The United Front

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I was reading over Double D’s excellent feature “Mark it a Double” and something occurred to me. Now that Weiss and Crennel have been hired, the Chiefs have their first united front since the Dick Vermeil era. When Dick was hired he started putting the pieces in place and although it took him a couple of years, the Chiefs got competitive and eventually, they hit the jackpot of a 13-3 season. It was Dick Vermiels team. It was a united front.

When Dick decided to retire, his team was at the end of the line. They had one more playoff run in them and Carl Peterson knew it. Rather than let new his head coach, Herm Edwards, run things as he saw fit from day 1, Peterson forced Herm to roll with Vermiels old crew.

Thus began the era of dysfunction.

From the moment Herm arrived, things were screwed up. (And no, not just because of Herm) Peterson made Herm play with Dick’s leftovers. They kept some of the old coaching staff. It was never really Herm’s team. He still managed to get them to the playoffs, which was a tribute to the team that Vermeil had put together but he wasn’t the man to lead them to a playoff win. Everyone knew the Chiefs were going to try to run it down the Colts throats and that is exactly what Herm tried to do. Over and over and over. You remember the results.

Herm was also forcing Gunthur to run the Tampa Two, a defense he did not want to run and didn’ t believe in. The bottom fell out when Dick’s team got old but now the Chiefs had already wasted 2 seasons when they should have blown the whole thing up when Vermeil left. The head coach is the leader of the team. You have to let him do it his own way.The front was not united.

Herm finally convinced Clark Hunt and Peterson to let him do things his way. Unfortunately, it was too late. Herm had a pretty good draft but he jettisoned way too many of the veterans. His all young, all the time approach was more disturbing than Michael Jackson’s. OK, maybe not that disturbing but you get the point. Herm was playing a college team but he was on borrowed time. He should have kept some veterans and slowly introduced the younger players for a smoother transition. He failed to win enough games and was fired.

Last season, while there was a united front on many levels, Haley was still dealing with a lot of Herm and Carl leftovers. For one thing, the new regime was brought in late and by the time they got rolling the pickings were slim. Part of the reason is because Pioli gave Herm an honest evaluation and took his time making a decision. Haley was the guy he wanted anyway and he had to wait until after the Super Bowl. Haley’s experience there will hopefully serve the Chiefs well if they ever find themselves inthe big game under his leadership.

Haley also had to deal with pressure to keep Chan Gailey, as he was probably the teams best option at OC last season. It was a mistake. Gailey should have been let go right away but the new regime isn’t perfect. They dropped the ball on this one. In the end, however, the Chiefs will be better served by having had Weiss’s offense installed for a year before his arrival. It was a tough decision and a late decision and it may have cost the Chiefs a couple of wins, but I think they will be better for it.

At the same time, Clancy Pendergast just wasn’t the guy the Chiefs wanted. There is nothing else really to be said about it. He was merely a placeholder.

For the first time, since Herm arrived in Kansas City, the Chiefs have all the organizational pieces in place. There are no more excuses. They have the coaches they want, the coordinators they want and some of the players they want. They have had an entire year to evaluate the organization top to bottom. They have a fan base that is reeling but not totally dead. They have a chance to get things back on track.

I believe the management of any organization, for it to be successful, must be on the same page. The Chiefs management really hasn’t been on the same page since the Chiefs defeated the Bengals to go 10-6 and miss the playoffs.

Finally, the front is united. The foundation is laid. The “Get Out Of Jail Free” cards are all used up. There are no more excuses. The United Front had better be up to the challenge.

Arrowhead Nation is getting restless.

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Tags: Carl Peterson Charlie Weiss Clancy Pendergast Clark Hunt Herm Edwards Romeo Crennel Scott Pioli

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