November 1, 2012; San Diego, CA, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel (7) during the second half against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium. The Chargers won 31-13. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-US PRESSWIRE

How Talented Is This Chiefs Roster?

At 1-8 there is no debating the fact that the Chiefs are a bad football team. In fact, they passed bad about a month ago and plowed right on into the embarrassing zone. That having been said, I still believe there is a pool of talent on this roster that a winning team could be built from. My opinion is that the two things holding this team back are bad QB play and bad coaching. Are there other areas of the roster that need to be upgraded? Sure, but you can say that about several playoff teams.

Now I’ve been called a “Homer” and “Kool Aid Drinker” on more than one occasion. I believed in Scott Pioli. I even believed that this team was good enough to overcome the mediocre QB play of Matt Cassel. So I don’t trust my own judgement anymore. So I want your help. You can be my own personal “Recovering Homer” support group.

Am I wrong to still believe in the core talent of this team?

I look at other “bad” teams like the Jaguars and Browns and think, “we have so much more talent than they do.” Is that true? Or am I too biased because of my love of this team?

I look at guys like Jamaal Charles, Dwayne Bowe, Branden Albert, Tamba Hali, Justin Houston, Derrick Johnson, Brandon Flowers, and Eric Berry and think that we have as many big-time talented players as most playoff teams. Am I wrong about that?

Would you trade rosters with any of the other teams that are already out of the playoffs?

Is it wishful thinking that I think we’re a new coaching staff and a first round QB away from being right back in the mix?

Again, I’m not saying the rest of the roster is set. Yes, upgrades can be made, but they seem more like minor tweaks than a major overhaul. I want Pioli fired as much as anyone. I think the fact that he’s completely failed at finding a head coach and a quarterback when those are the two most vital spots to fill make his firing completely justified. His draft record in KC is uninspiring, but the QB and HC are the dagger to the heart. He should go, ASAP. However, I feel like some people are afraid to say anything about the team being talented out of fear that it will somehow sound pro-Pioli.

So, do I need a bucket of cold water thrown in my face to snap me out of my latest blind homer loyalty?

Or was that game against the Steelers proof that when the team is motivated and the QB doesn’t turn the ball over the team is talented enough to hang with anyone?

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  • Derek Jamison

    The steelers that we “hanged” with in the second half was not a full powered steelers team. So many injuries to key players on both sides of the ball.

    But yes, I think the chiefs roster is more than capable if they play sound ball and don’t turn the ball over. The coaching staff needs to all be replaced and of course the QB..but other than that our roster is great.

    • ArrowFan

      I agree the coaches haven’t been utilizing the players talents on both sides of the ball. I’m more than ready for Geno Smith.

    • KCMikeG

      I am proud that we hung with them on MNF. EVERYONE predicted a humiliating blowout – NOT! Plus we were not the full powered Chiefs team either. We were playing with a comparable QB once Big Ben got hurt plus have lost our starting center, TE, DE, WR, CB. With the right coaching staff and QB and we are on our way.

  • Weston Moody

    A talented QB puts this team at .500. If you look at the arm strength, placement of the ball, and all around talent of Cassel, you can tell that if you put a talented QB in that spot, more wins will follow. Letting Bowe walk will be horrible. I belive with the right leader for this offense solves an abundance of scoring issues. I 100% do not trust Pioli to make that call. Not to mention the reason why talented FA won’t even take a phone call from anyone from the chiefs.

    • Chief Hokie

      What do you think about our WR corps, assuming Bowe stays? I can’t tell if they suck or if what I’m seeing is more a product of Cassel’s suckage. It does seem like he can never hit them in stride, but I’m seeing a lot of unforgivable drops as well from each and every receiver.

      • ArrowFan

        I seen allot of drops over the last few years.

        • KCMikeG

          Worse this year than ever is not just the drops but the tip drills we have been running for the opposing D’s!

