Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

05 Nov 2012

Romeo Crennel Cuts Stanford Routt, Fires Self

I don't quite get this move. The Chiefs gave Stanford Routt a three-year, $18 million deal with $6 million guaranteed. Now they've cut him after half a season. He's really not that bad, folks. Apparently he may have been causing problems in the locker room, although I have no idea what the real story is there. But Crennel said in cutting Routt that the "relationship was not progressing." In other "re-arrangement of deck chairs on the Titanic" news, Crennel stepped down as defensive coordinator and will serve as head coach only for the remaining eight games, with Gary Gibbs moving from linebackers coach to defensive coordinator. Hey, remember the lousy Saints defense from 2006 to 2008 that Gregg Williams came in and overhauled so the Saints could go to the Super Bowl? Yeah, that's Gibbs' previous NFL coordinator experience.

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 05 Nov 2012

46 comments, Last at 10 Nov 2012, 5:27am by theslothook


by Matt Bowyer :: Mon, 11/05/2012 - 5:06pm

As a resident of Kansas City, this team makes me long for the well-reasoned and logical front office work of my Washington Redskins.

by thundertim (not verified) :: Mon, 11/05/2012 - 5:08pm

It's hard to believe, but somehow the Chiefs just managed to get worse.

by MilkmanDanimal :: Mon, 11/05/2012 - 5:11pm

"Crennel stepped down as defensive coordinator and will serve as head coach only for the remaining eight games".

You can read that sentence in two ways. And both of them are true.

by kramer (not verified) :: Mon, 11/05/2012 - 5:13pm


by snoopy369 :: Mon, 11/05/2012 - 5:13pm

Jerry Jones could learn a lot about self-firing...

by Kyle D. (not verified) :: Mon, 11/05/2012 - 5:55pm

I despite JJ. But he'd be the best thing the Chiefs would have seen in years.

by Taking A Knee w... :: Tue, 11/06/2012 - 12:32am

Are you serious? How do you figure that? Does it really make any difference if you replace crap with slightly different crap?

by BaronFoobarstein :: Tue, 11/06/2012 - 12:36am

Hey now. They are extremely different craps.

by The Ninjalectual :: Wed, 11/07/2012 - 2:12pm


by sundown (not verified) :: Tue, 11/06/2012 - 2:08pm

He'd screw it up by meddling with the coaching, but Jones would put more talent onto the field than the Chiefs have. At bare minimum he'd spend the cap dollars the Chiefs current leadership is sitting on. It's almost impossible to overstate how bad the Chiefs organization is right now.

by socctty :: Fri, 11/09/2012 - 2:43am

Are the Chiefs really talent-deprived? Branden Albert, Jamaal Charles, Dwayne Bowe, Eric Berry, Tamba Hali, Brandon Flowers, Eric Winston... these are all players that you could reasonably see in a Pro Bowl on an average team, right? Derrick Johnson is a good player. Stanford Routt would start on most teams, right?

Doesn't seem like talent is the issue.

by Nathan :: Fri, 11/09/2012 - 11:39am

If Stanford Routt would start on most teams why is nobody bringing him in for a workout (except maybe the Lions)?

by LionInAZ :: Fri, 11/09/2012 - 2:09pm

ESPN rumored that Arizona and Miami were also interested.

by Eddy (not verified) :: Fri, 11/09/2012 - 1:42pm

I think with the cooler weather in Kansas City maybe it wouldn't stink as bad??

by Nathan :: Mon, 11/05/2012 - 5:19pm

We'll gladly give him a shot up here in New England!

by Treima :: Mon, 11/05/2012 - 8:29pm

Routt? Crennel? Hell, why not both!


by Vincent Verhei :: Mon, 11/05/2012 - 5:24pm

The only good thing about last Thursday's Chiefs-Chargers game was all the experts on Twitter (myself included) taking part in an "I picked the Chiefs to win the AFC West" support group.

by jackgibbs :: Mon, 11/05/2012 - 6:29pm

anybody care to continue the case for matt cassel as a starting quarterback in the league?

by Thok :: Mon, 11/05/2012 - 7:18pm

He's not responsible for the Chiefs' problems on defense? Granted, even with the Niners defense, Kansas City would be under .500.

by tuluse :: Mon, 11/05/2012 - 7:24pm

Surely he's at least partially responsible for their 32nd ranked passing offense?

by jackgibbs :: Mon, 11/05/2012 - 9:28pm

also, the fact that he is ranked dead last in just about every FO category by a country mile, despite playing one of the easiest schedules thus far. I'm actually kind of surprised because this is usually the exact type of schedule he could look reasonably competent against

by Karl Cuba :: Mon, 11/05/2012 - 5:27pm

Can someone explain why Brandon Carr was allowed to leave? I'm pretty sure that they have really quite a lot of cap room and nobody worth spending it on.

by Snack Flag (not verified) :: Mon, 11/05/2012 - 5:59pm

My best guess is that Scott Pioli isn't very good at his job.

by Raiderjoe :: Mon, 11/05/2012 - 11:32pm

Hoping Pioli sty in KC for another year.

