Will Chiefs or Rams Go 0-16?
by Trevor Whenham - 09/25/2008
I want to see a team go 0-16. Really, really badly. I think it's at least as hard to do as what the Patriots pulled off last year. We have come close many times, but each time they have found a way to stumble into a win and therefore break my heart. I'm as optimistic at this stage of the season as I have probably ever been, though. Usually by now there is a team that clearly has little hope. This year there are two that are so incomprehensibly bad that the players' mothers are embarrassed of them. Both St. Louis and Kansas City have a long laundry list of issues, and none of them will be fixed easily. Let's take a look at the two teams to see if they have what it takes to reach new depths of incompetence, and which team has the lead in this race to futility:
1. QB - The Rams have decided that everything is Marc Bulger's fault, so they have benched him in favor of the ancient Trent Green. That's ridiculous, of course, but what else can they do? Green is probably past his prime, but he's been a good quarterback in the past and at least won't be a real step back from Bulger. The Chiefs are running out of choices. Damon Huard is old and Tyler Thigpen is terrible. When a team's best hope is that Brodie Croyle returns to action soon they have real problems. I keep waiting for them to make a significant QB move, but then convincing a player to come to town at this point would be more than a little tough.
Worse off - Kansas City, and it's not even close.
2. Offense - There is a pleasing similarity here. Both teams have aging, formerly great running backs who are being underused and aren't at all happy about it. Both teams also lack anything resembling an offense, or an offensive line. Or skill. The only thing the Rams have going for them is that they are better than Cleveland. Kansas City is actually better than four teams including, surprisingly, the Steelers. That doesn't mean that they are good, though.
Worse off - St. Louis
3. Defense - If the Chiefs could convince opponents to pass on every down then they might just be okay. They are decent when the ball is in the air, but absolutely awful when it is on the ground - in fact, no team is worse against the run except Detroit. The Rams are a bit better against the run, but have nothing resembling a pass defense.
Worse off - Kansas City. They have played the easier schedule, and they let the Falcons score 38 last week.
4. Coaching - Scott Linehan is having a horrible time in St. Louis, and it would be a real surprise to see him last the whole season. Herm Edwards isn't getting nearly as much heat from his organization, but he's also not exactly looking like a genius - he has managed to run this team right into the ground since taking it over.
Worse off - Kansas City. The Rams took a risk on an inexperienced coach that didn't pay off, while the Chiefs have got to where they are in the hands of a veteran. The Rams also seem more aware of their problems and closer to doing something about it.
5. Schedule - Neither team has any likely wins on the schedule - they can't play themselves, and they don't play each other. Both teams have relentlessly tough schedules well into November. One difference is that the Rams started off with tough teams, while Kansas City has faced some of the easier parts of their schedule already. And fared poorly.
Worse off - St. Louis. While neither team is likely to be favored all year, the Rams have just two games left against teams that are likely to lose 11 or more games. The Chiefs have three.
6. X-factor - It probably isn't going to make a difference, but the Rams deserve credit for making some bold moves. They benched Bulger his week and cut a starting cornerback. At least they are trying to make a statement. Kansas City can't say the same thing - and juggling the QBs they have doesn't count.
Worse off - Kansas City.
Overall - When you break it down this way the Chiefs look to be ahead in the race to the 0-fer by a wide margin. That being said, I have a good feeling in my gut about the Rams. And then there's the Lions - though the departure of Matt Millen is a real blow for them on this front. Cleveland can't be entirely discounted, either, and theirs would be a truly monumental fall from grace. Ultimately I don't care who it is - the closer any team comes to the magic mark, the harder I will be cheering for them.