Chiefs vs. Chargers: Thursday Night Proves Kansas City Desperately Needs a QB

Matt FitzgeraldCorrespondent IIINovember 2, 2012

SAN DIEGO, CA - NOVEMBER 01:  Quarterback Matt Cassel #7 of the Kansas City Chiefs throws a pass against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium on November 1, 2012 in San Diego, California.  The Chargers won 31-13.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

What a disaster for a Kansas City Chiefs fan—and a source of laughter for the rest of those who follow the NFL. The quarterback situation in K.C. proved to be just as awful in the team's Thursday night blowout loss to AFC West rival San Diego. With the No. 1 overall pick a distinct possibility, the Chiefs will hopefully be able to address their desperate need at the game's most important position.

First, Matt Cassel was yanked—despite the huge money the franchise is paying him to be "the guy"—in favor of first-round bust Brady Quinn. Things didn't work out for him in Cleveland, understandable, but he never rose to the top of the depth chart in Denver, either. Thanks to Cassel's dinking and dunking, Quinn got his chance at redemption and came up short.

Head coach Romeo Crennel promptly switched out his former Browns QB and reinserted Cassel, with middling to poor results.

After two late defensive touchdowns by the Chargers, it was impossible to resist at least a soft chuckle.


— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) November 2, 2012


A late scoring drive softened the 31-13 loss a bit, but the damage was already done.

Sometimes it's argued that arm strength can be an overrated attribute for NFL quarterbacks. However, Cassel's stands out particularly among the weakest. He has had two very successful seasons as a pro somehow, but doesn't look to be anywhere near such a level at this point.

The most viable options in the upcoming draft class to replace Cassel appear to be West Virginia's Geno Smith and USC's Matt Barkley. Both are highly touted, yet both should raise at least a couple of red flags.

As renowned as Smith is for his work ethic and football IQ (h/t ESPN), he plays in a spread offense in college, with one of the best receiving duos in the country in Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey. Austin's quickness almost always gets him open when the field is spread, as he caught 10 or more passes in the first six games.

It almost goes without saying how much talent surrounds Barkley, too. Robert Woods and Marqise Lee have to be considered the best receiver combo in the country.

Passing and catching is symbiotic, but who is making who better? It seems the draft analysts are giving the QBs all the credit at this time. Is either a franchise quarterback capable of turning around a currently troubled franchise, though?

There is always the option of free agency, but unless Baltimore lets Joe Flacco go, the best options will likely be either Tarvaris Jackson or Matt Moore. Neither have proven to be consistent long-term starters.

So now where does Scott Pioli look? A trade perhaps, and with high draft picks it might be possible to lure a team into a deal that has multiple starting-caliber QBs.

Should the Philadelphia Eagles decide to give up on Michael Vick and go with rookie Nick Foles, perhaps Vick could work, although it'd be a massive contract for the Chiefs to absorb. Otherwise, the only other intriguing prospect would be Redskins backup Kirk Cousins, who seems perpetually destined to sit behind Robert Griffin III in Washington.

Unless Pioli can convince the Seattle Seahawks to trade either Russell Wilson or Matt Flynn, it's going to be tough to find the next franchise signal-caller. Pioli himself may even be out of a job by the time he can address the glaring hole in a relatively talented roster.

This is a problem. The Chiefs have a severe need at quarterback, but the future doesn't present many promising options absent a blockbuster trade.

It's time to hit the panic button in K.C.