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Pruning of the Chiefs

More by Stephen Brown
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Pruning can apply to a lot of things.

Gardening comes to mind, but I often trim my budget. Programs get cut. How about a spiritual pruning? A little snip there, a cut here, and a trim can make all the difference. A gardener will prune a shrub to a knee-high stump, but by summer itís loaded with leaves and blooms. Thatís what pruning does, it stimulates growth.

How about the Kansas City Chiefs? Fans already know whatís in store for 2008, and they wonít like going through it, but stillÖpruning generates the best results.

Why did Herman Edwards wait until now? Good question, but playing advocate, with all those draft picks now seems like a great time for Kansas City. It doesnít matter whoís currently in the driver seat, because thereís no getting around the pruning.

You can also call it ďrebuildĒ.

There are better gardeners than others. Anyone can cut a bush, but pruning takes time. What Iím waiting to see is how Herman Edwards goes about it, because just like that knee-high stump, the Chiefs wonít look pretty.

Not at first, but if Edwards molds his team right, it will grow and blossom. If not? Well, look around the neighborhood, Iím sure you find examples of pruning gone awry. Not a pretty sight!

I agree with fans when they point to Carl Peterson more than Edwards, because Peterson never went all in with the pruning. There has been plenty of plug-in-plays for the Chiefs, and it hasnít been all bad. I enjoyed watching plenty of them, but the Ty Lawís never last long and they didnít help the Chiefs get to where they needed to be. This upcoming season may be painful to watch, but think ďlong termĒ, which translates to much younger.

In many ways I wished the Chiefs hadnít backed into the playoffs in 2006. It didnít do Edwards any favors. Asking why Edwards decided now in his third year to start this rebuild I feel has a lot to do with Peterson and his mentality at the time. I think Peterson really thought the Chiefs werenít that far off ignoring obvious signs.

I donít think Peterson feels this way anymore. When you take a look at free agency, and with the holes the Chiefs need to fill, Peterson and the ďquickĒ fix hasnít been a factor. I think Peterson is coming to grips with the facts. Plenty of dead weight has been cut, but no splurging on the free agent front. This team is going to be resurrected through the draft and with smart choices.

In 2008 the Chiefs will look like a work in progress, which is fine by me.

The trouble with 2007 wasnít the fact that the Chiefs had problems, but it was how players like Damon Huard stayed in the huddle instead of giving Brodie Croyle a chance. I know the offensive line was in shambles no matter who was in the pocket, but it would have given Chief fans a sign that a plan was in place.

Last season nobody knew what the plan was and that was the most frustrating part. Fans knew a rebuild was in order, but Peterson wouldnít admit it.

Now itís an all-out gutting. Plenty have been released or not re-signed and I havenít disagreed with a one. Cutting all the dead branches or soon to be is the point of pruning, but what theyíre replaced with is new and fresh.

And they need to be good!

All the old does is inhibit anything new. Itís not always easy letting go, but so far what the Chiefs parted with I wonít miss. Itís been necessary.

I heard a gardener say you trim the strong growing bushes moderately, while you trim the weak growing ones severely. The Chiefs arenít a strong team, and thereís some severe changes coming our way. My hope is that itíll be fun to watch. I want them to grow into the team we want them to be, while players they draft and younger ones already on the team surprise.

For me Jared Allen is a perfect example of what a homegrown fourth rounder can do when given the chance. Allen was given a chance to play, but a high priced free agent had to be cut.

"Basically," said a source from the Chiefs, "we're starting over."

Iím looking forward to it, but on the other hand my fingers are crossed that Edwards is the right gardener for the job.

Good day, Chief fans!

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