August 10, 2012; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs head coach Romeo Crennel watches play on the sidelines in the second quarter of the game against the Arizona Cardinals at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-US PRESSWIRE

Kansas City Chiefs Don't Sound Like Winners

“Whatever words we utter should be chosen with care for people will hear them and be influenced by them for good or ill.”


As we try to diagnose what is wrong with the 2012 Kansas City Chiefs, we may need to evaluate what the players and coaches are saying almost as much as we examine their performance on the field.

Some folks will tell you that words don’t matter. I don’t think that is necessarily true. We’ve seen recently, with the attacks on the American Embassy, that words can be enormously powerful. Words can inspire and incite greatness.

But words can also defeat. If you were to wake up every morning, look at yourself in the mirror and say “I hate myself, I am a worthless, worthless human being,” and you continued to run through that mantra over and over again in your head throughout the day, it would be pretty difficult to feel good about yourself. You might struggle in social situations. You would begin to lose your confidence.

Let’s not have any illusions about words; they can be difference-makers, but they aren’t the only factor in whether we succeed or fail. For instance, I can tell myself over and over again that I could play nose tackle for the Chiefs in the 3-4 defense but no matter how high my confidence, I’d still likely be killed on the very first snap if I ever stepped on the field at Arrowhead in a real game.

The situation with the Chiefs this season is curious. In 2009, we knew the team was full of bad football players. Same with 2008. It made sense that they were getting smacked around. We didn’t like it. We wanted to see guys develop faster, play better but we also weren’t ignorant to reality.

Football fans are pretty smart. We have a tendency to be be homers, for sure but we’re smart enough to know when a team is talented, when they are over-achieving and when they are under-achieving. Most KC fans I talked to last season expected the team to take a step back. Folks seemed to agree that the team had improved but still have a little ways to go. We didn’t foresee the injuries of course and when it was all said and done, I think a great deal of Chiefs fans were pleasantly surprised that the team managed to win seven games in a season in which Tyler Palko started four contests.

In 2012, however, we’re all scratching out heads. The talent is present on this team. That is plain to see. But the Chiefs aren’t harnessing their talent to help them win football games. They look lost, lethargic and apathetic. They’re out of sync.

The problem with the 2012 Kansas City Chiefs isn’t physical. It’s mental.

And you need only to listen to this group talk to understand.

“We’re trying to get it better and we will get it better. Coach Crennel is adamant about that. We’ve got to play at a high level. We’re NFL players that have to be on the same page. This game is hard. Offenses are very hard. But at some time we’ve got to put our foot down and we’ve got to stop them from scoring. We’re letting people score way too many points.”

-Derrick Johnson

Oh DJ. This game is hard? Offenses are very hard?

Does that sound like a leader to you? Does it sound like a man who is going to mentally be able to go out there and dominate? Frankly, he sounds scared. Johnson sounds like he is playing tight football and I think his on-field performance confirms that.

Can you imagine Ray Lewis of the Baltimore Ravens saying something like this after two humiliating losses?

“Effort is between you, and you, and nobody else. So that team that thinks it’s ready to see you, they think what they’ve seen on film, they ain’t saw what film shows, because every day is a new day. Every moment is a new moment. So now you’ve got to go out and show them that I’m a different creature now, then I was five minutes ago, cause I’m pissed off for greatness. Cause if you ain’t pissed off for greatness, that just means you’re okay with being mediocre, and ain’t no man in here okay with just basic.”

-Ray Lewis

Why isn’t Derrick Johnson “pissed off for greatness?” Why aren’t all the Chiefs pissed off?

They don’t sound like a group that believes in themselves. They don’t even sound like the believe in one another.

Yesterday, head coach Romeo Crennel was asked about rookie guard Jeff Allen. The starter, Ryan Lilja, is a little banged up and Crennel was asked he felt about the possibility of Allen having to start.

“Against this particular team, it’s probably not the best because of the varying pressures that they bring, but he’s a smart young man and has gotten good work yesterday and [will get] good work today and tomorrow, and we’ll have him prepared the best we can,” said Crennel.

I’m sorry? What?

Allen looked fairly decent in the preseason. Is this the way you get a rookie ready to potentially make the first start of his NFL career? You talk about how tough the opponent is and how you “prepare him the best we can?”

Jiminy Christmas!

If his own coach doesn’t sound like he believes in him, how is Allen supposed to go out there and believe he can hang tough?

