Some teams run the ball; some teams pass the ball; and some teams punt the ball…ah hem. In other words some teams like the Saints, Colts, Eagles and Patriots have an identity as a passing team, whereas teams like the Titans, Steelers, Jags, and Miami have established a running team identity. But do you see a correlation? The Titans, Steelers, Jags and Dolphins all sucked this year and the other passing teams did very well.
You want further proof that you have to be a passing team in order to win in the NFL? The top two RBs this season, Chris Johnson (Titans) 2006 rushing yards, and Steven Jackson (Rams) 1416 rushing yards, did not even make the playoffs despite stellar rushing statistics. In fact, the Titans won eight (8) games and St. Louis won only one (1) behind their league high rushers. Moreover, the two teams in the Superbowl, The Colts and Saints, were clearly passing type teams with elite QBs and very deep WR talent.
Jamal Charles may currently be our best weapon on offense, but we absolutely, positively should not build our offense around him. He played very tough this year, but he is no bruiser, and durability has to be a concern going forward. Jamal Charles has turned out to be quite the stud, (a poor man’s Chris Johnson, if you will) but he should be “icing on the cake” so to speak rather than the cake itself. You should look no further than to Tennessee’s league leading rusher and their mediocre record for proof.
Luckily for us, we have a head coach in Todd Haley who has a penchant for throwing the football. We also have a head coach who knows that the wide receiver talent is not currently on the team to do so. Coach Haley brought in many wide receivers during camp and even during the season because he knew the Chiefs receivers just plain sucked. The receiving “line-up” was being changed more than Larry Johnson’s diapers… ah hem. In the beginning of the season we were trying painstakingly hard to run the ball when we simply could not. It became even harder when the Chiefs attempted to throw and dropped pass after pass after pass.
Haley and Cassel stated numerous times during the season that the team had to establish some semblance of an identity. The team never did. It simply couldn’t. It could not because Haley wanted to be a passing team but did not have the talent for it (see Sean Ryan, Mark Bradley, Bobby Wade, Lance Long, Terrance Copper, Quinten Lawrence, etc.). You can bet that is going to change.
It used to be that in the NFL you would run to establish the pass. That is no longer true; you must pass to establish the run. Now comes Charlie Weis, an “offensive guru” so to speak, who loves to throw the ball just like Haley. (Weis can only make Matt Cassel better too). It’s a guarantee that Haley and Weis are going to require some serious receiver talent to run their offense. An offense which should be a pass heavy offense, sprinkling in “our little 195 pound” Jamal Charles in sporadic runs, sweeps, screens, and check downs. (Jamal Charles should be featured in our passing attack this year. I presume Charles was not involved heavily in the passing game this year due to his shoulder separation issues which he recently had surgery to hopefully resolve). I am sure that Scott Pioli’s ear will be bombarded with numerous receiver requests in early March (free agency) and late April (Draft) 2010, and it should be. A move must be made, and it will.
But what will the necessary moves be to become a passing team? I believe that we are just three players away. We need one strong lineman, another quality receiver and another quality TE.
As for the lineman, against my fellow bloggers preference, I suggest an OT with our first pick (Berry won’t be there). I know the arguments against it, but move Branden Albert to LG (his natural position), Brian Waters to Center, and our number five pick will be our new left tackle. Keep Ryan O’Callaghan at RT and Wade Smith at RG. (I think Wade Smith is completely underrated).
With our second pick we select a quality WR along the lines of Deshean Jackson, Austin Collie, or say a Golden Tate. Keep Dwayne Bowe as our number one, Chris Chambers as our number two (after signing him on the cheap), and Golden Tate as our number 3 WR. Tate is a former running back, who has decent, but not great speed. He has wonderful acceleration, agility and vision. He could be a Dante Hall type of player/third receiver. He could also be our KR/PR. Tate is currently projected to go in the first 40 picks. We could also go with a free agent (not preferred), say an Antonio Bryant (Tampa), or a Steve Breaston (Arizona).
As far as a TE upgrade, many of you know, I have always liked Brad Cottam. I have no idea why he was a very late bloomer this year. I still think he can be a quality TE, but we cannot put our eggs in one basket. We could select another TE in the later rounds (don’t prefer), or bring in free agent super fast Ben Watson (do prefer) to compete or complement Pope and Cottam. (Jake O’Connell did not impress me this year; in fact he down right pissed me off!). The rest of the draft picks should focus on defense (another topic altogether), with maybe one late round being spent on another guard or receiver.
So what do you think? Do you agree? Should we be a passing team? Can we be a passing team? Will these moves help us lose our current punting team identity?
Topics: Antonio Bryant, Arrowheadaddict, Ben Watson, Brian Waters, Charlie Weiss, Chiefs, Chris Johnson, Dante Hall, Golden Tate, Jamal Charles, Passing Team, Ryan O'Callaghan, Scot Pioli, Steve Breaston, Todd Haley, Wade Smith