Wow! This offseason has more issues than Lindsay Lohan in a hookah lounge. So, let’s sort through a few and see what wets your whistle.
1. I would rather have Carl Peterson and Dick Vermeil than… Scott Pioli and Romeo Crennel.
It’s so cyclical it’s sickening. The Chiefs always seem to end up with either: a defensive-centric or offensive-centric head coach. One or the other. Marty Schottenheimer was defensive, but became known for his run-first mentality thus, Martyball. Gunther Cunningham was defense, period. Dick Vermeil was offense all the way, and I’m uncertain that he even knew the names of his defensive players. Herman Edwards was defense because he was a defensive player, but I’m a bit challenged when it comes to giving him credit for nearly anything. Todd Haley was offense, but couldn’t navigate being both a HC and an OC simultaneously. The point of it all? Unless the Chiefs hire a powerhouse coach to be their offensive coordinator, they are probably not going to emerge from their immense malaise of mediocrity. Great organizations like the Pittsburgh Steelers have a strong head coach and a defensive coordinator of great notoriety. The Baltimore Ravens have a strong HC and great OC and DC. The good teams have all those coaches in place. So, in the absence of a strong balance between the Chiefs coaches… I’ll take a fun and productive offense to cheer me up, or to cheer for, over a stalwart defense that keeps the scoring low, slow and boring. Thus, Dick and Carl over Romeo and Scott.
2. Moving up to draft QB Robert Griffin III is worth the price that Atlanta paid to get Julio Jones last year.
The question is whether or not the Chiefs should do it. Atlanta gave up the following picks to acquire Julio Jones in last year’s draft: their first (27th), a second (59th), a fourth (124th) and a first and fourth in 2012. An interesting twist for the Chiefs is that the Browns turned around and traded their 27th pick to the Chiefs for their 21st pick and the 27th became the 26th pick when the Ravens were late to the gate. For me, RGIII is a top three pick. In fact, if I owned the Indy Colts, I’d be selecting RGIII with the first overall pick.
Now, the Chiefs own the 11th or 12th pick and not the 27th, but they are trying to reach the second pick in the draft not the sixth, like the Falcons. So, I actually think things work out fair enough, without getting into the trade value numbers. The big question is whether or not the Chiefs should give away that much potential future contribution to gain the special player that RGIII has the potential to become. It’s… potential for potential. It’s not like trading one player for five. That would likely be easier to evaluate. So, trading that much potential, five players for one player, is a massive trade-off. Try using the players the Chiefs have drafted the past two years for a comparison. Would you trade to get RGIII for… Jon Baldwin, Rodney Hudson, Jalil Brown (all 2011), Eric Berry and Kendrick Lewis (the Chiefs’ fifth round pick because they had no fourth in 2010)? Would you do that trade? Would I be okay if the Chiefs don’t do it? Yes. Would I be okay if the Chiefs do it? Yes. So, it’s a toss up for me. But, I think Robert Griffin III is so special he will make whatever team that drafts him special for the next 10-15 years. The trade-off now would be hard to swallow, but over the long haul, it gives the Chiefs the chance to reach the heights that they can’t even sniff for now.
Do I think the Chiefs will do it? No.
3. The Chiefs’ new offensive coordinator should come from outside the organization.
I’ve changed my mind about this one over the past week. After the Chiefs hired Romeo Crennel as HC, I originally thought they should go with Jim Zorn and take advantage of allowing their QB and offensive players some continuity. However, as good as the defense has become, the offense needs to match that level of performance and after further review I just don’t think that’s possible if the Chiefs just keep… keeping on keeping on. What’s the saying? “Insanity is doing the same things over again and expecting different results.” For the Chiefs to take advantage of the talented offensive pieces they do have in place, they’ll need to hire a coach who has a specific idea of what he wants the offense to do and be and then make all of the right moves to assure that it happens. That coach needs to be as strong in his convictions as Romeo Crennel is in his, toward the defense. If the offense and defense can’t achieve some balance, the team isn’t going anywhere.
