It’s getting close. It’s coming. We’re just about there. The most wonderful season of all. No, I’m not talking about the holidays or even next season. I’m referring to the off-season.
For the better part of my life there’s not been a better, or more wonderful, time than the middle of a seasonal division race. However, over the past ten years or so the “most wonderful season,” for me, has become the offseason.
The NFL offseason is like playing Monopoly, Chess, Charades, Twister and Fantasy Football… all at the very same time.
For the NFL fantasy fan… that may sound fun enough but, for me the offseason is mostly about… dreaming and ideas. Dreaming, which includes a flood of ideas about how the Chiefs can improve.
That’s why, sometimes, I also think of the offseason as flood season.
Every fan of every team in every city has an “idea” about how their team could improve. And… every kid of every team in every city begins to renew their Super Bowl dreams in the offseason, especially if their team doesn’t make the playoffs.
The great thing about these ideas and this kind of dreaming is that it is active. It’s alive. It’s on-going and you can do something… lots of things… with it.
When I was a youngster we only had football cards, a local newspaper, an occasionally a transistor radio and a 25 second news clip at the end of the 5 o’clock news to tell us anything. The information we got from those sources was all we had to go on until Sports Illustrated hit the stands in 1964 and then we’d even learn about up and coming stars, of many sports, by reading the back pages of SI.
Nowadays, there are literally a 100,000 ways, or more, to get information on any player… like the starting fullback for the 6-6 Northwestern University Wildcats (Drake Dunsmore, 6-2, 235, 4.74-40, and ranked 5th best among fullbacks). BTW… I’m sure he’s a nice guy but, he’s not on my dream list.
Someone who may end up on my dream list is Bobby Wagner from Utah State. So, here’s a little teaser on the ILB who could be worth looking at in the second round. For those interested, here’s some game action of his. Here’s some information by nfldraftscout.com who lists him as the #1 prospect at ILB, out of 140 in next year’s draft (CBS Sports lists him at #3). Utah State Media Day.
One of the biggest offseason phenomena has to do with players who shoot up the draft board in the last few weeks before the draft. Players like Jason Pierre-Paul or DeMarcus Ware. Ware, who has 18 sacks this season, was selected with the 11th pick in the 2005 draft by Dallas. Pierre-Paul, who has 15.5 sacks this year was taken 15th overall by the Giants in the 2010 draft. Neither one started out being projected to the first round. Why? And, how did the teams that choose them “know” they’d end up being first-round worthy in the end?
The answer to part of that is… that those teams knew those players would fit perfectly into the scheme they are running.
Projecting that to the Chiefs… Glenn Dorsey’s body and skill set still seems more suited to the 4-3 than the 3-4. Although the Chiefs’ new GM regime came in and instituted the 3-4 after Dorsey was drafted, it still appears that the Chiefs are using the wrong ammo in the wrong weapon in regards to Dorsey’s size, ability and the 3-4. Even though the Chiefs defense employs both the 3-4 and the 4-3, like they did against the Packers, Dorsey often finds himself on the field in both sets.
Not to say the Chiefs should trade Glenn Dorsey but, the offseason is a good time to get the right players in place to play the schemes you have in place.
Another offseason favorite is the game of Charades, also known as dis-information. One GM, who is friends with another GM, mentions to the press that he doesn’t think the other GM would select a safety as high as the 5th pick in the draft because he believes that GM thinks safeties aren’t worthy of being drafted that high. Since those GMs are close friends from the same system you might have a tendency to believe him. You know what happens next, right? A GM like Scott Pioli drafts a player like Eric Berry.
Dramedies like Charades are ever so fun to watch.
The offseason is also the season for coaching dominoes. If this coach signs with this team and then that coach signs with that team and so on and so forth until all the coaches and coaching dominoes have fallen into place. Three years ago, I recall hoping the Chiefs would sign Josh McDaniels after Scott Pioli was named GM. Oh, what a relief it is, that Scott Pioli didn’t make that mistake. However, the coaching dominoes were falling that offseason, too and that year very few big name coaches were making themselves available. This offseason, there may be more coaching positions in play than ever before.
Watching the coaching dominoes is worlds of fun.
Then there’s the free agents. Free agency is a lot like Twister. Each GM is stretching their budget to see if they can fit another high-dollar player under their salary cap. Unless you’re Clark Hunt, of course. On the other hand, you can appreciate the Pioli/Hunt approach when you consider the case of the Philadelphia Eagles. In the truncated free agency period of 2011, the Eagles signed a long list of stars and were early season favorites to reach, or win, the Super Bowl.
While many teams and fans hope for a top-level free agent to come in and fill a hole to take the team to the next level, the reality is that it doesn’t happen very often and then the team is stuck with the bill for an over valued player.
However, seeing the stars re-align is another fun twist to watch in the off-season.
The biggest offseason game of course is the game of chess that takes place on draft day. However, it’s more a combination of chess and Monopoly. The Monopoly game atmosphere that owners and GMs create comes when they start trading properties.
“NFL draft day trades and the Dallas Cowboys go together like milk and cookies. Jimmy Johnson was the ultimate wheeler-and-dealer during his time as head coach in Dallas. You could count on the Cowboys being one if not the most active of participants in NFL draft day trades during the early 1990s. Jerry Jones picked up where Jimmy Johnson left off and has continued to make trades in bundles. Since Jones took over the club in 1989, the Cowboys have made 58 draft-day trades.”
There have already been 25 trades or moves related to the up coming 2012 NFL draft and this season isn’t even over yet. Draft day trades are like extra fudge on the ice cream sundae of the offseason. Here’s one fan’s speculation for a possible draft day trade that may end up having legs:
~ Patriots and Eagles- Patriots would acquire CB Asante Samuel from Eagles in exchange for a 2012 2nd-round pick (Raiders pick).
While I don’t believe this “possible” trade has any grounds, I do think it makes sense for both sides. So, the offseason is a time to scour and scrutinize. Doesn’t that sound like fun? Personally, I can’t wait! It’s a lot like trading Park Place for Reading Railroad.
Of course, before any of that happens the Chiefs will need to play their last game. Then the evaluations will begin. After the evaluating has been finalized, we’ll all get a clearer picture of what the team needs are. This is beginning to sound redundant but at first glance it looks like the Chiefs will be needing a NT, an ILB and a lot more offensive line help, hopefully the kind that’s less “offensive” and more helpful. Plus, the Chiefs need to re-sign Brandon Carr and put the franchise tag on Dwayne Bowe. Then, of course, there will be the flood of ideas about what could be done at QB.
Let the floods begin. It’s almost flood season!
Anyone else enjoy flood season as much as I do? Or, how about a game of Monopoly? Anyone?
A special thanks to Baloo Cartoons for the graphics