Regression Discretion

Sep 20, 2009; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Brandon Flowers (24) before the game against the Oakland Raiders at Arrowhead Stadium. Photo via Newscom

The league's defensive MVP contemplating his next awesome play (source: yardbarker.com)

My apologies to those of you who stopped by yesterday expecting a Big Matt Monday (grandma, mom, whoever).  I had the post written and scheduled to be published at 1 Eastern like always, but for some reason it never went up.  I suspect sabotage.  Was it Randy?  Jeremy?  Merlin?  All three, working together?  The only option, as I see it, is to have them followed (I’ve been having Paddy followed ever since he hired me).  One of them has something to hide, I know it.  Jeremy may say he’s a “lawyer”, but out in Cali thats code for “I rob old people.”  I’m watching you, Hanson.

Seriously though, sorry gang.  Computers, am I right?  Maybe AA would be better as a monthly newsletter.

We’ve discussed Matt Cassel and the running back platoon ad nauseum around here, and rightly so.  Both are huge issues without a consensus opinion.  Is Cassel good?  Bad?  Boring?  Handsome?  Nobody can agree.  Ditto for the running back split.  Some people want the better back to get the ball, others want to have faith in the coaches’ decisions.  Ask any fan worth his salt about either of these things, and they will have a definitive opinion, one way or the other.

The defense has been more cut-and-dry.  It’s been very good.  Much better than expected.  Romeo Crennel is doing an excellent job.  We can all agree on that.

Here’s a loaded question: is a defensive regression inevitable?

I hope this query doesn’t make anyone bristle.  But this group has performed a lot better than literally anyone thought they would.  Can they possibly keep this up?  When faced with a competent quarterback in decent weather, will they revert to what we’ve become familiar with this past decade?

We should start by analyzing just how our defense has done what they’ve done.  I’m sure there are varying theories on this, but from my perspective we are where we are because of Brandon Flowers*, Tamba Hali and Derrick Johnson.  Other players have played well at times, but those three have been our most consistent performers.  This was expected, to some extent.  I think before the season started we were all pretty much on the same page about Hali and Flowers being our best defenders.  DJ has his fans and critics, but we all know he has talent.  What I’m trying to say is, none of these performances are out of left field.

*If the Chiefs were The Fellowship of the Ring, would Flowers be Gandalf or Aragorn?  I’ve been going back and forth on this.  Maybe the nerdiest question ever asked.  I sense a virtual wedgie forthcoming.

Hali and DJ were first round picks and Flowers was thought of as a steal in the high second.  In all three cases the pedigree is there.  These are talented players playing well.  It’s reasonable to expect that to continue.  We have a top pass rusher, a shutdown corner and a linebacker who will pile up tackles.  That right there goes a lot of the way towards a good defense.

But it hasn’t just been those three.  Glenngarry Glenn Dorsey, Sweet Ron Edwards, Jovan Belcher, Eric Berry, Perv Smith and Brandon Carr have each contributed.  I’ve been pretty happy with the way all have played.  Still, this is where we get to shakier ground.  Not all of these guys are going to be able to keep this up.  Carr will get picked on a little being opposite Flowers.  Berry will continue to look like a rookie at times.  Dorsey will struggle in the passing game.  Smith will probably be benched for Tin Man regardless of how well he plays.  My man Sweet Ron is gonna be tired for the next month after that sack.  These guys have had good moments.  I expect they’ll have some bad as well.

Is that crippling?  In the past, it would’ve been.  Maybe not anymore.  Now we don’t necessarily need everything to go right.  We don’t need players to do things they’ve never done before.  We need our top three guys to play well, and a couple of other players to step up each week.  That will deliver defense good enough to keep us in almost any game.  Combine it with the offense we saw against San Francisco and we’d win most of them.

Things probably can’t keep going like they have.  We won’t be able to put the clamps on every offense we face.  So a slight regression is inevitable in that sense.  But a regression into a bad defense, or even an average one, is not.  I see the makings of a top 10 defense here.  Not the best in the league perhaps, but definitely respectable.  After all this time, I’m thrilled to accept that.  For once we have defensive plays to talk about other than imaginary double-teams.  That fact alone is worth its weight in gold (tin?).

News and notes….and news:

  • There’s a new Chiefs blog on the block and its piloted by none other than friend of the site The Centaur.  He is smart, he is funny, he is writing about the Chiefs.  Go to him…..unless you’re easily offended.  Then you should probably stay away.  Parental advisory, and what have you.
  • While on the subject of blogs you should go to, I was recently brought on as head writer for the network’s MMA page, cagepages.com.  There’s another guy who handles the news stories, so I’m free to speculate and pontificate.  Come check me out if you’re a fan.  Of me (unlikely) or the sport (maybe?).  In all seriousness, MMA and the Chiefs are the two biggest passions in my life (other than yachting of course).  I’m very happy to have been offered this position.  Almost as happy as a few weeks ago when I got too much change at the corner store.  Now that was a banner day.
  • Those of you who volunteered for the RFP will be contacted this week about your findings.  Excited to hear what you guys have for me.  Will post about it later in the week.  Knowledge.  Trust.  Accountability.  The Arrowhead Addict Roster Familiarity Project.
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Tags: Brandon Flowers Derrick Johnson Tamba Hali

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