|04-06-2013, 03:54 PM||Topic Starter|
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Mellinger: First three months of Dorsey’s Chiefs regime far cry from *****’s
First three months of Dorsey’s Chiefs regime far cry from *****’s
By Sam Mellinger
The Kansas City Star
John Dorsey knows Kansas City. By now you’ve heard that part of his story. His wife is from the area, and their first date was at Jack Stack. When the Chiefs introduced him as their new general manager, he called it his dream job.
But living in a place can be very different than visiting. He just bought a house here. This is real now. Working a dream job can be very different than dreaming about it. So we wanted to check in after three months and see if anything had changed.
“No way, this place is awesome, man,” he says. “Here’s an example. We went down to Oklahoma Joe’s (on Wednesday), Andy and I and some other guys, and we sat in line for 40 minutes. The people were great. This is the good thing about the Midwest: Everybody respects your space. It’s a cool thing.
“Some guys would come up and talk to us; they’re genuinely excited. That’s what it’s all about. It’s the people, man.”
Dorsey will talk your ear off about Kansas City. The other day, as the lawn mower was going by his office window, he realized it was never this nice in Green Bay until mid-May, at least. You hear Dorsey talk, and you hear others in the Chiefs offices talk about him, and you begin to understand a franchise-defining change.
We don’t know if Dorsey will succeed in Kansas City. Nobody does. But after three months, there are clues about how the Chiefs are, and will continue to be, different.
He doesn’t spend any time trash-talking his predecessor, for one. This was a favorite pastime of Scott *****’s. Publicly and privately, directly and indirectly, ***** wanted you to know what kind of mess he inherited.
Dorsey never mentions that he arrives on the heels of what many involved called the worst football year of their lives.
“We’re just trying to get people excited, because that’s a good working environment,” Dorsey says.
The second major difference between this regime change and the one that preceded it is that Dorsey isn’t overhauling the front office. ***** talked constantly of changing the culture and spent a lot of time firing and hiring people. Dorsey has spent a large chunk of his time meeting and working with and listening to people who were here long before January.
“Not one guy has all the answers, my God,” Dorsey says. “This is a hard job now. There are going to be some people here who are going to help and it’s good to have everybody here to do this.”
That leads to the third major difference between Dorsey and *****. Whenever possible, ***** would namedrop Bill Belichick. Dorsey doesn’t talk much about Green Bay. Doesn’t tell stories about drafting Aaron Rodgers or winning the Super Bowl with the league’s youngest roster or what they saw in Clay Matthews that 25 other teams passed on ... unless you ask.
Dorsey isn’t coming to Kansas City expecting people to kiss his Super Bowl rings as much as he’s hoping the people here can help him win another one.
“I think you’ve got to earn everybody’s respect,” he says. “I’m trying to earn everybody’s respect in the organization. I only know one way. I have no ego. I like to work. I like work, I like football, and I love my family.”
The Chiefs’ last four years were filled with drama. Carl Peterson ran the organization for two decades, and although he probably should have been replaced a year or two earlier, you can now look back and see a professionalism that went missing when he departed. He had his quirks — quite frankly… — but people genuinely liked working for him. There’s something to be said for that.
It’s only three months, of course, but there seems to be a steadiness and professionalism returning to the Chiefs’ offices. You don’t hear stories of paranoia, or micromanaging, or bizarre rules about who can make color copies.
This is still an NFL organization, so secrets are still closely guarded. Besides, NFL teams are bigger than the general manager. Owner Clark Hunt was going to push his franchise in this direction no matter who he hired as general manager.
But the sense from the inside is one of confidence, comfort and a renewed optimism. You can see that in Dorsey as he talks about the rewards of hard work and the focus on empowering his scouts. Get people invested, he says. Get them excited. That’s how you build a winning culture.
Again, we don’t know how this story will end. Dorsey is only three months into the job. His first draft is three weeks off, his first game six months away. All we have are these hints. But all these hints are positive.