The day after the Chiefs’ latest disaster came and went without a coaching change. Despite presiding over one of the worst half-seasons in NFL history, Romeo Crennel will continue as coach.
The Chiefs won’t get a better chance to make a change than Friday, the day after they fell to 1-7 with a 31-13 loss to the Chargers in San Diego. The Chiefs have an extended break and don’t play again until a week from Monday night, when they face the Steelers in Pittsburgh.
The Chiefs could make a coaching switch later in the season, during a regular week. But Crennel indicated his communications with chairman Clark Hunt and general manager Scott Pioli have been little but positive.
“I talk with Scott every day,” Crennel said. “We’ve been talking every day since I got the job. Scott is supportive. He sees what we’re trying to do out here on the practice field. He’s disappointed in the results just like I’m disappointed in the results. We’re going to work to fight our way through it.”
“I see Clark at every game. We talk about how things are going. He’s supportive, but he’s disappointed, just like everybody else is.”
The Chiefs have eight games left to see if they can make any improvements, but that prospect seems dim at best. The Chiefs, already leading the league with 25 turnovers going into Thursday’s game, padded their total with four more against the Chargers.
Either way, there seems to be little left for Crennel to try and dig the Chiefs out of their predicament. They’ve changed quarterbacks from Matt Cassel to Brady Quinn and back to Cassel, and they work on eliminating turnovers in practice.
Nothing works. Despite Crennel’s extensive coaching background, he has little experience with a team like this one except for one long-ago season when he was a special-teams coach with the New York Giants.
Those Giants committed a whopping 58 turnovers. The Chiefs are on pace for 58.
“I don’t think I ever have been part of this exact scenario,” Crennel said. “In 1983 we were (3-12-1) with the Giants, and that was no fun because we were doing some of the same things that make you lose.
“Here, the thing we have to improve on is the turnovers and also scoring defense, particularly in the passing game. If we can improve those two areas there, I think we can help this team.”
Crennel indicated Quinn, who missed the Chargers’ game because of a concussion, still had yet to be cleared to play. He said that could happen in time for the Steelers’ game but he wouldn’t commit to playing Quinn even if he was cleared.
“When he gets cleared, we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it,” Crennel said. “I will evaluate it again and make a decision. But understand when I put Brady in I did not want him looking over his shoulder and that’s still true right now.”
Cassel committed his 17th and 18th turnovers in the fourth quarter Thursday and the Chargers scored touchdowns on both plays. But he lost a fumble after being sacked by a player who wasn’t blocked and was intercepted after the ball was deflected by Dexter McCluster.
Crennel confirmed that running back Jamaal Charles, who injured his neck against the Chargers, would probably be ready to play against the Steelers.
“He’s going to be a little sore probably, but I think he’s going to be OK,” Crennel said.
Defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey reinjured his calf muscle, and left guard Jeff Allen and cornerback Javier Arenas have possible concussions. Crennel said he didn’t have enough information to say whether those players would be available against Pittsburgh.
But the Chiefs have some time to nurse their wounds, both physical and emotional.
“We have a long week, which should help us as far as injuries are concerned,” Crennel said.