Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

16 Sep 2012

Chiefs Will Never Win Big with Pioli in Charge

Kent Babb is very, very angry. Clearly, the post-injury rebound doesn't seem to be properly post-injury rebounding in Kansas City, but still, it is just two games from a team that made the playoffs two years ago. So do readers think this is typical sports columnist overreaction and blustering, or does Babb have a point about Pioli's inability to build a roster?

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 16 Sep 2012

24 comments, Last at 19 Sep 2012, 3:55am by Venger


by Insancipitory :: Sun, 09/16/2012 - 11:07pm

Everytime I see the Chiefs play they seem very fast. But occasionally demonstrate terrible discipline. I would perhaps wonder about the efficacy of the coaching.

by some guy (not verified) :: Tue, 09/18/2012 - 9:58pm

this is always my impression too. maybe this is a product of the fact that each unit (secondary, receivers, etc) has one or maybe two players who are absolute studs and can make huge plays but the units as a whole are average at best.

by Red (not verified) :: Sun, 09/16/2012 - 11:19pm

A more accurate statement: "Chiefs will never win big with Matt Cassel playing quarterback."

by Thok :: Mon, 09/17/2012 - 12:28am

Matt Cassel isn't the reason they gave up 40 to the Falcons and 35 to the Bills.

by RC (not verified) :: Mon, 09/17/2012 - 1:34am

And Matt Cassel didn't seem to have any problem dropping 30+ points a game on people in 2008.

The cheifs were one of the worst teams in the NFL when Pioli took over. They're a lot better now, but they're still not good.

Cassel may not be elite, but he's about the 40th problem the Chiefs need to fix.

by The Ninjalectual :: Mon, 09/17/2012 - 8:12am

Thok says: "Matt Cassel isn't the reason they gave up 40 to the Falcons and 35 to the Bills."

No, but he didn't help, either.

by Rickford (not verified) :: Mon, 09/17/2012 - 10:36am

Are we talking about the same Matt Cassel that had 27 touchdowns and only 7 interceptions in 2010 when they won the division? Yeah, what a loser.

by Cassel's Bad (not verified) :: Mon, 09/17/2012 - 11:02pm

No one that has watched Cassel game-in and game-out for the past 4 or 5 years will say he's a good or even average QB. He's bad. Cassel is also far from their only problem, but he is a major problem.

by Sifter :: Mon, 09/17/2012 - 2:29am

Well what's the main difference from last year? The D was middle of the pack for overall DVOA in 2011, pass and run DVOA had similar ranks. Was Brandon Carr really that good?

by Jerry :: Mon, 09/17/2012 - 2:31am

it's hard to judge this out of context. Mr. Babb may be flame-throwing here, or it may be a reasoned response to a bad stretch of Chiefs football. (Did he write the story about paranoia in the Chiefs' offices last year?)

Pioli and all of his colleagues know that they're judged on wins and losses. When the team is playing poorly, people are going to call for their heads, and when the team is winning, there are calls for lifetime contract extensions. The Chiefs are losing right now, so Pioli is fair game.

by Ferguson1015 :: Mon, 09/17/2012 - 3:17am

Missing Flowers and Hali were probably the biggest reason for the Defensive implosion that was week one. Week 2 on the other hand, was just a disgrace. I haven't watched it yet, but by the looks of it, where Atlanta beat KC through the air, Buffalo beat them through the ground.