Last night, the New York Giants started a guy named Andre Brown. Brown is a former fourth round pick and has been waived four times in his career. Stepping in for an injured starter, Brown delivered and played like a hidden star. In fact, the New York Giants have made a habit of having backups step up and play well. That is what good teams do. Their team motto is “next man up.”

Perhaps the worst offense, however, came a few days ago when Crennel was asked if Sunday’s game against the Saints was a “must win.”

“I would like to win, definitely,” said Crennel. “I don’t know if it’s a must-win. I know we will try to look at it as a must-win because we want to win it, but we’re not going to fall off the earth if we lose it. But I really don’t want to tell those guys that. I want them to feel the urgency that we need to get better and we need to start quickly getting better.”

Not a must win?

The correct answer to that question is that they are ALL must wins.

You have to wonder if the Chiefs’ lack of toughness and focus comes from what they are hearing from their head coach. Players tend to repeat what their coaches tell them. When Todd Haley was the head coach we often heard the players breaking their season into quarters like their head coach. Under Crennel, that talk is gone.

Crennel may be trying to keep his team from panicking by saying that Sunday’s game is not a must win. He may be afraid that if he lays into them or tries to light a fire under their collective asses that they will continue to “press” and make mistakes.

If you ask me, this team could do with a little motivation, even if that motivation is a little harsh.

Think about it. Who are the leaders of this Chiefs team? After a failed series, have you seen Matt Cassel pacing up and down the sideline, firing up his offensive teammates?

Have you seen Derrick Johnson or Eric Berry grab a defensive mate by the face mask, trying to pump him up?

I haven’t.

The Chiefs need a spark. They need leadership. They need to play with fire and passion.

Because right now, all of those things are missing. There are no apparent leaders. There is no apparent passion. Offenses are hard, after all.

Something has to change and change fast because right now the Chiefs look like losers.

They sound like them, too.

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  • KCinTX

    Nice observation

    RCA is just like his D. Keep it in front of you and stay with your assignment. Sadly this don’t work in today NFL. Ray would die in our system. Ravens build a wall and attack anything that approaches it. Chiefs build a wall and react to anything that gets over it. Chiefs D. has no answer for anything that gets under, around or through the wall.

  • Justin R Groth

    “Like I said, I’m going to continue to say every week is a must win. Is there a sense of urgency about it? Absolutely. We want to get a win, and everybody in this room is working extremely hard to get that done.”

  • chiefridgy

    I’ve been noticing the same thing….
    Everyone sounds scared and only winston sounded confident. Winston said “it was a must win the last two weeks it’s a must win this week….and it’s gonna be a must win next week….every week is a must win….if it’s not a must win let me know and I won’t show up that week….

    RB Jamaal Charles on how to improve the offense:“Just play physical, play with passion and play hard. We’ve been doing a lot of talking around here, and if we all go out there and do our job, I think we can get something done.” (credit: Rachel Santschi Chiefs Reporter) I think Jamaal says it best…GO CHIEFS!!!

  • Calgary’s Chief Fan

    Great article, hit the nail on the head, the coach is so soft spoken and nice. this doesnt motivate a team as a head coach. his defensive prowess is fine as a D-co but doesnt cut it as a head coach. Bad personel move the players can hit their apponents with the purse’s that Crennel gave them. Longtime Chiefs fan btw. just cannot stand the F’d up situation and mentality of the team. very disappointed in what i am witnessing.

  • natasha2marie

    Sounds like they need some intangibles, and locker room leaders.

    • Patrick Allen

      Yeah. Why didn’t they bring back Thomas Jones. Wait a minute…

      • Jim Harper

        Bite your tongue!

      • Danny W

        Thomas who?

  • ArrowFan

    I don’t know after half time last week our D came out and held the bills for the most part to nothing until they let Stevie (still a girls name) burn them. The Bills first half success came when they ran on our Nickle that my friends to all on the coaches. It would be nice to someone come alive during the game this week. I would also like to see our team taking advantage of the soft Refs and play dirty and hold on the O line every play and hold the WR’s on every play like the Bills and most of the rest of the league are doing.

    • KCinTX

      So we look good against a team in clock killing mode? A guess that is a silver lining. Yea!

      I went through the 70′s & 80′s with this team. Same problem now as then. Until Hunt wants it we won’t have it.

      • ArrowFan

        They didn’t go to clock killing mode until the punt return.