4. The recent Kent Babb article is filled with conjecture and falsehoods.
True and false.
Can I believe the bulk of what Kent Babb is saying, that Scott Pioli is obsessed with loyalty to the degree that he’d place bugs in the building to monitor employees? Yes, I can believe that (so, you’ll probably want to read what Big Matt had to say about that). Do I “know” that it has happened? No, I don’t, but I don’t think it really matters (and you’ll likely want to hear what Lyle Graversen had to say). I don’t mind hearing that the Chiefs GM is obsessive-compulsive and even uses a piece of trash left on the floor as an example to his employees. Twice in my career I took over two different fledgling companies and almost immediately fired people who were already working there. I needed my own people there to help accomplish the tasks I knew they could accomplish. The turnover doesn’t disturb me at all. I’d be more concerned if Scott Pioli didn’t make those moves. Some people should be glad he didn’t completely clean house. Scott Pioli has a job to do, and he’s apparently doing it. Now, if Kent Babb got this information from Todd Haley, but Haley has already signed a confidentiality agreement, then this process is the only way the information about the inner workings of the Chiefs organization could come forward. Right? It may seem scandalous to some, but it’s just a part of the reality of the way things are being done and are currently structured at One Arrowhead Way. The more critical questions for me have to do with Josh McDaniels, Spygate and Scott Pioli’s possible involvement. If Scott was involved in any way, ignored or even covered up the details of what McDaniels had done, it makes him dishonest and untrustworthy at heart and someone the Kansas City Chiefs, and Clark Hunt, should not have at the helm of their organization. If Scott Pioli was at all knowledgeable of the spying incident and/or supported the act, it also could explain what may be a personal belief system and propensity to think that others are trying to bug him and spy on him or even “get” him. And so, in his mind, he must do the same to maintain “the balance of war.” It’s all very James Bond and is coming soon to a theater near you. Kent Babb has indicated in an email that he has more to the story, and we’re all on the edge of our seats. Unless… that’s exactly what Babb was hoping for and was the original intent of his piece. Self-interest. But, we don’t know for sure. Do we?
5. I would be happy with the Chiefs drafting either: RB Trent Richardson or OT Riley Reiff or OT Jonathan Martin or OG David DeCastro or ILB Luke Kuechly.
Mock drafts show eight players appearing repeatedly in the top 10: Luck, Blackmon, Kalil, RGIII, Claiborne, Quinton Coples, Dre Kirkpatrick (except Kirkpatrick was arrested for marijuana possession and may be falling from this lofty spot) and Devon Still. Yes, the other players mentioned in this question appear in the top 10 too but, if even six of the top players are chosen in the top 10, then the Chiefs will get the opportunity to select one of these players: Richardson, Reiff, Martin, DeCastro or Kuechly. It’s a numbers crunch and it looks like the Chiefs are positioned so that if they decide to not move out of their pick they can end up with a top-level talent who can come in and contribute immediately. Unless of course, Pioli goes off the farm, which I’m not expecting him to do this year since he’s under more of a microscope than he already usually is. My bet is, he plays it safe and selects one of these five. Unless of course, someone, another prospect, unexpectedly jumps up into the top 10. Some one like Michael Floyd, WR out of Notre Dame; Melvin Ingram, DE from South Carolina; or, what about QB Ryan Tannehill? So, if one of these players jumps into the top 10, it will push other high quality players down to where the Chiefs can either draft them, or it gives them more power to trade out. Remember how QBs were appearing like magic all up and down the first round last year? In that case, I bet Mr. Pioli trades out because you can bet someone else is trying desperately to trade up and Pioli is good at taking advantage of another GM’s desperation.
