Kansas City Chiefs Chairman and CEO Clark Hunt needs to fire Scott Pioli and Romeo Crennel before they can do any further damage to his football team.
The calls for Pioli and Crennel to be canned have been coming from fans for a while now but after yesterday’s unconscionable decision to cut CB Stanford Routt, it is clear the guys in charge of running the Chiefs are so clueless that allowing their incompetence to continue is downright irresponsible.
The cutting of Routt was a feeble attempt to add to the ever-growing list of Pioli fall-guys. At this point, Pioli and Crennel are not all that different than two men locked in a dark room flailing their arms around looking for the light switch.
Only there is no switch.
Routt wasn’t the best player on the Chiefs’ defense but he sure as heck wasn’t the worst. In fact, there is pretty strong evidence that despite some of his struggles, he was still the second best CB on the roster. How, in any way, does cutting Routt now make the Kansas City Chiefs a better football team?
Surprisingly, I’ve actually seen some folks arguing that Routt being cut isn’t that big of a deal. Some suggested (without any evidence I might add) that Routt may have character issues or that he is a team cancer. Statements like this are irresponsible and unfair. There hasn’t, to my knowledge, been a single report of Routt acting up in the KC locker room. The lack of a report on Routt misbehaving doesn’t necessarily mean that he’s been a model citizen but if there were some internal problems with Routt and the Chiefs, do you think Scott Pioli, master of media manipulation, would not have leaked something by now?
Another argument for cutting Routt is that he is due a $10 million option bonus due and since he hasn’t played all that well this season, he wasn’t going to be retained next season anyway. There are multiple problems with this argument. For starters, the Chiefs are paying, and have paid, millions of dollars to a number of under-performing players during the Scott Pioli regime. Matt Cassel, Glenn Dorsey and Tyson Jackson, to name a few, have stolen so much money from Clark Hunt’s wallet that criminal chargers should be filed.
Scott Pioli’s job is to win football games, not save Hunt a few million bucks by cutting struggling players so he can replace them with worse players. Pioli’s frugal ways have already saved Hunt plenty of money. It also makes things more difficult for the Chiefs in the future. Since Pioli allowed Carr to leave and has failed on multiple occasions to draft a CB capable of starting alongside Brandon Flowers, losing Routt just adds another hole to the roster for the future.
The move simply highlights yet another one of Pioli’s flaws. He thought he was being so smart by allowing Brandon Carr to leave in free agency. You can see his line of thinking so clearly that his repeated instances that signing Carr was still possible after the Routt deal was done seem even more insulting in hindsight. This man actually looked fans in the eye after giving Routt a big deal and told them that he was still trying to work out a deal with Brandon Carr.
So much crap, they had to start a new pile.
And so after just eight games on a new team and in a new defense, Crennel and Pioli are cutting ties with the man they brought in to replace Carr. If Routt is due a $10 million option bonus and he is under-performing, all that does is place two more strikes on the side of the ledger that says Pioli is in over his head.
For all Routt’s flaws, he is also one of the players responsible for Kansas City’s lone victory this season. That’s right, late in the third quarter with the Chiefs trailing 13 to 24, Drew Brees and the Saints were on the KC 29, Routt intercepted a Drew Brees pass and returned it 32 yards. On the subsequent drive, Ryan Succop drilled a 34-yard field goal that pulled the Chiefs within a eight.
If the Saints score even a FG on that drive, the Chiefs don’t win the game. Remember, following Routt’s pick, it took three Ryan Succop field goals and a safety for the Chiefs to even tie the game to force overtime.
Routt is no world-beater but he can and has made a difference for the Chiefs this season.
The Kansas City Chiefs defense is worse without Routt than they were with him. Nothing we have seen from Javier Arenas, Jalil Brown or Travis Daniels should inspire any confidence that any one of them can play even half as good as Stanford Routt.
In short, Scott Pioli traded Tony Gonzalez for Javier Arenas and Brandon Carr for Standford Routt…who he then cut almost immediately.
For all his talk about “process” and “consistency” Pioli has run one of the most inconsistent teams in the NFL. Unless you count losing as consistent in which case he has nearly hit the mark in that area.
The Chiefs aren’t bad because Stanford Routt struggled at times this season. They’re bad because Scott Pioli and Romeo Crennel haven’t done their jobs well enough. Crennel’s Chiefs are one of the most undisciplined teams in the history of the NFL. Todd Haley, who also probably has no business holding a head coaching position in the NFL, got more out of this team with Tyler Palko starting at QB than Crennel has been able to with superior talent.
Hunt should relieve Pioli and Crennel of their duties immediately, not just because they are almost certainly dead men walking, but because are showing now they could actually continue to do harm to the organization, thus making things more difficult on their eventual successors.
It is time for Hunt to protect his team and to announce to Chiefs fans and the rest of the NFL that he isn’t the type of man to stand by while two buffoons try to turn his father’s once proud football club into the NFL’s new version of the new Cleveland Browns or worse, the post glory days Oakland Raiders.
Firing Pioli and Crennel now likely won’t stop the ship from sinking but it will certainly stop the duo from shooting more holes into the deck. And for Chiefs fans desperate for proof that Hunt cares more about winning than he does about money and soccer, that could make a big difference.