It is no stretch to say that the game against the Titans this weekend could define Herm Edwards coaching career in Kansas City. Tony Gonzalez's request to be traded and Carl Peterson's unwillingness to trade him for anything less than a second rounder has put a huge burden on Herm's shoulders. You could hear it in his voice and see it in his body language that Herm is on the edge right now. He was as friendly as a crocodile in the news conference yesterday bristling at reporters and repeating himself in his traditional manner when he's irritated about something.
Q: What does that say about you, about Carl, about this organization that he asked to be traded?
EDWARDS: “It doesn’t say anything about me. It doesn’t say one thing about me. It has nothing to do about me. You need to ask the player about that. That’s not for me to answer. I answer for decisions I make, what comes out of my mouth. So, you’re asking the wrong guy. You need to ask him.” (http://kcchiefs.com/news/2008/10/14/herm_edwards_press_conference__1014/
Herm likes to repeat himself to drive home a point. Nothing wrong with it, but when he does it you know he's passionate or irritated about the subject. You could hear the irritation in his voice when he responded to the questions the reporters threw at him yesterday. To compound matters Larry Johnson has been accused of pushing a woman in a night club. After reading the statements on both sides I'm inclined to think that she is looking for money from Larry and he will be yet again cleared of charges. However to think that Larry's charges aren't yet another distraction would be foolish.
Herm's titanic task is to find a way to get this young football team to focus on Sunday against an undefeated Titans team. The young Chiefs players turn to their veteran leaders like Larry and find him in trouble with the law or they turn to Tony Gonzalez and find him wanting out of the situation. Brian Waters seems to be the only steady veteran through this mess. To me Waters is the voice of the locker room and the franchise. He totes the company line.
Herm and Carl are on the brink. This rebuilding plan hangs by a thread and this Sunday could very well define not only the future of the franchise but who inevitably is leading it. If the Chiefs come out and play like they did against Carolina with slumped shoulders and people standing around after an interception waiting for someone else to make the tackle Herm has lost his team. To the fans and media that would be the final nail in the coffin for Herm Edwards and Carl Peterson in Kansas City. Win or lose the Chiefs have to come out and play with the passion they showed against the Broncos. Herm has to show the ability to get his team up for this game. Through all of the distractions and all of the negativity he has to provide a solid gameplan and motivation for a team teetering on disaster. If he can do this fans, media and more importantly the players might get some renewed vigor and confidence in what they're being taught.
On the bright side, Brodie Croyle is back and that might bring a little spark to the offense. Brodie is linked to Herm at the hip. His fortunes could be the fortunes of this head coach. If Brodie is awful or worse gets hurt Herm will take the blame for annointing him the quarterback of the future. If Brodie's week 1 injury provided any positives it was that it showed without a doubt, every single back-up on this team is league average or worse. There is no pressure on Brodie from any guy holding the clipboard on Sunday. Huard has been miserable and looks lost at times, Thigpen looks like a guy that needs time in the CFL and Hagans was a half thought out joke. In fact I'd go so far as to say that Ingle Martin should be moved to the number three quarterback ahead of Thigpen. Sure I only have some pre-season games with the Titans to back up that claim but that is my opinion.
Herm Edwards is sailing this ship through icy waters right now and he has to keep the ship afloat against a Titanic opponent in what could be the most critical game of his coaching career. If it sinks there won't be any Ballads of the Edwards-Fitzgerald from Chiefs fans.