“I don’t know. I’m going to step away. I know they’ve got a great quarterback in Matt Cassel. Matt’s a good friend, he’s a great teammate, and he’s a great quarterback. As I look at it, it’s his team. We’ll see what happens.”
So now that the messy 2011 season is over, the Chiefs can finally put this whole debacle behind them, right? Right?
Here's the situation in K.C. for the 2012 offseason. Prepare yourselves for some eerie similarities to another fledgling NFL franchise.
The whole QB drama that was alluded to in Kyle Orton's ominous words is about as messy as it gets. Chiefs starting QB Matt Cassel had the offense looking like a field-goal factory that was having trouble producing said field goals, and backup Tyler Palko had it looking worse when he took over for the injured Cassel.
The Chiefs also have rookie fifth-round pick Ricky Stanzi, who was never really an option last season as he never took a snap through all of the QB woes that they were going through. Then Orton came in and sparked the group to do something they weren't familiar with: score TDs.
While it was only one TD per game that the offense scored with Orton at the helm, those three TDs in his three starts was the same amount that the Chiefs had scored in their previous six games. He also won two more games than the team had won in said previous six games.
Now he's leaving to make way for Cassel to come back. So really, the spot is going to belong to a guy who is yet to really achieve anything at all. It's a lot like the Browns QB situation has been for years now: lot's of players, limited talent.
After firing head coach Todd Haley less than one year after he helped lead the Chiefs to their first AFC West title since Dick Vermeil was in town, the Chiefs promoted defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel to interim head coach.
After the Chiefs finished on a "high note"—winning two out of three games, both against playoff teams—Crennel now seems to be the front runner for the current head coaching vacancy in K.C.
While Romeo is a proven defensive coordinator, I don't know if three TDs in three games is the kind of output that sparks confidence in his capability to run the whole show. Let's not forget his stint in Cleveland where the offense struggled to score...what are those things called? Oh yeah. Touchdowns.
Still, it looks like he's gonna be the new leader of the Chiefs.
If the Chiefs don't get on the ball soon, they could lose Dwayne Bowe to free agency. The team hasn't gone out of their way to make it known that they want to make signing him a priority, and the passing game without him would be doomed.
With him it's a good receiver corps, but without him the Chiefs would have no real No. 1. Steve Breaston has stepped in this season and proven to be an adequate complement to Bowe, but he's clearly not a go-to wideout. Rookie Jon Baldwin wasn't ever really a big part of the offensive game plan.
If the Chiefs don't re-sign Bowe, that's really all that's left in the wide receiver spot unless you count Terrance Copper, and let's be honest: No one counts Copper.
No Bowe would leave the Chiefs in a similar situation at wide receiver to that of that team in Cleveland...
Injuries plagued Kansas City's 2011 season, as they lost Pro Bowl running back Jamaal Charles in Week 2, Pro Bowl safety Eric Berry in Week 1, and their up-and-coming starting tight end Tony Moeaki in the final game of the preseason, all for the entire season.
Losing those guys was a killer because they were such a part of the team's game plan every week. Also, the Chiefs lack depth. There's another NFL team that seems to be constantly dealing with injuries and a lack of depth, too...
Getting the pattern here?
Through all of this turmoil, though, the Chiefs did make sure to sign their biggest offensive star from 2011 to a five-year deal. That's right, place-kicker Phil Daws—wait... I'm sorry, I mean Ryan Succop isn't going anywhere.
Chiefs fans everywhere can let out a sigh of relief now. The ship isn't sinking after all.
I'm usually a positive and upbeat, glass-half-full kind of fan, so I will say that I believe the 2011 season to be nothing more than a bump in the road. The Chiefs will get a lot of talent back on the field as long as the aforementioned injured players have healed up nicely and can return to form. That will really help them out.
The Chiefs have more talent from top to bottom than the Browns, and they still managed to win more than five games this season. They haven't reached Cleveland levels—or Herm Edwards' Chiefs levels—of fail yet. It's just that the similarities were too glaring to be ignored.
This team has a well-coached, extremely talented young defense that has proven they can win games with a little help from the offense at times. Getting Eric Berry back will fill the only glaring hole in the unit, and the rest of the defense just keeps getting better. They may have something special working there.
On offense, they're getting a playmaker back in Jamaal Charles, who was coming off of one of the most prolific seasons that any running back has ever had before he got hurt.
If he can get back to top speed, the addition of Breaston and Baldwin in the passing game could actually prove deadly for the rest of the West. Don't forget that Moeaki is coming back, too.
Anyway, GO CHIEFS IN 2012. I see the team winning 10-12 games and winning the AFC West. That's not just homerism talking. As long as the injuries don't linger, I believe that 2011 will be nothing but a dot on the horizon in the rear-view mirror.
Who knows, maybe Chiefs fans can look back at this season and laugh about it... Maybe...