Chiefs fans and fellow Addicts, there is an old saying that no news is good news. The meaning behind this is that if you don’t hear anything, at least nothing bad is happening. This saying, however, is complete bullshit when it comes to the NFL this offseason. No news is definitely bad news. So, with the uber-coverage going on with the lockout and appeals, and the totally unwarranted reports of Al Davis surviving from daily injections of Red Bull and virgin blood,* I am going to look forward and review the multiple story lines forming for the Chiefs’ upcoming season.
*After much research and many phone calls, I have found that without a doubt Al Davis has never been nor will be sponsored by Red Bull. A spokesperson on the telephone assured me that all reports of Al Davis injecting their product while mixed with the blood of virgins, “May in fact be true, but the effects of injecting Red Bull mixed with the blood of other people is not advised, may be detrimental to your health, and any reported results of extending the life of Al Davis have not been evaluated by the FDA at this time.”
Despite the lack of offseason acquisitions and trades, the more I look into next year, the more I see that there are a multitude of appealing plotlines and unanswered questions old and new that I will be watching for. So let’s choose to ignore the deafening silence of this offseason and take a look at what’s in store if/when the Red and Gold take the field in the 2011-2012 season.
Storyline #1: Haley’s Comet
If we can think back as Addicts to last season, perhaps the most debated subject was the radical change in team performance that Todd Haley seemed to create within a year’s time coupled with the radical nature of his coaching philosophy. It is true that his players are more in shape and that there is a palpable culture being built in Kansas City, but many of our readers and staff members severely question whether Haley’s propensity for rash decisions that go against general football beliefs (especially in playcalling/game management) will continue to give him success. One thing is for sure, we will have a much clearer understanding of what future Todd Haley has in Kansas City after this season with the tough schedule ahead of our boys. We will all be watching to see if Haley’s comet was a once in a lifetime sight, or something that can be seen by all frequently for years to come.
Storyline #2: Jamaal Charles’ Run at History
Jamaal Charles is the best running back in the NFL that doesn’t get any carries. This again, is something that caused much speculation and criticism last season. I don’t believe I ever heard a sensical reason to not give Charles more carries than he had, but I will give the best one I heard: Todd Haley knew this team wasn’t going to be an elite team this year, so he brought in Thomas Jones to get beat up in the stead of Charles to preserve him for future seasons. Well, the future is now upon us. Will this be the season that I don’t have to change my Madden depth chart every effing game to play Charles #1, or will we have more of the same? Subplots to this story are: Will Charles continue to add to his historic YPC average? Will he finally attain the single game rushing record denied him if the featured back? And finally, does he have the durability to sustain his YPC, and possibly have a 2000+ yard season?
Storyline #3: Storming the Cassel
So Matt Cassel went from zero to hero in a very short amount of time. In my opinion, he still has to work on getting rid of the ball faster, but that should be easier with another gigantic target available with first round pick Jonathan Baldwin. No question Cassel has elevated his game and earned the respect of pretty much everyone in the sports world for playing just days after having his appendix removed.* Now Cassel finds himself in the un-fun position Aaron Rodgers (wished he was a Chief so I could have a legit Rodgers jersey without being the “personalized jersey” guy) found himself in the past couple of seasons. Cassel now has to either show post-season success or be relegated to the long list of quarterbacks who were good but not great. Cassel has some added weapons, and if we get any sort of free agency his weapons may multiply. I like the guy and hope he gets us to the promised land, but for now even with his improvement he gets a question mark while we see if he can ascend to the elite status of QB we all are hoping for.
*Side Note: The day of the Rams game when Cassel returned, everyone was wondering if he would play after the beatdown the Chiefs took without him in San Diego. I was talking with some KC fans outside the Edward Jones Dome in STL, and I pulled up AA on my phone where Paddy had posted saying he would play. They were astonished that we had the info up, because they checked Arrowhead Pride and nothing was reported on that site. One of the moments that made me most proud to be part of AA.
Storyline #4: Who Will Stand Out From the 2011 Draft Class?
Pretty much everyone was surprised by the 2011 draft because of the character of some of the draftees after the “right 53″ rhetoric smashed by Chiefs PR into our skulls. Really, if we had not had the few months without Todd Haley press conferences hammering in the “right 53,” we would’ve had to go to the doctor for anti-psychotics when our #1 was a wide out with “questionable character,” which was later followed by drafting someone who failed a drug test at the freaking combine. So the question is now: Who is going to be the person that stands out the most next season? Will it be Baldwin, the number one who despite having reports of character flaws sleeps on Cassel’s couch so he can practice with him and goes to Joplin to volunteer with disaster relief? Will it be Houston who lost his first round status because he likes to smoke pot so much that even though he knew he had a drug test he couldn’t stop smoking long enough to pass? Those are the two everyone is watching intently but it could be any one of these guys. I just wonder who’s going to walk away with what I am crowning the “Tony Moeaki Award” for outstanding badassness in a rookie season. Don’t worry Tony, next year they’ll get pronounce your name correctly on Madden. Wow, two Madden references in one post. I’m a nerd.
Storyline #5: How Good is Dwayne Bowe?
I know everyone loves Bowe. I think he is a great receiver. I still think, however, that dude has some serious problems catching easy passes. A lot of which occur on 3rd down. So, this year at least to me is his deciding year. He has gone through his “I didn’t have the right coaching” phase, and his “Now I have the right coaching and am working hard to get back to starting” phase. He has even got through his “I am the starter and do pretty well, but still drop a shitload of passes” phase. This is the year where we will know exactly who and what Bowe will mean to this team. Will he still be the great talent that we roll the dice on when it comes to third down, or will this be the year that he shows us not only great physical talent, but attention to details and fundamentals?
Storyline #6: Which Turd Get’s Flushed First?
Jones or Vrabel?
Feel free to mention any storylines you are looking forward to in the comments section that I may have neglected. I am excited once again thinking about all of these things since it has been a while since I actually thought about football in terms that didn’t include “anti-trust” and “collective bargaining agreement.” Once all of this dust settles, and there is actually a season again, there is much to look forward to and discuss. I am looking past all of it for at least this week to take a break from all of the idiocy surrounding what essentially is just a game. Take care Addicts.