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Old 10-13-2012, 05:22 PM  
dallaschiefsfan dallaschiefsfan is offline
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Mellinger: Chiefsí biggest problem isnít turnovers, itís the QB

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2012/10/13...#storylink=cpy

Posted on Sat, Oct. 13, 2012
Chiefs’ biggest problem isn’t turnovers, it’s the QB
By SAM MELLINGER
The Kansas City Star

The talk around the Chiefs is about turnovers. Gotta limit turnovers. Take care of the ball. Value the football. For all the talk about Matt Cassel and Brady Quinn and whether this hot mess of a season can be saved, so much of what’s been said and focused upon in team meeting rooms has been about limiting turnovers.

On the surface, it makes fine sense. The Chiefs outgained every opponent this season but have turned the ball over 19 times already. That’s a silly number, you know. It’s more than three teams had all of last season, and on pace for more than any team in the last 30 years.

Internally, the Chiefs seem to believe this is their biggest problem, that fixing the turnovers will stop the angry banners from flying over Arrowhead Stadium, and soften the criticism of general manager Scott Pioli, and redirect attention to what finally looks like a very good defense.

The thing is, that belief is just wrong. The much bigger problem is the quarterback, whether it’s Cassel or Quinn. The facts are overwhelming.

Think about this: teams with more yards of offense are winning 65 percent of the time this season, teams with more rushing yards are winning 68 percent of the time, and teams with fewer turnovers are winning 76 percent of the time.

Teams with the higher passer rating are winning 85 percent of the time.

Quarterback play trumps all, even turnovers, and it is past time the Chiefs join the 21st century. And to the point that Cassel is on the hook for 14 of the Chiefs’ turnovers, these issues are correlated, but it only matters if the Chiefs see it this way and drastically change their priorities.

Because they are swimming upstream, running a race with ankle weights, and competing in a beauty contest without makeup. They’re focused on the wrong things. This is the most frustrating kind of losing.

Even if the Chiefs fix what they think they’re doing wrong, they’ll still be doing it wrong.

In general terms, this is not new, of course. The need for an improved quarterback situation is a staple column topic here, and criticism of Pioli’s confidence in Cassel is now part of Kansas City’s DNA.

But as the evidence stacks up, the Chiefs should be forced into making major changes — regardless of who is in charge. Consider this a public service.

The purpose today isn’t to rehash old arguments, but to look at them from different perspectives. Like, for instance, Las Vegas oddsmakers. Sports books have proprietary quarterback rating systems that are among their biggest factors in setting lines.

Elite passers like Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady are worth as much as a touchdown — an enormous number in a league where only one game opened with a line bigger than five points this week.

Curious what happened when Cassel was officially ruled out this week in favor of Quinn, who has completed just 52 percent of his passes and hasn’t started a game in three years?

“No (line) move whatsoever on Cassel,” says Pat Morrow, head oddsmaker for Bovada.

In oversimplified terms, the Chiefs have focused on every position but quarterback, convinced that if the rest of the roster is strong enough they can win without a Hall of Fame passer. This is a bit like trying to start a fire with two sticks instead of a Zippo.

Even ignoring how horrendous Cassel was this year before his concussion, and that Quinn also isn’t good, the philosophy is so clearly outdated (at best) or delusional (at worst) that it has some fans rooting for losses so the team might be convinced to draft a quarterback.

The facts are overwhelming. The last game-managing quarterback to win a Super Bowl was Brad Johnson a decade ago, and in the last 25 years, every Super Bowl-winning quarterback but three (Johnson, Trent Dilfer and Mark Rypien) is either in the Hall of Fame or likely to be inducted.

The NFL’s emphasis on parity, particularly through the salary cap, makes it nearly impossible to be so good at other positions that a team can be merely OK at the most important spot.

But Ben Roethlisberger can compensate for a mediocre offensive line, Aaron Rodgers can make up for a weak running game, and Tom Brady can hide a bad defense.