    • Danny W

      I kind of miss the old dirty playing day’s myself. Remember when the Chiefs, Raiders, and Broncos used to have to be split up on some plays from fighting. That kind of stuff would fire up a team too. They would start playing nasty after that. Maybe that’s exactly what we need a good old fashioned dust up.
      As far as the D goes they’re out of position on most plays and they have no nickel threat to get to the passer. That’s usually Allen Bailey. Maybe they should let Jerrell Powe in on some nickel coverages he seems to have an awesome bull rush. I don’t know what the hell is going on but something has to give on both sides of the ball.

    • KCMikeG

      Glad to hear someone else is thinking about that angle too. I was just talking about the complete disregard the “refs” have for offensive holding in particular. Combine this with the already softened pass defenses due to the rule changes favoring the passing game. Think about how completely ineffective our pass rush is and how long QB’s are getting to stand in the pocket. This is happening all over the league not just in KC. Look at the huge scores run up by so many teams

      Week #1 -12 teams scored 27 or more points. Seven teams were defeated by double digits. The titans AND the bungles lost by THIRTY ONE.

      Week #2 – 16 teams scored 27 or more points. Nine teams were defeated by double digits. The faiders were the worst with a 22 point loss – some pleasure in the pain.

      Week #3 – the Panthers led by Super Star 1st round draft FIRST OVERALL PICK, who has more turn overs than TD’s, imploded during another THIRTY ONE POINT LOSS.

      “There were 791 points scored in the 16 Week 1 games, an average of 49.5 per game. That’s two points higher than last year’s opening week and roughly two touchdowns higher than the year before.”


      Some say that this is due to offensive strategies that increase the efficiency of the passing game with less deep throws and more checks & screens. And I thought it was all Cassel’s fault! HERE’S A GREAT ARTICLE ON THIS REASONING: AND HERE’S

      While I agree this is contributing to the increase. I am also somewhat of a conspiracy theorist when there is verifiable support to believe the theory. I believe there was more than one shooter in Dallas that took my hero and our country’s last great leader. My newest conspiracy theory – I believe we are being fooled by the NFL. The NFL is using the replacement refs to further their desire to increase the excitement and interest in the game. By having the refs ignore holding calls further advances their desire to increase scoring. This makes the game easier to market and attracts a broader audience = more sales. Bigger audiences increase advertising revenue and NFL merchandise. They have already changed the rules to promote the passing game with great success. This is the next stage of manipulation of the game designed to make more money for the NFL. All the while saving a few more millions by screwing over the the real refs. Excuse me while I vomit.
      I will go ahead and take my conspiracy to the next level. The NFL wants the game to digress to the “good old days” of the gladiators. Violence sells too and many have accused the league of not really being concerned with player safety. During last night’s blowout the refs let them fight losing control of the game. This has been escalating each week with prolonged periods of pushing and shoving – players not going/being directed to get their asses back to the huddle. Players standing around arguing their cause while the refs try to figure out what to call. The players are seeing that the barn door is open and some are strangling the cows. RGII is accusing the Rams of playing dirty and Shanahan is calling out the refs for losing control. THE NFL IS MANIPULATING THE GAME. Their response when challenged. Shut up and take it. I think I just threw up in my mouth a little.


      RAC better realize what is going on and coach our team to play the way the game is being called instead of focusing on technique and discipline which won’t work in a brawl.

      Last years Super Bowl featured prolific passers which is usually the case but it also displayed the two worst pass defenses EVER in the Super Bowl.

      How sad. This great game that has been historically been based on a great running attack and a strong defense wins championships has been hijacked by the NFL for a few more million$ and turned it into an ariel circus with anything goes gladiators.

