Chiefs head coach Romeo Crennel is not going to tolerate turnovers any longer. The Chiefs’ 29 turnovers (14 interceptions, 15 fumbles) are 10 more than any other team in the league, and Crennel said the first player to turn it over on Monday night at Pittsburgh likely will get a seat on the bench. Read more after the jump.
Call it the Romeo Rule.
“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.”
Does that include benching quarterback Matt Cassel, who has thrown 11 interceptions, third most in the NFL?
“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.”
That doesn’t mean the player won’t return to the game at some point.
“Look, Jamaal Charles has fumbled the ball,” Crennel said of the Chiefs’ starting running back. “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.”
Crennel’s decree has grabbed the attention of his players.
“People better hold onto the football,” said running back Peyton Hillis. “He has every right to feel that way as much as we’ve turned the ball over this year. It’s been ridiculous. He’s always been a rational man, he’s been good to us, so he’s not doing this for no other purpose but to make us better.”
Cassel said he won’t let the specter of being pulled affect his approach in the game.