Grading The Chiefs: Big Matt's Midseason Report Card - Offense

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Nov 7, 2010; Oakland, CA, USA; Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles (25) stiff arms Oakland Raiders safety Mike Mitchell (34) at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. The Raiders defeated the Chiefs 23-20 in overtime. Photo via Newscom

Offensive valedictorian was not a hard choice (source: yardbarker.com)

These grades are sure to be a little more controversial, as the offense has sparked much more debate than the defense so far this year.  Their grades are going to be a little worse on average, obviously.  I gots to call it like I see it, sons.  That’s all a man can do. 

I would encourage those of you who disagree with a particular grade to say what you think that player’s grade should be.  Dorsey’s grade of C+ seemed to be the defensive grade most people disagreed with, but few provided grades of their own.  I’m curious to see what others think.  I like to familiarize myself with what commenters’ leanings are.  Community.

A

Jamaal Charles- When you average 6.36 yards per carry, you get an A.  There is no room for an A-minus on this one.  And those who think Charles is one-dimensional are wrong.  He can do everything.  Even his pass blocking, the few times I’ve seen it, has looked high energy.  Technically sound?  I have no idea.  It looks like he’s trying really hard.  Clearly he didn’t take Larry Johnson’s mentoring to heart. 

I happen to think he can handle more carries.  That’s a personal opinion, and as such doesn’t affect the grade.  Also, for the record, I don’t want him to get all the carries, or even most of the carries.  I like having another back to take pressure off him.  I’d like to see Charles getting 20 touches every game, and a few more if the game is very close.  I feel like that’s reasonable, right?  In blowouts by all means bring on Thom Jones or even the Battle-Axe.  That seems like a good way to limit wear-and-tear to me.  Use Charles when it matters most, save him when it doesn’t.  I guess it could be hard to judge those situations game-by-game.  Maybe we could freeze Charles in between games?  Retard the aging process?  I don’t know, I’m just thinking out loud here. 

A -

Tony Moeaki- He may have dropped a key pass Sunday (and that play was unbelievably well set up, too), but he has been a really pleasant surprise.  I mean, there was some hype in mini-camp, but there’s always hype in mini-camp.  I saw Moeaki’s injury history and thought we were looking at the ghost of Brad Cottam, come back to haunt us while Cottam was apparently still alive and on our team.  It literally seemed like a nightmare. 

I’m exaggerating.  Moeaki has exceeded all expectations though.  He may be the player I’m most excited to watch in the second half.

Ryan Lilja- Lilja has been our best offensive lineman thus far.  I’ve watched him as often as possible, and he has almost always looked really good.  The fans (and Whitlock) wanted him, Pioli signed him, he’s doing great.  Nice and easy.  Now bring me Jamarcus Russell and the wish-list will be complete.

The rest of the offensive grades after the jump:

B+

Dexter McCluster- God damn high ankle sprain.  If I had a rosary I’d put a curse on that injury right now (that’s how rosaries work, right?).  McCluster is exciting.  Was he worth that pick?  Pending.  He’s definitely had his moments.  Seems like a guy we’re all really going to like.  Anyone have a McCluster jersey yet?

B -

Branden Albert- I’ve seen Albert throw a lot of cut-blocks this year.  I love a good cut block.  So thats been cool.  He’s a pretty good player.   I still wouldn’t be against an eventual move to guard for him if the right LT prospect was available in the draft.  Waters is old, and LG was Albert’s position in college.  Not saying Albert can’t play tackle.  Just saying, its an option.  He definitely doesn’t get owned out there, which is more than many teams can say of their LT. 

Dwayne Bowe- D-Bowe drops balls.  I know this.  But Matt Cassel has thrown twelve touchdowns this year, and seven of them have gone to him.  Who the hell would catch touchdowns if we didn’t have Bowe?  Who the hell would Matt Cassel throw to?  Terry Copper?  Chris Chambers?  I heard the Chiefs got so desperate for receivers they sent out a search party to locate Snoop Minnis.  None of them were ever seen again.  Last anyone heard they were heading into the Congo.  Word is Minnis had found these diamonds…..

