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Old 09-22-2011, 10:30 PM  
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Jeffri Chadiha Piles On Pioli

What is GM's role in Chiefs' troubles?

Coaching and injuries to key players are not entirely to blame for awful 0-2 start


The head coach keeps claiming he's solely responsible for the problems currently plaguing the Kansas City Chiefs. The players keep saying they won't let an embarrassing start snowball into an utterly humiliating season. What's missing from all these mea culpas and mission statements are comments from the man who was supposed to be smart enough to keep this franchise pointed in the right direction. It's time for Chiefs general manager Scott Pioli to take some blame for a team built from his blueprint.


The Chiefs have gone from AFC West champions to producing arguably the worst start ever by a team that just won a division title. They've given up 89 points, scored just 10, committed nine turnovers and been decimated by two teams (Buffalo and Detroit) that haven't reached the postseason since Bill Clinton was in the White House. The easy explanations for these struggles have been offered already -- that coach Todd Haley ran a soft training camp and season-ending knee injuries to three starters (tight end Tony Moeaki, running back Jamaal Charles and safety Eric Berry) are too debilitating to overcome. The truth is much harder to focus on -- that this team was flawed before any of that stuff ever happened.

Pioli was hired to be the resident genius three years ago, the man who helped New England become a dynasty right alongside Bill Belichick and Tom Brady. Right now, it's hard to believe the hype. This offseason he made little attempt to improve a roster that had some glaring flaws, and his biggest acquisition in free agency was wide receiver Steve Breaston. Standing pat after a strong season works well when you're as loaded as Green Bay or Pittsburgh. It's a pretty big gamble when you're a team that feasted on a weak schedule in 2010 and then wilted in a blowout playoff loss to Baltimore.

Pioli's lack of aggressiveness is even more glaring because it comes at a time when the Chiefs are flush with cash. Kansas City had nearly $34 million in salary cap space when the lockout ended, a total that ranked it near the top of the NFL. The Philadelphia Eagles weren't in that kind of financial shape and they attacked free agency as if Warren Buffett were writing the checks. The New York Jets were just as willing to improve their team a year earlier, when they made enough savvy moves to aid their return to the AFC Championship Game.

Because Pioli isn't taking that kind of approach to bolstering his own talent pool, it's fair to wonder if team owner Clark Hunt is handcuffing him to a tight budget. If that isn't the case, then Pioli -- who rarely talks publicly -- has some explaining to do. As much as Haley has taken heat for this ugly start, he deserves credit for last season, especially for helping develop players like Charles, wide receiver Dwayne Bowe and inside linebacker Derrick Johnson. Those players were there before Pioli came to town.

That is the biggest irony here, that Pioli's success thus far has come largely on the backs of talent that former general manager Carl Peterson drafted. Sure, running back Thomas Jones and guard Ryan Lilja were nice free agent additions last season, and quarterback Matt Cassel has blossomed into a solid starter. But the offense and defense still needed more playmakers before this rash of injuries. The mere fact that the Chiefs had wide receiver Keary Colbert -- who had been coaching tight ends at USC just a few months ago -- on the field in Week 1 tells you what kind of depth Pioli had created at that position.

And then there are Kansas City's drafts. Aside from making a no-brainer pick of Berry in last year's first round, Pioli has made two shaky selections with top picks. The Chiefs used the third overall selection in the 2009 draft to take Tyson Jackson, a 3-4 defensive end who still hasn't made an impact. This year Pioli traded up to take wide receiver Jon Baldwin, a player who had character issues entering the draft and then validated them by injuring his thumb in a training camp scuffle with Jones. Baldwin still has yet to play a down for Kansas City.

Granted, it takes a few years for draft picks to find their way, and some of the Chiefs' lower-round picks still might blossom. But Pioli was also supposed to be a savior in Kansas City. The Chiefs' start this season makes it harder to buy into that theory. It's even tougher now that Haley is looking more and more like an easy fall guy in this calamitous campaign.

It would be a shame for him to take all the blame because, after all, he was Pioli's first hire. And of all the people in the Chiefs' organization, Pioli is supposed to be the one with the best understanding of what it takes to build a consistent winner. It would be one thing if the Chiefs were just off to an 0-2 start. Right now they look like a team destined for the first pick in next year's draft, especially with a schedule that still includes opponents like the Patriots, Steelers, Packers, Jets and Bears.

