We always want to believe we’re right, but we ain’t none of us perfect. My yearly IWWAs are a recognition of that. For this, the fourth annual IWWAs, I got a little help from my friends. This way those of you who don’t believe I could ever be wrong about anything can skip my section and move on to the rest of the staff. Or, for those of you who Internet-hate one of us, take delight in watching the object of your hatred participate in the ceremonial eating of crow.
We’d also like to hear your biggest IWWAs in the comments. This is a healthy process. We will emerge stronger, and smarter. Much like Barry Richardson will, after one more year of development. B-Rich in ’12!
1) I thought the insanity would stop with Thom Jones. I was wrong. Sometimes coaches just like bad players. If following KC sports has taught me anything, its that. Vrabel, Yuni, Willie Bloomquist, Dexter McCleon, Ross Gload, Kyle Davies, Larry Johnson, Mike Brown (QB of the defense!), there really is no point in continuing this list. It’s a mile long. Bad veterans who the people of Kansas City have been told are good. Why? That bizarre combination of age, intangibles, and affordability that this city’s sports leaders have always loved so well.
Jones, though, is the worst. He averaged 3 yards per carry this year and led our team in carries. There is no excuse for that. I knew he’d get his touches this year, Jones ALWAYS gets his touches no matter how bad he is. This is not his first season averaging under 4 per carry. It’s his seventh. In fact, his career average is a tick under 4.
Still, I assumed after last season that nobody would be crazy enough to feature him. I was wrong twice, because both our head coaches did just that. Thomas Jones is this century’s Rasputin. Discuss.
2) I thought Wallace Gilberry would have a breakout year. I was wrong.- I love pass rushers and loathe block eaters. So naturally, Wally Gilby is my boy. His production dipped this year, which was disappointing. But then again, his PT seems to have dipped as well. Gotta stop that run though, right? After all, if a team can run on you, you’re toast! Oh, wait…..
Personal misgivings about the D-line aside, this was not the year I’d envisioned from Gilberry. So yes, I was wrong about him. I still expect him to sign with a 4-3 team and do very well. But who will nosh the blocks for that team while Gilberry is showing off with the sacks and the forced fumbles? Luckily we’re too smart to ever encounter that problem. LSU Block Skwad: FOUR MORE YEARS! FOUR MORE YEARS!
3) I thought Haley would insist on starting Studebaker over Justin Houston. I was wrong. What an awesome surprise Justin Houston was. Turns out marijuana users can function in society! Still, it is illegal. Better to drink a dozen beers and get yourself out in public, I say. Smoking this plant at your house is simply too destructive.
In all seriousness, I assumed Haley would give Studebaker the Vrabel treatment and Houston the Studebaker treatment this year. Since we found out The Student Baker is bad, it was time for him to become the Teacher Baker. That’s just how Haley rolls, right?
Happy to be wrong here. Houston was maybe the biggest bright spot of this entire season.
4) I thought Pioli would pick up more locker room leaders in the draft. I was wrong. We like to give Scott Pioli a hard time around here, and rightly so. His excruciating pace and sloth-like level of activity are deserving of ridicule. As are “the right 53″, “substance over sizzle”, and any other junk catch-phrases he and his cronies come up with to justify basement payrolls.
However, his draft this year was downright interesting. I didn’t think he had that in him. 2010 was a good class, but the focus on the locker room seemed to be par for the course. The 2011 draft was anything but. I’m sure this class will take its lumps; the learning curve was already shown to be pretty steep for a lot of them. Still, I was extremely happy, and surprised, to see Pioli going for talent rather than team captain status. Turns out he can make exciting picks……if Bill Belichick tells him to.
5) I thought Romeo Crennel’s press conferences would be pretty similar to Todd Haley’s. Thankfully, I was wrong. Is it possible those non-answers were Haley’s idea all along? Surely Pioli encouraged that, right? Did he wise up and instruct Crennel to provide real answers? So many questions. I know some of you don’t care about this stuff, but I want answers! My attempts to spy on the Chiefs in the past haven’t gone well. Time for a new disguise. Do you guys think I could pass as Bill Muir?
6) I thought Todd Haley’s preseason strategy was ridiculous. Way off on that one, clearly. Did you guys see how much fresher we were after Crennel took over? We have Haley to thank for that!
