Fire Pioli If You Want, But Hire A Franchise QB

The Kansas City Chiefs are a mess and the buck stops with GM Scott Pioli.

The Chiefs’ owner, Clark Hunt, can’t be fired. The man he charged with turning around the fortunes of his football team, can.

But should he be?

Or better yet, will it matter?

There is a very strong argument to be made that Pioli should be canned. He’s made many mistakes since taking over as GM. He was wrong about Matt Cassel. He was wrong about Todd Haley. He reached for Tyson Jackson. He whiffed on nearly the entire 2009 draft. He indirectly traded Tony Gonzalez for Javier Arenas. For a man that preaches organizational stability, he’s allowed a revolving door at offensive coordinator and two head coaches in less than four years. He was exposed and embarrassed in an article by former Kansas City Star reporter and columnist Kent Babb, for running a work environment that was unpleasant and according to some accounts, abusive.

Most of all, Pioli’s Chiefs haven’t won. KC is 22-31 since Pioli took over and despite what appears to be a talented roster, the Chiefs appear no closer to playoff success now than when he arrived. Pioli inherited a roster mostly full of bums and underachievers. He did a pretty good job of hanging on to the talented players that were here when he arrived but after four years of roster-building, Pioli presents a team of talented players that play like bums.

In short, there isn’t much difference on the field.

A few weeks ago, I was pretty happy with the job Scott Pioli was doing. I felt like he had put together the best possible roster to support Matt Cassel. I wasn’t the only one. Media, both locally and nationally, were applauding Pioli’s moves. Folks were picking the Chiefs to win the AFC West and a couple of analysts even picked them to make the Super Bowl.

Pioli’s hiring of Crennel also seemed like the right move at the time. The players responded to his coaching. The team rallied and played pretty well down the stretch, despite missing some of their best players. Crennel was experienced and calm; the anti-Haley. The team hadn’t responded well to Todd’s brash style, so why not go in the other direction? After all, Crennel’s win over the Green Bay Packers was a more impressive win than any of Haley’s victories.

But if Pioli was wrong about the 2012 Crennel-led Chiefs, then so were the rest of us. The difference is, we aren’t getting paid millions of dollars to be right. Scott Pioli is.

And he’s been wrong far more often than he has been right.

So what to do? Is it time for Clark Hunt to pull the plug on Pioli?

Clark Hunt is in a tough spot. Teams like the Browns have taught us that reorganizing your organization every three or four years doesn’t equal success. A new GM likely means another culture shift, another new head coach and more losing.

But it isn’t just the men in charge who have failed in Cleveland. Since the Browns have returned, they’ve lacked one, key component. A QB.*

*Though not for lack of trying, which is something that can’t be said about the Chiefs.

Whatever Clark Hunt decides to do, he needs to make one thing abundantly clear to the GM, whether it be Pioli or a new hire: the Kansas City Chiefs are going to do whatever it takes to secure a franchise QB during the 2012 offseason. That means moving up as high as need be to swing for the fences with one of the Draft’s top signal callers.

A franchise QB is the one guy who can make everyone else in the organization look good. Just like Jamaal Charles makes an offensive line look good, a franchise QB makes EVERYONE look good. The GM, the coach, the other players on the team. Everyone.

And Clark Hunt needs to realize that. If you drop Tom Brady on this Chiefs team, if you drop Drew Brees or Aaron Rogers, they’d probably be playing a much better brand of football right now. Pioli, Crennel, everyone would look great. Just like they did in New England.

But without a QB, the deck is stacked against the Chiefs and without one, Scott Pioli, Romeo Crennel, Todd Haley, “King” Carl Peterson, Mary Schottenheimer or the reanimated corpse of Vince Lombardi won’t make a lick of difference.

So Hunt can fire Pioli if he wants. Or not.

But until the organization secures a franchise QB, the losing is going to continue.

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  • ThisChiefsFan

    Cassel would probably be a lot better if he was a better leader, granted that wouldn’t help his playing ability, but it would inspire those around him to play with heart. Look at what Tim Tebow did with Denver last year. When Orton was starting the broncos played like garbage, but when tebow stepped in the team around him played better not because of playing ability but because of his leadership and ability to inspire those around him and they started winning. Now I’m not saying we bring tebow in I’m just saying that we need a leader, as well as a playmaker at qb, and right now cassel is neither of those things. The talent is definitely there around him, but much like denver of last year there is no heart.

