Warpaint Roundtable - Week 4

This week we discuss Branden Albert, roster turnover, offensive consultants and KC's first win.

What do you think of this scenario: Chiefs pick the best offensive tackle in the 2010 draft, move Branden Albert to left guard, and move Waters to center?

Nick Athan: Brian Waters may not be a Chief next year. He's not the talent he once was and it's possible the Chiefs will cut him loose next February. Don't give up on Albert just yet. His long-term slot is left tackle and the Chiefs need to find a better guard to line up next to him.

If the crazy reports that the Chiefs somehow managed to steal a second-round pick for Tyler Thigpen are true, they would have three picks in round two. If that's the case they can use all of them to fix their offensive line. It appears one of the strengths of the 2010 draft will be offensive linemen, and that would work perfectly for Kansas City.

Michael Ash: As we discuss this at the beginning of October, I'm not wild about that scenario for three reasons. First, we don't know where the Chiefs will be drafting, so we don't know if there will be a tackle worth taking there. Second, given the promise Albert showed as a rookie, it's incredibly premature to write him off at left tackle after four games. For that matter, it may be premature to write him off even if his "sophomore slump" lasts all season.

But those two reasons may change over time. The third reason won't change. While Waters had a cup of coffee at center when he first came to the Chiefs, that was nearly 10 years ago. He wasn't a center in high school or college, so it's not like the nuances of playing center would come flooding back to him. Moving him may be too big of an adjustment.

C.E. Wendler: It's far too soon to think about moving Albert, and as Nick and Michael expounded on, Waters will soon be on his last legs as a Chief. He really hasn't played that well this season, either, and I suspect he knows it. Watch his body language after poor plays. He's frustrated.

The other part of this equation is Rudy Niswanger. While he hasn't played well this year, from Week 1 to Week 4 he's shown improvement, and so has KC's protection and run blocking. If Niswanger pans out as a decent center, why move Waters? It would be completely counterproductive. It's just too soon to think about moving players around.


Most people like the turnover that Pioli and Haley have effected with the roster but how much does this impact the team as a whole? Don't these players need to play with each other to get any sort of results?

Nick Athan: If Haley is the long-term answer then Pioli has to do more to provide better talent. He can't rely on veteran castoffs to make an impact in the first month of the season. Bobby Wade has stepped in nicely but he's the exception to the rule.

It's going to take a lot from Pioli to make this team a winner and I'm not sold he's sold on Haley. My gut tells me something else may be brewing for 2010 because it sure does not appear to me that Pioli is backing his head coach in enough areas for him to be successful. It seems to me that Haley is on the island alone and the constant player turnover doesn't help.


Has Scott Pioli made life hard on Todd Haley?
Jamie Squire - Getty

Michael Ash: It can definitely be a double-edged sword. But for the most part, this staff appears to subscribe to the theory that if something isn't working, it needs to be changed. If Haley is willing to replace Chan Gailey and scrap the offense two weeks before the season, constant tinkering with the back end of the roster isn't going to bother him much.

Herm Edwards was big on continuity, particularly last year, and that didn't really get the Chiefs anywhere. So we may as well see where this method leads.

C.E. Wendler: You're absolutely right. Players do need to play with each other to get results. But even if the 2009 Chiefs had complete continuity from Week 1 to Week 16, would good would it do? Would they win five games instead of three?

Even though Scott Pioli and Todd Haley will never admit it, winning games this year isn't the top goal. It's identifying talent and finding out which players fit best in the systems the Chiefs are running. If accomplishing that results in a 3-13 season instead of a 5-11 season, so be it. You have to look at the big picture.


If Haley's wish is to be without an offensive coordinator, why not get someone to be an offensive consultant? Wouldn't that relieve some of the burden?

Nick Athan: There really isn't much out there for the Chiefs to go after. Haley would love to get some help and Pioli should be insisting that he does, but the coaching consultant pool is shallow right now. With the birth of the UFL, a lot of potential consultants already have jobs.

If Haley returns next year, I expect the Chiefs will get a first-class offensive coordinator in the mix. As far as the quarterback coaching situation, the Chiefs should go after Steve DeBerg, who still coaches at high school camps around the country. He'd be an excellent teacher for Matt Cassel.

Michael Ash: Haley likely will find some assistance in time, though perhaps not until the offseason. In the meantime, he has former coordinators on his staff (Bill Muir, Maurice Carthon) who he can rely on, though we've yet to hear about how much they are actually assisting him.

More importantly, though, when talking about his experiences with Bill Belichick in both Cleveland and New England, Scott Pioli has said that one of the bigger changes Belichick made in his second coaching job was to delegate more to the people around him. We can safely assume that he's talked about that with Haley.

C.E. Wendler: The coaching consultant position is fairly rare around the league. It's usually only seen on teams who might be struggling with already established coaching staffs. For instance, last season the Chiefs brought in defensive consultant John Bunting after it was apparent Gunther Cunningham wasn't getting the job done.

The Ravens had their issues on offense last season, so that's probably the reason they hired Al Saunders to assist Cam Cameron. It's more likely the Chiefs will wait to hire a proper coordinator until the next offseason. Bringing on a consultant now would probably just confuse things as Haley builds the offense.


When will the Chiefs win their first game, and why?

Nick Athan: The Chiefs will beat the Dallas Cowboys this weekend. I don't know why I feel that way but to me that's always been a game I thought the Chiefs would win after the schedule came out. After an embarrassing loss to the Eagles and a disappointing effort at home against a hot New York Giants team, I think Kansas City pulls off an upset over Dallas with a mixed crowd at Arrowhead.


Will the Chiefs beat Romo and Dallas this weekend?
Doug Pensinger - Getty

Michael Ash: In my season preview I had them upsetting the Cowboys this week, and I won't back away from that now. Dallas isn't playing well. Tony Romo has been up and down and their defense has struggled. This is a team that was booed off the field against the Panthers recently and dropped one in Denver last week. Dallas is ripe for an upset.

Unfortunately, it's possible that the Chiefs may be getting the Cowboys a week too late. After the loss in Denver, the Cowboys will be determined not to let history repeat itself when they come to Kansas City. If the Chiefs drop that one, the game with the Redskins the following week may be their best shot at a win until they play the Raiders again in mid-November.

C.E. Wendler: Picking a win over the Cowboys sounds great, but it's tough to pick the Chiefs against a team that talented. Realistically, Kansas City shouldn't be able to compete with a team that's as stacked as Dallas is. So we have to look further down the road.

The home game against the Chargers, who can't run the ball and field a terrible defense, looks good. But you have to wonder what sort of numbers Philip Rivers will put up considering KC's pass rush. The trip to Oakland on Nov. 15 is KC's best bet. Prepare for 0-8 in the interim.

WarpaintIllustrated.com Top Stories