“Romeo! Romeo! Romeo!” No, I am not quoting Shakespeare. I'm quoting the Kansas City locker room after the Chiefs shocked the world in beating the Green Bay Packers. Although Chiefs interim head coach Romeo Crennel said he was “just a guy standing on the sidelines,” his players are giving him all the credit.
Prior to Sunday’s game, many in the press and around Chiefs Nation had a lot of questions, but no answers. Would the Chiefs’ offense look different without Todd Haley? Is Kyle Orton an upgrade at the quarterback position? Would the defense regress without Crennel’s devout attention?
Answering these questions individually and fully would require three articles, but the short answers are yes, yes, and no.
The point is the Chiefs had many pressing questions coming into this week and for the first time in what seems to be years we got definitive answers. I want to be careful not to throw Haley under the bus, but can anyone say we ever got any questions answered while he was in charge?
Just look at the reaction to his firing. After three seasons, it's still a mixed bag of opinions on Haley and if he was or was not the right man for the job. His quarterback during that duration, Matt Cassel, is a similar story. After three seasons of leading this offense, I don't think we are any closer to finding out what the Chiefs have in Cassel. Say what you want about Haley but after three years, I don't think we once saw the identity of his team.
We saw glimpses of what the Chiefs could do under Haley’s reign. We saw a 4-12, disorganized and under-disciplined squad turn into a mistake-free division winner. But everywhere in between this team was erratic and faceless. We never knew what to expect on Sundays because this team never presented a consistent product. Not just from game to game, but from quarter to quarter.
This past Sunday, however, you saw what Crennel’s vision was. You could see why he made the changes he made this past week. When he gave Kyle Orton the start, we saw why. When we didn’t see Dwayne Bowe starting, we got a straight answer why.
When I left the stadium Sunday, for the first time I felt like this team had an identity. The offensive philosophy and game plan made sense, and this team had the swagger of a dangerous spoiler.
But Crennel knows his team is not out of the hunt yet. If the Chiefs can find a way to win their final two games, they will have a shot at the AFC West title. If Crennel can finish this season with three straight wins, he would almost certainly deserve the option to coach this team in 2012.
Crennel has five Super Bowl rings and the only negative argument against him is the fact that he had a losing record in his one opportunity as a head coach. In Crennel's defense however, even Bill Belichick, possibly the best coach in NFL history, couldn't win in Cleveland. So can we really be certain Crennel cannot be a head coach?
The Chiefs didn't get Green Bay’s best, but if we were having an excuses contest I doubt any team in the NFL could compete with the Chiefs in that department. Crennel hasn’t allowed his group to make any excuses, though. The Chiefs had every reason to lie down and stood up and punched the Super Bowl Champs in the kisser.
Sunday proved this Chiefs squad has a ton of talent that can compete with nearly anyone in the league with proper coaching, quarterback play, and motivation. It also proved Haley was not the right guy in Kansas City.
So is Romeo Crennel the right man to coach the Chiefs in 2012?
It's hard to answer from cloud nine, but I do know Crennel is the type of coach who answers the tough questions in short order.
Next up, the Chiefs host their division rival, the Oakland Raiders. What will we learn this week?
WARPAINT ILLUSTRATED MESSAGE BOARDS:
Is Romeo the one?
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