Pioli Mostly Silent As Trade Deadline Passes

Before the trade deadline passed Tuesday, many felt the Kansas City Chiefs would have a fire sale. But even with a new regime setting up shop at Arrowhead, general manager Scott Pioli - for the second time since his tenure began - couldn't find the right trade partners.

The team that plays the Chargers this weekend is the one we'll see for the remainder of the season. So what's next?

Derrick Johnson, Larry Johnson, Brodie Croyle, Dwayne Bowe, Jarrad Page and others were all available for the right price, but Pioli never found the right price for the playmakers left on his roster. There were no Roy Williams or Herschel Walker trades to be made, so KC's GM decided to put his poker chips down and get back to tweaking the roster instead of implementing a major shake up.

Was it a good move? That remains to be seen, but it takes two to make a deal and nobody was willing to offer up enough compensation for Pioli to trade a starter or top backup.

Since Pioli became GM he has traded away a 2009 second-round pick and 2010 sixth and seventh-rounders. He's acquired a second-round pick and two fifth-round picks in 2010. Not a bad haul for playing conservative.

Pioli came to Kansas City with reputation of a dealer who was shrewd enough to pry away top talent from other teams without giving up too much compensation. In addition, he was supposedly an expert at cutting or trading washed up veterans for high draft picks.

But thus far in his tenure with the Chiefs, he really hasn't shown that ability. The Tony Gonzalez trade to Atlanta may end up being a big deal, but we won't know the value of that pick until the season is complete. Right now, based on the way the Falcons are playing, it looks to be a low second-round pick.

The other trades Pioli has made, outside of the Matt Cassel deal, haven't really helped the Chiefs. But when you trade late-round picks for players who have either never reached their potential or might be on their last opportunity in the NFL, it's a crap shoot.

In the history of the Carl Peterson era, second-day picks were the foundation of the Chiefs. In New England, Pioli and the Patriots rarely missed on the first day of the NFL draft. In the end, that might be the comparison between Pioli and Peterson, but right now it's impossible to grade Pioli - or even try to compare him to Peterson - except in one area.

Up until the last year of his 20-year existence in Kansas City, Peterson could sell out Arrowhead. Pioli hasn't done that yet. Ultimately, that's how he will be judged by the pundits who say he's too much of a control freak to make the community believe the Chiefs can once again be a winning football team.

When you only win one of out your first six games, that makes it even harder. It may require that Pioli sit back and look at what's happened to date.

The Todd Haley experiment has many thinking that if more wins don't follow last Sunday's road win at Washington, Pioli might have to admit hiring Haley was a mistake. He was the last man standing because the Chiefs allowed all the top assistants to find jobs elsewhere. That includes Josh McDaniels, who went to Denver and has led the Broncos to an improbable 6-0 start.

Though we can debate that issue at season's end, right now Pioli has to wonder what his team is going to look like over the next 10 games. After Sunday, the Chiefs have their bye week, which might be a good time to start planning for 2010.

The entire focus of the organization should be on developing their young stars. Despite the Chiefs' lousy record, there is talent on this team, and schemes should be designed to get those players in a position where they can ride a wave of confidence into 2010.

Right now the Chiefs are either on the verge of turning it around or continuing a losing trend that defies logic and reminds us all of an expansion team.

In order for that perception to change, Pioli needs to be more of a public figure over the next 10 games by showing support for his team and the coaching staff. Then he needs to make plans to strike quickly once the season ends and go guns blazing into the 2010 kickoff.

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