Changes in how football is played — from rules favoring the offense to quarterbacks entering the league much better prepared than ever before — mean that “good” is no longer good enough. It used to be that quarterbacks needed to throw catchable balls. Now, they’re relied on for passes so accurate that the receivers maintain speed and extend plays after the catch.

When the Broncos traded Jay Cutler to the Bears a few years ago, Chicago ended up with the second-best record in the NFC and Denver ended up with the second pick in the draft. Various studies have shown that when elite quarterbacks face non-elite passers, they win about 80 percent of the time.

The Chiefs are essentially trying to make hay in that 20 percent. They are knowingly going into most games disadvantaged in something that league-wide numbers and Vegas experts with millions on the line say is even more critical than turnovers. They are doing this on purpose.

It’s incredible how much of the Chiefs’ mess could be cleaned up with a better quarterback situation.

The worst part is that the Chiefs seem to be the only team in the league that doesn’t see this. With the possible exception of the Jets — who reached two AFC championship games with Mark Sanchez — no team has gone nearly as long as the Chiefs without an honest effort to improve nearly as bad a quarterback situation.

The Chiefs are either smarter than every other team in the league, or spinning their wheels in thick mud, and at 1-4 with the NFL’s fifth-worst point differential, the evidence is stacking up fast.

It tells you plenty that Chiefs fans are relieved to see Quinn. Imagine if they actually had a promising quarterback. One that wasn’t given up on after 12 starts in Cleveland, who hasn’t been behind Ken Dorsey and Tim Tebow and Derek Anderson on the depth chart.

Instead, the Chiefs have put their fans in the awkward position of wondering whether it’s better the team continues to lose so that the organization may have more motivation and opportunity to fix its fundamental flaw.

This is what happens when a fan base is forced to wait for a team to recognize reality.

To reach Sam Mellinger, call 816-234-4365, send e-mail to smellinger@kcstar.com or follow twitter.com/mellinger. For previous columns, go to KansasCity.com.

© 2012 Kansas City Star and wire service sources. All Rights Reserved. http://www.kansascity.com
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Old 10-13-2012, 05:26 PM   #2
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Old 10-13-2012, 05:30 PM   #3
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Old 10-13-2012, 05:31 PM   #4
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Props to Mellinger for getting out in front of that Pioli turnover spin and curb stomping it.
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Old 10-13-2012, 05:32 PM   #5
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Old 10-13-2012, 05:34 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by KCUnited View Post
Props to Mellinger for getting out in front of that Pioli turnover spin and curb stomping it.
That just never gets old...always makes me laugh.
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Old 10-13-2012, 05:35 PM   #7
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If your QB can't make plays, you aren't gonna win shit.

Simple as that.

If we stop turning the ball over we'll just lose close games.
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Old 10-13-2012, 05:37 PM   #8
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Old 10-13-2012, 05:38 PM   #9
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Good column.

Except Johnson, Dilfer, and Rypien, every Super Bowl winning QB of the last 25 years is in the hall of fame or likely to be inducted. Great stat.

Speak truth to Pioli
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Old 10-13-2012, 05:38 PM   #10
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Our hope is that Cassel is deactivated, Quinn either plays at a level he never has or fails terribly and is replaced by Stanzi after 2-3 games and he either lights the football world on fire or plays terribly, too.

We need that top pick.
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Old 10-13-2012, 05:39 PM   #11
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Old 10-13-2012, 05:40 PM   #12
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Mellinger has really stepped up this year. Shame that means we're probably going to lose an outlet to someone that actually pays money
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Old 10-13-2012, 05:42 PM   #13
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Hey Sam, I know you're gonna read this and I just want to say on behalf of all of us:

Thanks for stepping up and pointing out the real root of the problem and giving us a voice.

Kudos, sir.
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Old 10-13-2012, 05:45 PM   #14
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Various studies have shown that when elite quarterbacks face non-elite passers, they win about 80 percent of the time.
How curious that Cassel's record against elite quarterbacks is .210.
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Old 10-13-2012, 05:48 PM   #15
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