Matt Cassel and Chad Henne. Those are the quarterbacks behind the two coaches that were fired yesterday from the Chiefs and Dolphins respectively. Todd Haley was stuck with Matt Cassel signed to a long-term contract after Scott Pioli traded for him with a second round pick back in ’09 while Tony Sparano was given Henne to make it work in the AFC East. Both experiments failed and both coaches were axed because of it.
But Grantland’s Bill Barnwell isn’t convinced despite the coaches’ records or the press conferences conducted to explain it all. Instead, he says it’s the fault of the front office for failing to bring in the appropriate talent needed to succeed. He writes:
In the end, while Haley and Sparano might have had their faults, the biggest reason they fell came down to their team’s inability to identify a franchise quarterback, develop him, and keep him healthy through this 2011 season. An effective season from Cassel would have kept the Chiefs around .500 and prevented the organization from firing Haley, even as his generally prickish nature offended those around him.
And growth from Henne would have allowed Sparano to see out the final year of his deal and, perhaps, oversee the growth of a young, championship-caliber defense that could have helped him win the AFC and keep his job. Instead, Haley and Sparano are both out of a job this Tuesday, and while they were imperfect, it’s not clear that they were really the problem at all.