Looking dapper and jovial just one week after being fired as the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles, Andy Reid sat before a crowd of Kansas City reporters during his formal introduction as the Chiefs new head coach and calmly answered questions. However, with one semi-joking comment, everyone knew what his first priority is for the 2013 season.
“I’ve got to find [the] next Len Dawson, doggone it!” exclaimed Reid with a smile on his face. Even a room full of cynical sports reporters found the humor in the reference to the Chiefs Hall-of-Fame quarterback who took his last snap in 1975 and still hasn’t been replaced in this town on a long-term basis.
In between getting fired last Monday morning and taking his meeting with Chiefs owner Clark Hunt at a private Philadelphia airport Wednesday morning, Reid watched all 16 games the Chiefs played this season on film – and yet, despite that, he still agreed to meet with Hunt to be the coach!
After watching the excruciating footage, Reid has to know that none of the four QBs on the roster – Matt Cassel, Brady Quinn, Ricky Stanzi, or Alex Tanney – can hold a candle to the 76-year old Dawson. (Heck, Dawson might have won three games even at his age even today.) But, not wanting to trash his potential 2013 starter, Reid stopped short of declaring his current staff a lost cause.
“I have looked at the roster and there are some good football players on this football team,” Reid said. “The quarterback position, I’m going to dig in and look at that and we’ll build that thing. We’ll see how that whole thing builds out. I need to spend some time working at it, though … it might be right here, it might not.”
(If it is still here, I'd bet it will come in the form of a rejuvenated Cassel who gets some QB therapy from a QB guru like Reid!)
The Chiefs have the #1 pick in April’s draft and it remains to be seen if they will use that pick on any of the quarterbacks coming out this year. Unlike last year when the Colts took Andrew Luck at #1 and the Redskins traded a wealth of picks to move up to #2 for Robert Griffin III, there doesn’t appear to be a sure-fire pick at quarterback for the Chiefs.
“We’ve been blessed with the No. 1 pick in the draft,” Reid said. “You want to make sure you do the right thing and pick the right guy for that. Not necessarily a quarterback – it doesn’t have to be a quarterback. It has to be the right thing. You don’t want to force anything at that point. People that do that get themselves in trouble.”
While Reid may opt for another position with the first pick, his history in Philly shows that he will get somebody to play QB next year, and that somebody will probably play some of the best football of their career under Reid. That may be 99% of the reason Clark Hunt zeroed in on nabbing Reid. This town is dying for a franchise quarterback that didn’t play most of his best years with another franchise (See: Montana, Gannon, DeBerg, Kreig, Moon, etc.).
Given the last four years of the Scott Pioli regime and the innumerable slip-ups in the draft, Chiefs fans are hoping that their new coach – and yet unnamed General Manager – can bring back the star power of the draft.
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Finally, on a much more serious note, here are two links for anyone that needs help with domestic violence and/or sexual assault. The first link is the Kansas Coalition against sexual & domestic violence and the second link is the Missouri Coalition Against Domestic & Sexual Violence. Or, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or the National Sexual Assault Hotline, 1-800-656-4673.