I realize many of you will disagree with this grade.  I’m a bit of a Bowe homer, I’ll fess up to that.  So there, I’m biased.  At least I’m admitting it.  I really don’t think this grade is out of bounds though.  There are certainly different cases to be made. The drops are there.  I’m not ignoring them.  But Matt Cassel would be lost without Dwayne Bowe.  Who else is gonna go up and get those floaters?

C +

Barry Richardson- I suspect Richardson isn’t actually very good.  Jamaal Charles could make a parking cone look like a decent right tackle.  Long term, I doubt Richardson is the answer.  But he’s been much better than I thought he’d be.  I mean, I thought this guy would be out of the NFL by now.  Instead he’s a starter on a 5-3 team.  Shine on, you crazy diamond.

Mike Cox- I got no beef with you, Mike Cox.  In fact, I even have a cheer for when you touch the ball.  Let’s just say its not appropriate for a family site. 

C

Brian Waters- I’m giving Waters a C out of respect at this point.  He has looked downright bad at times.  I’ve been watching Lilja much, much more than Waters, so I don’t have the best take on this.  But I’ve seen him get beat several times.  I saw it last year, too.  This season could be it for Waters.  Mucho respectico.  He’s been a bright spot in some dark times.

Casey Weigmann- Another guy who is showing his age.  The interior of our line needs replenished soon (Asamoah really was a smart pick).  Weigmann gets a passing grade for being an upgrade over Niswanger, but we’re going to need a new center next season.

Thom Jones- First, a quote: “Thomas Jones is just what the doctor ordered: a solid runner to pick up yards between the tackles and ease the burden on Jamaal Charles.”

That was me on my previous blog, Big Matt’s Chiefs Chat.  It was right after we’d signed Jones.  Here’s a link to the article if you don’t believe me.  I don’t hate Jones.  I don’t even dislike him.  I’m realistic about what he is: an old, average running back who is chock full of those precious intangibles.  More valuable than gold, those intangibles are. 

On the one hand Jones is doing what the Chiefs want him to do.  On the other his YPC is average at best (you know, like a C?) and when he’s in the offense struggles to make first downs.  The guy doesn’t deserve scorn, but neither is he particularly deserving of praise from my point of view.  Realistically, Jackie Battle could probably do what Jones does. 

C -

Terry Copper- I hear he’s good on special teams.  It does kinda look that way.  And he had a good catch two games ago.  But he has been given a golden opportunity to claim a spot at receiver and he hasn’t done it.  Copper just isn’t an NFL receiver. 

Lenny Pope- I like Pope.  I like making the “he’s infallible!” joke.  I like that he’s really big.  Not sure about the actual football playing, though.  It doesn’t seem like he’s very good at that.  Could we maybe just pay him to hang around?

D +

Matt Cassel- I’m not grading Cassel’s potential, his personality, his work ethic, or even his circumstances.  I’m just grading his play.  Most of the time it hasn’t been good.  Teams can stack the box and Cassel can’t make them pay.  I’m sure his lack of receivers is a problem, but I expected a little better. 

One strength of Cassel’s is he doesn’t throw many interceptions.  He has a myriad of weaknesses, but those have already been hashed out ad nauseum.  I’m behind Cassel as the starter.  He’s our best option this year, and he might even have potential beyond that.  He just hasn’t been what we hoped this year.

F

Chris Chambers- I called this one.  He got his contract, and now he’s done.  Well played, Mr. Chambers.  This was easy to see coming, but I still can’t really blame Pioli for re-signing him.  We needed a warm body to line up opposite Bowe.  Chambers will be gone next year, and all he’ll have cost us is a few of Clark Hunt’s millions.  I’m fine with that. 

Tim “Storm The” Castille- I don’t know why this guy is still on our team, and I really don’t know why I sometimes see him in the game.  Castille is like a poor man’s Frank Moreau.

Incomplete

Brodie Croyle- Brodie being Brodie.

Jon Asamoah- Not enough data.  I want to assume this kid will be good.  Someone tell me its all right for me to assume that.

OK Addicts, fire away.  Angriest comment gets a gold star.  I’m guessing Bowe, Jones and Cassel are going to be the hot-button grades.  Be sure to check back Friday morning for my coach grades.  Sneak preview: Romeo Crennel’s pants get an A.

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Tags: Dwayne Bowe Jamaal Charles Matt Cassel Thomas Jones

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