The Kansas City Chiefs are officially eliminated from the playoffs but they still have one more game to evaluate their players.
Other than a chance to screw the Broncos and pride, the Chiefs don’t really have anything to gain by beating Denver Sunday. Sure you always want to beat a division rival. Sure it is good to head into the offseason with some momentum. And of course, Romeo Crennel could really use a win if he wants to come back as the head coach next season. The Chiefs will and should play to win on Sunday. They owe it to their fans.
But the Chiefs also owe it to their fans to do everything they can to make a Super Bowl run in 2012. For that to happen KC will have to have a strong offseason. That means identifying their needs now.
The biggest question the Chiefs have to answer this offseason is who they’re starting QB will be in 2012. They have two serviceable but unspectacular QBs on their roster now in Kyle Orton and Matt Cassel. While I like certain things about both of these QBs, I find it hard to envision the Chiefs ever winning a Super Bowl with either one of these guys.
That doesn’t mean the Chiefs should dump both Orton and Cassel but I just don’t see them bringing both of them back. Cassel is the logical choice to bring back if not only because he is already under contract. Orton’s deal is up after the season and it will be easier for the Chiefs to allow him to ride off into the sunset to try to find another team. They’ll also likely get a compensatory pick for him which Scott Pioli can use to give himself more flexibility in the 2012 NFL Draft.
If the Chiefs were to re-sign Orton, there would be a log jam at QB and it would be hard for any younger QB on the roster to get a look. Not to mention that the minute either Cassel or Orton looked bad, there would be an instant QB controversy. But trading out Cassel for Orton is like swapping green beans for spinach.
No, I think Scott Pioli is going to let Orton walk. If that is the case, then should Romeo Crennel start Orton against the Denver Broncos or should he dust off Ricky Stanzi and give him a look before the offseason?
It is a tough call. While Orton probably gives the Chiefs the best shot to win, Stanzi is the guy the Chiefs need intel on. Beating Denver will make everybody feel good about themselves Sunday but when the dust settles, Kyle Orton will be gone, the Chiefs will have a worse draft position and we still won’t know anything about Ricky Stanzi.
Then again, how much can we learn about Stanzi from one game at the very end of his rookie season with a lame duck offensive coordinator, interim head coach and a mediocre rushing attack?
The fan in me wants to see the Chiefs stomp the living crap out of Tebow and the Broncos Sunday, just like they did in 2009’s season finale. The realist in me, however, knows that 2012 is where it’s at. Sunday is a chance for Ricky Stanzi to get some live action experience in what is essentially a meaningless game for the Chiefs. He may not be the franchise QB of the future in KC but he could be the reliable backup QB of the future.
Besides, if Stanzi starts and looks really good Sunday, then the Chiefs might feel comfortable going into the season with Cassel, Stanzi and a bargain bin priced veteran backup QB to be named later. That might mean a tackle in the first round of the draft instead of a QB.
If Stanzi looks really terrible, however, it might put more heat on Scott Pioli to suck it up, make a trade and grab Robert Griffin III.
It is going to be a crazy offseason and we have a lot to debate. Let’s get it started right now.
Who should Crennel start Sunday? Orton or Stanzi?