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Crennel, Chiefs face desperate times

The SportsXchange

Coach Romeo Crennel knows only one way to handle the type of mess the Chiefs' 2012 season has been: He works even harder than his normal pace, which would fatigue many men much younger than Crennel's 65 years.

During the team's bye week and over the long weekend after losing to the San Diego Chargers on a Thursday night, Crennel gave the players and his staff time off, but he could not shut down his motor, even if he lessened his duties.

He came out of those times without much rest, but with changes in place that he hopes can stop the downward spiral of the Chiefs' 1-7 season.

It was after the bye week that Crennel decided to bench quarterback Matt Cassel in favor of Brady Quinn. Then he came out of the long weekend having made two big decisions: He cut starting cornerback Stanford Routt, and he fired himself as defensive coordinator.

"We are trying not to leave any stone unturned in making these last eight weeks an opportunity for us to win games," Crennel said. "We have eight games to play, so we're going to try to do everything we can to come out of these eight games on the winning ledger."

Given the way the entire team has played in the season's first half, benching Cassel, cutting Routt and giving Gary Gibbs the defensive coordinator duties are desperate moves designed to jolt the struggling team. A few more bad performances and defeats, and the Chiefs will see 2012 as a wasted season.

The Cassel decision has not played out, as Quinn suffered a concussion and will miss two games. Quinn's injury put Cassel back in the starting role. Routt did not adapt to the Crennel defensive philosophy; it was another major personnel blunder by general manager Scott Pioli to even sign the Oakland Raiders castoff.

Crennel's decision at defensive coordinator is the most curious call. If it was his move and not that of management, he had a curious reason for his choice.

"We have a young team, and the perception may be that I'm a defensive coach and I don't care about other parts of the team," Crennel said. "It's not true, but their perception may be that."

A 40-year coaching veteran worried about the perceptions of young players? That hardly seems like something that would concern Crennel. He's not Bill Parcells, but he learned the coaching business from the Big Tuna, and one wonders if Parcells ever worried about the perceptions of his young players.

When a man has received a second chance to be an NFL head coach and his record is now 3-8 with his current team and 27-48 overall, he will grab at anything in hopes of stopping the bleeding on the field.

Crennel said the move at coordinator had nothing to do with trying to fire up his defense.

"I think the guys play hard as it is," Crennel said. "We don't always play smart, but we play hard. I want those young guys to say, 'He cares about the offense and he's in here with us and he knows what I know,' and now then we'll see where it takes us.'"
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