Colin Kaepernick is not the answer for the Kansas City Chiefs
Culture, Playbook, and Familiarity
This is where we leave objectivity behind, I think I’ve done a good enough job putting that to bed, so let’s take a look at the more subjective aspects of this argument. It turns out, at this juncture, there are numerous subjective reasons why it is easier to roll with who you have then bring in an outsider.
The first is that the locker room is a fickle beast. You hear it talked about ad nauseum in sports that culture is one of the most important things for a coaching staff to develop if they want to win. It’s a tough thing to build and it’s an even tougher thing to maintain once you have it in place. It’s why coaches will often overlook off-the-field issues for players who are both talented and what they refer to as “locker room guys.” It’s also why the opposite is true. If you’re not a “locker room guy,” it’s likely you’re not long for the team.
The challenge with bringing in a quarterback, above any other position, is that it is the position that wields the most influence—not just on the field but also off of it. Players who have started at quarterback for a long period of time are usually alphas who demand a sense of following from the players around them. Bringing in one of those personalities only lends itself to challenges down the road.
This is Patrick Mahomes’ team, plain and simple. There isn’t a single player who overshadows him in any way and that’s how you want it. He’s the type of player you want your team to look to for everything. You want him to have that unquestioned level of leadership.
In fact, I’d argue it’s why, when you saw him go down, you also saw a number of players on the team step up as leaders. Tyreek Hill encouraged the receivers, Travis Kelce encouraged Moore, and the defense went all-world and destroyed the Broncos. Their leader had fallen and they responded. It was beautiful to watch.
My point is this, Matt Moore knows this is Mahomes’ team. There is no question in his mind. He knows his job is to simply go out and win a few games. I can’t say the same for someone like Kaepernick, Manning, Mariota, Romo, or anyone else for that matter. All of those other players mentioned want to start because they’ve been starters before. Moore provides the perfect balance.
The second and possibly biggest challenge for any outsider is going to be the playbook. As Chiefs fans we’ve heard time and again how complicated Andy Reid’s offense is from the schematic concepts to the actual playcalling. We’ve seen time and again talented players take what seemed like half a season to get comfortable with everything and play with instinct.
This is likely the biggest reason out of everything, assuming there’s not a player far more productive than Moore, to go with someone already in the building. It’s likely that the best case scenario would be an outside quarterback would need at least two to three weeks of mental and physical reps to actually produce on the field. Considering all this player would actually be doing is taking reps away from Moore and that Mahomes might be back a week or two after they’re even reasonably ready to play, this continues to look like less and less of a viable move.
The final piece is familiarity. On top of impacting the culture and learning Reid’s playbook, which according to Reid has upwards of 300 plays, there’s the aspect of familiarity. In other words, how long would it take an outsider to get comfortable with how things work within the Chiefs organization.
You may think this is a erroneous factor to use, but consider this. Any time you’ve started anything new, there’s always a level of anxiety. Change is hard, and we all feel it when something changes. It can take some people longer than others to adjust, but best case scenario for an outsider coming in is an adjustment period of at least a few weeks. This includes anything from finding a place to live, and all that entails, to learning the simple things like what is expected in meetings and what is expected at practice. There’s even the element of learning how to interact with your teammates and coaches.
All these things take time and can actually impact how the player produces on the field. Considering this factor makes it even less appealing to bring in an outsider, especially to compete at the game’s most important position.
At the end of the day, the Chiefs are better off going with Matt Moore for all the reasons mentioned in this article and more. For the time he’s needed, he’s the right fit and Chiefs Kingdom should expect Reid to have him ready to go come Sunday against the Green Bay Packers.
As promised, for those who are interested, here is the full data set used in the article’s analysis.