Friday, January 19, 2018
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Kansas City Chiefs Postmortem

With the Kansas City Chiefs’ season wrapping up unexpectedly a week early, now is the best possible time to look at what lies ahead. The Chiefs finished the season officially 10-7 with a 22-21 choke job loss to the Tennessee Titans in the Wild Card round of the playoffs, at Arrowhead, in front of a capacity crowd of their own fans.

It’s worse than that. At one point in the third quarter, Kansas City led 21-3. That’s right, an 18-point lead over a Mike Mularkey-coached football team. It was an absolutely despicable loss across the board. Now what?

ANDY REID

Since Andy Reid was hired by Kansas City in 2013, he’s delivered five consecutive winning seasons, four playoff appearances and two AFC West titles. It’s the first time in team history they’ve won back-to-back division titles. I think the Chiefs should fire him.

Here is the problem and it’s a big one. Reid obviously has a blockage that keeps him from winning in the playoffs. Kansas City hasn’t won a home playoff game in 24 years in spite of making the playoffs 10 times in that span. Joe Montana was their quarterback during their last home playoff win and Marty Schottenheimer, of all people, was the head coach.

Reid and Schottenheimer have a whole lot in common. The only difference between the two is that Reid actually got one team to the Super Bowl thanks to a pathetic year in the NFC in 2004. They lost to the SpyGate era New England Patriots, 24-21.

Reid’s career head coaching record in the regular season is 183-120-1, a winning percentage of .604. His postseason record is 11-13, a percentage of .458. This is it. This is what you get with Andy Reid. He’s a good coach that can build a good team and if that’s all you want for your franchise then, fine, roll with him.

Me, I think the goal of owning an NFL team is to win the Super Bowl. Reid is not going to get Kansas City there because he obviously can’t.

Reid is a brilliant offensive mind, but he’s not a quick thinker. When he’s got a week to gameplan and faces no adversity on gameday, the Chiefs can be dominant. Any one thing goes wrong, like Travis Kelce getting knocked out of the game, and the complete collapse begins. Losing one guy, even one as good as Kelce, shouldn’t help a team coached by Mike Mularkey of all people erase a 21-3 lead in a quarter and a half. It’s unforgivable.

Do the Chiefs have the guts to make this move? I doubt it, but just imagine handing this roster over to a coach like Josh McDaniels. Reid isn’t the first guy that built a great team that couldn’t get it through the postseason. There’s a reason Jon Gruden is getting a 10-year contract from the Oakland Raiders. He took the team that Tony Dungy kept floundering with in Tampa Bay and won a title with it. Ironically, it was against his former team that he built into a Super Bowl contender too.

If you’re the Chiefs, you don’t have to make a decision today. Frankly, with all the reported strife between Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and Robert Kraft, it might be smart to see how that whole thing plays out. You think a free agent Belichick wouldn’t love to be handed the talent KC has, especially on defense with Justin Houston, Marcus Peters and Eric Berry? Please. The Chiefs have beaten his ass when they’ve played over the last few years for a reason. What could he do in command of this team? Trust one thing, Belichick knows.

If not the Dark Lord, then the Chiefs would still have their pick of the hot head coaching prospects. Josh McDaniels? Frank Reich? Both guys sound good to me and both would be able to bring in solid coaching staffs along with them.

The Chiefs would be an incredibly attractive job. Alex Smith is still under contract for another season, Kareem Hunt was a rookie, Tyreek Hill was a second-year player and Kelce just signed an extension. Patrick Mahomes is waiting in the wings to take over when they do let Smith go. This is a team prepped for a nice, 10-year run. If Reid is the head coach, it’ll be 10 more years just like this one.

ALEX SMITH

Since 2011, Smith is 71-36-1 as an NFL starter. He’s 2-5 in the playoffs. This year he completed 67.5 percent of his passes for 4,042 yards (a career high), 26 touchdowns (career high) and five interceptions. His average yards per attempt of 8.6 led the league as did his interception percentage of 1.0. He ended the regular season as the NFL’s highest rated passer at 104.7.

Smith is coming off his best season as a pro after a ridiculous career resurgence that began when he was still with the San Francisco 49ers. Not only has he been exceptional on the field, he’s had no trouble mentoring the quarterback, Mohomes, that Kansas City drafted to replace him. He knows he’ll be a starter in the NFL next season, regardless of where it is.

If the Chiefs do bring in a new head coach, they should absolutely keep him. Smith still has a year left on his four-year, $68 million contract he signed in 2014. Kansas City can cut or trade him this off-season and it would just cost them $3.6 million in cap space. Smith comes with a $20 million cap hit if he’s on the roster next season. While the team loves Mahomes and he seems to have a bright future, if Kansas City really wants to win a title next season, they have to keep Smith and lose Reid.

But if they keep Reid? There’s no reason to spend the money on Smith. Mahomes cap number is significantly smaller in 2018, $3.733 million. If they trade Smith away (and there should be plenty of takers with that move – Cincinnati and Cleveland should be on the phone working that deal today), they can possibly recoup a first round pick (or at least get a high second rounder) and start to build around Mahomes. They have young talent all over the offense and, with Reid still there, will probably still be pretty good. Just not good enough.

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About Adam Greene

Adam Greene is a sportswriter, photographer and humorist. You can email him (and you should) at adamgreenetfm@gmail.com

About Adam Greene

Adam Greene is a sportswriter, photographer and humorist. You can email him (and you should) at adamgreenetfm@gmail.com

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