The rest of the staff after le jump:
1) I thought Jonathan Baldwin would make a huge impact on the offense. I was wrong.
And he might have if not for the “locker room leadership” of Thomas Jones. Baldwin was dealt a tough hand this season. The offense was a mess, he was a rookie, he missed half the season and he played with three different QBs. On top of all that, he was the third best receiving option.
I like Baldwin and I can see he is a talented receiver. He has to work on his hands and being more aggressive. This offseason will do him good. I still believe in him.
2) I thought Matt Cassel would crash and burn during the tough stretch of the schedule and that Ricky Stanzi would start the team’s last couple of games. I was wrong.
I secretly thought that Ricky Stanzi would be starting games by the time the season was over. Instead, all kinds of craziness happened. I still am not a big believer in Cassel, especially after watching Kyle Orton actually go through progressions. Regardless, unless Pioli pulls a rabbit out of his hat on draft day, it looks like Orton will be gone and Cassel will be the starter in 2012.
3) I thought Dexter McCluster would be very dangerous as a RB. I was wrong.
I gave Dex too much credit I think. He showed what I thought he could be in the last game of the season. Dex was essentially a rookie RB this season after playing WR in 2010. If his field vision improves I think he could be dangerous if used correctly, but I the Chiefs still need reliable depth at RB.
4) I thought Barry Richardson would be decent and maybe even improve at RT. Holy crap, I was wrong.
Richardson should be cut today so the Chiefs are forced to do something at RT. He’s the worst T in football. I don’t know what else to say.
5) I thought Brandon Flowers would make the Pro Bowl. Wrong again for the third year in a row.
Maybe Flowers will never make the Pro Bowl. I don’t know. He’s good but he may never be consistent enough to make the Pro Bowl. It seems like he is a little streaky. He is never terrible, but he tends to have more bad games than I would expect from a “shut down corner.” Still, Flowers is terrific. The improving Chiefs D could help him find his way to Hawaii in 2012.
6) I thought Big Matt would finally move out of my basement and get his own place. I was wrong.
Now he’s moved into my living room.
1) I thought I would have my baby a few days early. I was wrong.
She was actually three days overdue. I’m pretty sure that this will be the one and only time in her life that she is defiant … . Oh, was this supposed to be Chiefs-related?
2a) I thought getting rid of Brodie Croyle would improve the quarterback depth. I was wrong.
Tyler, Tyler, when Matt Cassel went down, you had a chance to be, well, Matt Cassel when Tom Brady went down. You could have played brilliantly. You could have scored a starting position with a struggling team. You could have at least scored some touchdowns. Well, that dream’s dead, now, isn’t it?
2b) I thought Tyler would be more like the other Tyler. I was wrong.
Tyler Thigpen wasn’t great, and sure, his name rhymed with pig pen, making the jokes all too easy, but he was entertaining to watch. He gave the fans and the team someone to rally behind, even if the wins weren’t there. He didn’t squander his opportunity when it came time to play. Palko, though … well, we all saw those four infamous games. I don’t need to rip the BAND-AID off that old wound.
3) I thought Tony Moeaki would have a brilliant season. I was wrong.
Kansas City is famous for BBQ, and its tight ends named Tony. I was expecting Tony Moeaki’s sophomore year to be nothing short of stellar. It was, however, all too short. Torn ACLs were a fashionable trend for the NFL this year, so I can’t fault him* for keeping up with the Joneses. However, his history with injuries worries me. Moeaki will need to come back strong and stay healthy to silence the critics.
*Except, I do fault him.
4) I thought preseason didn’t matter. Oh, I was so very wrong.
Todd Haley was wrong, too. HAHAHA!
Since I prefer to believe the preseason doesn’t exist, I don’t usually put much stock in the scrimmages. Historically, the Chiefs have lost many a preseason game and still performed well during the regular season. This year was different, though. As each of the four scrimmages came and went, the Chiefs were still horrible. I desperately read AA for some words of comfort, a glimmer of hope, and yet, there was nothing. Let this be a lesson to me, the coaches and all the other doubters: preseason is an indicator of the regular season and not to be ignored. I will believe next year. I promise.
1. I thought Matt Cassel would take a step forward once he got some more WR depth. I was wrong.
At first I tried to blame this on the rib injury he received in the preseason, but by the Denver and Miami games, there was no excuse.
