When a new regime comes to town, people naturally start looking at what those folks did in previous jobs. We do this to try to get an idea of what we can expect in the future. However, there is a danger of expecting a carbon copy. To wit, I want to talk about Kremlin Scott and what I believe we can expect.
The Chiefs are in a different position from the Patriots when Pioli came to town. It would be foolish to expect the exact same plan that Pioli executed with the Pats applied to the Chiefs. For example, just because Pioli drafted LB Jarrod Mayo last year does not mean he will draft Aaron Curry this year. There is a very good case to make for drafting Curry, but it has nothing to do with Mayo. Similarly, just because Todd Haley had two very good wide receivers in Arizona does not mean that he will push for Michael Crabtree this year.
What patterns can we expect from Kremlin Scott? I see a couple of traits that seem to be highly valued. Lets go through them.
Brains is a big one. The Pats have consistently tried to acquire smart football players. While tests like the Wonderlic are not predictive of football smarts, I suspect that the Chiefs weigh it heavier than most teams.
Draft preference. If you look at Pioli’s drafts with the Pats, he has drafted a wide range of positions in the top three rounds. This appears to be more of going where he needs to go to fill needs with the right players than any firm philosophy. He does seem to grab a QB every two years or so. For those of you that think Pioli can always pull a good QB out of his ass, keep in mind that he also drafted Rohan Davey and Kliff Kingsbury.
Financial sacrifice from the players. This is an interesting one. With the Pats, Tom Brady has taken less money than he is worth. This sets the tone for the entire team. Will Pioli try to establish this with Matt Cassel? Keep an eye on this one Addicts. This may be what was behind Kremlin Scott not signing bigger name free agents. Pioli seems to be a guy that does not want to overpay for anyone.
Everyone on the same page. This is a big one and, frankly, the biggest positive change from the King Carl reign. This works well, provided the plan is good and the execution is good. However, the downside is that this mindset can become a bunker mentality. Healthy dissent is a good thing.
Versatility. Pioli seems to like multidimensional players, especially linebackers. When you have more than one linebacker that is an effective pass rusher, that does present challenges to the opposing team’s offense.
The ‘gym rat’ factor. A gym rat usually refers to a basketball player who never seems to leave the gym. He is always working on his game. Pioli wants the football equivalent. I expect Pioli to heavily downgrade players who takes plays off or get by more on talent than work. Look for the Chiefs to draft smart, dedicated high motor guys.
Role players. Pioli seems to put a premium on role players coming off the bench. When he signs a free agent, he does it with a specific role in mind. Does this get in the way of developing young talent? Time will tell.