    • Patrick Allen

      Yeah I’d like to see more of Cassel trying to rally everyone on the sideline but it won’t matter. He just doesn’t have it.

    • Cha-iefs

      It really doesn’t matter if he cheers and pumps players up. Point is if they gained yards and sustained drives thats enough to build momentum and confidence isn’t it guys?

  • tm1946

    While i have said for some time Pioli is a bust, I just do not see what Paddy says. It is not the Hunt style. They hire a guy and head for Texas. They do not get involved in day to day activities. Until this franchise hits the bottom and they get embarrassed in front of their friends, they do not get involved. It worked for a while with Carl and Marty but for most of the history of the “famed” franchise, it has been loser after loser season.
    I am betting the Chiefs ride out this year and maybe the next. Fans need to “get a clue” if I can barrow from the Chief’s tweeters. The Hunts do not pay for someone to sit at home and draw checks from Hunt bank accounts. No, everyone at Arrowhead has a good paycheck coming. Just last week posters here demanding fans cheer the team to get it a win….so much carp but I digress. Maybe in 2014 a new rebuild will happen, maybe 2013 but not sooner.

    • Patrick Allen

      Unless it keeps going like this, I don’t see Hunt canning Pioli. I actually think he’ll let him hire a new coach/draft a QB…but only if they get it together down the stretch. I think he needs 6 wins to keep his job.

      • TAZMOSIS

        Paddy, what I see happening I have said before. The Chiefs get 6-7 wins and Pioli keeps his job. Even with less wins, it is not Hunts M.O. to fire the GM mid season. And, given the fact that Pioli has another year to go on a huge contract, (Pioli is the highest paid GM in any sport), I don’t see Hunt throwing in more money and paying two GMs at the same time. I think that it would take 3-4 wins for Hunt to move on. Crennel is a different story. He has said that he can win with Brady Quinn at QB. Really? This team cannot continue to be sent out week after week and keep getting crushed. They are too young to be able to take that kind of humiliation and not be affected. Crennel needs to go, like now. But, that won’t happen either. Maybe 1 and 5 at the break does it. Let one of the assistants take the reigns and go after a top name after the season is over. My greatest fear is that the Chiefs (Hunt) let a talent laden team squander that talent with a backup QB. Or should I say three back up QBs.

        • Cha-iefs

          thats a great last sentence, true that

      • Danny W

        I don’t think this team gets to six though Paddy. I don’t want him to draft our QBOF do you?

        • Patrick Allen

          I don’t know man. His first round track record isn’t great, that is for sure.

          • chiefridgy

            don’t worry, he’ll draft a qb in the 5th or 6th; he’ll definitely blow the 1st rounder on a d/o lineman

        • Chiefswatch

          Jesus I never thought of that. Pioli is a draft day idiot, what does it mean if HE is the one drafting our QBOF…..i just became depressed.

  • Scott Zupek

    I think in 2014 it WILL BE ENTIRELY TOO LATE. The fans feel lied to, betrayed, and laughed at behind their back. It’s obvoius Clark Hunt only cares about the money because with all the mistakes of Pioli’s career in KC, he’d be gone by any reasonable owner.

    I didn’t like the Patriots way when they brought him in and its more than obvious on why. Pioli is micro managing everything, down to the last candy wrapper on the floor and probably the way that Crennel’s gatorade bottle faces on the podium.

    Crennel has been in this league to long to dump it on him. I don’t know all the details in Cleveland, but I can tell you Scott Pioli’s way of managing is and always has been the COMPLETELY WRONG WAY.

    It’s obvious that Crennel put’s trust in his players. Accountablity, he can’t do because Pioli wants the call. If Pioli wants to be a HC, let go of him (please) and hire someone that understands the jobs and duties of a General Manager.

    Everything I have read about Pioli, makes me point to one simple thing…I WOULDN’T WANT TO BE ANY PART OF THAT ORGANIZATION. Not if I was a player. Not if I was an a coach and not if I was a janitor. Everything that is going on right now (good AND bad) lies on Scott Pioli. There is no other excuse or person to throw at the media to draw attention away from him. He has micro managed the entire skill and intelligence out of this Franchise. If he is still here next week, that lies on Clark Hunt. Nobody else. Clark Hunt is in deep water. He needs to prove that it’s not just about the money before he looses the majority of the fanbase’s money.