Even the luster of Kansas City's division championship seems tainted now, more fluke than feel-good story. When you look at the end of last season, you see a team that was outscored 61-17 in its final two games. That should have been a major red flag, an omen that this team faced a much longer climb to reach the NFL's upper echelon. Now it is simply a squad that has to question everything about its organization, starting with the invisible man at the top of the power structure.



Senior writer Jeffri Chadiha covers the NFL for ESPN.com.

http://espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/id/70...le-chiefs-woes
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Old 09-22-2011, 10:33 PM   #2
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"quarterback Matt Cassel has blossomed into a solid starter"

I gag in your general direction, Jeffri.

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Old 09-22-2011, 10:36 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FAX View Post
"quarterback Matt Cassel has blossomed into a solid starter"

I gag in your general direction, Jeffri.

FAX
I almost bolded that. I guess it gets your attention as it stands.
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Old 09-22-2011, 10:40 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by T-post Tom View Post
I almost bolded that. I guess it gets your attention as it stands.
Honestly anybody that makes that claim proves that they aren't following this team close enough to make any kind of logical judgements.
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Old 09-22-2011, 10:46 PM   #5
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I love factually incorrect articles...

Traded up to take Baldwin?

No dipshit...No.
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Old 09-22-2011, 10:48 PM   #6
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developed Matt Cassel into a solid starter?

For Christ's sake...

if you don't watch the Chiefs, don't follow the Chiefs, and don't know about the Chiefs...don't ****ing write about the Chiefs.
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Old 09-22-2011, 10:50 PM   #7
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Old 09-22-2011, 10:51 PM   #8
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and quarterback Matt Cassel has blossomed into a solid starter.

There is where I stopped.
A lot of people that look at box scores instead of seeing the games probably think this.

Last edited by RippedmyFlesh; 09-22-2011 at 10:58 PM..
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Old 09-22-2011, 10:52 PM   #9
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well let's all take turns shitting in KC.

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Old 09-22-2011, 10:55 PM   #10
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I laughed when I read the Cassel part - but he's spot on with the rest of the article. This past offseason, the Chiefs sure didn't act like a team that was on the rise and wanted to get to the next level. Their approach to the whole off season was laughable - from not acquiring talent and letting some of what they did have, walk - to "the PLAN" - it was laughable. And to top it off they still have some $30+MILLION of cap room. That $$$ could have been used to buy quality depth. The joke's on us. Simply pathetic.
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Old 09-22-2011, 10:56 PM   #11
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Quote:
And then there are Kansas City's drafts. Aside from making a no-brainer pick of Berry in last year's first round, Pioli has made two shaky selections with top picks. The Chiefs used the third overall selection in the 2009 draft to take Tyson Jackson, a 3-4 defensive end who still hasn't made an impact. This year Pioli traded up to take wide receiver Jon Baldwin, a player who had character issues entering the draft and then validated them by injuring his thumb in a training camp scuffle with Jones. Baldwin still has yet to play a down for Kansas City.
I still maintain that the 2011 draft is the finest draft this team has assembled in a long time-- yes, even better than 2008.

2010 was good. It got us Berry.

If you want to criticize 2009, go ahead. But since 2010, the Chiefs have done very well.
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Old 09-22-2011, 10:57 PM   #12
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maybe it's the "plan"

don't sign anyone...don't try and improve anything...and hope you get Luck so you can start spending that money!!!!!!!

here comes #2 and a shitty sacapoo lineman!!!! CAN'T WAIT!
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Old 09-22-2011, 10:59 PM   #13
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hootster, where in dallas are you?
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Old 09-22-2011, 11:03 PM   #14
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hootster, where in dallas are you?
Near lower Greenville...

been checking out all the bars lately...watched MNF at a Dive Bar called Knox Street Pub and met some skanky 30 year old chick who made me give her her number, tried to make out with me, and then as she was leaving the bar she fell down and hit her head on the door (hilarious)

watched SNF in Richardson at Wizard's (that Chiefs bar they were talking about)...awesome atmosphere but I don't think ANYONE appreciated how drunk I got or my profanity laced tirades or my Suck for Luck chants...

and then went to Humperdink's (an Illini bar in Texas?) for the Illini game on Saturday...

So far, so good...first interview tomorrow at 9 AM for a job I probably won't get.
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Old 09-22-2011, 11:05 PM   #15
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Also Berry was far from a no-brainer if you ask the national media, who all had us taking an O-lineman. Lame article, even though obviously he's right about someone being stupid (Pioli) or cheap (Hunt). We just don't know which.
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