Chiefs coach Romeo Crennel is sick and tired of his team leading the league in turnovers, and so he has a new rule: If you turn the ball over, you’re benched.
“I have to impart on them the importance of protecting the ball for this team,” Crennel said, “and sometimes to get that done, you basically have to threaten them. If you fumble it, I’m going to take you out of the game. And they will get the message.”
Crennel said the rule applies to interceptions, too, which puts quarterback Matt Cassel — who has thrown 11 interceptions and fumbled eight times this season, losing seven of them — on notice. But would it really be wise to bench Cassel for another turnover? After all, with Brady Quinn already ruled out of Monday’s game with a concussion, benching Cassel would mean turning to Ricky Stanzi, who has never played in a regular-season game.
When asked whether he would really bench Cassel, Crennel said he would — although he also gave himself some wiggle room.
“Yes, you can make a change there,” Crennel said, “but the thing is, you always have to know exactly what happened on the play and why it happened. If a receiver tips the ball up in the air, is that on the receiver or is that on the quarterback? I have to make that determination, so I’ll make the call. I’ll sit the receiver or I’ll sit the quarterback.”
Crennel also said he wouldn’t take the team’s best offensive playmaker, running back Jamaal Charles, off the field for too long after a fumble.
“Look, Jamaal Charles has fumbled the ball,” Crennel said. “So if he fumbles, and he stands over there with me for a little bit, then I put him back in, because he’s the guy who runs for a touchdown. But I have to try to put an emphasis on it, so I’m going to try to emphasize it and get them to understand the importance.”
If the Chiefs’ players don’t already understand the importance of not turning the ball over, threatening to briefly bench them probably won’t work. But at this point, Crennel is desperate enough to try anything.