Has Scott Pioli transformed the Kansas City Chiefs? It’s a simple, straightforward question. Has Pioli improved the Chiefs in a positive way? Isn’t that the best question to ask when evaluating him? By looking at each position on the team you may find the answer is a resounding, yes!
Scott Pioli is: The Transformer
If you look at each position on the Chiefs roster you could say that since Pioli has arrived, he has improved every position except four. To have that kind of positive effect upon a team is excellent and earns you the title of: The Transformer!
Looking at the improvements Scott Pioli has made upon the Chiefs roster, the four he hasn’t improved include: two on offense, one on defense and one on special teams.
Key Code: Positions (players) listed in blue are positions that were better off in 2008 than the position players that are currently on the Chiefs roster.
TE- Tony Gonzalez. When GM Scott Pioli arrived the Chiefs had perhaps the best tight end in the history of the game in Tony Gonzalez on the roster. Drafting Tony Moeaki in his second season was a positive sign and recently signing Kevin Boss helps but, they’ll never replace Gonzo.
LT- Brandon Albert. When Pioli arrived LT Branden Albert was in his second season but, wasn’t thought to be one of the league’s best. Albert still may not be a premiere LT but, improving each season and ranking in the top ten as a pass protector in 2011 makes him one of the current cornerstones of the Chief offense. 2008 BA < 2011 BA.
LG- Brian Waters has spent many years as a Pro Bowl level performer. While Ryan Lilja has had his moments, he’ll never be confused for Waters. Winner? The 2008 Brian Waters.
C- Rudy Niswanger. Need I say more? Bringing in Casey Weigmann to anchor the offensive line and provide some stability was a great move on Pioli’s part. Weigmann may not be the player he was even just five years ago but, he will be better at playing the Center position when he’s 50 years old than Niswanger could ever have been in his prime.
RG- Adrian Jones. Yo Adrian! Who? The right guard position was in such disarray when GMSP (General Manager Scott Pioli) arrived Jones was the most consistent starter at RG and he only started ten games in 2008. Drafting Jon Asamoah was a solid move by Master P and he looks to become a very good Guard in the league for years to come.
RT- Damion McIntosh. When I look back at some of the starters that the Chiefs had in 2008 I’m somewhat surprised that Scott Pioli ever even considered coming to Kansas City. It reminds me about how many times I would say to myself, “What is Herm thinking?” McIntosh was bad but, in retrospect, he may have been better than anyone who has played RT for the Chiefs in the past four years… until the Chiefs signed the Greek God Eric Winston a week ago.
WR1- Dwayne Bowe. Do you remember his bad boy act and what a game of hot potato it was, when it came to Bowe catching the ball? Some still complain about his struggles squeezing the rock but, it’s nothing like it was 4 years ago. Yes, Todd Haley was the answer for what ailed Bowe, but, in the end, the credit for Bowe’s ascent has to go to…. Bowe himself. After all, he’s the one who followed up last Summer at Larry Fitzgerald’s camp when no one told him to go. In any case, he’s better now. Pro Bowl better.
WR2- Devard Darling. Uh, Devard Darling? Steve Breaston is a huge step up from Darling. I’d take Jon Baldwin and or Dexter McCluster over him. Actually, I’d take any of the dozens of wide receivers the Chiefs have signed in the past four years… over Darling.
RB- Larry Johnson. It’s hard to believe now that LJ and Scott Pioli could coexist in the same organization. Then again, it’s hard to believe anyone could coexist with LJ, period. Jamaal Charles was on the team back then but, was not only underused, he was not even valued by Todd Haley and Scott Pioli and they thought about dumping him at one point. Fortunately, when the Chiefs cut ties with LJ, Charles was still on the roster and showed the world what he’s capable of doing on the football field with his 4.34, 40 yard dash speed. JC > LJ… X 10.
QB- Tyler Thigpen. As much as I’m not a fan of Matt Cassel… I recognize that he’s head and shoulders better than Tyler Thigpen. The credit for bringing Cassel to KC all goes to Pioli and that may be a problem going forward because up until recently, Pioli has looked like he was unwilling to move on from Matt. In any event, the Chiefs have been much improved with Cassel behind Center than Thigpen.
