The Kansas City Chiefs are a playoff-caliber team. The Chiefs have a productive offense and a good defense. Statistically, the team is one of the best in the AFC.
The team leads the AFC in rushing.It is No. 3 on offense in yards per game. The Chiefs are No. 2 in third down efficiency. They are No. 2 in the number of first downs per game.
Defensively, the Chiefs are No. 4 in yards allowed per game. They are No. 4 in passing yards allowed. The Chiefs do not make penalties. Every team in the AFC, except for one, has more penalties than the Chiefs.
We are four weeks into the 2012 season, and on paper, the Chiefs should be among the top teams in the league. But the Chiefs have only won one game, and only two teams have a worse record. The Cleveland Browns and New Orleans Saints are winless.
So what is wrong with this picture? The Chiefs make mistakes and they make a lot of them. The Chiefs are the worst team in the NFL when it comes to turnovers. A lot worse.
The Kansas City Chiefs are minus-13 in the Takeaway/Giveaway ratio. The second-worst team in the NFL is the Cowboys at minus-seven. To say the least, that is significant failure after only four games.
It is striking to look at the records of teams when compared to this one statistic. The top three teams in the AFC, the teams with the best turnover ratio, the Texans, the Ravens and the Chargers have a combined record of 10-2.
The Chiefs have turned the ball over due to a fumble or interception 15 times. In a complete season, that is not a very good statistic. In only four games, it is a disaster.
Another glaring statistic? Of the 15 turnovers, 10 have come from one player, Matt Cassel. Matt has seven interceptions and three lost fumbles. In four games this year, Cassel has more turnovers than in either of the previous two seasons in their entirety. It is difficult to look at that one fact and not think that a change should be made at quarterback.
So, am I blaming this disastrous start for the Chiefs on Matt Cassel? In a word, yes! One player cannot give the ball away 10 times in four games and not be considered a liability.
I have been a supporter of Matt Cassel. I have been booed, cursed and yelled at. I am OK with that. I am not reactionary. I believe in sticking with something and letting things come together.
But I am also not stupid. A wise person has to allow for change when change is necessary, and Matt Cassel has shown that he is the weak link on this team. There are positions on every NFL team where weakness can be overcome. Quarterback is not one of them.
So what does all of this mean for a Kansas City Chiefs team that many thought would not only win their division, but probably do well in the playoffs?
The mistakes have to stop, and they have to stop now. If that means making a change at quarterback, then make the change. Giving the ball away is not something that any NFL team can tolerate.
Sometimes you have to cut off a limb to save the body. Matt Cassel has struggled in the past, but now he is the opposing team's best weapon.
If the mistakes go away, the Chiefs will suddenly be winners. Plain and simple. This team can move the football and it can score points. Take away all the turnovers, and the Chiefs are probably 3-1. But, the mistakes of the first four games cannot be erased.
The question now is not whether Brady Quinn would be a better quarterback than Matt Cassel? The question is, how could he do worse?
Is the hole too deep? The Chiefs can easily climb out of this one by winning. Make the change, shake things up and try to save the season before the hole really is too deep.