The Kansas City Chiefs may end up having a very disappointing 2011 season but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t begin taking steps now to ensure that they have a successful 2012.
There are a number of moves I think the Chiefs should make as the 2011 season winds down and as the offseason begins that can give them a head start on turning things around next season.
Here are 13 moves I think the Chiefs should make.
1. Cut Thomas Jones
They’ll never do it. At no point would the Chiefs want to lose his locker room leadership or disrespect the veteran RB.
Yet it can’t be ignored that Jones’ biggest contribution to the 2011 Chiefs has been decking Jonathan Baldwin and costing the rookie half of his rookie season.
Despite their love affair with Jones, not even the Chiefs are stupid enough to bring him back in 2012.
So why not cut the cord early? The Chiefs need to get a good, hard look at Jackie Battle, and they have Shaun Draughn on the practice squad who could be brought up to see some action.
Jones is finished. It is just silly to hold back young talent that might actually develop to save the feelings of a millionaire running back whose time in the NFL is up. Especially in what is sure to be a lost season. Draughn could have a future with the Chiefs. KC will likely get a chance to see him in action in games that don’t matter. They should take advantage of it.
2. Give Palko three games, then give Stanzi the last four
Palko probably is never going to be a starting NFL QB. Still, he’s hung around and won himself a roster spot on the Chiefs. He’s earned at least a brief look, and he’ll get it. But unless Palko looks brilliant in his first three starts, the Chiefs need to sit him in favor of a QB with more upside in Stanzi.
KC should use their last four games to give Stanzi some valuable experience. How he plays could greatly impact how the team approaches the 2012 draft. They shouldn’t waste too many games watching a UFL castoff in Palko.
3. Get Barry Richardson off the field, get Jared Gaither on it
This should have happened long ago. Now that the Chiefs have only a snowball’s chance in hell of making the playoffs, it has to happen. Barry Richardson is not only the worst offensive lineman on the Chiefs, he might be the worst offensive lineman in the NFL.
Gaither is still young and once played at a very high level. The Chiefs have nine games to evaluate him in live action while protecting, at least for a while, a QB in Tyler Palko they can afford to let get knocked around.
Moving Gaither into the starting lineup could perhaps be the most important move KC makes the rest of the way. If Gaither can still play, the Chiefs just need depth. If he can’t, they have to give serious consideration to taking a tackle in the first or second round of next year’s draft.
Berry Richardson is not the answer. It is time to find out about Gaither.
4. Consider benching Casey Wiegmann
This might be the hardest move the Chiefs need to make, and they will probably never do it. That being said, benching Wiegmann to get a look at Rodney Hudson is going to benefit the team in the long-run. The problem here isn’t just that Wiegmann is a veteran but that he has a remarkable consecutive snaps streak that the Chiefs would end if they benched him. Not only that but Wiegmann’s play hasn’t been terrible. Not great but not terrible either.
Wiegmann isn’t coming back. If Hudson is going to be the starting center in KC next season, wouldn’t it help to get him some real game reps at the end of this season?
I’m not even in charge of the Chiefs, and I find it difficult to even talk about ending Wiegmann’s streak. Still, I had to put it on the list.
But if Wiegmann does miss a snap through the natural course of things, the Chiefs should buy him a nice Christmas ham and keep him on the bench.
5. Sign Dwayne Bowe right now
The Chiefs need to re-sign Bowe right now while his stock is a bit on the decline. Bowe is a great receiver, but I think he has suffered with Matt Cassel as his QB. I am not saying Bowe is the mark of consistency, but I do think it is Cassel’s inconsistencies that are the bigger issue here.
Signing Bowe now midseason would probably save the Chiefs a bundle. His numbers are average this season, and there are no other bidders. Pioli should strike while he has the chance.
6. Cut Thomas Jones again
Just to make sure.
