KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The slumping Kansas City Chiefs are 4-8 and have four games left in a season that no longer holds any postseason promise. So wouldn't they be better off losing these last four and getting a high draft pick?
Coach Herm Edwards answers emphatically "no" to the question that naturally arises this time of year, when NFL teams are for all practical purposes eliminated from the playoffs.
But Edwards insists they'd be better off winning their next four and finishing 8-8 and picking in the middle of each round next April, when the odds of getting an "impact" player are reduced.
"It's real simple. You want to win," Edwards said Tuesday. "Winning comes before anything."
But don't the Chiefs also want to win in 2010, 2011 and onward, when this current rebuilding program begins to bear fruit? And wouldn't the chances of that be enhanced by getting a great player with the third or fourth pick in the first round next April?
"We'll be fine," Edwards said. "I want to win right now. I want these young players, I want this football team to win a game. That's the most important thing. The draft, what we do in the draft, the players who are here who are not going to be here, all that stuff - people always want to talk about that. That's not the issue. The issue is Denver -- how we're going to prepare to go to Denver and win out there."
Besides, finishing strong in an otherwise dismal year could have a positive carry-over effect, Edwards said.
"I think it helps you, yeah. One thing that has to happen, you want to feel good about when the offseason starts. You've won some games. You've let a lot of young players participate in it.
"You want the guys to win. You just want to win because you put in too much work not to. All the rest of this stuff takes care of itself."
Edwards said he is not offended by fans who are questioning the benefit of winning meaningless late-season games.
"No, because that's what happens when you have these kind of years," he said. "That's a good question because people wonder why. You want to win. That's why you do all this, the enjoyment of winning. It's a wonderful feeling if you have a plan all week and you watch it unfold."
"They were a 13-3 team last year, and I don't know all their situation, but the way they played, that's what pro football players do," Edwards said. "Players understand when you go out there on the field, and your name is on the back of that jersey, that represents you. It represents your legacy as a player, as a professional.
"People always question when you have a record like this. Your record makes a difference of whether you're going to be in the playoffs. But what people miss the point of is the preparation that you put in regardless of your record, every week to try to win a game."
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press