Lack of depth has killed this team so far, which is Pioli's fault. The Chiefs do have a few big name players though. Could this be a case of "stars and scrubs" versus a team built off of depth per FO Basics?

by A Nonny Mouse (not verified) :: Mon, 09/17/2012 - 6:12pm

If the Bills are built the "FO way" that sure didn't show against the Jets.

by bubqr :: Mon, 09/17/2012 - 8:03am

Funny, yesterday a NFL newbie asked me: "Why are the Chiefs that bad ?". I couldn't find a logical answer. They seem at least average at every position, with supposed strenght at OL/RB/DB. I just don't get it. I didn't buy into the Chiefs hype much preseason, but still, how could they look so awful ?

by The Ninjalectual :: Mon, 09/17/2012 - 8:16am

This is a great question. I can only guess. Coaching? A culture of losing? There's no shame in losing to Atlanta though, and I didn't watch the Buffalo game, but it seemed like the Bills were whipping the Chiefs good.

by tuluse :: Mon, 09/17/2012 - 12:28pm

I only caught highlights, but their secondary looks awful. Very poor discipline. Everybody gets beat now and then, but with the Chiefs it never looked like the 2nd guy was in position to make the tackle when the first guy was beat.

Also, I would not call Cassel at least average, I think he's more like 24th.

by erniecohen :: Mon, 09/17/2012 - 8:50am

Even two years ago, they were only an average team in a really bad division. They haven't been an above-average team since 2006, according to DVOA, and have been far below average in most of the years since. They have an average QB. I don't understand why anybody expects the Chiefs to be good.

by wr (not verified) :: Mon, 09/17/2012 - 10:04am

When I saw the link, I was thinking, "FO dared to link to a Whitlock column?". Then I peeked in...

by Rickford (not verified) :: Mon, 09/17/2012 - 10:53am

Too early to judge this season. The Atlanta game wasn't a shocker and Buffalo wouldn't have looked nearly as bad if the Bills hadn't looked so awful themselves in the first game. Easy answer for recent years is they don't score enough points. The one recent season when they finished in the top half in points scored was 2010 when they went 10-6. But they've been near the bottom most every other year.

by Paddy Pat :: Mon, 09/17/2012 - 12:00pm

Predicting the early season, I saw the Chiefs starting 0-2 or even 0-3, given their schedule, and I still thought they had a shot to win the division. Admittedly, I wasn't expecting that much out of Peyton Manning (reading too much into the trouble throwing to the right bit...). But I think the point is just that they have had a tendency to let things snowball. They were beaten by two teams that are better than they are. Some good to average teams get beaten big from time to time, like ahem, last year's Giants...

by Raiderjoe :: Mon, 09/17/2012 - 1:24pm

Chiefs have sublar QB, crappy coaching. sloppy defense. Best cb in Dallas nnow

by Bright Blue Shorts :: Mon, 09/17/2012 - 2:39pm

I'm a big believer that the guy at the top is responsible for everything, and certainly I've worked in organisations where the guy at the top is making all the right noises but is actually more interested in APPEARING competent than actually doing the right things.

That said, if you install a coach it's going to be at least two seasons before you find out whether he's up to the job or not.

Therefore I think it takes longer to work out whether the GM is inept at hiring coaches to fit the players he brings in.

by Rots (not verified) :: Mon, 09/17/2012 - 5:51pm

Romeo Crennel = seemingly good guy, competent D-coordinator. Hes shown no ability to manage the clock, game situations, run the show on gameday from the sideline. Hes like an AFC version of Andy Reid in some respects.

Generally, hiring the interim doesnt seem to work out as far as i can recall.

by commissionerleaf :: Mon, 09/17/2012 - 6:10pm

Why isn't the answer "Bad injury luck trumps good player evaluation?"

Apart from Peyton Hillis, which wasn't a BAD signing, and the Carr-to-Routt decision, I think this has been one of the better front offices in the league at evaluation and personnel matters. The Chiefs were signing picks in the top 10 for a reason, folks.

Matt Cassel is the quarterback Mark Sanchez will mature into. Read into that whatever you want.

But they've had lots of injuries in 11-12, and not insignificant ones. Ultimately, the problem is that they drafted the wrong D linemen with their top 10 picks.

by Venger :: Wed, 09/19/2012 - 3:55am

I get the feeling from the article that the problem is less that Pioli is a bad GM and more that he is a thoroughly hateable human being.