After the 2006 draft, there was a prevailing thought around Kansas City that the team had drafted their starting safeties of the future: Bernard Pollard and Jarrad Page. This season Pollard is in Houston and Page is sitting at home. Bob Gretz writes this morning that the two safeties are still linked four years later.
It is unlikely there would ever be a public confirmation of the mistake the Chiefs made in slicing Pollard last season as part of the final cutdown before the regular season. But, bet on the fact that internally the organization knows that situation wasn’t handled very well.
They dropped a young player who had been a starter and got nothing for him in return. Pollard landed with the Texans where he became a starter and a key player for the Houston defense.
Let’s remember that the Texans finished the season with a 9-7 record, quite a bit ahead of the 4-12 season put up by the Chiefs. It wasn’t like there was a major improvement in the Chiefs defensive production with Pollard out of the lineup and Mike Brown in at one of the starting safety spots.
Don’t get me wrong, Bernard Pollard was not an All-Pro safety in 2008 or 2009. He’s not a player without flaws. But releasing him without compensation was a bad decision by the Chiefs. Releasing him and not replacing him with a better player was a bad decision by the Chiefs.
That brings us to Page. It’s quite obvious that he does not fit the Chiefs future on defense. He didn’t fit last year when he lost his starting job to Jon McGraw. There’s no question that the head coach and player had their differences in the time when Page was still on the roster and not moved to the injured-reserve list with a calf problem.
A divorce is needed, but both sides are concerned about looking bad with the breakup, so they are putting off what is inevitable – Page will play for somebody else in 2010 and the Chiefs will move on. In fact, they already have. They just need to make it official.
The Chiefs should continue doing exactly what they’ve been doing. At this point there’s virtually no chance Page plays in Kansas City this year but that doesn’t mean they need to cut bait.
I’m not worried that Page will run off to another team (Gretz suggests the Lions) and have a huge impact, but that’s not the point. The point is that you can’t let your players pout their way out of town. It’s how they handled Waters last year and that situation worked itself out. This will likely end much differently but the approach should stay the same.