During Romeo Crennel's first press conference that introduced him as the new head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs one of the things that everyone wanted to know is what he plans to do at the quarterback position. It seems like anytime there's a coaching change it always then starts with the quarterback.
The Chiefs have Matt Cassel, who has started for this team since coming over in a trade from the New England Patriots three years ago, and they also have soon-to-be second-year player Ricky Stanzi, who was the teams' fifth-round pick out of the University of Iowa during last April's draft. And then there's Kyle Orton, who is set to be a free agent after winning two of three for the Chiefs (and Crennel) to finish out the season, including a win over a then-undefeated Green Bay Packers team. The thought wasn't lost on Crennel when talking about what Kyle Orton did for him playing quarterback during his 'interim' period after Todd Haley was fired.
"Kyle did a tremendous job for us and I'm probably not sitting here if Kyle hadn't done the job that he did."
It's nice to know that Crennel can look at it from this point of view. I can see this type of thinking being one of the reasons why players love playing for Crennel.
But as soon as you hope to get more information out of Crennel in regards to what they plan on doing at quarterback next season he goes back into coach speak.
"We have Matt and Stanzi under contract. Kyle is an unrestricted free agent. We have to go through that process of evaluating our team, our team needs and then go through the free agency process and see what happens there. .... Right now we have Matt and Stanzi on the squad and we'll see what happens after this free agency."
Then came the comments that made almost every fan in Kansas City cringe.
"Matt Cassel has won here. We've been to a playoff with Matt Cassel. I don't think that Matt Cassel has fallen off the wagon overnight. I think he's a good talent. He's a good quarterback and he's taken us to a playoff. So I anticipate that he can do it again."
Matt Cassel was thought last year to be a quarterback that could win if he was given a hall-of-fame type-season from his running back and not being forced to throw the ball to win big games. The Chiefs team as a whole struggled against big, physical teams and it wasn't just that Cassel struggled in those games. It's how he struggled. It became even more obvious this season when Cassel didn't have Charles to lean on during the season. The Chiefs found out some of the limitations of Matt Cassel this year and while he's still not a 'bad' quarterback in this league, he's not the kind of guy that you can lean on to win the big game by himself. And if they choose to stay the course with Cassel, they'll need to be stronger in every other phase of the game.
The quarterback position is just one of the things that Crennel will have to deal with as head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs heading into the 2012 season, albeit an important one. It should be an interesting offseason and the Chiefs could put themselves in position to be the favorite to win the AFC West division if they make a few key moves between now and training camp. It starts with re-signing some of their own free agents, including Brandon Carr, Dwayne Bowe, Wallace Gilberry, Le'Ron McClain and possibly, Kyle Orton.
Good luck Romeo, we're all rooting for you.