  • Jonathan Rhea

    I’ve said it since the Indy game 2 seasons ago…Cassel is NOT an NFL starting QB. Anybody who doesn’t agree with this DOESN’T watch every play…he is horrible. <——Click on this FB page and hit the "like" button…hopefully with a few thousand of us sounding off this 55million dollar mistake will be gone!!!

    • Cha-iefs

      only thing worse then Cassel is replacing him with someone on the bench. So we replace “stinker” with “stinky”? or should we take the leap and give “stink-o” a shot? There is a theme here……they all stink.

      • CrowheartButte

        at this point I definitely agree with Teicher. You have to throw Quinn in the game. You have to try something different – what???? it will be worse – how?? you think we would be 0 – 4!!!!! heck that would be better, get us on the road to drafting THE QB. Then the age old question is; would the Chiefs finally draft one – idk. wouldn’t be a bit surprised if they wouldn’t. Chiefs fan too many years.

  • Jacob Crouse

    My 3 QB options in the Draft. Geno Smith, Tjoh Boyd, or Aaron Murry.

  • Cha-iefs

    I’m just glad all the losing was Todd Haley’s fault. Pheeeeeeeewwww!! Wait,who are we blaming now guys?

  • Chiefswatch

    I will go further and say the QB is a a little responsible for the overall play of the rest of the offense. If you have a shit QB throwing you passes in practice, is that going to make you better? Or do you think practicing with Peyton Manning would make you better? If you are the Oline do you think protecting for a idiot is easy? Having a shit QB makes everyone play worse IMO. Not blaming Cassel for their failures but I am saying the QB is the centerpiece of the team for a reason.

  • Doc

    Firing Pioli is not the answer. It won’t change anything and more losses will result in the turmoil. It appears that there is some top-down meddling going on and now RAC is saying the canned responses to keep his job. Accountability. Heart. Leadership. All are lacking with this team. Give RAC the power and let him back up his statement that he can win with Quinn. He can’t do worse, but Quinn may give the heart back to this team. Give everyone invovled someone new to follow because it is eveident that Cassel cannot provide the leadership. I’m sorry, but this is a passionate game and I do not see the leader (the QB) getting fired up about any phase of the game. I guess if I was collecting millions whether I performed or not, i would be just as lacksidasial too. The bottom line is SOMETHING has to change because what we are currently doing is NOT working. I have to question ownership, GM, and coaching – if the way we are doing things is not working, what makes you think if we keep doing it that way it si going to improve? Sort of like taking milk of the refirgerator and disovering that it has spoiled only to think if you put it back and make the refrigerator colder the milk will be better next week. No, changes need to be made and if we fall on our face so be it – but at least we tried something new.

  • Cha-iefs

    Charlie Weis made Matt Cassel look pretty good. Pat you mention dropping Brady,Rogers,Brees etc into the KC lineup. I agree but something to think about is Weis and his playcalling. He was the “Brain/eyes” for Cassel. Something Brees,rogers,Brady do not need. The difference between Cassel and Brady IS Tom will take the 4 yard pass. Cassel seems like he is forced to make the 8-15 yard pass everytime he drops back. I’m not 100% what forces this but i’m thinking [playcalling,right?] Tom Brady plays underneath the Def until they come up on it. Thats when he stretches them backout. Now they have a run game, theyre tough. I hear all this crap about the Patriot way and if I want to copy them in any way then let it be in this form. Not just by collecting their trash personnel. Ugh, i keep going back to this but Weis called the Offense with a leash on Cassel. Matt KNEW what he was doing before he snapped the ball. Brady,Rogers,Brees are able to make the tough reads and adapt. Thats what makes them elite QBs.
    As you know,Sustained drives create momentum and confidence in a offensive unit. It gets the ball rolling,something you see Brady do week in and week out. Dink and dunk and hit the 15-25+ yarder when its there. All that opens up a leathal run game. It’s just a healthy offense. Weis was good for the Chiefs. He used the talent well and was the ultimate puppet master for a average QB. Cassel had a GREAT year under him compared to without him. I differ alittle with you on the blame game. I’m sticking with playcalling and coaching [O-Cord in particular]. Putting people in a position to succeed is more important then talent or ability. I KNOW in my heart that KC has the talent to be successful. Whats missing? To me it’s a “Charlie Weis” or a “Tom Brady”. If we can’t have a elite QB then we MUST have a Charlie Weis to win football games.

