Chiefs general manager Scott Pioli took responsibility for the Chiefs disappointing 1-5 start in question-and-answer session with The Star on Wednesday morning. Pioli also discussed the state of the Chiefs during their bye week and reports about his contract status.
By RANDY COVITZ
The Kansas City Star
Here are some highlights of the interview:
• How surprised are you at 1-5?
Surprised or disappointed. Thats where we are. This is certainly not what the expectation was. But its where we are. You cant wallow in it. You work hard and you figure it out. Thats what were going to do.
• Whats been the biggest disappointment?
The record, the overall performance, the performance by everybody We all have a hand in this thing, starting with me. Ultimately Im responsible for the football operation, and were 1-5. We all need to do our jobs better, starting with me.
• Have you discussed a contract extension with Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt as reported by CBS? (Note: The Star reported Sunday, citing a source close to the situation, that the Chiefs have not offered Pioli a contract extension nor have discussed an extension. Hunt told The Star that the Chiefs do not discuss contracts publicly.)
Clark spoke to The Star last week, and thats our organizational philosophy. We dont talk about players contracts, we dont talk about coaches contracts, anybody who has a contract, we dont talk about those things. Its an organizational philosophy that I believe in as well. Thats where its at.
• So where do you think this (CBS report) originated, if you nor Clark talk about contracts?
I dont waste energy on that stuff. You know what Ive got to do? Ive got to get this thing fixed. Thats where I need to spend my time, energy and emotion on is getting this football team fixed. Not chasing rumors because those are the things that are offshoots of what the real problem is. It becomes a rumor, it becomes a story because were not winning.
This isnt about me and my contractual situation. This is about getting the team right.
• But if your contract is through 2013, youd have one year left, and (coach) Romeo Crennel will have two years left because hes through 2014; what kind of confidence can fans or free agents have that there will not be a lame-duck situation here next year?
Im not going to talk about the contract, and Im not going to worry about the contract.
• Whats your feeling on the job Romeo Crennel has done? Should he hand over the defensive coordinator job to someone else and just concentrate on being the head coach?
I dont believe his plate is too full. Ive watched, whether perception or reality, every head coach has a greater input into one side of the ball or the other, or even some times special teams. Romeo has a couple of experienced coaches on the defensive staff that have a lot to do with game-planning, with figuring things out, and (linebackers coach) Gary Gibbs and (secondary coach) Emmitt Thomas along with some other coaches this is an experienced staff on defense. Romeo is the coordinator, but Ive seen this before, and its worked, and it can continue to work. There are times we are playing very well on defense.
• What kind of grade would you give Romeo at this point?
I think hes doing a good job of handling this football team in a tough set of circumstances right now.
• During training camp, you were confident quarterback Matt Cassel could lead this team to a championship. Whats happened to him?
He wishes he performed better, I think this whole team wishes they played better.
• Dont you need an elite quarterback to win in this league?
You need a good football team to win in this league. You need a good football team that is going to do all the things the right way. Heck yes, you need a quarterback to play well, and you need a team to play well.
• So what is the hope for this team?
The hope is we stop doing some of the things were undoing ourselves. A big part of our problem is we are undoing things ourselves and we are making mistakes were having penalties at critical times. Were having turnovers at critical parts of the field. Were making mistakes on defense and giving up big plays that are critical. Were having penalties on special teams at critical moments. The mistakes were making, based on the timing of those mistakes are making those mistakes exponentially worse.
• Is that coaching?
Its everything. Its everything, including me, because Im the ones bringing players in. And if players are making those mistakes, ultimately, its me.
• So do you not have the Right 53 youre always talking about?
Youre always trying to figure out who the Right 53 are. Im always trying to figure out who the Right 53 are. Ultimately that stops here.
• Youve had four years of drafts? Shouldnt there be some impact players?
I think Tyson Jackson is playing well. I think Eric Berry has made an impact. I think Tony Moeaki has made an impact. Right now, theres clearly not enough players making an impact. You cant be 1-5 and say players are making an impact. When we won in 2010, a number of those drafted players were making an impact.
• Do you feel the angst the community feels about how this season has gone?
I interact just being out and about and traveling and being at the airport, being at restaurants Ive seen all the emotions. And what Ive seen is a lot of support as well. Are people happy about the record? Do I understand? Heck, yeah. This is the Chiefs town. The Chiefs are Kansas City, and I dont say that disrespectfully to the other organization (Royals). I know how passionate how this fan base is.
I also know there are a lot of reasonable and thoughtful and supportive people out there. Do I also feel and hear the frustration? Absolutely. But Ill guarantee this I know how I feel about this. And I understand were 1-5, too.
• Is this still an attractive place for free agents to come?
Absolutely. The history of the organization, the fan base, the stadium, the culture that is here. There are a number of players who chose to come here this off-season. There were a number of places players had choices, and there are players who have chosen to stay here. So clearly this is an attractive place.
To reach Randy Covitz, call 816-234-4796 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him at twitter.com/randycovitz.