“I think you can tell by the management style that the glory days don’t fit into the way they evaluate football players,” said Waters, the only offensive lineman to remain through the interim years.
But Haley and Pioli couldn’t be blamed for trying to restore the line glory with former players. The Chiefs in the early and mid-2000s had a line that was the envy of the league.
“That was the most productive line I ever played on,” Shields said. “It was special. We had a great group of guys and great cohesiveness. We had guys with special and unique talents.”
The line began to split up in 2005 with the retirement of Roaf. Shields followed a year later, and by 2008, after Wiegmann departed as a free agent, only Waters remained.
Now that most of the signing, releasing and trading and all of the drafting is complete in the AFC West, we now have a better feel for the talent in the division.
Once again, there has been major change. Let’s catch up with an early projection for our preseason all-AFC West team.
We have a few ground rules: Rookies are eligible. We’re using a 3-4 defense because three teams in the division use the 3-4 as its base and Oakland will use the 3-4 more this year. We took some liberties at some positions. For example, we aren’t taking a fullback but we are using the two best running backs.
Without further ado, here is our all-AFC West team as it stands now:
If you want to find the quickest way to make a quarterback look better, it just might be through improving the other side of the ball.
As I mentioned before, the Chiefs were routinely playing from behind in 2009. The defense simply could not get off the field. The waving arms reminded me of a junior high school team’s attempt at the gauntlet drill. Poor field position in addition to the lop-sided scores squarely put Cassel and the Chiefs offense in terrible situations.
The Chiefs allowed 3rd down conversions at a 38% clip, while only converting 27% on offense. They gave up more than 2500 yards on the ground (156 yds/game) and possessed a nearly 3-minute deficit in time of possession per game.
If Matt Cassel wants to improve statistically, Romeo Crenell’s unit must be more formidable in 2010.
Haley talked about the difficult situation Cassel faced last year. Moving from New England to Kansas City, meeting new teammates. It’s something that’s especially tough for a quarterback, Haley says. That said, Haley says Cassel has all the makings of a “solid, solid” NFL quarterback.
“Matt weathered the storm,” he said. “I know he weathered the storm. He’s an extremely physically and mentally tough guy.
“He is in here leading the pack every day. I mean, we can’t keep him off the field. He’s gathering the receivers any chance he can get.
“Jerheme Urban, who we brought in from Arizona was like, ‘Wow this is awesome. This guy can’t get enough.’ This kid’s going to be..he’s going to do a good job. He has all the makings of being a solid, solid quarterback in this league.”