Rebuilding the Chiefs starts with a new QB
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – New Chiefs head coach Andy Reid may have tipped his hand about what he plans to do about the team's woeful quarterback situation.
At his introductory press conference Monday at Arrowhead Stadium, Reid said, smiling, “I've got to find that next Len Dawson, doggone it.”
Truthfully, Chiefs fans would settle for far less than a Hall of Famer such as Dawson after suffering through the horrific play of the team's quarterbacks in 2012.
And so would Dawson, the team's radio game analyst.
“I would settle for any (quarterback) who can help move the ball a little,” Dawson told FOXSportsKansasCity.com. “We couldn't move the ball (in 2012). We couldn't get first downs. It's not always the quarterback's fault but maybe that's a good place to start.”
The quarterback position certainly will get Reid's attention early on in his tenure in Kansas City. He was asked about it three times at Monday's press conference.
Understandably, Reid wasn't comfortable making any sweeping analysis of the Chiefs' inhouse candidates, at least not yet.
“I need to look at the guys who are here,” Reid said. “I need to get a chance to meet those guys. Then I'll start my evaluating process. They've all got to learn a whole new system.
“Then I've got to check out the draft, free-agency, the whole thing. Then we put the whole package together and make sure that the (quarterback) position is a solid position.”
It's possible, though, and perhaps even likely that after Reid evaluates the quarterback stable here, he decides to simply gut it and start over.
Matt Cassell, who had been the teams' starter for three seasons until being benched in 2012, could be a financial liability, especially as a backup quarterback.
Cassel is due to have a $7.75 million base salary in 2013, and a $9.825 salary cap number. It has been widely reported that if Cassel is released, the Chiefs would free up about $5.825 million in salary cap space.
Brady Quinn, who became the starter in mid-season, is expected to become a free-agent. The other quarterback on the roster is Ricky Stanzi, who was drafted in 2011 but has not played. Stanzi was a disappointment in training camp and couldn't beat out Quinn for the No. 2 spot back then.
“The quarterback position, I’m going to dig in and look at that and we’ll build that thing,” Reid said. “We’ll see how that whole thing builds out. I need to spend some time working at it, though.”
And while most Chiefs fans are anticipating that Reid and the teams' next general manager will take a quarterback with the team's No. 1 overall pick (someone such as West Virginia's Geno Smith), Reid wasn't about to make any declarations after having just a few days on the job.
“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.
“We'll evaluate it all and we'll get it right here.”
Still, it seems likely that Reid – who selected Donovan McNabb with his first pick as coach of the Eagles – will not only draft a quarterback, but bring in some free-agent candidates as well.
The hot rumor, of course, has been that Reid will try to bring with him Michael Vick, who is due to make $15 million with the Eagles in 2013 but very well could be released.
Reid gave Vick a chance to return to the NFL in 2009 after Vick served two years in prison in nearby Leavenworth for his involvement in an illegal dog fighting ring, and the two are very close.
“I can say that while coach (Reid) has been in my presence, while I've been here, he's been a sort of father figure," Vick told NFL.com before the season began. “As a father figure, you're mentoring someone, anyone you care about, and you're gonna tell them the right things to do, the correct way to do things at the right time. That's a father figure.
“I can honestly say (Reid's) been the substitute for the man in my life that I don't have right now. It's great, because I really don't have too many people to lean on.”
Reid said of Vick during the season, “I mean, I'm close with him. I understand that. It's obviously humbling, because he is a good kid. When you go through certain things with certain people in your life, you become very close to them. He knows I'll always be there for him, to help him out. Always.”
And that relationship may continue in Kansas City.