In an article that might just make you check the date, The Kansas City Star’s Jason Whitock thinks Scott Pioli, Todd Haley and the Chiefs are having a very good offseason.
The signing of former Indianapolis guard Ryan Lilja was the final straw for me. Pioli is starting to live up to his reputation.
Lilja’s signing means next to nothing around the league. After five productive seasons, the Colts let Lilja walk because they mistakenly believe they need a 310-pounder at guard to run the ball more effectively. Fine. Their mistake is our gain.
The kid can play at a high level. Getting Lilja for $7.5 million over three years — peanuts — is the best free-agent signing of the offseason by any team. He’ll be a starter in Kansas City for the next six years and maybe longer.
You add Lilja to Brian Waters and Casey Wiegmann, whom the Chiefs re-signed from Denver, and the foundation of the organization has been repaired. Matt Cassel has a pocket to step up in. The Chiefs will be effective in short-yardage running situations.
[Thomas] Jones’ role on this team reminds me of the role Marcus Allen played here during the mid-1990s. Allen was the veteran leader who ran for all the tough yards and commanded the respect of everyone in the locker room. Of course, Jones doesn’t have Allen’s résumé. That’s fine. Few people have Allen’s résumé.
Jones, Lilja and Wiegmann give the Chiefs a personality. The Chiefs are going to be old-school tough. The idiots are going to get chin-checked … and not by Todd Haley.
Once I realized it wasn’t an April Fools’ column, I was pleasantly surprised by Whitlock’s take on the offseason. Not that the team, fans or anyone else needs approval from him, but it’s a welcoming sign that an influential columnist isn’t always going to blindly hate everything Pioli and Haley do.
At times last year I kept waiting for a story from Whitlock about how pompous Pioli was for suggesting the sky was blue as if he created the heavens. We could still see that during the 2010 season, but for now I’ll take what I can get.