Merlin's Magic: Socrates Edition

OK Addicts, the Bengals game was a stink bomb for the ages. Now, on to the fun part. We have a golden opportunity in front of us. It is not often that there is a chance to put a stamp on an organization. Clark Hunt has that chance. This is his defining moment. The GM he hires is going to be the tone setter for the entire organization. This is an opportunity that should come up every ten plus years or so. So, let’s make the most of it. I am going to step into Clark’s shoes and outline how I would go about things, without naming candidates.

It all starts with philosophy. What is the philosophy of the Chiefs? How do you build a consistent winner under a system designed to prevent that? How do teams like the Steelers, Titans, Ravens, Patriots, Giants, Colts, and Eagles enjoy fairly consistent success. They may not be in the playoffs every year, but their drought periods don’t last long. One aspect is that they have a consistent philosophy guiding them. Usually, it is a good defense, but not always. What these teams really do a good job with is finding young, cheap players. Yes, the draft is key, but even more so in the salary cap era. Specifically, it’s second day drafting.

So, one philosophical criteria is a huge commitment to drafting and developing young players. My GM and his right hand man should be steeped in talent evaluation, with an emphasis on evaluating college players. Thankfully, Clark Hunt has already mentioned this as his primary criteria and I am in complete agreement on that point.

Second criteria is team, team team. The team comes first, not one player. So, any player, coach or GM that thinks he is above the team, leave now. I don’t want any Kings or coaches who think they reinvented the game.

Third, you win with defense and offensive line play. I want a defense that brings the pain, stuffs the run and makes the QB run for his life. Other teams should get aches just looking at our team on the schedule. The offensive line should open nice lanes for our running backs and allow our QB to hang out in a easy chair, looking for open receivers. That is a design that keeps you in the hunt most every year.

Fourth, get rid of aging players who are not earning their salary. This, frankly, is a very difficult part of the job. Many coaches fail, including Hank Stram, when they hold onto aging players because they produced in the past. The salary cap makes that even harder. As fans, we have to learn to accept that some players we came to love just can’t do it anymore. Knowing when that player is about to hit the wall is one of the toughest parts of this business.

So, my ideal GM candidate is someone young (I want them for ten plus years) who is rooted in current player evaluation from a defensive, team first culture. I would expect that GM to bring in a director of college scouting type plus a head coach. All of these people have to buy into the philosophy outlined above.

OK, Addicts, it’s your turn. What would your guiding philosophy be?

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