Chiefs GM Pioli: 'I've made mistakes'
Kansas CITY, MO. (AP)
worn-out notebook with the blue cover that Scott Pioli drags out of
pile of paperwork on his desk is from 1994. The handwriting inside of
it, mostly scouting reports on college players from a bygone era, is
tiny and deliberate.
It's the few pages toward the front, though, that are the most
where the current Chiefs general manager, back then a young
front-office assistant for the Cleveland Browns, has given himself a
withering self-assessment — several pages of improvements that he's
made over time, and things he could be doing better going forward.
It's not unlike the scathing critique Pioli has been putting himself
through this week.
Chiefs are mired in 1-5 rut to start the season, and most of the blame
for it has fallen on Pioli, the disciple of Bill Parcells and Bill
Belichick who has struggled to endear himself to increasingly hostile
Kansas City fans weary of losing.
''Clearly there are things we
need to fix, things we need to change, things we need to improve
upon,'' Pioli said during an interview with The Associated Press, ''and
it starts with me.''
The Chiefs haven't just been losing,
they've been getting blown out. Four of their five losses have been by
two touchdowns, and their lone victory required a franchise-record
comeback. They're off this week before facing Oakland on Oct. 28.
all frustrated,'' Pioli said Wednesday, sitting in his office
overlooking the Chiefs' practice fields. ''It's not what any of us came
out of the gate expecting.''
Naturally, it's made Pioli's job status the topic du jour.
said he's not concerned about his future with the organization, even
after a group of fans paid for a banner to fly over Arrowhead Stadium
calling for him to be fired. Pioli said the biting criticism comes with
the job, and that he deserves most of what's coming his way.
has to do their job better in this thing, starting with me,'' he said.
''I'm in charge of the football operation and there are things we need
to get fixed.''
What are they, exactly?
''I'm not going to get into specifics,'' he said. ''I mean, it's on
display every Sunday.''
job done by coach Romeo Crennel, the porous defense, the lousy
quarterback play, the lack of impact players, shallow depth across the
board — all of it appears to be fair game.
changes are necessary, though he said ''getting into the specifics
publicly is not in anybody's best interest right now.'' The former NFL
executive of the year did say he remains confident in Crennel, who has
appeared to struggle as he juggles duties as the team's defensive
Pioli didn't sound nearly as confident in his quarterback situation.
of his first significant moves in 2009 was trading for Matt Cassel,
who'd been impressive as a fill-in for injured Patriots starter Tom Brady. Pioli proceeded to sign Cassel to a six-year, $63 million deal —
one that has tightly tied the GM to the starting quarterback.
has struggled mightily the past two seasons, and could lose his job to
backup Brady Quinn next week against Oakland. Cassel is expected to be
available after sustaining a concussion in a game against Baltimore,
but Crennel said the starting spot is open competition.
''There's a lot of issues,'' Pioli admitted, ''and that position is one
went on to say it's not the only issue, even though in a league
increasingly dependent on consistent quarterback play it may be most
critical. Pioli has been reluctant to use early draft choices on a
quarterback, and the Chiefs haven't selected one in the first round
Pioli admitted that he's made other mistakes in four
years on the scene, though he refused to discuss any of them in detail.
He did say that they encompass all facets of his job.
in compartments, you know what I mean? There are mistakes I've made in
terms of not understanding well enough the role of the general manager
in Kansas City from a public standpoint. I've made some
personnel-decision mistakes,'' he said. ''There's been a lot of
Pressed again on whether that has put his job in
jeopardy, Pioli slowly shook his head and said, ''This isn't about me.
This is about me doing my job.''
''Do you know how many people
are counting on me to do my job, and do my job well?'' he asked. ''I'm
talking about coaches, coaches' families, employees and their families,
and all the fans, people who are emotionally and financially invested
in this thing. I don't have time to worry about me. I have to concern
myself with fixing the team and making the team better. That's the
Pioli said he hears what people outside the organization
are saying, dissatisfied fans who pay for season tickets and the media
that dissects every play. It's impossible not to hear it in Kansas
City, where the Chiefs have been woven into the fabric of the community
Pioli also understands that the discontent has
festered for years. The Chiefs haven't won a playoff game since 1993,
and are heading toward their fifth losing season in six years.
That's why he brought in that ragged, old notebook to show his players
it's time for everyone in the organization to take a moment for
introspection, just like Pioli did all those years ago in Cleveland,
and just like he's been doing this week.
''All you can be
concerned about is the task at hand,'' Pioli said. ''Right now the task
at hand isn't my job. This isn't about me, you know what I mean? That's
one of the things I've promised myself. You do the best you can, suck
it up, tough it out, work as hard as you can, and then things will take
care of themselves, however they're meant to be.''
Pioli Admits To Making Mistakes
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