Jon Baldwin & Brady Quinn
If you were anywhere in the United States this past week and you were a fan of the Chiefs, you probably heard about the national media bashing the fans of Kansas City.
Days before the Chiefs road game at Tampa Bay, that’s not entirely out of our minds but what should be is the fact a new quarterback will take the helm on Sunday.
When Matt Cassel went down last Sunday with a concussion; it marked the official start of the Brady Quinn era in Kansas City. The Chiefs franchise quarterback has been the center of much controversy in his tenure in the city of Fountains.
And to be honest, he’s taken a load of criticism that is both fair but also borders more on the unfair. Cassel is a good person, a good quarterback who just simply came to Kansas City under the best of expectations.
But he could not live up to them. Is that his fault? Some of it is but some falls within the cast around him, the coaching staff and the Russian roulette of offensive coordinators (four of them), that have pushed him to the point of confusion and a severe case of lack of confidence.
Still with some serious talent around him this season, Cassel could not get the job done. In four plus games, he has double digit turnovers, can’t hold onto the football and spends more time locking onto one receiver, than surveying the field.
Yet no matter how I wrap this gift, Cassel has failed in Kansas City. Thus with that in plain view along with his concussion, the Chiefs are about to enter an era that fans wanted, probably some coaches and if they were to admit it - even upper management.
On Sunday against the Tampa Bay Bucs, Brady Quinn will start his first NFL game since he wore a Cleveland Browns uniform some three years ago. To date, I could talk about his record, completions, touchdowns or the same coaching carousel that thwarted the growth of the man he’s replacing in the Chiefs starting line up.
But I won’t because that means that I’d settle that Quinn can’t be better than Cassel. And I really don’t think that’s going to be the case.
The former Browns and Broncos quarterback isn’t the same person he was when he was touted as a can’t miss NFL superstar out of the University of Notre Dame some five years ago.
Today, he’s a journeyman quarterback without a home looking to resurrect his once promising career in Kansas City. And as a Chiefs fan we’ve been down this road so many times that by nature, we’re generally pessimistic that this latest castoff can become just what this organization needs.
Sure we’d prefer to draft a young quarterback at the top end of the first round but that’s not always the Golden Ticket. In the new NFL, a gifted franchise quarterback can save any struggling franchise. But that doesn’t mean, he’ll lead his team to a Super Bowl of riches. Then again the Chiefs starved crazed fan base would certainly like to find that out for themselves.
For Quinn, he couldn’t ask for a better opportunity. The Chiefs are desperate for success at the quarterback position. In this regard, they’re dying to strike lightning in a bottle. If they don’t appease the disconnected fan base with a new quarterback, significant change in the front office and within the coaching staff is all but certain.
So can Quinn get the Chiefs Nation behind him? And will he save the jobs of some of the organizations top brass?
Well he better because the Mighty Quinn (sorry had to throw that in eventually), might be the only one who has the power to save everyone – including the fans.
And should Quinn do his part by sparking something in this gifted offense that Cassel could not, just maybe the man, who hasn’t started a game since 2009, can live up to the hype that made him exactly what the fans need - a talented first round draft talent wearing Red.
With the AFC West swimming in a sea of nauseating mediocrity, the Chiefs still have a chance to win the division. At 1-4 and with the Broncos and Chargers facing off Monday night in San Diego, something has to give. Someone has to lay claim to the games weakest division.
The Chiefs, who have just three games remaining on their schedule in which they won’t be favored at San Diego, Pittsburgh and Denver, could probably lose three more games (maybe even four) and still win the West.
If that’s going to happen, then Quinn has to prove that he can orchestrate an offense that features the games best running back, Jamaal Charles, one of the top wide receivers, Dwayne Bowe and a solid offensive line.
And should he guide those All Pros and manage the rest of the parts and pieces that make up the Chiefs offense, Quinn might go from career back-up to franchise savior.
WARPAINT ILLUSTRATED MESSAGE BOARDS:
Fans have no choice but to get behind Brady Quinn for the remainder of 2012.
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