But since 2000, 11 teams have gone 3-13 or worse with a GM in his fourth season or later. Outside of the Saints, the group is a who’s who of NFL failure: George Seifert with the Panthers, Terry Donahue with the 49ers, Matt Millen with the Lions, and Jay Zygmunt with the Rams.
There are a few on the list with past success — Bill Polian with the Colts, Marty Hurney with the Panthers, and, yes, Carl Peterson with the Chiefs — but the bigger demographic is GMs like Billy Devaney of the Rams who didn’t make enough progress.
Some of those situations haven’t gotten much better — the Bengals and Raiders, to name two owner-dominated franchises — but more of them are franchises like the 49ers, Lions and Texans that are moving on to better ground after making big changes.
The Chiefs will almost certainly try to follow that path.
“We meet over there where the line likes to sit,” Manning said. “I’m talking, but everybody else is as well. It’s just the players. We’re just trying to kind of hash out what’s going on out there, good or bad. We kind of call it our debriefing session.
“It’s just kind of everybody saying, ‘Hey, what’s going on out there? Here’s what I need to do better. Here’s what we can do better.’ I think it’s been pretty effective for us.”
He is the probable starter at left tackle on Sunday against the Broncos in place of the injured Branden Albert. That prospect is an uneasy one for Crennel against Denver and two of the league’s top pass rushers, Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil.
“He was energetic,” Crennel said, reviewing Stephenson’s play from last week. “He felt good about playing. I don’t think it was too big for him. But he’s a rookie, and he does make some mistakes.”
Among the other Chiefs draft picks, wide receiver Devon Wylie and running back Cyrus Gray have played mostly on special teams, safety De’Quan Menzie is on the injured-reserve list and defensive lineman Jerome Long and wide receiver Junior Hemingway are members of the practice squad.
“Look, if they need to act out and wear black to games or whatever it is, if they feel they need to do that, then so be it,” he said. “My goal is to win. And when you can start winning, then that stuff kinda setttles itself. When you don’t win, then this is the kind of stuff that can happen. I don’t pay attention to be quite honest with you.
“I’ve been here for eight years and I think we have great fans,” he told Beisner. “There’s been ups and downs here and some things have happened this year that we’re not proud of, but through thick and thin, I think they’ll rise to the top.”
The Chiefs have yet to win at Arrowhead Stadium this season, which doesn’t help in matters of fan relations. It won’t get any easier with Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos coming to town on Sunday.
Denver, which is trying to record a six-game win streak for a second season in a row, has won six of its last 10 versus Kansas City in what has been a tight series as of late.
The division rivals have split their two-game season series in eight of the last nine years and the Chiefs have won 12 of their last 17 at home versus the Broncos.
“I’ve played in Arrowhead [Stadium] a number of times — never as part of a [AFC West] division game, but I’ve played in a playoff game there and against some good Kansas City teams in Arrowhead, and it’s a tough place to play. I just throw these records out the window in the division,” said Manning.