  • Doc

    Great read Patrick. I believe this starts at the top. have you ever seen Clark on the sidelines cheering HIS team on? You may see Pioli sulking around. You have a HC that stands there as if in a daze. His assistant coaches do the same thing. The players are imitating what they see around them. Cassel goes to the bench snd sits by himself. No cheering his teamamtes or encouraging them to be better. Defense is the same way – no leader getting them psyched up. Must be the new ideaology from Hunt and company. Remember the last three games when Orton was on the sidelines cheering the defense on and getting players psyched up. Sorry, but that was NOT the HC doing that but a player. That is what is needed a sparkplug of a player to get them pumped up. I still remember when Clark took the team over and made the comment that there would be a division of powers with distinct control and not wearing multiple hats. Haley comes in and dismisses the O-Co the first game and tries to wear the HC and O-Co hat at the sdame time. Disaster. Another year, same results. Now we have a HC that is trying to wear the D-Co hat at te same time. he looks lost ont he sidelines, C’mon Romeo – be one or the other. You can’t run over to talk with the offense/defense when the defense/offense is on the field.You can’t coach both at once. Wake up Clark and stand by what you said and mandate the seperation of powers. Oh wait, that might involve spending some moeny because we all know we must do more with less. But we see where that has gotten us. I’ll throw this out for speculation. I know this will stomp on those that are on the Bowe bandwagon but… I believe is an internal cancer on the team, much like LJ was back during his tenure. Here you have a team that is practicing and sweating in the heat and performing well and one player is sitting out (after telling the fans he will be there). So at the last minute he signs his offer and becomes a starter. How demorializing is that to the players ont he team that were there sweating it out and trying their best? What was their reward – be demoted to 2nd because the ‘star’ is back – yet they were producing? Pick any side (offense, defense, ST) and tell me that isn’t in their minds. I am willnig to speculate that their minds may be questioning why even try sicne it will nto get them anything. I am of the mindset that the Hunt mantra is “I paid you mega bucks, you are gonig to play regardless and not sit on the bench.’ Thingk back to how Charles was runnnig when LJ was on suspension, but as soon as he was back Charles went back to 2nd – even though his production was better than LJ. But since Hunt is paying guaranteed money, by jimminy he is going to play ahead of those that are producing. Face it, Bowe’s time in KC is done and he wants out. let’s move on the best we can with that fact. Throwing money at Bowe is not going to make our Chiefs a better team without a leader ot two to stoke them up on the sidelines. I think he is an internal undiagnosed cancer eating away att he psyche of this team int he locker room. But back to lack of leadership. Great! hali and Flowers are back in the line up… but did they show any type of leadership to rally this team? Did the other players just take a mental breather because Hali and Flowers were back on the field? DJ has not shown the fire since the first pre-game. I mean, c’mon man, if you are hurt be a professional and stay onteh sidelines and help those can play. Don’t be out there for the sake of being out there when you can’t cover. Be on the sidelines (temporarily) and be the sparkplug. Leadership has to come from a player or two (or three or four). Either there is something to what Haley claimed was going on with Pioli running a very rigid ship (I guess he takes to heart the NoFun League) and the players feel like they are walking on egg shells all of the time, or this team is truly made up of prima donnas with no spine. We need a Booby Knight type to kick around a few chairs, scream, get red in the face (and get in player’s faces) to light the fire. Where is the passion we saw in the first pre-season game? This team has too much talent to be playing like they are. There are 14 games remainnig and there is no reason this team can’t win all 14 of them (thinknig positive). It is gonig to take heart. It is going to take a leader to step forward. Go CHIEFS !!!!!

    • Danny W

      I agreed with everything except the Bowe cancer thing. I respectfully disagree on that. Bowe used what leverage he could while he could to get a big contract. Like it or not there is a business side to all of this. I think Bowe just decided to sit through camp because the players negotiated and he could. I think if Bowe was causing some sort of dissent and being hard to work with the media would know about it. Just my two cents. The rest I can somewhat get my head wrapped around.

  • Altarium

    Great article! Crennel seems like a perfectly likeable guy, and I don’t doubt the players like playing for him, but over the past month or two he’s gone from being a straight shooter to another Chiefs front office “smoke and mirrors” type. He may still be trying to figure out how HE can be the best coach possible, but it’s clear that what he’s doing right now isn’t working.
    Anyone else ever wish that in addition to press conferences, the Chiefs would do “fan conferences” in which WE could ask them questions and press for real answers?

    • Jim Harper

      Now that would be cool, but won’t ever happen. There could very well be some really good questions, but can you imagine how many idiot questions would be asked?

      • KCMikeG

        Agreed. it would give some true insight if they had to answer the tough questions as long a those with well thought out questions were allowed to go before the ones who would say you players are all quitters and call Cassel shit for brains or a pussy ending the press conference with them being hauled away in cuffs while screaming death threats.

      • Altarium

        Very true… maybe I just need to walk right up to Pioli’s front door and ask questions directly haha

  • reddog39

    I would love some response on this but is it me or since the arrival of Dwayne Bowe KC has sucked!! I was at the first preseason game vs. the Cards and the Chiefs were unstoppable. I mean the good. Then Bowe came back and KC has done nothing. I know Bowe gets catches and all but isn’t it about winning not catches? The team looks poisoned since his return. Any feedback out there?

