Matt Cassel and Todd Haley may not realize this now, but the news of the Chiefs starting-quarterback's right-hand injury being more serious than previously thought is the best thing to happen to each of them since their arrival in Kansas City.
Trust me. In the spirit of Tim Tebow, both should be counting their blessings. Their respective positions as the buffoons charged with the extension of football-mediocrity in Kansas City may have just been saved.
Less than six hours after Cassel claimed his right hand was "fine" and vowed to be ready for the Patriots next Monday, the Chiefs' head coach contradicted those statements by stating the injury is "significant" and would require surgery.
Out of respect, I'll pause for a moment as you allow apathy to seep back into your approach to following Chiefs football.
At some point here, we're going to have to stop saying, "It can't get any worse than this", because, quite frankly, things just keep getting worse. But that's neither here nor there.
Losing Cassel hurts the Chiefs, but not in the way you may think. What it does is simultaneously give general manager Scott Pioli an excuse for retaining both Haley and Cassel in 2012. Let me explain.
For Haley, it's the icing on the cake. This season had 'setback year' written all over it even before it began. The schedule looked brutal. Whatever effect the lockout would have, it would seemingly be worse for a younger, "work in-progress" team.
Then the injuries. Tony Moeaki. Eric Berry. Jamaal Charles. Done, Done, and done.
Now, Cassel will have surgery and miss most or all of the rest of this season. The Chiefs will be lucky to win another game, and finish in the bottom-third of the league. Haley will have then had three years under his belt — one of the "rebuilding" tag, one playoff-year, and one ridden by injuries.
He's got an out, and Pioli will be tempted to retain him to buy at least one more season before the pressure shifts from the head coach to the front office.
Makes you want to puke, doesn't it?
Cassel's renewed job security has more to do with Pioli. The Chiefs worst-kept secret — aside from Pioli and Haley's volatile relationship — has been Pioli's affection for Cassel in-spite of Haley.
Cassel was forced upon Haley from day-one, and all of the team's offensive struggles since can be traced back to their dislike for one-another. The problem is, Pioli either can't or won't see this. The Pioli/Cassel relationship dates back to New England, where Cassel turned an almost perfect 18-1 Patriots team the year before into a (here's that word again) mediocre 11-5 non-playoff team in 2008 after Tom Brady was lost for the year in the season-opener. Pioli has been convinced of Cassel's imminent greatness ever since.
The truth is, both Haley and Cassel have done more than enough to justify receiving pink slips.
Haley cost the Chiefs health and victories by turning this past training camp into a weight-loss program. He also may have run off Cassel's one glimpse of hope for sustaining any kind of success — Charlie Weis — because of his ego/unprofessionalism.
His sideline tantrums don't help things, either.
Cassel has never shown the ability to stay healthy, has the league's weakest throwing-arm, and has regressed statistically to his sub-par 2009 form. That's worth noting considering the easier portion of the Chiefs schedule was just completed.
The Haley and Cassel-led Chiefs could only muster 13 points combined against the Dolphins and Broncos. What would they look like against the Patriots, Steelers, or Packers?
We don't want to know, and neither do they.
This is all ironic, because Pioli could use either of the two as a pawn in an attempt to boast confidence in the other. Both Haley and Cassel would love to see the other get the ax.
But if either are shown the door, it'd mean admitting a mistake on the general managers' part. It isn't likely. Cassel's injury allows Pioli to save face for at least another year, and it may be too good to pass up.