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The Blame Game Continues
Posted By ChiefsWarpath.com On July 10, 2008 @ 10:16 am In Commentary | Comments Disabled
The Chiefs are in pretty rough shape in the present. We just had a 4-12 season, are going to have 20 rookies on our roster, and few fans have much realistic hope for this year. Even the optimistic admit that the playoffs are “a couple years away”. So how did we get here? Many people blame Herm Edwards. Others blame Carl Peterson. Some blame Carl and Herm. Those in power like to divert the blame to Dick Vermeil. The coach who is now three off-seasons and drafts removed from this team. The most surprising thing is that there are many fans that actually buy into this company line. Unless Dick is sneaking around the clubhouse whacking players in the knees with lead pipes, I just don’t buy it.
Vermeil handed Herm a 10-6 team with a top offense and an already improved defense (29th to 16th in points allowed from 2004 to 2005). Not a bad situation for a new head coach to walk into. Usually it’s much worse. So to the first company line, which goes something like this:
“Vermeil left us with an old team and had poor drafts.”
Well, as I argued in a previous commentary (“They Say it’s Vermeil’s Fault”), Vermeil’s drafts and draft-trades left the team no worse than the five drafts before Vermeil (1996-2000), yet somehow Vermeil was able to build a very strong team within one year. So that leaves us with the “old” team Vermeil left behind. This must have been a real geriatric ward around here at the end of 2005. In fact, here’s the average age of the 2005 starting lineup on January 1st, 2006:
By the logic “the company” tells us, this must be an exceptionally old age for a team. Judging by Vermeil’s success, he must have inherited a much younger team, right? Venture to guess how old the 2000 Chiefs starting lineup was on January 1st, 2001? That’s right, it’s:
Wait a minute, that’s less than four months difference? So Vermeil inherited just as good/bad drafts as Herm AND inherited just as old of a team, yet he helped turn the team in the positive and competitive direction in just one year?
Does that mean we’re being lied to? In a sense, yes. In reality, it’s just people covering their butts, just as anyone would do. Many mistakes were made by the CURRENT administration and blame needs to be diverted to save jobs. I imagine the continued fan support for Herm comes mostly from optimism for what we’re stuck with, which is something I can understand. But Herm has proved to have few NFL head coach qualities, while proving to be deficient in many areas (e.g. game management, game planning, adaptability, etc). He seems to believe that most things are out of his control, walking the middle of the road while waiting for good things to happen, opposed to proactively MAKING them happen. This brings us to the second company line/excuse:
“Bad seasons/teams happen to every team eventually.”
This sentiment reverberated through the Chiefs community following the 2007 season, with similar statements made by management, their lackeys at kcchiefs.com, and the soft-hitting journalists at The Star. Yes, it’s true, every team goes through a lull given enough time. But it’s not out of their control, as if handed down by God or luck, as they’d leave you to believe. No, it’s because given enough time, any team will make enough serious mistakes that lead to a poor performance. For example, some teams make the mistake of hiring a bad head coach who in turn makes a series of bad decisions and can’t mange a game or team (hint, hint). In the past, other teams have been dismantled because of salary cap mismanagement and bad contracts. Other teams hold on to past glory too long and do nothing while the team falls apart around them (hint, hint).
This is not Vermeil’s fault. If it were, we should consider taking Super Bowl rings away from Bill Belichick, Tom Coughlin, and Tony Dungy and give them to Pete Carroll, Jim Fassel, and Jim Mora, respectively. Perhaps those teams should even fire their current coaches and bring back the “true” architects. Ridiculous. All great coaches make it their team the day they take the job and start building from day one. If Herm can’t do that and would rather walk in the middle of the road, then just chalk it up as another item on the laundry list of his bad head coaching attributes.
It’s the lack of accountability from the current administration that is, perhaps, the least palatable of all this mess. At least Vermeil always tried (not always successfully) to fix the problems his team had. Herm just watched the problems grow, hoped they fixed themselves, and denied responsibility.
But it’s been a long offseason, which always breeds renewed optimism. We all hope this gamble of mortgaging the present for the future actually pays off (even though dumping 26/27 year olds seems extreme and hypocritical to me). I look forward to this year and have one simple expectation: improvement, including the coaching staff.
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