Around The Web: Thigpen’s Ribs, History Repeats Itself, Bad Timing

Could Tyler Thigpen’s subpar performance Saturday night have been a result of a lingering injury?  According to Thigpen’s agent, Joel Turner, told Bill Williamson his client is playing with two broken ribs.TylerThigpenTackled

Turner says Thigpen suffered the injury in the first preseason game.  Thigpen did not play in the second preseason game, but he did play in the third one, spelling Cassel after he was hurt on the third play of the game against Seattle.

“Tyler is a tough guy,” Turner said.  “He’s fighting through this injury like nothing happened.  People just don’t know how tough Tyler is.”

Turner said he believes Thigpen, who played well last season when he took over at midseason, can succeed in the NFL.

“I don’t think a lot of people on the outside, especially some media people, know how good Tyler can be.  He comes from Coastal Carolina so he doesn’t get a lot of respect.  But if this guy came from a big-time program like USC, Michigan or Notre Dame, people would be high on Tyler … This kid is a playmaker.”

Turner said Thigpen plans to work through his broken ribs and will be available if the Chiefs plan to use him.

This makes a lot of sense.  Sure, Thigpen wasn’t the most accurate quarterback last season, but he was never that far off the mark.  Just look at the bootleg where he overthrew a wide open fullback on a five yard pass.  That is a play he lived on last season.

Back when I played football, I bruised my ribs and was ready to crawl into the fetal position anytime someone hit me.  I can only imagine the pain Thigpen feels with broken ribs.  I agree with Turner that his client is tough as nails.  With that being said, if he can’t make the throws with the injury, it’s hard to argue he should be the place holder for Cassel.

When Todd Haley fired (or “reassigned” if you prefer) offensive coordinator Chan Gailey yesterday, it was a surprise move, but hardly unprecedented.  As Bob Gretz reports, the Chiefs have been through this before.

Haley is not the first Chiefs head coach to fire a coordinator in the pre-season, one of the worst possible times to make a coaching staff move.  Back in the summer of 1984, head coach John Mackovic fired defensive coordinator Bud Carson on a Monday morning after a contentious personnel meeting the previous night.

The subject of that Mackovic-Carson disagreement was LB Charles Jackson.  Mackovic wanted Jackson more involved, while Carson thought he was a coach killer, a player whose mistakes would ultimately lead to the termination of the coach.  Turned out Carson was correct, but in a way in never envisioned as he was killed in a football sense the next day.

That situation 25 years ago was not really about a single player or meeting.  It just came down to Jackson being the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back.  Mackovic and Carson had many disagreements in the season before.  In fact, at the end of the ‘83 season, Carson tried to resign but Mackovic refused to make a change.  He thought they could work out their differences.

Was it a similar plot 25 years later with Haley and Gailey?  Sometime in the future the real story of what happened will be revealed, but right now the head coach says there was no particular moment that created this move.  Did they disagree on the approach of the Chiefs offense that has so few weapons in the passing game?  With Matt Cassel injured, did they disagree on whether it should be Tyler Thigpen or Brodie Croyle as his replacement?  Did Haley want to go back to using Thigpen in the spread offense from last year?

If the final disagreement was over Thigpen, I have to imagine Gailey was the one pushing to open the offense up to more of a an “Arrowspread”-style.  And not just to take advantage of Thigpen’s skills in the short term, but to keep Cassel alive until the offensive line can be improved in the offseason.

What would a day of Chiefs news be without Jason Whitlock chiming in with his take.  And it should be a surprise to no one that he has a negative opinion on the situation.

By midseason, Todd Haley might be coaching the running backs, receivers, tight ends and offensive line.  The first-time head coach thinks he can develop the quarterbacks, coordinate the offense, call plays, oversee the entire team and bow to Egoli’s wishes, too.

It makes no sense.

Unless you understand that Egoli and Haley believe they’re Bill Parcells and Tony Sparano, the architects of Miami’s 1-15-to-11-5 turnaround.

Scott Egoli and Todd Haley traveled to River Falls, Wis., with the sincere belief they had an eight-win roster and, with the right breaks, a 10-6 playoff contender.

If 22 guys off the street can win two games, you think their handpicked acquisitions of Mike Vrabel, Zach Thomas, Matt Cassel, Bobby Engram, Ashley Lelie, Mike Goff and Mike Brown couldn’t win eight?

Firing Chan Gailey two weeks before the opener is a win-now decision.

The prudent, political decision would have been to hold on to Gailey until midseason and axe him during the bye week in late October.  No one would blame Haley for that.  He could avoid responsibility for Kansas City’s offensive woes by suggesting that he and Gailey just couldn’t get on the same page.

Now, whatever happens with Kansas City’s offense will go on Haley’s head-coaching résumé.  He’s increased his risk, and it’s hard for me to see the reward.

I hate to say it, but Whitlock and I agree on at least part of the issue.  In fact he used a line almost identical to one I used right after the news broke.  To me it just didn’t make sense to make this move now.  Take the play calling away, but keep Gailey on staff to assist.

Where I take issue with Whitlock is how he wants it both ways.

He thinks Haley is arrogant for making the move, but then says the coach should have kept Gailey around to use him as a scape goat midseason.  That would be arrogant.  Keeping someone around just to use them as a fall guy is a Herm Edwards move.

I understand Whitlock will never like anything Haley or Pioli does because they aren’t feeding him information.  But at least stick to one side of an argument.

I think Gailey was fired at the wrong time — the time was when all the other coaches were purged — but it would have been an even worse decision to make the move week 8 or 9.

Haley has absolutely increased his risk and that’s admirable.  I don’t agree the way he went about it, but you can’t deny that he is putting his neck out there.  That’s very rare when you are dealing with young coaches.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

NFL Blog Directory