      • KCMikeG

        Bowe will stay but needs to stop dropping the ball – maybe the spin/velocity/placement/consistency of the next QB’s ball will help? McCluster needs to learn to hold on to the ball and be better utilized. Baldwin will develop (not unusual for them to take 2-3 years to hit their stride and he lost all of camp/half the season his rookie year), Breaston can go to Haley with the Pope. I am excited to see Whylie, Newsome, Bellamy and Hemingway who all have potential. Add a flat out burner in the draft and a 100% Moeaki and Boss and we are loaded.

        • Chief Hokie

          I have faith in Baldwin, but I gotta say, his overall attitude and demeanor worry me somewhat. He just seems like a bit of a headcase like Dez Bryant. It’s nothing blatantly obvious that he’s done recently, it’s just a vibe I pick up from him.

    • KCMikeG

      I agree with you except how do you not trust Pioli when picking between Smith or Barkley? There is NO other choice for our 1st pick or I’m getting on the fire Pioli bandwagon. Either one of them at QB, an experienced coaching staff, another decent draft and the FA pick ups along with the continued development of the many young talented players Pioli has added capped by the maturing versions of DJ, Hali, Bowe, Charles and Flowers and we will be a contender.

  • KCNJ

    Like you, Lyle, i don’t trust my judgment anymore. Supremely talented players who underperform? Or over-rated players who aren’t supremely talented? I think receiving corps is over-rated, DBowe included. Key drops on Monday night were costly. And Where’s Baldo? Who gets open consistently and makes the clutch catch? Moeaki non-existent. That’s not all on Cassel, as are many of the tipped or stripped balls that go as INTs. O-line is okay, but not dominant at run blocking. And less than that on pass protection. I would love to see the proportion of yards this year on either run or pass that came after the game was already lost…the stats don’t tell the story. Flowers and Berry had solid games last Monday, but that’s not been as apparent all season. We miss Carr in a big way. LBs are pretty solid, but DJ is the only real consistent stud star every week. The defense is NOT as good as last year.

    There are many holes. I think the talent may be over-rated, and the depth is not adequate.

    Coaching, though, is really lacking. I also wonder where the PLAYER LEADERSHIP IS! Do you see it? I don’t see any evidence of it. Do you think we have our Ray Rice or Ray Lewis? Hmmm….

  • Chief Hokie

    Elite players (greatest to least) : Jamaal Charles, Tamba Hali, Derrick Johnson, Justin Houston, Dwayne Bowe

    Borderline elite: Brandon Flowers

    Above average: Branden Albert, Eric Berry

    Don’t think Flowers is there yet. He gets injured too much and is not as consistent as Carr was. Albert I might consider borderline. He’s a solid LT which is hard to find but I wouldn’t go as far as to say he’s elite. Eric Berry has all the potential to be a hall of fame talent but he needs at least a year or two more to develop. Right now he is just above average.

    Like many have said, this team could win 8 games easy with a serviceable QB. Our other major concerns are at OL and iLB. We have an old undersized guard playing center and a rookie at G, not to mention some guy named Hochstein. Also, Belcher is not a suitable starter. Our D relies on having super dominant LBs – they are by far the most important cogs in the machine. Just imagine a LB corps of Hali-DJ-Teo-Houston. Oh yea, I went there.

    • tm1946

      Isn’t the real issue – Pioli is in his 4 season and that is about all there is on the roster? Not so much he missed the boat on guys, he did not seem interested in them. Last spring radio guy, Keitsman, asked Pioli if the Chiefs should not have at least mada a run at seeing if they could deal for Luck pick. Pioli laughed and hoped the other GMs thought like Keitsman. More recently, Pioli was “amused” by media and fan expectations for the 2012 season. His roster, his signings and he was amused that fans thought the Chiefs were ready in 2012.

      • Chief Hokie

        Yea sure Pioli and Crennel represent the management issues of this team, but I am so worn out on the subject my head could explode. I will say that I while I thought his 2009 draft and this past year’s draft were absolutely terrible, his 2010 and 2011 drafts were pretty stellar in my opinion. Now, 2/4 is not all that great, but I think all of the Pioli hate flying around has some people thinking more along the lines of 0/4. Now THAT is a bit premature.

