One of my guilty pleasures of the Kansas City Chiefs blogosphere is Big Matt of Big Matt’s Chiefschat, which is sadly only updated once a week but is an amusing read. (Except for the time he said I have “some wild opinions.” Yeah, I read that Matt. Nothing gets by me. And I will have my revenge.)
His entry today deserves to be highlighted because he’s committing a risable offense: he’s admitting some of his predictions for the 2009 KC Chiefs were WRONG. WHAT?
Anyway, here’s a taste (click through for the rest):
#4) I hated the Alex Magee pick at the time. HATED it. Magee was like salt on the Tyson Jackson wound. Another d-tackle? Really, Scott Pioli?
As it turns out, Magee wasn’t half bad. He’s got some pass rush ability on a line that desperately needs it, and he gives us flexibility to trade Dorsey (which I still think/hope might happen). All in all, I’d call that a decent use of a third round pick. When it’s all said and done I think Magee will be the best non-kicker out of that draft class.
Kudos, Big Matt. I don’t know what got into you, but I guess it’s been an excruciatingly slow offseason and you’ve got time to kill.
Well so do I, amigos! After the jump, I’ll list five faulty predictions I made about the 2009 Chiefs, long before I became an Arrowhead Addict, that have nonetheless turned out pathetically misguided.
I encourage all Addicts (and bloggers across the Chiefs-o-sphere) to do the same.
LB Zach Thomas would help LB Derrick Johnson fulfill his potential. Are you telling me we just brought in a future Hall of Fame candidate to man the inside linebacker position for a year or… well, for a year? Surely that couldn’t be better news for Derrick Johnson, a young linebacker who has received zero veteran leadership during his time in the NFL and as a result has remained a maddeningly inconsistent liability! (I forgot about Donnie Edwards, apparently.)
Well it turns out that Zach Thomas made such an impression not just on Derrick Johnson but the entire Chiefs organization, that he remained injured for the entire offseason and didn’t even make the final 53.
The offensive line would continue to remain hopeless. This was a particular view I developed after our only major offseason OL acquisition was broken-down guard Mike Goff and our only OL selection in a OL-heavy Draft was a 5th round question-mark in Missouri’s Colin Brown, a guy Pioli bragged was a perfect right tackle prospect but now is discussed as a guard. Trading away a 6th round pick for tackle Ikechuku Ndukwe (plus the iffy Andy Alleman) was an intriguing idea, but he just joined the depressing carousel that our OL became for the better part of the year.
What I did not expect, however, was the offensive eventually gelling together late in the season. Albert / Waters / Niswanger / Wade Smith / O’Callaghan eventually pulled together and finished the season off as strong as you could expect them to. They began to pull it together just as Charles was taking off, and head coach Todd Haley mercifully allowed them time together to develop on-field chemistry.
Tamba Hali wouldn’t be able to convert to 3-4 OLB. The immortal Joe Posnanski wrote a particularly devastating piece after the 2008 season detailing why record-setting passrushing impotence is so demoralizing. What he left out, however, is that it’s incredibly hard to build a good passrush from scratch — which we’re doing. Pioli did basically nothing to bolster our passrusher corps other than trading for a broken-down Mike Vrabel from the Patriots (along with some other disappointment that skips my mind ……………….).
The one decent passrusher we did have, Tamba Hali, seemed too big and not athletic enough to thrive in the OLB position. But Hali had one of his best seasons as a 3-4 OLB, putting up pretty good numbers but mainly just looking the part. I still don’t think Tamba is a great fit for the scheme but his passion and his tenaciousness will work on any defense. Easily one of my favorite Chiefs, and I’m so glad he adapted.
QB Brodie Croyle would end up on the cutting block. I was with the rest of the Chiefs fanbase (I refuse to call them “the Kingdom,” Holthus — so lame) when Croyle was devastated with a leg injury against the Titans in his first game back from a different injury in 2008: kid was done in the NFL. Even Croyle himself seemed to believe it, as Gretz reported the player was in tears as he left Arrowhead in crutches. With a new GM and a new head coach with zero loyalty to him, I knew it was just a matter of time until Croyle would end up unemployed.
What I didn’t bank on was Haley’s incredibly open mind when it comes to quarterbacks. He was the guy who made the call of starting a washed-up Kurt Warner over the quarterback-of-the-future in Matt Leinart when he was a coach in Arizona, because he gave them equal chances to prove themselves. In Kansas City, Haley paid Croyle the same favor, and combined with Haley’s incredible health regimen, Croyle responded and played so well in the preseason and managed a surprisingly decent game against the Ravens in Week 1, that even the homer-heavy Warpaint Illustrated questioned if Croyle should start over Cassel.
Safeties Bernard Pollard and Jarrod Page would thrive in Pioli’s 3-4 defense. I always wondered why Herm Edwards would endorse drafting two bigger safeties who are a little bit slower, when his Cover 2 defense is a speed-based defense that demand the safeties cover gigantic swaths of land. Pollard and Page played well for Herm, but the entire time they’ve been Chiefs, we wondered when they would kick it into gear. (These days that’s a common frustration.)
When new General Manager Scott Pioli began installing a 3-4 defense as one of the first changes to transform the roster, my initial reaction was that Pioli’s defenses love bigger safeties (especially strong safeties like Pollard) who can be strong in run support and not have to be as responsible for so much of the field as expected in the Cover 2.
But for reasons that remain unclear, Page was trapped in Injured Reserve Purgatory and Pollard simply didn’t fit in with Haley’s regimen and is now a fan favorite in Houston. Our safety position remains one of the most embarrassing in football, leading many to assume the team is willing to spend the #5 overall on stud prospect Eric Berry of Tennessee.