  • Danny W

    A new culture is needed I would argue. A new coach who could do both GM duties and coach maybe, new quarterback, more folks getting after the quarterback. I mean when Jaq Reeves is out of the NFL for two years and he’s your best option at backup cornerback, please? When Matt Cassel is throwing the football for your team all four years, please? When Tyson Jackson is making 10 million dollars a year and Pitioutoa comes in and plays for Glenn Dorsey and gets two sacks in one game and that equals all of the sacks Tyson Jackson has had his entire career, Please!!!! It’s a joke. Peyton Hillis great, Boss awesome, Winston cool, it doesn’t matter when you have a team that doesn’t want to play for a loser quarterback and a coach who doesn’t want to coach with one. I will be stunned if we win 5 games. We will get blown out of the Ravens game. I will tevo it and watch it later, I’ll have other things to do.

    • Patrick Allen

      The Ravens game could get seriously ugly. I am trying not to think about it. Unfortunately, it is my job to think about it.

      • ArrowFan

        Can’t get much uglier than last week

        • chiefridgy

          wait til next week.

    • AKChieffan

      I agree, but its sad we can’t get excited when Chiefs play any more because they’re getting blown out by turn overs. Its dishearting. Still “Go Chiefs”

  • lein_on

    I’m ok with losing out the season at this point if it means we get a franchise QB I’m almost 30 and i don’t remember us ever have one or at least drafting one.
    I’d like to see a tracker of what Collage QB’s are out there we should be watching for come Spring time next year.

  • ArrowFan

    What happens when we win say 2 or 3 games in a row, wait what am I saying!

  • AKChieffan

    It almost seems that everyone read the comments from the game from the live feed.. I defiently don’t like the idea of Cassel for another 2 years, and Pioli is responsible. I been saying that Cassel is a Donkey for 3 year now.
    2 or 3 weeks ago I talked about Pioli needing to be held accountable for bringing Cassel here, and I even shared an article posted it on AA. The bifg problem is, not admitting there is a problem. Pioli’s Ego is preventing him to see the issues before him. Recognizing what works and didn’t is the first part of success. Pioli has a problem seeing past his bruised ego, and because of that, the problem that simple men see as being the problem, won’t be fix. Pioli phylosopy is, “I don’t make mistakes, so there isn’t a problem with Cassel or the over paid players I brought in.” Although we are losing by shooting ourselves in the foot with those overpaid players. We can’t win just with players like JC, we don’t have enough of them.
    During the game, some guy acually was trying to defend Pioli and Cassel by saying we have one of the hardest schedules in the league. Well we should look at where we are to elite teams are then. The question would be, Are we competitiive enough and are you satified with the product is putting out?
    I personally think Pioli needs to be replaced, or hire a coach who has the back bone to tell Pioli who plays, and who sits. Who we should draft and stay clear of. Not be a puppet as Crennel is. Pioli has a lot of failures with our beloved Chiefs, as stated in the article. Poili needs to have someone with enough clout as a coach, he has to at least listen to the man. Example: Cowher, but would such a man want to work for someone like Pioli?
    Why didn’t Peyton Manning even give the Chiefs a chance, could it be the baggage that comes with Pioli. I just don’t like the direction we have gone with this man. Will Hunt even have the balls to do something about it?

  • HuckDaddy

    Plain and simple….. I will just keep saying it. It is the QB. We need a new one. Thats it. Nothing more. Everyone keeps saying Quinn, Stanzi, Garrard, etc. Nope. I could be into that only because it will keep us in a good draft position. But at this point I am more into Tanney – for the same reason mostly, but also because unlike those other names he could possibly have a future. We know what all these out of work FA possibilities have in common…. they are out of work for a reason!

  • redchiefs

    The offense stunk up the stadium, bad.