Like last year when I had four different Blueprints, developments along the way have caused me to revise my 2009 Blueprint.
The good news?
Step 1. Lure Scott Pioli away from the New England Patriots to run the Chiefs football operations.
That was a success as Pioli is now officially the Kansas City Chiefs Head of Football Operations.
That bad news?
Step 2. Pioli hires Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels to be our head coach.
Not going to happen. Those dispicable Denver Broncos beat us to the punch. Then again, with the lack of haste to get Pioli in office, maybe McD was never the guy.
Regardless, the old Blueprint hit masterfully on No. 1, but careened of the tracks on No. 2. That being said, to quote Jay-Z, “The Blueprint 2, baby, on the way…”
The Blueprint 2K9 V2: New York State of Mind
Step 1: Pioli hires New York Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo as the Kansas City Chiefs’ new head coach.
(Again, Herm Edwards getting canned is a no-brainer. No need to waste keystrokes.)
With McD off the board, we turn our attention to the best available candidate, and one who has a more extensive portfolio. As most of our talent lies on the offensive side of the ball, a defensive-minded coach could work out perfectly. Just look at what Tony Dungy did up in Naptown. I like everything about Spagnuolo, from his intensity to his communication skills. He would be a great fit for the next chapter of Chiefs football.
Step 2: Trade Larry Johnson for whatever we can get for him.
Third-rounder, fourth-rounder, whatever. Get him out of town and that salary off the books. Houston, New England, New Orleans, Philly, Tampa Bay and others will be interested for sure. I understand L.J.’s feelings about the treatment he’s received from fans and also appreciate all he’s done here and him taking accountability. At the same time, you don’t come out and say you’re done with the Chiefs and the City after all they’ve given you. Iron Man is our hero no more. AA stood by you as long as we possibly could, but we won’t any longer. You’ve got the wrong kind of New York State of Mind, pal.
Step 3. Keep Tony Gonzalez.
Tony G. may be 32, but he’s hauled in more receptions over the past two years than any other two-year block of his career. And that’s despite being saddled by the constant switching of quarterbacks, offensive coordinators and offensive systems, not to mention a rushing attack on the decline. Tony has five more good years in him if he wants to play for that long, and I think we’d all love for the five time All-Pro to retire as a Chief.
Step 4. Trade for Matt Cassel.
If it costs us a second- and a third-round pick in 2010, so be it. If Tom Brady ends up being fine, Pioli needs to get this deal done, and I believe he can. If this deal doesn’t work out, we may have to ride Tyler Thigpen and Quinn Gray for another year, which would be fine. Better than reaching on a bust quarterback early in the draft.
Step 5. Sign either Bart Scott or Karlos Dansby at linebacker.
These guys are playing outstanding. The Cardinals and Ravens will have a hard time re-signing them as well. Scott almost signed with the Browns back in 2006, and the Ravens have a ton of other free agents. As for Dansby, the Cards will likely re-sign Kurt Warner and have a ton of money tied up in the offense (Anquan Boldin, Larry Fitzgerald and Matt Leinart, and possibly Edgerrin James should he stay now). I am confident we can land one of these players. I’m not so sure Rocky Boiman would be all that bad next to Dansby or Scott and Derrick Johnson, should he return. While Boiman played pretty well, I’m not against replacing him either.
Step 6. Sign Derrick Ward
This is where my New York State of Mind continues. Zach actually floated me this idea, as the coach often does. According to the Football Outsiders, Derrick Ward performed better than any other back in football this season:
Top 5 running backs
1. Derrick Ward, Giants: 375 DYAR (274 rushing DYAR, 102 receiving)
2. Kevin Faulk, Patriots: 365 DYAR (180 rushing, 185 receiving)
3. DeAngelo Williams, Panthers: 361 DYAR (367 rushing, -6 receiving)
4. Clinton Portis, Redskins: 336 DYAR (285 rushing, 51 receiving)
5. Thomas Jones, Jets: 325 DYAR (253 rushing, 72 receiving)
Ward ahead of Williams?!? You can thank each player’s performance in the passing game. If we look strictly at how the running backs did carrying the ball out of the backfield, Williams is numero uno, with Brandon Jacobs (308 rushing DYAR) right behind him. Because those players had no impact in the passing game, though, guys like Ward and Faulk jumped ahead of them. A first down is a first down, regardless of whether it came through the air or on the ground, and Ward (58) grabbed enough of them to pull himself ahead of Williams (51). Ward was excellent as a receiver, averaging 9.4 yards per reception
Pretty impressive stuff. With Brandon Jacobs also a UFA and Ahmed Bradshaw in the fold, Ward is as good as gone. I think Pioli and his good buddy Spags will be enough to lure him away. Ward also went to college at Kansas’ Ottawa University. I think this guy would be a perfect compliment to our passing game. He’s got Pro Bowl skills, I’m telling you. The Giants have a great O-line, but he was better than Jacobs this year, and that’s saying something.
Don’t give me this Jamaal Charles and Kolby Smith B.S. either. Neither of those guys have shown anything that should lead anybody to believe they can handle being a feature back. Honestly, I don’t even think those two make up a decent platoon.
Step 7. Sign offensive tackle Mark Tauscher from Green Bay.
I know he blew his knee out in early December, and I know everybody loves Jordan Gross. But Gross is going to get P-A-I-D and he’s not leaving Carolina. Because of his knee and the other players on the market, I think we could steal him at a bargain basement price. He also came back from a 2002 ACL injury to start every game for five years, so that right there proves that he will almost definitely be back. Play Tauscher at RT and you have bookends for four or five years. Who cares if he isn’t ready for opening day. He’ll be ready soon thereafter.
Step 8. Pass on Julius Peppers and Terrell Suggs.
They are going to command outrageous money and I believe that we can get a good defensive end with our early second-round pick. I also believe that both are staying put. Sorry.
Step 9. Draft Michael Crabtree or Andre Smith with the No. 3 overall pick.
Point blank — these are the only two guys that have proven to me that they are sure bets. Crabtree is going to be the next Fitzgerald, and we can always move Branden Albert to guard, where he can be our long-term replacement for Brian Waters. Can’t you see Albert and Smith being or next Big Willie Style — Roaf and Waters? We cannot reach with the No. 3 pick, so I say go offense until someone else proves they belong there. One caveat: I love USC QB Mark Sanchez, so we’ll keep an eye on whether he declares or not and where he’s projected to go. That’s another thing; why pick a LB at No. 3 when the market shows no LB going before 8-10 at the earliest? That’s called reaching, my friends. Aaron Curry is up there, but how often do you see a linebacker go that high. Uh, never.
Step 10. Find a pass-rusher in round two.
Someone like Ole Miss’ Greg Hardy or maybe even Georgia Tech’s Michael Johnson will be there. I think there are a lot of good DEs in this class, and a lot of the top five ones look better suited to play 3-4 OLB.
That’s the Blueprint 2, which I think has a far better shot of shaping up then my shoot-for-the-stars original draft. This plan could also end up being a little better in the long run. Like the Chiefs, I’ve had more time to digest everything.
Addicts, what do you think of the Blueprint 2K9 V2? What’s your new Blueprint?