Well, on the field anyway. The Chiefs have fallen and after a few weak attempts still can't get up. Why? Good question. Answering will sound like placing blame, but its not. This is about figuring out where and when things went wrong and what isn't working. This is about finding solutions.
During the Carl Petersen era maybe we grew complacent, or dare it be said....lazy? The team was consistently at the top of the division and Arrowhead was accepted as the toughest place to play on the road. Chiefs fans expected no less, demanded no more, and got just enough to keep us coming back next season. And then it happened. We had to know it could and likely would but we all still got blindsided. Shortly after the draft Willie Roaf retired. A little unease crept in, but KC could survive. Simply a need to address short term and fill next draft. Then Will Shields retired too. I have to admit at that point I was concerned. The O-line was now down two perennial All-Pro/future Hall of Famers. I told myself the whole season to Keep the Faith, that Chief management had a plan to replace them. Except they didn't have a plan (Even Custer had a plan). And did little toward even trying to replace either Shields or Roaf. In the few minutes it took for Roaf and Shields to make their announcements the biggest strength became the most glaring weakness.
It remains a weakness. Brandon Albert has been decent but unfortunately there are still five positions to fill. What the Chiefs are doing on D is confusing at best. Glenn Dorsey came out of college hailed as the prototype 4-3 defensive tackle. Shortly after the draft the Chiefs revealed plans to switch to a 3-4. Hmmm. Dorsey is too small for nose tackle and not quick enough to be a speed rusher off the end. Brilliant! If thats not enough of a setback needing years of recovery KC followed up by taking another lineman 3rd overall. Nothing really wrong with that-except they probably could have gotten Tyson Jackson with the third pick in the second round. Again, brilliant! All that aside the defense has enough talent scattered around to at least offer slim hope.
The offense? Guess it depends if the glass is seen as half full. Jamaal Charles and Dwayne Bowe are potentially in the top few at their positions, Payton Hillis is a solid backup, Jon Baldwin was drafted as a downfield threat, and Steve Breaston was brought in. Great. Plenty of weapons, no way to get them the ball.
The hard truth is Kansas City hasn't had a QB since Trent Green hit the broadcast booth. He'd still be better than anyone now this many years later. It'd be nice to see Ricky Stanzi get a shot but it won't happen. Not as long as KC remains the NFL's recycling center for washed-up, has-been, or never-were quarterbacks. Not when there is still a one-hit wonder available. Rick Mirer? David Klingler? Matt Leinert? Vince Young? I suppose Todd Marinovich is beautiful this time of year. Brutal. Yet still all cheaper than Matt Cassel. It could be argued all were more effective too.
Soooo, how does it get better? There is talent here but no clear or coherent team 'identity'. Trying to make the Chiefs into New England West has been a resounding failure so how about something original-starting with making Arrowhead a sure 7-8 wins every season again? Okay thats a longer term goal. How about ways to improve from this season to 2013? The Chiefs are in line for at least a top-five pick, if not the top pick. Despite what we've seen this season there is talent in Kansas City. Really. No, seriously. But the Chiefs are nowhere close to being one player away from contention. Not even if that player is the next Peyton Manning. The Chiefs have plenty of money so trading down for a Matt Kalil or another Pouncey brother and some depth picks would seem logical. The last few years it appears the Chiefs don't take having a high first rounder (read top-10) very seriously anyway. Having been without a QB for so long just fill out the rest of the roster and start Stanzi.
So now the head coach has been fired-again. Unless there is a Parcells or Cowher or a Jimmy Johnson on the horizon the Chiefs might as well just leave the position open and have coaching related decisions made by fan polling. There hasn't been an exceptional coach in Kansas City since Marty Schottenheimer was run out of town and when it comes down to it no GM once Carl Petersen started phoning it in about 5-6 years into his reign. Until Clark Hunt finally notices that his team lacks identity and leadership the Kansas City Chiefs will remain a moderately
talented team well capable of underachieving a 4-12 record (5 wins with a favorable schedule and a gale force tailwind).
Until that time queue up the new entrance music: Tiptoe Through the Tulips. Arrowhead ain't no jungle anymore.