One more year! One mire year!

by BJR :: Mon, 11/05/2012 - 11:50pm

KC are in the mire, that's for sure.

by Dave0 :: Tue, 11/06/2012 - 1:37am

Raiders are going to need more than a year, Joe

by The Ninjalectual :: Wed, 11/07/2012 - 2:14pm

I see you're not familiar with RaiderJoe's unique optimism when the Raiders are concerned

by jackiel :: Mon, 11/05/2012 - 8:21pm

Or because ownership didn't want to spend the money.

I always find it interesting when people act as if the owner doesn't know exactly what's going on regarding big money signings and FAs.

by Snack Flag (not verified) :: Mon, 11/05/2012 - 10:06pm

Right, but Pioli has continued to waste the money that ownership will spend on items like a contract extension for Matt Cassel; free agent signings Stanford Routt, Brady Quinn, Peyton Hillis, Steve Breaston; low-impact first round draft picks such as Tyson Jackson, Dontari Poe, and Jonathan Baldwin.
The best players on KC are from the Carl Peterson era, and that's a pretty sad remark: Jamal Charles, Dwayne Bowe, Derrick Johnson, Tamba Hali, Brandon Flowers, etc. That's an okay core. In three years, Pioli has added to that core... Eric Berry? Justin Houston? I'm legitimately searching for an above average player that he's acquired through the draft or free agency in the off seasons he's been there (I know Berry was injured). Pioli is awful at his job, and he can't blame money at this point. That's also ignoring his coaching hires, who have been equally terrible.
I find it hard for anyone who comes into camp with a qb competition of Matt Cassel and Brady Quinn to cry poor mouth. There have been ample opportunities for Pioli to get a legitimate starting qb, and he's willfully ignored all of them because he's so committed to his guy that never took a snap at USC. Nothing against Cassel - seems like a great guy, should be a backup quarterback.
So, no, I don't agree with you. I just think that Pioli is a shitty talent evaluator. He's so risk averse that it cripples him.

by jackiel :: Tue, 11/06/2012 - 7:01pm

Good points. A former co-worker who's a Chiefs fan was psyched about the Berry, Dorsey, and Jackson picks and the Thomas Jones signing because of their leadership skills and personalities. Apparently KC needed an infusion of character guys. In light of Larry Johnson's legal issues, was Pioli encouraged by ownership to take guys who were "safe" risks? I think that's a legitimate question. And of course, you'd be right that Pioli picked the wrong character guys in the draft in recent years.

The amount of NE nepotism shown by Pioli and McDaniels in Denver is frightening. Why either one would want to hitch their wagons so completely to Cassel, given his lack of college and NFL reps, is beyond me.

by theslothook :: Mon, 11/05/2012 - 6:47pm

I think the Chiefs are headed for a 2011 bucs style mail in of the 2012 season. Anyone else agree?

by Vincent Verhei :: Mon, 11/05/2012 - 7:53pm

I disagree. They're not headed for that kind of season, they've been there since Week 1.

by BJR :: Mon, 11/05/2012 - 9:14pm

The strange thing is that Crennel earned the full-time job after his interim stint last season because he got the team playing hard again after Todd Haley clearly lost the locker room.

I perhaps have a little sympathy for Crennel because it is the offence that has truly hurt this team. 29 turnovers in 8 games! Imagine if they played the Bears......

by Insancipitory :: Mon, 11/05/2012 - 8:54pm

Maybe Romeo is just ment to be a coordinator or take over someone else's carefully assembled championship program. I watch the Chiefs and they seem like they're so ridiculously fast on some occasions, if only someone could unite them behind a common cause; like playing good football, or collecting for unicef.

by commissionerleaf :: Mon, 11/05/2012 - 9:45pm

The Chiefs don't have head coaching problems. They have position-coach problems. We know - we KNOW - that Matt Cassel is a merely bad quarterback. It is likely that given time to develop, Mark Sanchez and Christian Ponder will be Matt Cassel. But the Chiefs are having a Alex Smith 2005 passing performance, not an Aaron Brooks or Trent Dilfer 2005 passing performance, which is what Matt Cassel "should" give you. A head coach isn't to blame for that. A coordinator might be. A quarterbacks coach and wide receivers coach certainly need to be involved in the discussion.

Cassel could "thrive" in something like the offense that Smith runs in San Francisco; he has in the past in 2010. No, he wasn't as good in 2010 as his TD/INT ratio implies. But he was effective. But he needs lots of running plays, some screens, and some mismatches that allow him to throw touch passes and avoid having to hit tight windows he lacks both the arm strength and accuracy to thread. He should never, ever, be in shotgun, or throwing deep outs on third down.