        It is way too soon to start assessing these drafts (specifically 2010 & 11). I think people who call Berry a bust are fooling themselves. He’s going to be a stud, it’s just a matter of when, not if. And can you really call McCluster, Arenas, Moeaki, K Lewis, Asamoah, Baldwin, Hudson, Bailey, J Brown, and Powe busts? Sure they probably won’t all turn out to be studs, but I would argue that they have all steadily improved and show legitimate promise. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if we looked back four years from now and these guys made up the core of our team. Then we’d blame the next GM for coasting off the success of Pioli’s drafts…and round and round it goes. I actually really hope that doesn’t happen.

        Don’t get me wrong, I still want Pioli and Crennel gone, I just hate the propaganda going around saying Pioli’s drafts are all busts and that the only good player he’s picked up is Justin Houston.

        • KCMikeG

          If what you say is true then – and I believe too that it is true then why would we want to fire the guy who built it? Pioli has been here for 4 years w/o a playoff win. Hello?? It has been nearly 20 years since we have won a playoff game and we have had SIX playoff appear
          ances since (one of which was due to six other teams losing so we could back in). So how is 1 out of 4 (nearly TWO being we were a play away from making it last year even with the injuries, chaos and HC firing) SO bad that we should fire Pioli? Pioli hasnt’t landed us our franchise QB in the draft. The Chiefs have NEVER in the history of the team done this and Pioli should be run out of town for not getting it done in four years (only 3 of which have been with his own scouting department. Do these people not remember the condition of the team he inherited? They want to ignore the 4-12 and 2-14 seasons prior to Pioli’s arrival so they can crow about how all the great players were already here. Yes there were quite a few pretty good players here – none who were great yet though and if they were so great then why were our records so bad? YES Pioli has made mistakes but with the right coaching staff (I support an experienced staff over a roll the dice up and coming college group) and Smith or Barkley at QB and this will all have been just a bad dream. Ok – a wake up screaming nightmare.

          • Chief Hokie

            I have honestly gone back and forth over whether or not Pioli deserves another shot, but there are some things I just cannot overlook:

            1) His complete and utter neglect over the QB situation. Sure Cassel showed promise in 2010, but Pioli has had plenty of time to bring in some serious competition at QB and after all this time and who are our current backups now? Stanzi and Quinn? Are you for serious?

            2) He is a huge turnoff for FA’s, HC’s, OC’s, and DC’s looking to join a team. Peyton Manning, Jeff Fisher, and I’m sure there are many more that haven’t been made public. I mean c’mon the best OC we could get was Daboll? And I’ll never forget Bill Muir.

            3) All of his first round picks (besides Berry) have been huge reaches. He’s so confident in his ability to assess talent that he invents his own standards to justify picking a player 1-2 rounds too early. Not to mention Moeaki, Jeff Allen, and Donald Stephenson who were all gigantic reaches.

            On top of it all he comes off like a self-pretentious prick to the media and fans. I say finish him.

    • KCMikeG

      Agreed. Really like the LB Crew for sure!

  • ArrowFan

    Every player has strengths and weakness some more than others. But the QB is the most critical position on the field and that alone effects everything else. Now the QB is dependent upon the rest of the team to aid him in success So what comes first the Chicken or the egg. In our case most defiantly the team has come before the QB, at least I hope so. So I’m saying when we put Geno Smith on our team the rest of the players will appear more talented than they do now. Owe and replace the OC and HC too.

  • Calchiefsfan

    It’s too bad Haley completely wigged out. The combination of him, Crennel and Weiss could have had the Chiefs playing at a high level. Even with all of Cassel’s shortcomings Weiss had him playing well and the offense was beginning to show something. Bowe’s drops were down and Haley seemed to have him playing his best football. Crennel was bringing the D along. DJ, Tamba, Flowers and Lewis were really starting to gel. Berry was a stud and went to the Pro Bowl his rookie year. We won the AFC West. Then Haley imploded, Weiss said “I’m outta here” and the wheels went off the track with the last game against Oakland and the playoff game against Baltimore. Enter 2011 and in hindsight it’s easy too see the Chiefs had no chance to succeed.
    To answer your question Lyle, yes we have the talent and yes with a decent QB and a whole new coaching staff, (that is competent), we could be very competitive again. We did it with less talent in 2010.
    I hate it that the Chiefs are in this position…again! It’s time for another house cleaning. Can anyone say Polian, maybe Cowher. Any other suggestions by the AA clan? What say you?