7. Cut Donald Washington and Shabby Piscitelli
These two clowns have to go. Normally it isn’t my style to just call for the Chiefs to cut people unless I think they have decent people to replace them but in the case of Donnie and Jersey here, I’ll make an exception. My hope is that by totally ridding themselves of all the safeties on the roster not named Berry, Lewis, McGraw or Langford, the Chiefs will be forced to actually go out and get someone better. Langford probably isn’t any good either but I don’t think he is as bad as Piscitelli. And McGraw may be old, but on his worst day he isn’t at worthless as Donald Washington. McGraw will be a better safety than Washington when he’s dead than Washington is right now.
Once the dynamic duo are gone, the Chiefs can only release Langford and McGraw (in that order) when they’ve found more talented replacements.
8. Time for a new Pope and the return to an O’Connel-free football team
The Chiefs have a love affair with TEs, which is fine if you know how to draft them. The Chiefs don’t.
Tony Moeaki is the only person on the roster or IR list with the letters “TE” next to his name that should be a Chief next season. O’Connel has always been awful so his departure is a no-brainer.
As for my boy Pope, I’ve long been a fan. I’m sorry to say, however, that Pope’s play has slipped. He used to be an adequate blocker and was good for the occasional clutch catch. These days however, the catches are fewer and the blocking has really fallen off. Is there a more terrifying site in football then watching Pope and Richardson trying to block side-by-side?
It is time for Scott Pioli to stop trying to find bargain basement TEs in the late rounds. He needs to go out and get a proven blocker in free agency and be done with it already.
9. Say goodbye to Le’Ron McClain
Other than making an almost accurate prediction about the team winning five in a row and making a shouting match between Matt Cassel and Todd Haley on the sideline a bigger deal then it needed to be by dramatically flinging himself between them, despite the fact that neither was trying to get to the other, what has McClain done for the Chiefs this season? He doesn’t carry the ball. When he did get a goal line carry, he fumbled it.
Who would have thought Mike Cox would turn out to be more useful than McClain?
10. Freaking activate Jerrell Powe already. And play him.
If I am Todd Haley, I want to see Powe on the field. Gregg was a great pick-up, but he is in Kansas City to help the 2011 Chiefs make a playoff run. He’s a rental. Since the Chiefs probably aren’t going to the playoffs, the team should start letting Gregg split time with Powe. The team has been playing Amon Gordon over Powe, and while I like Gordon, he is average at best. He also isn’t likely to improve. Powe on the other hand, will. It is time to activate Jerrell. They can sit Gordon now. He can come back as depth in 2012. For now, let Powe learn from a once very good true NT in Kelly Gregg.
11. Re-sign Brandon Carr
Good corners don’t grow on trees and Carr is good. If the Chiefs let him go in free agency, they will have another hole to fill. There are too many holes for KC not to keep their quality players.
12 A: Figure out what to do with the LSU boys
Jackson is showing some improvement, but I think Dorsey has peaked. The fact of the matter is, both of them are way overpaid. I’ve broken down their pass rushing futility in the past so I won’t do it again here. The Chiefs might want to consider dangling Dorsey in front of a few 4-3 teams to see what his value is.
12 B: More Gilberry
Gilberry has been a disappointment this season, but it may not be his fault. He put on some weight and has been working to become a more complete 3-4 end. He probably should be in a 4-3, but if the Chiefs are going to consider keeping him, they should give him more snaps to see if he can play a more complete game than Dorsey or Jackson.
13. Find a freaking offensive coordinator already
Enough with the musical coordinators. There is a chance the Chiefs are going to have a new QB next year. This time around they need to get a coordinator in there that is in it for the long haul. Muir is probably not coming back in that role, if at all.
Then again, if Pioli decides to rid himself of Haley then all bets are off in the coaching department. In fact, a Haley firing could make this whole list worthless. Especially if the new guy wants to change to a 4-3 or something. For now though, I think Haley is safe.
Alright, Addicts. Those are 13 moves I think the Chiefs need to make down the stretch to set themselves up for a more successful 2012. What do you think they need to do?