the roster through the end of the Vermeil era – Ryan Sims, Junior Siavii, Keyaron Fox, Jordan Black, etc.
It's always fun to see the new regime dump the players who everyone knew couldn't cut it for years anyway. It's almost entertaining to watch the dominoes fall one by one. I suspect several players drafted since Herm Edwards was hired will fall in this category if a new head coach is brought in.
How will you guys look back on the Carl Peterson era? Fondly, or with disgust?
Nick: For 20 years Peterson made the Chiefs a household name in every corner of the city. He saved the organization from ruin when he cleaned house and rebuilt the organization. His record as GM in the 90's was impressive to say the least and he'll be remembered in time as the man responsible for bringing the Chiefs back to Kansas City.
Vermeil allowed former defensive coordinator Greg Robinson to change the entire defensive scheme the Friday before Sunday's home playoff game. It was the primary reason the Chiefs lost that game and Peterson should have booted his friend to the curb and began rebuilding a roster besieged with age. When he failed to do that, it signaled the beginning of the end of the Peterson era.
Michael Ash: Both - the latter half of Carl's 20-year reign had its moments, but overall it was quite a disappointing finish. Still, you can't ignore all the positive things he did for the Chiefs during his time in charge. If the next regime brings Kansas City a Super Bowl, Carl will get a nice ovation during halftime at Arrowhead someday, just as Bill Buckner did after the Red Sox finally won.
C.E. Wendler: Simply put, I'll look back on it as the reason I became a Chiefs fan. For all of Carl's failures, it's impossible for me to ignore the fact that when he traded for Joe Montana in 1993, he also traded for my fandom. This team has let us all down for years, but the passion we feel for it never changes. That's worth more than any Super Bowl.
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Truly, that describes the Carl Peterson era.