    • Chief Hokie

      I just really don’t see Cowher coming to KC. He turned down SF, and hasn’t really expressed any interest in leaving his cushy tv job. Even if he were to come back as a coach or a GM I don’t think he’d pick KC. Maybe if there was an Andrew Luck in the upcoming draft, but there’s not.

      I’m actually started to get interested in this Chip Kelly guy from Oregon. Read this article on AP, the author makes a compelling case.

      • Calchiefsfan

        I’ve been reading about this guy. Looks like he’s going to be in demand. Will he be the next Harbaugh? Who knows? There have been a lot of successful college coaches who couldn’t make it in the NFL, Nick Saban comes to mind. Would he want to coach the Chiefs? Probably not with Pioli as GM. Who would?

        It’s just really pathetic that we have to start talking about who are new coach and GM are going to be as well as the 2013 draft. We’re barely half way through the season.

        • Lyle Graversen

          I actually have a piece started for tomorrow in favor of a Chip Kelly / Geno Smith combo in KC. Curious to see what people think. It’s based on that article and another from last week.

    • KCMikeG

      I have had the same thoughts. Unfortunately we will never know but it sure did look promising until Weiss bailed on Haley. I believe the coaching staff and QB will seal the deal.

  • Jim Harper

    I was told years ago that you can only be one of two things in life. You are either part of the solution or part of the problem. Clearly we have some very talented football players that fall into the solution group. If Jamaal was playing for any other team with at least a .500 record he would be the leading rusher every year. Berry, Hali, Houston, DJ, Powe, Flowers, Bowe, Baldwin, Albert are all part of the solution. Pioli, Crennel, and CASSEL are most definitely in the problem group. People have been supportive of Cassel because he is so damn likeable. He is a hard worker and truly nobody on the team wants success more than him. The problem has always been that he has NO TALENT! There is no amount of practice or study that will make Matt Cassel a franchise QB. We were dupped into that by the Patriots because they put the franchise tag on him before Pioli brought him with him. Pioli is not the personnel genius he claimed to be. We were New Englands way of getting rid of some players as they do every year. The problem with Romeo is that he is too nice. He lacks the backbone to go against Pioli. There are others that fall under the problem group, but those 3 make up the core. IMO

  • Andy

    before we talk of any coaching changes, we need a new, respected football man as GM. Right now no one will come here to coach or play with his type of leadership.

  • freshmeat62

    QB – Definitely needs upgrade. Cassel and Quinn, backups at best. I thought Cassel was coming along fine, improving a little every year. But this year he’s fallen completely apart.
    RB – Charles is good, but by the time this team gets good, he’ll be used up. Hillis is injured too much.
    WR – Bowe makes some good catches, but he drops too many also. Baldwin is a waste of good air. The rest are below average.
    TE – Moeaki has made some decent catches in the past, but has disappeared this year. His blocking – ehhh! Are there any other TE’s???
    OL – Albert is OK at LT but nothing to brag about, Winston is definitely an upgrade at RT, but unfortunately he alienated most of the fans w/ his mouth. The rest I don’t know. Maybe w/ the right coaching they can become a unit.
    DL – Everyone says Dorsey is playing out of position, he’s sure not much of a DE. Jackson another waste of good oxygen. The rest, hoohum – once again maybe w/ decent coaching.
    LB – The strong part of the team. Hali and Houston are excellent as OLB’s and Johnson is good at the ILB. Belcher is OK.
    DB – A couple years ago I thought was an aspiring strength of the team, now Pioli has turned the secondary into a disaster. Flowers is a pretty good cover guy, but about 4 inches too short. The other CB, now Arenas, not even average. Berry looked like he was going to be good until the injury, now he gets beat a lot. Lewis is average at best.
    Kickers – Colquitt and Succop are good.
    Coaching – non-existent.

    Summary – outside of the LB’s and kickers, this collection of names sucks!