Herm Edwards' #1 skill: the fake hard-laugh (source: pongalong.com)

Where Credit Is Due? (Shudder)

I despise former Chiefs coach Herm Edwards.  Still.  I don’t think about him every day like I once did, but barring something extreme (divorce, someone killing my dog or cancelling Game Of Thrones) he’ll go down as my most hated person of all time.  I’m sure some of you think I should let it go.  To you I say……things that aren’t appropriate to publish on this site.

I’m in a bit of a bind here.  I like to think of myself as a man who gives credit where credit is due.  We all probably like to think of ourselves that way.  But the measure of that quality isn’t based on whether you can praise a man you love.  For instance, I love Captain D.  I think his fish planks and hush puppies are delicious and reasonably priced.  So if I eat there, and I tell you it was good, does that really prove anything?  A far truer test would be to have me judge a meal from Long John Silvers.  I’ve had beef with that place for over 10 years*.

*I won’t tell the whole story here.  The crux of it is, LJS thinks they’re better than me.  Either that or I was prank calling them all the time and they banned me from the store.  One of the two. 

Sorry gang, havin’ a little fish fun there.  The point is, giving those you dislike a fair shake is the true test.  And I dislike Herm Edwards more than I’ve ever disliked anyone.  All this time, whenever anyone has praised him, or even attempted to excuse him, I’ve been there with a curt reminder to never forget what he turned our Chiefs into.  But when I look at my Chiefs now, I can’t help but notice that the cream of our crop was drafted during the Herm era.  As a self-proclaimed reasonable man, am I now obliged to give him a grudging tip-of-the-cap?

find out after the jump:

No, I am not.

Look, I realize some of you don’t like dragging this carcass around anymore.  But I feel like its relevant again.  A lot of people want to give Herm credit here.  Those people need a history lesson (even if it is riddled with anti-Herm bias). 

I think we can all agree he was a legendarily bad coach.  No one is really disputing that anymore.  When clock management is your white whale, its safe to say you’re in over your head as an NFL head coach. 

The case for Herm now stems mainly from the alleged success of the youth movement he “masterminded.”  Hey, I can Uncle Scrooge this all I want (and I will), but I’m not so blind as to refuse to recognize the case to be made.  Herm said these guys would be the foundation of a good team, and they are.  Charles, Hali, Flowers, Bowe, Carr, Dorsey, Albert,Croyle.  They are the rock upon which we built our church, and they were all drafted during the Herm years.  Could it be that all Herm needed was more time? 

Nah.  The guy won two of his last 25 games.  His players were out of shape and undisciplined.  They weren’t being coached well, and had become masters of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.  The wheels had clearly come off the bus.  You don’t recover from something like that.  Had we given him more time, he would’ve given us more losses.  That much is all but certain. 

But was his plan the right one?  Trickier question.  We need to start with the fact that it didn’t become his plan until he needed to buy himself some time.  People act like Herm wanted to “blow it up”* as soon as he got here, but that isn’t the case.  He never, ever talked about that until things went south.  In fact, after the playoff loss, he said “I hope these guys learned what it takes to win a playoff game.”  Kinda implies he thought they’d be going back to the playoffs, right? 

*The very idea of having to “blow it up” before you can get good again is preposterous.  Did Pioli and Haley do that when they took over?  No, thank God.  They kept what was worth keeping and tried to add to it.  You don’t have to start from scratch.  Ever.  If I took over as president of Sudan tomorrow I bet I could find some people in their government worth hanging onto. 

When things got really bad, all of the sudden we started hearing from Herm (and his Beast Nation apologists)  about how he’d wanted to go young for years.  He’d seen this coming all along, of course.  If only we’d listened to him!  Arg!

The guy was an opportunist, and a fairly successful one at that.  He embraced the youth movement because he thought it would give him more time.  It almost worked, too.  Would’ve, if he’d been able to coach even a little bit. 

He’d managed to go behind his supposed close friend’s back and seize control of the team (this after a 4-12 season in which his team totally quit on him!), placing himself in total control when expectations were lowest.  It should’ve been an easy gig.  Then when Carl got cannedresigned, Herm tried to act like he was in on that, too.  He even went to far as to say it was something he and Clark Hunt had talked about and decided together (confirmed as a lie by Clark Hunt almost immediately).  But by that point, the jig was up. 

The success we had last season wasn’t Herm Edwards’ vision coming to fruition.  The man had no vision.  He was motivated purely by self-preservation.  It’s one thing to go young, quite another to use that youth as an excuse for mind-numbing ineptitude. 

The Packers were actually younger than us in 2008, but you never heard Mike MccCarthy use that as an excuse for anything.  And they actually had injuries to deal with, whereas Herm complained constantly about injuries despite the team being remarkably healthy that year.  That and “I’m coaching a college team” were his go-to excuses.  I ask you, when a man has go-to excuses, is he likely to be a football visionary?

2008 was a great draft class.  Herm had 13 picks to work with (thanks to Carl’s falling out with Jared Allen, not any strategy of his own), and he landed some great players.  He also referred derisively to free agency as “helmet-for-hire” and thought the only way to rebuild was to opt out of that aspect of talent acquisition.  He hired Mike Solari to run his offense, and tabbed Brodie Croyle as his QB of the future (coached by the incomparable Dick Curl of course).  He put together the worst defensive line in NFL history, and the worst record in Chiefs history.  He declined a trade for Dorsey that would’ve landed us Sedrick Ellis, a first round pick, and at least another second rounder.   Vision for the future?  Hardly.  This was a drowning man grasping desperately at straws. 

There is plenty of credit to go around for the mini-renaissance that was the 2010 season.  None of it belongs to Herm Edwards. 

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a voodoo doll to mutilate.

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