RDE- Tamba Hali (2008) vs. Glenn Dorsey (2011). Dorsey was considered a beast coming out of LSU in 2008 but, didn’t live up to that reputation in his rookie season. Since then, the Chiefs have changed to a 3-4 defensive scheme and what looked like a horrible fit for Dorsey at first has turned out pretty good… but, not great. Last year he was in the top ten for defensive ends against the run. Tamba was still an ascending player in 2008 and had 43 tackles that year. I tip my hat to Dorsey.
NT/RDT & LDT- Tank Tyler and Glenn Dorsey. While it’s not exactly an equitable comparison to look at defensive tackles and nose tackles from the 4-3 and the 3-4 defenses, it’s clear that little has been done address the inside positions since Scotty beamed down to fountain town in 2009. No, I’m not ignoring that Tank, stank. But, Dorsey probably still belongs inside.
LDE- Turk McBride. As much as it pains me to admit it, Tyson Jackson is better than Turkey McBride was. Mr. McBride played for the bountiful New Orleans Saints in 2011 and had all of 4 tackles. Go Tyson. Go. You won me over. By a landsludge.
RLB- Derrick Johnson is better now. He had loads of promise then. However, Todd Haley and Romeo Crennel helped him tap the potential that’s now emerging. A Pro Bowl season wins out. Tamba Hali now occupies this position.
MLB- Pat Thomas and Rocky Boiman. Bioman bounced around the league and finished his NFL career the next season in 2009 with the Steelers where he started 6 games but had only 4 assisted tackles on the year. Pat Thomas bounced from Jacksonville to KC to Jacksonville then back to KC again and then left the league after 2008. He had 48 tackles that year. Even though Jovan Belcher is thought to be a weak link in the Chiefs middle, he had 87 tackles last season. A clear improvement over anything anyone did in the middle in 2008.
LLB- Demorrio Williams- Williams had 62 tackles in 2008. Williams was released by the Chiefs on March 6th and signed by the Chargers two days later. Rookie of the year Justin Houston wins out at the left outside linebacker position. Rather easily.
RCB- Brandon Flowers vs. Brandon Flowers. The talented rookie intercepted 2 passes in 2008 and in 2011 he picked 4. In 08 he had 13 passes defensed but, in 11 he had 20 passes defensed. The greatest possible impact for Flowers may have been the change of schemes which takes advantage of this talents as a cover corner more. He’s better now than then. For sure.
LCB- Brandon Carr- Although Patrick Surtain was still on the Chiefs roster Carr took over in his rookie year at the left cornerback position. Carr and Flowers had 2 INTs each. Carr may be a better corner at this point but, Stanford Routt had four INTs in 2011 and is a more mature corner than Carr was in 08.
FS- Jared Paige- I’ll take Kendrick Lewis and his upside any day. As well as his positive attitude.
SS- Bernard Pollard- Hmm, Eric Berry or Bernard Pollard? Hmm.
Punt/Kick Returns- In 2008 it was… Dantrell Savage. Kevin Robinson. B.J. Sams. JC. Maurice Leggett. Will Franklin. Except for JC, none of these players is even still in the universe much less the league. Well, that may be an over-exaggeration but, it sound right.
Punter- Dustin Colquitt. I have to admit Scott Pioli hasn’t done anything to improve the punter position since 2008. Then again, it hasn’t need improving. Still I’m not giving this one to Pioli because Colquitt has just been consistently good but, not shown any kind of dramatic improvement.
Place Kicker- Connor Barth and Nick Novak. Mr. Irrelevant, Ryan Succop, wins this match between the metrical units by… that’s right… a foot.
Well, there you have it. Now, if the Chiefs draft Rodimus Prime to play nose tackle or Optimus Prime for a left guard… in the upcoming draft… then check another one off of the “to-do” list for… Scott Pioli, The Transformer.