    • Jim Harper

      Yeah, you are a bit off base. Think back to 2010. Caught 15 passes for touchdowns. Last year not as many td’s but still lead the team in receptions even with Palko throwing the ball.

      • KCMikeG

        Don’t know if the timing of Bowe’s return and our struggles have any connection – hope not. What I don’t get is how Bowe holds out, has had numerous attitude issues, has lead the league in drops – many of which have cost us games, has had more than 7 TD’s in a season ONE time in 5 years, both his TD’s this year were in garbage time yet after all that he gets a pass? While Cassel was there in camp learning another new offense, organizing practice in KC before the CBA last year, put Baldwin up at his place to get him in town sooner, there for the Joplin community service, helping his neighbors from a fire, never throwing his teammates under the bus (2009 most sacked QB behind a terrible OL & NFL leading dropper of passes DBowe – who he publicly defended. Hmm funny how Bowe has never returned the favor??) missing only one game to an appendectomy, inspires the team in STL to make the playoff run during his 27 TD/7 int great year in 2010 but he is the cause of all evil? The fans at Arrowhead on opening day felt different than most on AA as there was a huge Booo from the crowd on his first drop while a wave of support for Cassel as he made a perfect on the fly 22 yard TD to Boss and ran for a TD fighting through two tackles. Bowe was 3 for 53 with a drop and jumped up thumbing his name on his jersey each time. Go back and listen to the play by play as they describe what good pocket presence Cassel had and what a great throw it was on his 19 yard to Bowe. Cassel gets the beatings and Bowe gets the pass Ugh!

    • Danny W

      I think it would get leaked to the press if Bowe was causing dissent amongst the players and coaches. I think this has to go to Crennel and Pioli.

  • still supporting the underdog

    i applied to work for the Chiefs even though i had read a whole lot of negative press about the peoli organization on the web. like to give everyone the benefit of the doubt, so went ahead and applied. took two weeks to get an answer to the 3 phone calls and 2 emails i sent to the supervisor of hiring by which time i had decided that i wasn’t invited to work there after all, even though i had gone through the hiring process of paperwork, badges, etc. after giving up,never diid hear from the hiring manager but i received a call from someone i had never heard of asking me if i still wanted to work for the chiefs. after i told him about the total lack of response from the hiring manager, he kind of laughed and explained that that guy is really busy at this time of year.. Really? too busy to do your job which is hiring people? hmm. after another week of no answers from this guy, i finally decided that i did not need to work for an organization that’s even more screwed up than i am myself. seems like the bad press was right about nobody wanting to work there – including todd haley and now looks like the players – and each week the website continues to try to hire people. good luck.

    • Danny W

      That’s wild bro.

  • Jim Harper

    Wow Paddy, this is a bit harsh for you. I am certainly disappointed by being 0-2, but also understand there are 14 more games and it is hardly time to panic. Now if we go to 0-6 then a fire sale is in order

    • Chiefswatch

      When will people realize it is not the 0-2 in itself. It is the way we look as a team. That is the disappointment.

  • Danny W

    I hope I’m wrong but I could see Crennel being the first head coach fired this year. You don’t have the talent we do and lose like that game in and game out. It’s been five in a row now, and I know I know the preseason doesn’t count unless your a fan then you need to spend the same amount on those tickets too. I digress. We go 0-5 I’d say Oh Romeo is history and I dare say Pioli too. Again I hope I’m wrong but this doesn’t seem like a coach who is preaching a culture of winning and aggressiveness to me. He had a mojo last year and then I think something happened, (Pioli) in the off season and now he just doesn’t seem the same and quite frankly it shows on the field. Good work Partrick.

    • Chiefswatch

      Not mid season brother, not again. Nope Clark will at that point hope we continue to lose so he can fire Pioli and Crennel together. Then he can tell the new GM to draft a QB so that he can get the fan base back, and he will. New QB, New Future, blah blah blah.

  • Todd

    The problem is Clark. That’s when the slide started.

  • Seth

    Truth Hurts!!! WAKE UP CHIEFS!!

  • iowaskcchiefsfan

    The Chiefs need some walk-up and smack-you in the mouth swagger. They need some fire in the belly attitude. Back in the late 60′s, early 70′s there was a Poster: Yea that I walk thru the Valley of Death, I fear no evil, because I’m the baddest S.O.B in the valley. The Chiefs should say that to themelves everyday tll they believe. They aren’t showing a winning attitude, no belief or tenacity.