Pioli says Chiefs can turn around after 0-2 start

09/19/2012 2:44 AM

09/19/2012 2:44 AM

Like seemingly much of Kansas City, general manager Scott Pioli is more than a little stunned by the Chiefs’ 0-2 start.

But Pioli said Tuesday that his confidence in the Chiefs is not shaken and he remains convinced the Chiefs can still make something of their season.

“If any one of us knew what the answer was, we wouldn’t be sitting where we’re sitting right now,” Pioli said. “But I also don’t think it’s the end of the world. We have 14 games left. We’re certainly digging a hole but it’s not something we can’t get out of. Everyone within the organization is disappointed in the results so far. We’re all surprised because I don’t think any one of us went into the season thinking we would be 0-2. I don’t think any of us anticipated that.

“(He expects the Chiefs) to improve, get better and start winning some games in whatever order that is. Those are my expectations, but I want to be clear those are mine and our expectations. I think those are the players’ expectations, the coaching staff, the fan base. Our expectations at the beginning of this year were that we were going to be winning games. Right now, we haven’t done that. (But) we’re two games into a 16-game season.”

The Chiefs are one of six 0-2 teams in the NFL, but they weren’t close to winning either game. Their scoring differential of minus-34 points is second-worst in the league behind only Tennessee.

As the general manager, Pioli built the roster. Asked whether he was guilty of overestimating the abilities of some of the Chiefs’ players, Pioli said, “We think the roster is good enough. I think it is. Now it comes down to executing. We improved this team through free agency and did quite a bit of spending to improve this team whether it was contract extensions or the signing of other players. Time will tell if it was enough. I think it was.”

Regarding their spending, figures supplied by the NFL Players Association showed the Chiefs to have more than $26 million in available room under the league’s salary cap. Pioli said he didn’t regret not using more of that available cap space when the Chiefs built their roster.

“I think there are things we did do that helped this football team,” Pioli said. “I also know for a fact that this year alone we’re spending over $141 million in cash this year. That’s more than $20 million over the cap.

“It’s been proven time and time again that there’s not a direct correlation between spending cap dollars and winning. There’s not.”

Pioli said the Chiefs would need to allocate some of their available 2012 salary cap space toward the 2013 cap. He didn’t provide 2013 cap figures, but his comments indicate the Chiefs might otherwise be snug against the cap next season.

“We had better have cap room this year to roll over for next year to make sure we’re (in good shape),” Pioli said. “(Using available salary cap space) is not a year-by-year, fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants thing.

Pioli during the offseason also hired Romeo Crennel as head coach, promoting him from defensive coordinator. Crennel finished last season as the interim coach. The Chiefs went 2-1 in those games and fell just short of making the playoffs and completing a dramatic turnaround.

Crennel remains the defensive coordinator this season as well. But the poor play of the Chiefs’ defense is a big reason for the 0-2 start. They have allowed 75 points, which is tied for worst in the league.

Asked whether Crennel was the right coach to direct the Chiefs out of their hole, Pioli said, “Absolutely he is. I think he’s doing a good job. I really do.”

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