2. I thought Todd Haley was a REALLY good coach and play caller. I was wrong.
He started Tyler Palko FOUR WEEKS IN A ROW and the play calling has been much better since he left.
3. I thought Jerrell Powe would be a key rotational player on the defense. I was wrong.
The solid play of Amon Gordon has kept him off the field.
4. I thought Kendrick Lewis would be exposed this season, and we would be looking for a new FS this offseason. I was wrong.
After a weak start Lewis has played well again in his 2nd season.
5. I thought that as the year played out the Chiefs would try some other options at RT. I was wrong.
It’s been all Richardson all year. Yuck.
1. For a fleeting moment, I started to buy into the myth that Todd Haley was somehow responsible for coaching Dwayne Bowe up into a top-tier receiving talent.
This was the season that taught me that Dwayne Bowe is and will likely always be Dwayne Bowe.
2. I did not ever believe it was really possible that the Chiefs might beat the Green Bay Packers this season.
Until they did.
3. I too felt that 1st round pick Jonathon Baldwin would be an impact player, particularly in the red zone.
4. I never in a million years would have thought that Leonard Pope could be an impact guy for the Chiefs.
That game against the Packers once again proved me wrong.
5. I am no Nostradamus.
After the Chiefs won four games in a row, in light of how the Chiefs were playing, and in spite of those successive wins, I made the bold and now foolish prediction that it was entirely likely that we just witnessed the last Chiefs win of 2011. My prognostic error came with failing to foresee how the combination of poor play and shameful losses were also likely to result in a midseason coaching change and what impact that might have towards the final W-L count when all was said and done.
Seer credentials under review.
Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa!
Most of the predictions I made were season-oriented rather than player-oriented, so in the wake of season-ending injuries to our two best players, I’ve got to declare mistrial.
I will say this: I was brutally wrong about Todd Haley’s ability to coach a football team. He had proved to be so dogmatic and so vindictive as a member of a historically classy organization, that his forced departure from Kansas City proved to be just a matter of time.
Seriously, Todd? Starting Palko for a month? Seriously?
1) I thought the 2011 Chiefs would get off to a strong start. I was wrong. In fact, I could not have been more wrong (statistically and historically). Sure, for a little while it looked like that 0-3 beginning was just the necessary scene-setting for one of the greatest comebacks of all time, and when Philip Rivers saw the Great Pumpkin and dropped the snap on Halloween, it seemed like anything was possible. Well, okay, not really.
2) I thought Matt Cassel would become the face of the franchise. I was wrong. That’s not to say I thought he would have a record-breaking year and lead this team to glory or even, necessarily, a winning record. But his newfound come-at-me-bro charisma seemed ready for a breakout year—until it quickly got buried by Buffalo the day the season started. From there, his persona was more tied to his three-and-outs than any one-liners, and Matty Nice’s most notable on-camera moments involved screaming at his coach on the sideline. When his season ended early a few weeks later, the reaction throughout Chiefs Nation was one big, “Oh, well.”
3) I thought the 2011 Oakland Raiders would (mostly by running) run away with the division. I was wrong. And come to think of it, I should have given more consideration to the fact that last year’s Raiders, 6-0 in the AFC West, were 2-8 against everyone else. Still, I was actually rooting for the Raiders to pull it out against San Diego yesterday, if only to give the Chiefs’ win over Denver a more satisfying impact (and so that Oakland could possibly go on to win a playoff game, thereby requiring them to surrender a second first-round pick to the Bengals as part of the Carson Palmer deal—and setting them back for the next couple years). Oh, well. Watching them knock themselves out, one week after we couldn’t, wasn’t as satisfying as it might otherwise have been.
4) I thought New Year’s Eve was gonna be a box-office hit. I was wrong. I did not see that coming. (Also, I did not see it.)
5) I thought Todd Haley would prove that he knew more about coaching than he seemed to know. I was wrong. Despite the signs at the end of last year and as this year’s preseason began, I still told myself that we should evaluate Haley on his results, not his process, and he had just taken our team from 4-12 to 10-6 (well, 10-7). Also, the players, for the most part, seemed to like him well enough. But profanity and solidarity-through-slovenliness will only take you so far. I should have realized what was truly up once Haley stopped shaving, showering, or doing laundry. What’s that adage? “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.” Well, from the looks of it, Todd Haley wanted to be unemployed.