There’s little doubt that Chiefs Nation’s expectations for this year were the lowest in 20 years. Those who are dissatisfied with the current management see the failures of this year (and 1-17 running record) as confirmation that change is needed. On the other side of the fence are the unwavering optimistic fans who have collectively taken comfort in the so-called “moral victories”, also known as “losses”, of the last three weeks.
This is creating a huge divide within Chiefs Nation. Some people are so invested in their side of the fence, that they often refuse to have a meaningful discussion or acknowledge facts and stats that oppose their position. Maybe it’s because it’s an election year.
There’s a lot of infighting and spite out there amongst Chiefs fans right now. Just look at any message board now that the most ardent Herm Apologists have shown back up after the last three “Herm Wins” or “almost not losses” of late. These recent losses have some Herm supporters so excited that I saw one fan post a claim that this is the best Chiefs team since Super Bowl III (I assume he meant Super Bowl IV)! It’s hard to believe that level of blind optimism exists without heavy-duty psychotropic drugs. While there have been quite a few positives lately, it’s important to remember what we’re comparing those positives to.
If you’ve read any of my articles, you’ve probably realized that my self-defined purpose here is to try and clear up misconceptions perpetuated by various media, Chiefs PR, and fan outlets. This week I’ll touch some of hottest topics I’m seeing on message boards this week (listed below). In each case, I’ll break it up into two generalized sides: The Change Claim (generalized as Herm Edwards and/or Carl Peterson detractors) and The Same Claim (generally Herm Edwards Apologists).
1) Miami and Atlanta
2) Better offense
3) 2-pt. conversions
4) Players love Herm
Miami and Atlanta
The Change Claim: Miami (2007: 1-15; 2008: 5-4) and Atlanta (2007: 4-12; 2008: 6-3) are clear examples that a change in coaching/management can have instant dividends and re-booting a team doesn’t have to take the 4-5 years some people want to give Herm.
The Same Claim: Miami and Atlanta are “quick fixes” and won’t make it to the top. The Chiefs are building for greatness in the long-term.
The Verdict: The Change crowd wins this one. The claim that Miami and Atlanta are “quick fixes” and “patchwork” teams just isn’t true. Both those teams are young (Miami the 5th youngest in the league according to the NFL) and both teams have been stockpiling draft picks the last two years just like the Chiefs (Atlanta actually has generally had more, and higher, picks than us lately). The difference is they are playing all facets of the team-building game, not just “drafting and hoping.”
Chiefs Offense Suddenly Improved
The Change Claim: As soon as we abandoned Herm’s offensive philosophy, our offense got better.
The Same Claim: This is due to player improvement and is validation that we are on the right track.
The Verdict: Again, The Change side wins this one. Despite a third-string quarterback and running back and a revolving door at the second wide receiver slot, we instantly got better as soon as we started doing everything Herm said we shouldn’t do up to a few weeks ago. For a full analysis, see last weeks article, “Game Reaction: Hermcuffs Exposed.”
2-pt. Conversion Attempt
The Change Claim: Herm’s decision to go for the 2-point conversion at the end of regulation was foolish and cost us the game.
The Same Claim: It was the right decision. See, Herm’s not so conservative!
The Verdict: I’m going to have to say that going for it was the right decision. Given the decimation of our defense at the time, I think it was the right move. Not to mention that we had already proven that the extra-point is not a given, especially with a nervous snapper already frustrated by his mistake. Even if you make it, overtime is only 50/50 if the teams are equal, and we’re not equal. In the end, why not go for it; we were 1-7 and had nothing to lose
By the way, I hate the NFL overtime rules (not that college is any better). I think both teams should be guaranteed at least one possession each, then sudden death if still tied after that. It couldn’t possibly be less fair than the current system.
Players Poll Shows Players Love Herm
The Same Claim: Players think Herm is a great coach to play for, ranking him 4th amongst NFL head coaches. Therefore, he is a great coach.
The Change Claim: That is a leap in logic that is not justified.
The Verdict: Sorry, but a personal “liking” of someone does not make them a good NFL head coach. Yes, it probably means the players are less likely to dissent, but it doesn’t mean they’ll necessarily play harder for him than someone they dislike but respect (e.g. Tom Coughlin). Actually, having a “players coach” might make some players too relaxed, which might cause them to lose some of their edge. Who do you think you might be more challenged by, your best friend or Bill Belichick?
VLTC’s OTC Grades: Week 10
- Thigpen’s consistency over the last 3 games has been a wonderful surprise. Keep it up!
- Great to see Thigpen perform under pressure in the final minutes (although helped by a timely penalty).
- It seems obvious that Savage can’t handle the load. We need Larry back and Charles healthy.
- Bowe’s drops are getting rather noticeable.
- If Bradley really works out over the long-haul, what a steal.
- Tony has stepped it up since asking for a trade. Can’t commend him enough.
- Good protection.
- Run game never established for many reasons.
- Another good game against the run.
- Got two sacks! (although only 1 “real” sack).
- Pass rush still woefully inadequate and inconsistent.
- Injuries galore.
- Good day against the run.
- Did I mention injuries?
- Not bad considering the personnel. Did I mention injuries?
- Fine job on a windy day except for the horribly botched extra point.
- Any day you abandon the Herm offensive philosophy is a good day.
- Good job with the defense considering the offense we were facing and the defense we fielded.
- Big negative for throwing away the last possession of the first half for no reason. Next time we get a lead, everyone tell Herm we’re actually losing.