6. The Chiefs should stick with Matt Cassel at QB next season.
I’m of the… “new head coaches should get new quarterbacks”… camp. I offered a post in the middle of the season called, “Matt Cassel: Time To Go” in which I outlined inconsistent performances throughout his career. For the Chiefs to reach the next level and begin to make a regular habit out of bringing play-off games to Arrowhead, they are going to have to get more than Matt Cassel can provide at the quarterback position. Cassel is a study in frustration. He can be dynamic, impassioned and accurate one week and then the next week look like Garo Yepremian in the ’73 Super Bowl… and if you don’t know who that is, just imagine a kid jumping off the driving board but never deciding if he’s going in feet first or head first, you know, windmill arms. If you’re of the idea that Cassel will be better with an improved offensive line and you keep thinking back to the 2008 season when he was with the Patriots and did so well then… you should take a second look. Here’s the graphic (found below) from my original post showing Matt Cassel’s passer ratings for the previous three seasons. What you should be looking at is how erratic his performances are and even though the Chiefs’ offensive line has at no point been near as good as the Patriots’ over the past three years, you would think that his performances would at least become less erratic, meaning the highs and lows come closer to the mid line. However, the opposite has happened and he is more erratic than ever. If you can give Matt Cassel the credit for those incredibly high passer rated games, then you can also give him credit for the spaz-tastically low ones, right? The Chiefs would be better off moving on from Matt Cassel and forging a new direction at quarterback.
7. What the Chiefs need to fix more than anything else this offseason is… the offensive line.
I was listening to WHB 810 radio this morning (Monday), and it was suggested that the greatest need that the Chiefs have is a nose tackle. They went on to say that the great teams always have defenses that penetrate at will and slam the door on the run and that the Chiefs were just a great NT away from reaching that kind of elite status. As much as I might agree with them, there’s just no way to deny that the Chiefs have to fix holes on the offensive line, and this is a concern with multiple needs that must be addressed this offseason. If the Chiefs can get one of the top three elite offensive tackles in the upcoming draft, that will go a long way toward filling those needs. If not, then it won’t matter if Jamaal Charles comes back next year and is even better than he used to be. One alternative I could accept to this is… drafting Trent Richardson… with the caveat that they go after an offensive lineman in the second round. Either way… if the Chiefs don’t produce a big body in either the first or second round of the coming draft… fans may start calling for the GM’s head much earlier than expected. BTW… if you missed it, here’s another chance to read Andrew Crocker’s wonderful post on the upcoming 2012 draft.
8. The Chiefs will trade their first round pick on or before draft day.
I’d say the odds are stacked against the Chiefs standing pat. Come to think of it, the Pats have two picks at the end of the first round, depending how far they advance through the playoff brackets and if they were to offer the Chiefs the chance to trade places, two for one, I’d take that deal in a heartbeat! I’m not going to re-quote the high percentage of times that trades are made with first round picks but it is surely one of the most exciting elements of the draft. Scott Pioli has a history of making trades on draft day and not usually for moving up in the draft, so it’s also probably not likely the Pats will be moving up to trade picks with the Chiefs. However, last year’s deal with Cleveland (the 21st pick for the 27th pick, which turned into the 26th pick, plus the Chiefs got a pick in the 3rd round which produced Justin Houston) worked out great and I fully back the idea that moving back and gaining more picks produces a greater number to drafted players and consequently, a greater chance that one of those players will have an impact.
9. Any offseason… no matter how many issues the Chiefs have, no matter how many hours are spent having to listen to people speculate about Brett Favre… is a better offseason than last years collective-bargaining armageddon.
Truer than true.
I hope we haven’t gotten our heads so far into our ascots that we have forgotten how horrible it was to wake up everyday last offseason and realize there was still… no football. For one as backward as myself, lover of all things “offseason,” the thought of such a drought makes me want to sit down and eat a box of crayons. As many “issues” as the Chiefs seem to have this offseason, I am thankful for the problems we’ve got. Because it could be a lot worse. By a kajillion miles.