The Kansas City Chiefs are a little bit of a disaster right now, which is why it was odd when reports surfaced last week that general manager Scott Pioli was offered a contract extension. Water has since been thrown on those reports, and now nobody’s sure what Pioli’s future is as the Chiefs toil away at 1-5.
Scott Pioli joined Soren Petro on WHB in Kansas City to discuss the team’s poor start, his contract situation, Romeo Crennel’s job security and role, where the blame lies and whether he has any say over which players are starting on a weekly basis.
On his contract:
“It’s an organizational philosophy that we don’t discuss contracts. We don’t discuss the contracts of players, coaches, myself or anybody.”
On taking the brunt of the criticism for the poor start:
“It should come to me. At the end of the day, I was hired to be the leader of the football operation. And as you said, they don’t need to go to — the fans and the media — they don’t need to go to other people to find out or ask the questions, or even [state] their frustrations. When I signed that contract on the dotted line, that’s part of what you sign up for. And that’s my responsibility, because at the end of the day I’m responsible for the football operation, and things are not going well right now. There should be some frustration towards me, and I understand it.”
On if he understands why there’s interest in his contract situation:
“I do understand that because it goes back to exactly how you prefaced this conversation, or this question. The bottom line is the buck stops with me, and if there’s rumors out there or there’s information out there or it’s being talked about, of course they want to know. Of course the fans want to know. I was a fan growing up, too, so I understand that perspective. You want to know those things. Or if you don’t necessarily want to know, you ask those questions. So I completely get it, because they want to know what the status of the general manager is. Again, it’s an organizational philosophy that we think is the right way to do things.”
On Romeo Crennel’s status and if he’s doing too much by running the team and the defense:
“I’m as confident in Romeo today as the day that we hired him. … Before we made the decision to hire him as the head coach, we talked about the head coach-defensive coordinator position. Again, what happens behind the scenes, I think that a lot of people don’t see, is that in almost every organization where the head coach either has the title of defensive coordinator or offensive coordinator, most teams, the head coach got to that position because they were a coordinator on one of the two sides of the ball. … When that happens, regardless of how that looks on the surface and what the titles are, the coach generally is running that side of the ball anyway. … The information is broken up and handled and the duties are broken up. There’s a lot of information that’s handled by the staff as well. It’s not just Romeo just wearing himself out wearing the two hats. … There’s some other organizations where head coaches may not take that title, but they’re doing that job as well.”
On what’s gone wrong:
“Some of it has been turnovers, some of it has been sloppy play. … There is a long list of things that we have to get corrected, which is no surprise to anyone out there or we wouldn’t be in this situation. There’s a few things that we’ve done well, but we’ve done far more things not well. Penalties, when we’ve had penalties, we’ve had them in very inopportune moments. You look at the number of penalties we’ve had, there’s not that dramatic a difference, but it’s been the timing of the penalties, it’s been the timing of turnovers, it’s been a lot of really bad football. But again, at the end of the day, that comes back to me, because I’m the one bringing the players in, I’m the one bringing the players to the coaches, I’m the one that’s put us in this situation. And at the end of the day, I have to get better at doing my job before this team is going to get better, and that’s the bottom line.”
On where the blame lies:
“Everyone has a hand in this right now. And at the end of the day, I have the largest hand. … Again, I will get this corrected.”
On if he has any hand in deciding whether Matt Cassel’s the starting quarterback, since he brought Cassel in from New England:
“In my four years here, I have never, ever made a decision as to what players will be inactive, who gets playing time, who doesn’t get playing time, who’s going to be the starting quarterback or who’s going to be the starting safety. That’s not my job as a general manager. As much as in my role I need to control certain things and I need to be the boss about certain things, I grew up in this industry, in a coaching environment, where I learned that coaches make decisions like that. … There’s never been a time in my four years here, or anywhere else, where I made not only a demand or a suggestion as to who should play what position. That’s just not my job; that’s the coach’s job. And that’s something that I’ll never get into.”