Square pegs, round holes. Bad coaching. Blaming the head coach, though, often misses the point.

by Bill Walsh's Holy Ghost (not verified) :: Mon, 11/05/2012 - 11:04pm

Blaming the head coach is EXACTLY the point. He is responsible for the hiring of the position coaches and their performance. If they are not executing, the "captain of the ship" is liable.

by Theo :: Tue, 11/06/2012 - 12:49pm

So who's in charge of the offensive strategy and playbook?

by sundown (not verified) :: Tue, 11/06/2012 - 2:14pm

The thing is, Cassel wasn't always a bad QB. He was an extremely good QB for the Chiefs when Weis was coordinator. Not letting Cassel fully off the hook, but it's not like any other QB has looked particularly great in that offense the last couple years. Don't know if it's the scheme itself, how they're being coached, but they're just bad.

by tuluse :: Tue, 11/06/2012 - 2:25pm

"Extremely good" was 16th by DVOA. I'd call that average to slightly above average.

by sundown (not verified) :: Tue, 11/06/2012 - 4:06pm

I put more stock in his game stats that year than I do his DVOA. He had 20 more TDs than interceptions that year. That's playing darn good football. They also won games, which hasn't happened much since then.

by jackgibbs :: Tue, 11/06/2012 - 5:16pm

second easiest schedule in the league that year. as soon as they played a real team (baltimore) in the playoffs, they got blown off the field, with cassel turning the ball over 3 times, was 9/18 for 70 yards and had a QBR of 6. so, yeah. a bad quarterback who's best possible result against the easiest possible opponent is league average.

okay just went back and checked each individual game. the toughest defense the chiefs faced that year prior to the ravens (-10.3) was the chargers -(10) twice (cassel missed the second game). in week 1 the chiefs won as most teams tend to do when facing the chargers in the first half of the season, with cassel going 10/22 for 68 yds and 1 touchdown for a QBR of 17. the only other top 10 defense they faced that year was the titans who were in free-fall by week 16, and cassel put up his best numbers in a win with 314 yds and 3 tds and a QBR of 89.1. (he had one other game with higher numbers - 469 yds and 4 tds vs the broncos (16.6) and their 30th ranked defense in a loss. QBR 56.)

after that they didn't get another team higher than oakland at 13th (-2.3), whom they lost to twice with cassel's best effort being 20/35 for 216 2 tds 1 int and a QBR of 57

of his 27 touchdowns, 15 went to Bowe. of his 3116 yards, 1162 went to Bowe. Dwayne Bowe was a monster that year, feasting on terrible secondaries that the team hasn't seen since

by sundown (not verified) :: Tue, 11/06/2012 - 6:27pm

I never said he was the best QB in the league, but 20 more TDs than INTS is a pretty rare feat. Check out how few guys actually manage that. Whether he accomplished it against horrible pass defenses or not, it was still done in the NFL.

But even if we call Cassel completely average that year, the Chiefs problem is they've been nowhere close to average since. Cassel has obviously stunk, Orton didn't look very good the end of last year, Bowe's numbers are down, Charles isn't the same guy. It's universal. What changed? Yes, the schedule got somewhat harder (though they didn't move divisions and other than the Broncos their divisional foes have basically been running in place or declining). Yes, Charles got hurt. But they also lost Weis who was running the O the year they actually looked good. And they then turned over the whole staff when Romeo came in. They've went nowhere under him.

by Nathan :: Wed, 11/07/2012 - 1:02pm

How many INTS did he have dropped ? There's so much random variation there. I always try to keep that in mind and don't put too much stock in a ridiculous TD/INT ratio... ever since 2010, when Brady had a 36/4 ratio. I watched every Pats snap of that season and he easily had 6-8 surefire INTS that were dropped. It was still a pretty good year for him, but not nearly the year you would assume it was just based on that stat.

by BaronFoobarstein :: Wed, 11/07/2012 - 2:26pm

The problem with TD/int ratio isn't the randomness of ints. It's the worthlessness of TDs as an individual metric. Congratulations, you got the last yard. Yawn.

by Nathan :: Wed, 11/07/2012 - 3:14pm

That might make sense for goal line backs, but it doesn't make much sense for QBs to me.

by theslothook :: Sat, 11/10/2012 - 5:27am

Ever Since yards and passer rating became watered down by the non top tier guys, TDs and Ints feel like the natural measuring stick. its worthless of course as I read stat that showed, historically, no teams pass the ball more on the goal line than the Patriots and Saints, while other teams have a strange affinity for run attempts at the goal line. Thats not to say Brees and Brady aren't great, but pass Tds shouldn't be the reason.

Further evidence against ints, check out Alex Smith against the Giants. The first second he's behind, the ints start in bunches. Hes clearly in a system which all but threatens to yank him the moment he attempts any throws that are marginally risky.

All that to say, the only way to really judge qbs is to survey them over a very large sample and see exactly how consistent they are. Hopefully, over that sample, we'll have teased out many of the external effects. Brady, for example, was a marginal starter and became great and didn't fade. Casell, on the other hand, had a big time season in 08, sucked badly in 09, average(by dvoa) season in 10, sucked again in 11, and indescribably bad in 12. I think we have a pretty good idea exactly who Cassel is.