I was right about Herm Edwards

During Herm Edwards’ tenure at the helm of the Chiefs, I was openly critical of how I felt like he didn’t belong anywhere near an NFL sideline. He’s a joke of a “coach” and got absolutely nothing out of his players, only making it to the playoffs on the back of the weakness of the AFC West and with Dick Vermeil’s guys.

Sure, he had to deal with Carl Peterson instead of Scott Pioli, but after watching Todd Haley coach in his second season and get more out of Glenn Dorsey, Tyson Jackson, Derrick Johnson and several other players than Edwards ever did, it’s obvious to me that Edwards was unfit to be an NFL coach. For a guy who was always considered a “player’s coach”, he never got very much out of his players. He’s a nice guy and a decent TV analyst, but is an utter disaster as a head coach.

Kudos to Todd Haley for getting what was expected out of great draft picks. I’m excited to see how our young guys continue to develop under his tutelage. Herm Edwards, stay in the booth.

Matt Cassel is Better Than I Thought

This post was originally titled “Matt Cassel is over-rated,” which, if you follow me on Twitter, should come as no surprise coming from me. I’ve been openly critical of Cassel ever since he locked up his long-term deal with the team. I started writing this post the week before he was diagnosed with appendicitis, then missed the game against San Diego and we were stuck with Brodie Croyle under center for a game.

Now, I’m not going to say that I thought Croyle was going to do well and I’m not going to say that Cassel would have won the game for KC against San Diego. All that game proved to me was that San Diego is good, Norv Turner annoys me and that Croyle is an utter disaster as both a leader and a quarterback. Also, the play calling in that game was really confusing. But I digress…

I’ve had it out for Cassel since the beginning because I haven’t been able to see that he is a great quarterback. He has always been OK, maybe even good, but to call him great seemed like a stretch to me. We’re talking about a guy who never played in college and helped the Patriots when their golden boy went down a few years back. I don’t think there was anything in his resume that suggested he was going to be a high-level performer in the pros.

His statistics suggest otherwise:

  • 212/354, 59.5% completion percentage (23rd)
  • 24 TDs (7th) to only 5 INTs
  • a rating of 98.4 (5th highest in the NFL)

I suppose that despite all that, for him to have the level of success with a bunch of young, not-very-fast, bad hands receivers should impress me. Even with what he’s done through most of the season, I still felt like he missed a half-dozen passes almost every game…easy ones…ones that were critical 3rd-down conversions or would have extended the clock. Now, up to this point, I don’t know how much those misses have been detrimental to the Chiefs’ success. After all, we are leading the AFC West by one game with two to go. If you’d have told me that during the off-season, I would have said, “I’ll take it.”

And Cassel has been solid. Despite those few misses per game, he hasn’t turned the ball over, which, with a rushing attack like the Chiefs’, should be your primary goal.

So here I am, ready to relent my constant online harassment of Matt Cassel. Watching the difference that he made on the field against St. Louis, one week after the embarrassing San Diego loss and I am finally a believer. Call me a Cassel Enthusiast. I hesitated throwing my support behind him until he led the Chiefs to the win in the playoffs that has eluded us since 1993, but I have to pay respect to what the man has accomplished in a season that I all but thought would be another rebuilding year.

So here’s to you, Matt Cassel. I tip my virtual cap to you and wish you well through the rest of this season. I will be rooting for you even harder now that I’m convinced that you’re much better than I thought.

Is Cassel or Haley to blame?

As much as I don’t like to write people off before they’ve been given an adequate shot, I’m starting to think that signing Matt Cassel to a long-term, expensive contract was one of the worst decisions that the Chiefs have made in recent years (dating back to the King Carl days). One thing is sure, Cassel is certainly not who he was advertised to be…a savvy, accurate, good decision-making quarterback.

Matt Cassel talks to Bobby Ingram in practice

The Chiefs front office (particularly GM Scott Pioli, who made this ludicrous signing) want to assure the fans that it is the offensive line that is the problem, not their 6-year, $63 million man.

I’m not buying it.

If Cassel has proven anything to me this year, it’s that he makes really bad decisions at inopportune times and he consistently under- and over-throws his receivers. Now, granted, it’s not like he’s throwing to Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco out there, but some of his throws have been so abysmally inaccurate that I’m really starting to doubt his capability at all.

The front office wants to tout his mobility. And I’ll concede that yes, he can run. It doesn’t mean he has to. There are two things that bother me about his so-called “mobility”:

  1. He exercises the run option too quickly. I’ve seen him leave the pocket far too early on numerous times this season, leading to him getting lit up by a linebacker or losing yards as he’s pulled down by a defensive end who now has to chase him a little less.
  2. The key to “mobile” NFL quarterbacks is that they have the capability to throw on the run. Cassel can’t. He can’t hit the broad side of a barn on the run. Now, neither  can his predecessor at New England, Tom Brady. But Brady is deadly accurate in the pocket. Cassel is not. Brady has good protection. Cassel does not. But if you’re going to call yourself a mobile quarterback in the NFL, you’d better be able to hit a receiver or a tight end or fullback on the run. And I’ve seen nothing this season that proves Cassel can do that.

Much of the blame for this season’s failures should fall squarely on the shoulders of the head coach, Todd Haley, who looks completely inept when it comes to managing a team during a game. I think that Haley was in the right place at the right time in Arizona.  The Chiefs had to get rid of Herm Edwards last year, because let’s face it, a cinnamon roll could coach better than Edwards. But I doubt that Haley was their #1 choice when it came to choosing someone to lead the Chiefs back to the playoffs (although I think fans would just accept a .500 season at this point).

I really enjoy Haley’s passion and tenacity. But those two things don’t win games if all they are doing is covering up the mistakes of your players that you can’t seem to coach. I think both Haley and Cassel are going to get another year to prove themselves. Rebuilding this once proud franchise is not going to happen overnight. But I think both our head coach and our quarterback need to be put on notice. I will be watching you.

That is, of course, unless the game is blacked out again.

Later, Larry

So, the Chiefs finally released the homophobic, underperforming, “marquee” running back.

Finally.

It’s been a long time coming. His two good seasons, including his single-season rushing record 2006, were behind one of the greatest offensive lines in history. He no longer runs with any passion or toughness. His off-the-field antics have just gotten to be too much.

While it’s possible that he lands somewhere else, I don’t care. I applaud Scott Pioli and Todd Haley for getting rid of him. There are others in the locker room who are not happy, but none of them are a complete embarrassment to the organization like Johnson has been over the past several seasons. There are some who think he was just getting what he wanted. I think that we’ll find that all he got was the opportunity to go be someone else’s problem.

He’s not a Chief anymore.

And that makes me glad.

Does Larry’s punishment fit the crime?

Larry Johnson’s Twitter tirade and subsequent suspension caused an uproar on the web and in the media.

And rightfully so.

The Chiefs suspended him for a game, so he loses a crapload of money. His reputation as a homophobe (something that was already pretty well-known) was cemented.

Is it enough? Is it too much? I read an interesting perspective from former NFL GM Charlie Casserly today.

One thing is sure. Chiefs fans have had enough. Me too. Johnson has fallen apart now that the offensive line isn’t made up of perennial Pro Bowlers like Willie Roaf and Will Shields who opened gigantic holes for him to run through. He doesn’t run with any toughness anymore, falling down as soon as a linebacker touches him. So much of his tirade focused around how great his dad is as a coach. Frankly, I’d take his dad on the field as an alternative to his 2.7 yards-per-carry average.

But even more offensive than his awful on-the-field play is his off-the-field activities, whether it be the latest incident or him spitting in women’s faces or throwing them against walls. He’s a despicable human being and his play on the field no longer justifies any sort of loyalty by the Chiefs. We’re on the hook for his salary anyway…let’s just toss him aside in the same way that he’s single-handedly trashed his career.

Maybe that’s harsh. I don’t care. He’s a terrible football player.

Get rid of him and don’t let him get the Chiefs’ all-time rushing record.